Food File: It's time for soup, and we're in a pickle
By ANNE LONG
This is definitely the time of the year for homemade soup, but French onion soup is pure delight any time of the year. Just reading Lois Kaiser's recipe makes us want to head for the grocery store.
The secret to making excellent onion soup is to allow plenty of time so the flavors develop slowly. Lois adds sherry or brandy for additional richness.
Condiments enhance any meal and mango chutney is one of the most special condiments. There are not many dishes that chutney doesn't make even better and chutney made in our own kitchens is manna from heaven. It is also much more economical than the commercial versions.
Flo Milburn asked for a recipe for refrigerator pickles. Eadie Nieman shares her method. The pickles are easy to make and do not need to be processed. Cover the pickles and refrigerate at least a day before serving. They will keep for up to a month in the refrigerator if they don't get eaten before.
Brenda Helton writes that both of the sweet pickle recipes from her files are good. The sweet cucumber pickle recipe takes three days to make and the pickles are nice and crunchy. The second recipe is for bread and butter pickles.
Remember to simmer the pickles, since boiling makes them soft.
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For: Jean Hoagland of St. Petersburg
From: Lois Kaiser of Hudson
Recipe: French Onion Soup
French Onion Soup
In a 4- to 6-quart pot, heat butter with oil over medium heat. Add onions and toss well to coat them with fat. Reduce heat to low; cover and let cook for 15 minutes, until onions are quite wilted. There is no need to stir.
Uncover pot, increase heat to medium and stir in sugar. Let cook, stirring frequently, for about 40 minutes until onions are deep brown. Stir in flour and continue to cook until flour turns the color of the onions, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in broth. Cover, bring to boil, then reduce heat, partly cover and let simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in sherry or brandy and simmer 5 minutes longer. Serve piping hot in deep or flat bowls. Allow diners to garnish soup with grated cheese and slices of cheese and croutons. Or, in deep bowls, place crouton, soup and more croutons. Then add the cheeses. Bake in a 450-degree oven until cheese is melted and crusty at edges.
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For: Barbara Schotten of Dunedin
From: Doris Stebbins of Pinellas Park
Recipe: Aunt Nellie's Major Grey Mango Chutney from Heritage of Southern Cooking by Camille Glenn
Aunt Nellie's Major Grey Mango Chutney
Peel the mangoes, slice the flesh from the pits and cut the flesh into rather thick slices. (Fruit must be underripe.) Put all the ingredients except the sugar into a heavy 8-quart preserving kettle.
Caramelize the sugar slightly. Put half the sugar in a large iron skillet over medium heat. When the sugar starts to melt, start stirring. Stir constantly until the sugar has turned a very light amber. Remove from the stove.
Add all the sugar to the mango mixture and stir thoroughly to dissolve it. Cook until the mixture has cooked down and the flavors have blended, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Stir often so mixture doesn't burn. Remove the cinnamon sticks. Pour the chutney into hot sterilized jars to 1/4-inch from the top of each jar. Seal at once and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Makes 16 pints.
Doris adds that she cuts the recipe in half because it makes so much. An English neighbor prefers this chutney to a popular commercial brand.
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For: Flo Milburn of St. Petersburg
From: Eadie Nieman of Gulfport
Recipe: Refrigerator Pickles
In a glass or crockery bowl, alternately layer cucumber and onion slices.
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, vinegar, salt, mustard seeds, celery seeds and ground turmeric. Bring to a boil, stirring, just until sugar is dissolved.
Pour vinegar mixture over cucumber mixture; cool slightly. Cover tightly; refrigerate pickles at least 24 hours before serving. Store up to one month in refrigerator. Makes 7 cups.
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For: Joan Mitch of Zephyrhills
From: Barbara Helton of Seminole
Recipe: Sweet Cucumber Pickles (Lime Pickles)
Sweet Cucumber Pickles (Lime Pickles)
For 24 hours, soak the cucumbers in 2 gallons of water in which the slaked lime has been dissolved. Rinse; soak for 4 hours in clear water, changing every hour during the 4 hours.
Make a syrup of the sugar and vinegar. Pour boiling syrup over cucumbers and let stand overnight. Next morning, add spices and boil for 1 hour. Pour hot into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Adjust caps. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
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Recipe: Bread and Butter Pickles
Bread and Butter Pickles
Combine cucumber and onion slices with salt; let stand for 3 hours. Drain.
In large saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar and seasonings; bring to boil. Add cucumber and onion slices. Heat to simmering. Be careful to avoid boiling as that makes pickles soft. Ladle hot into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Adjust lids. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
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