I prepared this smooth, yummy, creamy polenta from scratch. Here is the recipe:

  • 3/4 lb. (400 gm) coarsely ground yellow cornmeal
  • 6 cups of boiling water to start, will have to keep adding 4 more cups of boiling water as you cook
  • salt to taste (1/2 tsp.)

Preparation: Bring the 6 cups of water to a rolling boil. Add the cornmeal in a slow stream, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Now, you’ll have to keep stirring for 40-45 mins., adding boiling water as necessary. Polenta is done when it peels easily off the sides of the pot. The longer you stir, the better the polenta will  be.  Finished polenta should have the consistency of firm mashed potatoes–not watery, like in many restaurants!

CAUTION:  You can easily burn yourself if the heat is on too high, and the boiling polenta pops up and out of the pot onto your bare hand. On the other hand, if the heat is not high enough, you’ll get lumps.  I just pick out the lumps with a fork as I go.




Mary’s Homemade, No-fat, No Dairy, Vegan DELICIOUS Asparagus Soup Recipe (Makes 4 servings)


  • 2 big bunches of fresh asparagus
  • 2-3 leeks, white portions only
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 4 cups of water
  • Salt to taste (1/2 tsp.)
  1. Chop asparagus into 1-1/2 inch lengths. Separate into woody stems, tender stalks, and tips.
  2. Cook woody stems for 30 mins. Remove & discard the woody stems, saving the broth.
  3. While broth is cooking, peel and dice potatoes. Also, slice whites of leeks into thin slices.
  4. Add diced potatoes, sliced leeks, and tender portions of asparagus stems into asparagus broth.  Cook another 20-30 mins., until all vegetables are very soft.
  5. In the meantime, steam the asparagus tips for 5 mins. Then plunge them into icy water to preserve their brilliant green color and crunchiness. Reserve these separately for garnish.
  6. Once the vegetables have cooked, pour the entire contents of the pot into your blender. …

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So yummy, hardly any is left!

Quince is a hard, knobby, yellow fruit in the apple family. It is inedible  raw.  However, it is SCRUMPTIOUS made into a jelly.  Note: this is a 2-day process.  You prepare the juice for the jelly the first day. You make the jelly (and can it), on the second day.

Ingredients (for just 1 jar of jelly; multiply up for more):

  • 4 quinces
  • water to boil them in (to cover)
  • 1/2 – 1/3 c. sugar (or, to your taste)
  • 1/2 tsp. Pomona bran pectin &  1 tsp. calcium water


  • Saucepan
  • Potato Masher
  • Jelly strainer


  1. Wash, dry, core, and slice quinces into slices 1cm-2cm thick (1/2 inch or so).
  2. Put fruit in a saucepan, cover with water, bring to boil, then turn down the heat, and let it simmer for an hour or so, until the quince is soft, but not mushy.
  3. Mash the fruit with a potato masher.
  4. Drain the fruit with a jelly strainer. This will take AT LEAST overnight. Next day:
  5. Remove the cheesecloth/jelly bag, discard the fruit, save the strained juice. Measure the amount of strained juice you have. I got just 1-1/3 cups from 4 quinces!
  6. Add the sugar to the juice in a saucepan. Boil first, then simmer. Added 1 tsp. Calcium Water, and keep simmering. Gradually add the Pomona pectin (a teensy
    bit at a time, whisking to dissolve after each addition).
  7. Can, as usual (see instructions on how to can under my Graperfruit Marmalade recipe).
Orange marmalade layer cake

Orange marmalade layer cake

This has to be one of the most scrumptious cakes I’ve ever had. It was made with zest and juice from oranges produced by our little orange tree, and home-made orange marmalade for the filling.  The recipe is fairly elaborate, but doable.


To make this marmalade, I more or less followed the recipe given in the Ball Blue Book of Preserving,ISBN 0-9727537-0-2, p.38.  Used 2 cups of sliced up orange peel (from about 2-1/2 oranges, in our case); 1 quart of chopped orange pulp (from about 10 oranges), 1 cup thinly sliced & seeded lemon (used one gigantic lemon, bigger than an orange, from our tree out back); 1-1/2 quarts of water; 1 cup of sugar (this is way less than the recipe calls for–they suggest 1 c. sugar per cup of fruit/water mixture, which would have been more than 8 cups of sugar!)

Directions: Combine all ingredients, except the sugar, in a large saucepot.  Simmer 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 12-18 hours in a cool place.  Next day, cook rapidly until the peels are tender.  Add sugar at this point.  Original recipe called for 1 cup of sugar per cup of fruit mixture.  I only added 1 cup of sugar total. Then, you are to boil over high heat, stirring constantly (otherwise, you’ll burn it!) It’s like cooking polenta or risotto, constant stirring.  This is to be done until the gelling point is reached (220 F at sea level–never happens w/ my marmalade). I cooked for an hour, then gave up (this produced 5 1/2 pints). Same canning instructions as for grapefruit marmalade.

