Dry cured pork loin – tasting

When doing my research on foods, especially fermented or cured,  I have learned  to look first for the “tasting” post or video then decide whether to look at the preparation posting or video. If there is no tasting video – just assume it did not turn out.   Probably the best that I have seen are Gavin Weber’s cheese making videos. When tasting he tells it like it is – not all turn out and some are interesting surprises.

This experiment started back on Dec 15, 2018 and my first post on it was: Making Lonzino – Dried cured pork loin    (Yes, I waited to see if it was a slimy mess or not before the first posting).

Over the intervening weeks ,I took a few photos and weighed the pieces to track the progress.

Jan 5
Jan 12 – note how the mold has bloomed, covering the entire piece
Jan 12 – Weigh in for the spicy piece
More meat into the chamber. In this case it is some dry cured ham similar to Speck. Smells so good.

Starting at 1100 grams each the target for 30% weight loss was then 770 g. Today the spicy one was down to 789g  and I figured it was ready to test. Besides I had to make room for a Bresaola that was going in. T

he last couple of weeks have not been optimum for drying as I had to move the chamber to the garage as I was doing some wood project finishing in the basement and did not want the fumes to impair the flavor. So I have been shuttling it between garage and basement depending on the temperatures (it reached -30F here) and extraneous odors (garden tractor which I use for plowing stinks on start up). This means the ambient temp has been anywhere form 28-58F depending on where the box was – not ideal.   Plus I have been adding more meat and it may be tasing the little fan a bit with the added moisture.

Now is the time for the unveiling…

Spicy dry cured pork loin 2/18/19
First cut into the spicy pork loin and first taste
More slices. YUM

This is definitely a success. The flavor is just what I was looking for with the pork, fennel and pepper.  It is a nice subtle blend. The outer layer of collagen and mold is discarded before eating (although it is edible).   The texture is nice, but I want to dry it a bit more to get it a bit firmer. At this point is just a bit softer than prosciutto. I will probably trim the fat evenly next time. The meat is a bit softer near the fat layer.  The outer layer of meat is a bit darker than the center which could be a bit of case hardening (outside drying too fast) but the texture really does not vary much.

Weights   in grams

Date Plain pepper Spicy  Box RH
12/30/18 1101 1104  75-85%
01/05/19 1052 1056  75-78%
01/12/19 972 965 75-78%
01/19/19 906 914  75-78%
01/26/19 856 868  75-78%
02/03/19 828 840  75-88%
02/10/19 800 814  75-88%
02/18/19  749 789  80-85%
03/10/19  691 75-78%

Stay tuned . More projects underway. Dry cured ham – similar to Speck, and Bresaola which just went into the box today after 2 weeks in the fridge.

I also brought some in to work and ran samples past a few of my friends.   Overall the rating was excellent. Probably 60% would like it a bit drier / firmer but all want more.  So,  the other piece is going to dry to 35-40% weight loss and I will run another test.  Overall, I am very encouraged by the consensus on the results!

Update 3/17/19   The second (plain pepper) piece was dried to 38% weight loss and the group appraisal was that it has better texture.  However the fennel / spicy flavoring has the taste edge.

You really should not just take my first time experience as gospel. I did a lot of research prior to attempting this and I hope you do as well . Some of my favorite references are:

  • Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn
  • Olympia Provisions: Cured Meats and Tales from an American Charcuterie by Elias Cairo, Meredith Erickson
  • Salumi by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn

Plus a variety of youtube videos. Ignore any that post only a “making ” video but no “tasting” video.

My favorite youtube video is “making capicola”   she reminds me of my grandmother and covers the wrapping in collagen sheets before hanging.

Pasties

Background

Pasties are what in some countries would be called “hand pies”.  They were the standard lunch of Welsh / Cornish miners. They were brought into our family due to the Iron Mountain, Michigan iron mines. My grandfather was one of the miners for a time. This version is the one taught by by grandmother (yes 4 ’10” Italian Grandmothers make Great Cornish pasties).

This version is extremely simple, no fancy ingredients and a very thin, light and flaky crust.  The crust is far more tender than the miners would have carried (it would have crumbled in their pockets) or what is sold as “pasties” in the grocery store.   We have kept the recipe to what she taught me with one exception, we have substituted sweet potatoes for half of the (white) potatoes.  No parsnips, carrots, gravy, rutabagas or other things that folks put in pasties for us (but feel free to experiment).

