Paladini Potpie

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Habañero Peach Sauce

Farmer FrankWe were on a mission to find the juiciest, tastiest peaches the farmers had to offer. And it was quite a job. As we walked through the farmers’ market there must have been a dozen people standing in front of their stalls offering samples. Almost all of the peaches were great, but we decided on Frank. Not only because his peaches were big and perfectly ripe and delicious – but because he had the widest smile and friendliest attitude! I told him about my project and he ran from variety to variety, telling me the finer points of each.  “Oh look at the deep red color! Did you ever see anything so pretty?”  He pointed with the tip of his pocket knife as he cut open yet another peach for me to try.

habañero peppersAs I mentioned to Frank, we’re having a banner year with our habañeros, so I needed peaches with a particularly strong peachy flavor to balance the zip of the peppers. The goal of the day was to create a delicious habañero-peach sauce for grilling chicken and fish.  And we did it!

It’s so easy to make, and just wait till you taste it!

diced fruit

Habañero Peach Sauce

5 pint sized canning jars with new lids and rings.

3-5 big juicy peaches (enough to make 5 cups of finely chopped fruit)

4-5 habañero peppers, finely diced

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup lemon juice

One yellow onion

6 cups sugar

1 pouch of Certo liquid pectin

The first thing to do is fill the jars with hot water so they will not crack later when you pour in the boiling hot sauce.

The next thing to do it cut the top off the Certo package and stand it upright in a coffee cup so it will be handy, and ready to pour when the time comes.

place in saucepanNow put the diced fruit, peppers and onion into the saucepan.

(You don’t need fancy kitchen equipment – I have an indestructible old pressure cooker that I use for a saucepan since it no longer holds pressure. It must be 50 years old, but it’s perfect for things like this. I think I got it at a yard sale for a dollar about 10 years ago.)

Add the salt, lemon juice and sugar to the peach mixture.

mix well

Mix well and begin to cook it.

rolling boil

Stir the mixture until it comes to a full rolling boil that can’t be stirred down.

Now add the Certo, as you continue to stir. The boil will diminish a little.

Let it return to a full rolling boil.

Boil for one minute, then turn off the heat.

Ladle into hot jars and close with canning lids and rings.

That’s it!

Habañero Peach Sauce

Allow the jars to cool on the counter and listen for the “ping” that tells you each one is sealing.

That very evening we had mouth-watering habañero peach chicken. We just brushed the sauce on the chicken before we put it on the grill and a couple of times while it was grilling.

Habañero chicken with grilled zucchini and mushrooms

I filled a little sample sized jar of sauce and took it down to Farmer Frank, and he was thrilled.




Marriage Feast

Joe Jr.“Hey, Luce, was he leanin’?” Joey Fusco was the son of the superintendent at Lucy Moderatz’s apartment building. He was always watching to see how close Lucy was getting to guys. Or how close they were getting to her.

While You Were Sleeping“Was he leanin’?” It became a family joke after we watched “While You Were Sleeping” as our daughter, Monica, moved into her dating years.

To lean means “To bend or slant away from the vertical.” – to relax and not be so rigid, proper, and perfectly aligned.

Leanin'John and I have a place in our kitchen where we do a lot of leanin’. We stand and talk and lean. We lean against the sink, and we lean toward each other. More than once, I remember Monica walking in and looking at us and saying (in her best Joey Fusco voice), “Hey! You guys leanin’?”

 Sometimes you have to bend or…

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Chick Flick

I want to tell Paladini Potpie fans about this great blog my husband, John has started writing. I hope you’ll check out “Marriage Feast” – and subscribe to it. John has great wisdom and great humor, and you don’t even have to be married to enjoy it.

Marriage Feast

Downton Abbey“Marriage is hard work.” I know you’ve heard this phrase before and you may have even uttered it yourself. But just how hard is the work, really? If we’re honest with ourselves, we can spend more energy avoiding the “work” than actually doing it. So, guys, I offer two words that will be an investment in your marriage: Chick Flick. Here’s how you can tell if you’re watching a chick flick. There will be no explosions, no breaking glass, no guns and no blood.

My wife, Andee, likes those British movies about women named Jane: Jane Eyre, Jane Austen, Lost in Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Wives and Daughters, and now, Downton Abbey. But I have a question: Do any of the men in those movies ever work? So I call them movies about men who don’t work. I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I don’t quite understand the…

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Ginny’s Piccalilli

green tomatoesThe last time I visited my in-laws, John’s mom reminded me about Piccalilli. Dad and I had been out walking around in his garden, both of us bragging how many green tomatoes we already had, and who would produce the first red one. He’s still bitter about the fact that my wisteria is laden with abundant flowers, and his much older vines have yet to bring forth a single bloom.  But I digress…

Little GinnyAs we were talking about green tomatoes Ginny suddenly said, “Do you remember that relish you made for me? It was so delicious! It was like what my mother made back in Massachusetts…”  My mother-in-law’s face was ecstatic!

I had to laugh. It’s been more than 25 years since I made that piccalilli, and to think that the memory of it is right up there with my mother-in-law’s cherished childhood memories.

I must be getting old!

inspiration cookbook

It had been so long since I made piccalilli that I don’t even know what recipe I used, but I remembered most of the basic ingredients. Since it’s an old fashioned sort of food, I decide to look in my 1942 Woman’s Home Companion Cookbook.  I have at least 50 cookbooks crowding two shelves, but I hardly ever follow a recipe to the T.  This was no exception.  But it’s pretty close.

*The process is very easy but it takes at least 8 hours or overnight to prepare.

About 7 medium-sized green tomatoes

2 red bell pepper

1 green bell pepper

2 yellow onions

1/2 cup salt

1 quart cider vinegar

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon celery seed

2 tablespoons mustard seed

1 teaspoon tumeric

1 teaspoon horseradish

½ teaspoon whole cloves

Canning jars (5 or 6 pint sized jars or 2 quart sized jars)

Canning lids and rings

chop vegetables

Cut the tomatoes in half and then slice them into nice chunky bite-sized slices.

Slice peppers and onion to about the same size

stir in salt

Place in a large bowl and mix in the salt.

Cover, and let stand overnight.

vegetable water accumulates

In the morning (or after about 8 hours) drain off the salt water that will have formed.

Do not rinse.


While vegetables are draining, wash your jars and fill them with hot water. (In the past I have had canning jars break when I put something hot into a cold jar – quite a mess!)


Place the canning lids into a pot of water and bring it to a boil, then turn it off. The hot water softens the rubber so you get a better seal on the jars.


Mix the cider vinegar, sugar and spices in a large pot, and bring the mixture to a boil.

add to brine

Add the drained vegetables, and bring it back just to a boil. Turn off heat.

seal jars

Fill the clean hot jars, put on the lids and tighten the rings.

waiting for the ping

Allow the jars to stand upside down on the counter for an hour or so, then turn them upright.

I love hearing the “ping” as each jar seals!

And I can hardly wait to see mom’s face next week when I bring her a few jars of “Ginny’s Piccalilli”

Ginny's Piccalilli