I try to reply by email to questions asked in comments but when there’s a bunch of the same questions, I figure there’s a few out there who wondered but didn’t ask so I’ll answer some of them here.
1. When I posted this picture:
I was asked what’s in the ziplock bags by the canned tomatoes. That’s chicken broth. I sometimes use it instead of water too. When I smoke chickens, I’ll throw the leftovers – bones, skin, meat . . whatever is left on the chicken . . put it in the crock pot with plenty of water, celery, parsley, onion, bay leaves, black pepper . . whatever looks interesting. I don’t add salt though. That cooks all night or all day in the crock pot, then I let it cool, strain it and pour into deep pots and stick it in the fridge. The fat all comes to the top and gets hard and I can scrape it off and dispose of it and save the broth. The broth has just a little bit of a smokey flavor and is fantastic for adding to recipes. I do the same thing with beef broth. Since I’m in the process of cleaning out the freezer, I stuck some beef soup bones (not smoked) on to simmer this morning. I didn’t use the crock pot because I need this broth this afternoon! If I’m thinking ahead, I will add beef soup bones to the smoker and then simmer them in the crock pot and get a bit of smokey flavor in my broth.
2. The tapioca in the bottom of the apple pie:
I sprinkle just a bit of minute tapioco in the bottom of fruit pie shells. Seems as though the amount of liquid in fruit varies so much and the flour or cornstarch mixed into the pie filling sometimes isn’t enough to keep from having a runny pie. The tapioca keeps from having that river of liquid you sometimes get with fruit pies. Just a little bit will do. I probably sprinkle 1/2 tsp. to 2 tsp., depending on the fruit. I use more in strawberry/rhubarb pie than I use in apple or berry pies.
3. Since it’s Quiltathon weekend, I have a pot of pinto beans/sausage cooked for tomorrow; a pork roast for tonight in the oven, along with a beef roast for Sunday. My kitchen smells so good! Blackberries are thawing for a cobbler . . most of my weekend cooking is done!