The recipe is as Grandma Ann made it. 6 pasties – single batch. We always make a double batch (12) . I have been known to say:” If you are going to make a mess, make a BIG mess”.   It really takes very little longer over all to do the double batch.

Pasty (Pie) Crust

  • 3 c all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 c shortening
  • 1/2 c ice cold water  (emphasis on ice cold)

Mix the filling  with a pastry cutter. Work it as little as possible and keep it cold. After mixing place in the refrigerator to chill.

After chilling, divide into 6 balls and then roll out between sheets of plastic wrap. One sheet of plastic wrap, makes one sheet of crust

Each crust should be roughly football shaped and about 10×12 inches . Yes, this seems wasteful to use the plastic wrap per sheet of crust,  but it is the key to being able to get it so thin and wrap the filling with it .   Cover the pie crust  with a damp towel and refrigerate while you make the filling.

If you use grocery store ready made pie crust, it will be edible but more like you get in the store. It is really worth making your own!

Filling

  • 6 medium potatoes peeled and chopped into 3/8-1/2″ pieces
  • 6 medium onions chopped to the same size as the potatoes
  • 1.5 lbs 90% lean ground beef  (grandma would often substitute ground venison as it was cheaper and leaner than grocery store ground beef). From my experience 80/20 ground beef is far too fatty and the crust gets soggy.
  • A good grind of black pepper.
  • Our newer variant substitutes sweet potatoes for 1/2 of the white potatoes  – family favorite!

Mix the filling well in a large bowl squishing it between your fingers as you go.  The goal is an even mix of the meat onions and potatoes with out large lumps.

Making the Pasties

Divide the filling evenly  (each portion would be a good big double hand full).  Place the filling centered and packed on a piece of the crust.  Bring the crust up and over the filling using the plastic wrap (long sides first) and then pat it down.   Now move the completed pastie to a greased sheet pan (yes it needs sides unless you like the smoke alarm going off and huge mess).

My grandpas were coated with black pepper before cooking (and marked with a toothpick) . I have also done some with ripe jalapenos, cayenne pepper flakes and other variants. Use your imagination (on part of the batch).

Bake

Bake at 375 / 350 convect for 1 hour . Done is 190-195F internal temp.  (lower and the potatoes will NOT be done).

If you will be freezing some for later they can be pulled at 150-160 F.

Cool for 10 min and serve.

Serving

We love ours with cole slaw or a fresh garden salad and vinaigrette as well as some beer or wine.  In our family, the pasty is cracked open and smothered with ketchup (and for some, home made hot sauce). For many folks, that would be sacrilegious, but to each their own.

Freezing

These are so good as “freezer food”. Cool and use a spatual to break free from the pan. Place the pans with the pasties in the freezer and freeze solid (over night).  Remove and vacuum bag individually. These keep really well. Reheat for 45-55 min at 325F for an easy fun meal .

Note that skipping the freezing before vacuum bagging is NOT recommended. You ruin the crust as I have demonstrated in the past.

 

 

Making Lonzino – Dried cured pork loin

Background

I love dried and cured meats. Unfortunately, Prosciutto is not good for the budget and very hard to make. So I have been researching again, and came across something that appears to be simpler – Lonzino.  This is cured and dried pork loin.  The recipe is based on one in the book: Dry Curing Pork by Hector Kent.   Plus the wrapping technique came from Youtube.

Ingredients

2 KG (about 5 lbs)  pork loin trimmed of all loose pieces and cut in half

The pieces I had came out at 1025 and 1030 grams. This meant I needed for each piece:

  • 30 g salt  (3% of meat weight)
  • 2.6g cure #2   (0.25% of meat weight)
  • These are done by weight percentage, based on actual weight of the meat pieces.   This is much easier doing the weights in metric units – grams than imperial units.

Additionally, there were seasonings needed:

Plain

  • Salt and cure # 2 by weight as above
  • 10 g coarse ground black pepper

Savory

  • Salt and cure # 2 by weight as above
  • 4 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika powder
  • 2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes – no seeds – we grow Super Cayenne peppers
  • 3 tsp freshly crushed fennel seeds

Mixing and refrigeration / curing

For each loin take the salt and cure # 2 and add either the palin or savory spice mix. Rub the pork loin thoroughly with the mixture and place in a zip lock bag in the fridge for 2 weeks turning every few days.    Over this time each piece lost 25 g or so of weight.