After some experimentation, I’ve figured out an excellent grapefruit marmalade recipe. The ingredients to produce just 3 1/2 pint jars, as pictured, are:grapefruit_marmalade_15feb09_small

  • 10-12 grapefruit (1-1/3 c. thinly sliced peel; 2-2/3 c. fruit w/o membranes)
  • 1 qt. water
  • 1-1/2 c. sugar (or, to your taste)
  • Pomona pectin (1 tsp.) + Ca2PO4 (1 tsp. dissolved in water, per package directions, to activate the pectin)

Directions: NB: This’ll take you 2 days!! So, plan ahead.

First, skin the fruit. Save only enough of the skin to yield 1-1/3 cup finely sliced. If it’s a very thick-skinned grapefruit (as the ones off of our tree are) feel free to separate and discard the white portions under the skin.  This part just adds bitter taste. Next, separate each fruit into sections and peel off the transparent membranes.  A sharp knife helps.  Yes, I know it’s a chore, but, if you don’t do this, the result will be so bitter you will not be able to eat it. Stop once you have 2-2/3 cups of de-membraned fruit and juice.

Now, cover the skins in water and boil for 10 minutes. DISCARD the water afterwards.  If you use this water (as I made the mistake of doing), the result will be so bitter, you’ll have to compost it all.

Next, add the fruit to the boiled, drained skins. Add 1 qt. water and boil again, for 10 minutes. Store the cooked peel, fruit, and water 12-18 hours in a cool place (refrigerator’s OK, too).

The next day, you are ready to finish making the marmalade and canning it. Heat the concoction to boiling, and add the sugar. Stir till it dissolves, keep boiling, stirring, and cooking. It’s up to you how long to keep stirring and cooking–I’d give it anywhere from 35 mins. – 1 hr., till it reduces to 3 cups volume. Add the pectin (dissolved in some water, otherwise, it’ll clump up) and the dissolved Calcium Phosphate. Stir, boil a short while (5 mins. or less), and remove from the heat.  The pectin and calcium phosphate are added to thicken the marmalade to the desired consistency (which you’ll only find out after it cools). If you do not add the pectin/Ca2PO4, the texture will be completely runny and water-y, since I add way less sugar than most recipes call for. In order to gel w/o pectin, you’d need to add equal volume of sugar to fruit/water mixture, which to my taste, would make the results inedible. If you do decide to do that, then you’d have to boil the fruit/sugar mixture to the “gelling point”, which is 220 F near sea level. My mixture never makes it past 200 F, no matter how long I boil it.

Canning:  While you’re boiling your marmalade, fill your canner with water, get the water to boil. Set out all of your canning paraphernalia: jars, lids, screwtops. I put the jars in the canner, until the water is at a rolling boil. The lids and screwtops I keep in a separate hot water bath (not above 160F). If the lids are stored in too hot water, it’ll ruin the sealant glue in the lids. Cover your work surface with a kitchen towel. Have your jar gripper ready, to remove the jars from the boiling water. I also use oven gloves. Have a magnetic wand ready to lift the hot lids/screwtops out of their hot water bath without scorching your hands.  Have a funnel ready, to pour the marmalade into your hot jars. Have a sponge ready, to wipe the jar rims clean, should you overfill the jars. Have a little spatula ready, to run around the jar edges to coax air bubbles out of the filled jars.  Fill your hot jars with marmalade to w/in 1/4″ of the tops. Wipe jars clean, if needed. Run spatula around jars to dislodge air bubbles. Place lid on clean, filled jar(s). Screw the screwtops on just finger tight (not too tight, since air bubbles have to be able to come out). Once lids and screwtops are on the filled jars, place jars in the boiling water canner galvanized jar holder with your prongs. Lower the holder, with the filled jars, down into the boiling water.  Cover the canner with its lid.  Boil the jars for 10 minutes.  Turn off the heat. Lift up the jar holder. Gingerly, remove the jars from the hot water with your prongs/oven mitts and place on surface covered with a kitchen towel. Now, do not touch your jars for 24 hours. Let them cool, and the seals set.  Next day, you can test if the seals are good by tapping on the lids.  If there is no give when you tap the middle of the lids, you’ve got a good seal.  Feel free to remove the screwtop lids at this point.  These are re-usable, and will last longer if you remove them from the jars–otherwise, they may get rusty. Your marmalade is now ready to be consumed from now, to about a year hence, if you do not open the jars. Once you open a jar, place it in the refrigerator and use within a few weeks.  YUM!!!!