Wrapping for drying

After the 2 weeks , the pork is ready for drying.

 

 

Each piece is tightly wrapped in 1/2 of a collagen sheet (from the Sausage Maker on Amazon)  and placed in butcher’s netting. It is then dipped in a penicillium mold solution so that healthy white mold will take over the exterior and out-compete nasty intruders.   The wrapped pieces are hung on a 1/2″ dowel inside a rubbermaid bin that is then placed in the basement shop which at floor level, is about 55 degrees in the Wisconsin Winter.    The initial weights were taken and they were 1001 and 1004 grams.

Drying chamber and fan

The proper environment for drying is around 55 degrees F and 75% humidity. Reading the recipes everyone is talking about keeping the humidity high but my drying chamber is a large rubbermaid bin  and the humidity is too high.  I had sanitized the bin with Star San and left it wet before adding the meat.

So I took a 40mm diameter 12v fan, HEPA filter for a respirator, 12v wall wart power supply and the Inkbird humidity controller as the starting point.

The 3d printed pieces hold the dc power connector for the fan and the filter. I gave up trying to make the “ears” to hold the filter on the snoot and settled for hot melt glue.

You can find the files for the parts on Thingiverse: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3329979

So far the humidity level is holding nicely.

When will it be done?

The meat needs to lose 30-40% of its original weight. Maybe a few weeks.

Koji Steak and Crunchy Cheesy Potatoes

 

After the previous success with the Koji rice marinated steak we wanted to try another to see if it is repeatable. The answer in short is that- It Is! The rib steak was coated with seasonings and the slightly crushed Koji Rice  and placed in a bag in the fridge for 3 days this time.  It was removed and the rice scraped off and placed in a vacuum bag for the Sous Vide cooking. Given that this was a nearly 2″ thick piece we went for 4 hours at 130F.  After this it was tossed on the blazing hot charcoal for 90 sec per side and brought in to rest.

Meanwhile there were leftovers to improve. One of our family holiday staples is cheesy potato casserole. Teal makes the potatoes chunky rather than sliced and this is good. I enjoy the crunchy edges but there never seems to be enough.   Given that Teal made an extra large batch for Christmas I had plenty of left-overs but few edges. So what to do?  Here I take a hint from Grandma’s Polenta left-overs.

The potatoes and sauce set up rather firm in the fridge. It was actually sliceable (like cold polenta).    Slice into 1/2 to 3/4″ slabs.  Next they need to be coated:

  • 1 c corn chex – crushed (in your hands)
  • 2/3 c shredded cheese

Mix the 2 together well.

Place the slabs of potato casserole on the Chex & Cheese mix and press into the coating on both sides.

Place in preheated skillet with butter that has already browned and then brown the potato mix on wn both sides. Serve with the steak (or have as a meal all on its own).

 

 

Basement sink area remodel

When we built the house I had a utility sink put in the basement shop. It has served well over the years but the lack of a counter-top and ugly old file cabinets for tool storage coupled with being a cold area in the winter due to the walls being half exposed, it was time for a remodel.   This area is under our dinette. The space is also used for paint / finish storage, metal lathe and some lumber storage.

The new area had to have a large sink – big enough for brew kettles, fermenters and kegs.  Dual faucets – one high reach for cleaning and a second with garden hose connection for an immersion cooler for brewing.  Solid surface counter top and storage that looks nice were also required.

First step was to pull the sink, remove the old file cabinets and storage shelves. Next the two walls were covered with plastic vapor barrier, framed in, electrical roughed in, plumbing roughed in with the valves installed (needed to have the water back on), insulation installed and the dry wall done.  Pretty basic stuff.

Now the fun began. The starting point was the sink, a 36″ Ruvati farm house stainless was ordered. A high arch Kohler faucet was found on sale and the Kohly utility sink faucet was ordered. FOr utility faucets, you need to check that they are NSF approved for drinking water – many are not.    A trip to the Baraboo Habitat for Humanity Restore provided the quartz counter top pieces.  Birch plywood was procured for the cabinetry and I had some maple lumber already on hand for the face frame and the edges of the planned shaker style doors and drawer faces.

Cabinet walls are 3/4 ” birch plywood. These were screwed and shimmed to the end walls and the intermediate pieces were placed to allow for a 5-6″ counter lip to the left of the sink and approximately equal sized ranks of drawers to the right of the sink.

Using pocket screws the assembly goes quickly. I just have the Kreg mini jig and their clamp (which is very nice). A few of the pocket holes had to be done with the jig held by hand. Using double stick carpet tape on the back of the jig helps tremendously.

First test with the sink.   The braces need to be moved so that the sink ends up 1/4″ or so under the counter top to allow the top to be installed and pieces epoxied together. The braces are held up by blocks screwed to the cabinet sides. This allows for easy adjustment and is very secure without the need for fancy joinery. The braces rest on the blocks and have a couple of pocket screws to prevent twisting under load

The day I had to cut and polish the top and edges was miserable: 35 dropping to 31 degrees, drizzle turned to rain and then snow as I was outside wet sawing and wet grinding and polishing the edges. I came afterwards in a soaked and frozen popsicle.  Paul came and helped lift the larger piece into place.  The faucet and soap dispenser holes were cut in the back piece prior to installation.  The 3 pieces were glued with thick 30 minute epoxy.  Below you can see the counter top installed, glued in place. Next the top joints were ground and polished flush.

Next the sink was inserted (I could have left a bit more room). Clear silicone was applied to the top lip of the sink and then it was wedged upwards into position. The backsplash is made of marble mosaic tiles (another close out special). Marble has the advantage of having finished edges unlike many mosaic tiles.

The drawers are simple plywood boxes with drawer lock joints. This is a fast, strong and easy way to make the drawers and all you need is a table saw.  Below is a close up of one of the joints.  

The drawers are mounted to full extension K&V slides. I added spacer blocks on the inside of the cabinet so the slides would clear the face frame. This was far less expensive than the special face frame brackets for the slides would have been, plus I did not have a plywood back on the cabinets which is needed for the rear brackets if they are used.  Drawers are  8, 10 and 11″ tall allowing room for power tool storage.

Shaker style doors are easy to make on the table saw. All of the pieces get a 3/8″ deep dado and the rails get 3/8″ tenons on the ends. The plywood panels are also glued in place in a few spots adding to the rigidity. 

Finish is 3 coats of satin water based polyurethane that was brushed on.   Tools are in the drawers and the space is ready for the next batch of beer.

 

Steak+Koji+SousVide=YUM

I have been doing more research and some of the concepts seem to be a bit more than my wife is likely to handle. However I bought a copy of the “Noma Guide to Fermentation” and it brings forth many great ideas; as should a cookbook from a restaurant that has been ranked one of the best in the world a few times. One top of that as I have been digging around in the University of YouTube searching for ideas, I came across a video on Koji Sous Vide Steak.  While the video is a bit obnoxious, I liked the idea and ordered some Koji Rice on Amazon. It is made by: http://www.isesou.co.jp/kouji/index.shtml

I broke off  1/4 of one of the packages and ran it through the blender to break it up.   I should have worn a face mask, as the dust / spores rose up as I took the lid off, even after letting it settle a couple of minutes. The koji rice has a pleasant sweet flavor as is.

The roughly broken rice grains were then applied to the steak. I had a 3 lb rib-eye with bone (a good 3″ thick).  Once the rice was applied on all sides, it was zip lock bagged and placed in the fridge  for 48 hours (no need for vacuum bag at this point).  It was turned every 8-12 hours, but this does not seem necessary.

 

After 48 hours it was ready for seasoning and sous vide cooking. The rice was scraped off with a chef’s knife. I was wary of undue flavors (for Teal) . Besides at the end of the sous vide cooking, it goes on the charcoal for browning and the rice would get in the way of that. So the rice was scraped off and discarded (maybe another use would be good next time).  However there is is a pleasant roasted/toasted rice aroma added to the beef aroma – very nice. Now it was time for the Sous Vide cooking at 130F for 4.5 hours with Teal’s favorite spice blend — Penzey’s Barbecue of the America’s.

At the end of the sous vide cook, it was removed from the bag, drained and dried with paper towels. At this point, it still looks bland.  The grill was already pre-heated with a pile of lump hardwood charcoal and blazing hot.  The steak was then placed directly on the charcoal (no need for a grate) and moved every 20-30 seconds.  After 90 seconds, it was flipped and again moved every 20-30 seconds. With a hot fire, like this, the fat renders off fast and I did not need to do the edges. However, if your fire is not “burning the hair off of your knuckles hot” then you may need to also stand the roast on edge to get the edges nicely done as well.

Overall, it is a great success. The meat is superbly tender and the added flavor is both mild and welcome.  Not bad for $6.99 / lb rib roast Christmas special . There is a faint aroma of toasted rice added to the meat. This is actually really a nice added fragrance and made it harder to wait for the whole 10 minute hold time after pulling from the grill, before slice and serve. So how are you going to make moldy rice and beef?  This is a great excuse to expand your family’s horizons with new foods.

Makin’ Bacon batches 3 and 4

The method is repeatable.

We have made 2 more 18-20 lb batches as of 9/23/18. Each is as good as the last and leaves more room for experimenting with the spices.

It is definitely better to do the low temp smoke on a calm day. I am still having a bit of temp control trouble if windy as  the Heatermeter does not yet have a damper. The problem is if the temperature spikes a bit, more fat renders off. With more fat on the fire, the temperature spikes and so on.  Better if it can be held low and slow or you are a better tender of the smoker than I.   Batch 3 was spiking on smoker temperature and was pulled at 3 hours. Batch 4 was kept low and slow for 4.5 hours.

The slabs of skinless pork belly we have been buying at Costco are in the 9-10 pound range. To best fit for smoking , they are sliced into thirds. We use a Large Big Green Egg with the 3 tier rack as you can see below.   This was taken at the start of the smoking process.

4.5 hours later with the smoker temp at 190F, the internal tem is between 150F and 154F and has been there for the last hour.  This is now food safe and pasteurized.

 Net step is to refrigerate overnight, slice, bag and freeze.  Ready for frying and raiding by the kids.

New bathroom countertops

The first to go was the powder-room on the first floor. The old countertop came off easily. I had already installed shut-off valves for the faucet and had new a new P-trap and extensions ready as the drain holes would not line up.

I was able to carry this top by myself. Teal helped to guide it into position and hold it up while silicone seal was applied to the counter to glue it in place. We then carefully lowered it down and slid it the last little bit still at an angle. The backsplash is mosaic tile on top of Hardi backer board so that it is not too far recessed behind the marble pencil trim.

To drill the faucet hole I placed the template and clamped it down. This makes starting the ore drill / hole saw easy and prevents it from skittering around and damaging the top.   I tried adding water but immediately sprayed out all over.   Just place the vacuum nozzle nearby to catch the majority of the dust.

Similar process for the master bath. However when I pulled out the old tile top, the backsplash was about 1/4″ too low to fit over the new top.   So I had to pull off the old tiles and broke two. Fortunately 24 years ago when I originally installed the tile I had saved the spares in a dark corner under the basement stairs.   The old tiles needed a bit of clean up on the stationary belt sander. So now the”new” backsplash was installed and matches that around the shower.

Sinks are Kohler, the top  faucet was a Kohler Toobie, and the master bath has a Hansgrohe.    The savings on the tops paid for the tools and upgraded fixtures.

Funny point. Teal was sealing the granite and we wondered about using the sealer on the quartz.  She looked it up and came away laughing. It is not needed as the only thing that stains it is permanent marker, which is why I had to polish off my measurement marks.

Cutting and polishing countertops

We have wanted to replace a couple of the bathroom countertops for some time. I saw some nice pieces for very reasonable prices at a Habitat ReStore. So I did some research on Youtube and was convinced I could do it myself. I needed a couple more tools:

  • Diamond wet saw: DEWALT DWC860W 4-3/8-Inch Wet/Dry Masonry Saw
  • Wet grinder / polisher: Stadea SWP103K Variable Speed Wet Polisher Grinder Electric Wet Sander – Granite Countertop Polishing Kit
  • A few 4.5″ Turbo Diamond blades were needed for the saw and my angle grinder.
  • A 1 3/8″ diameter diamond core drill was needed for the faucet holes.

Now I purchased a couple of pieces of granite and one of quartz . IT was on 2 trips to the Restore as once I started and saw how easy it actually is, we accelerated the timing of the master bath upgrade. These are all 3cm thick.

Aside from unloading from the truck and final placement, I was able to move the slaps by myself, walking them into place and laying them on the 2x4s that were the work surface.

When doing the cutting and polishing a good dusk mask, glasses and hearing protection are required.   There can be a LOT of dust and little chips are constantly flying off.

A metal straight edge is used to guide the saw.  Given that I am working on the floor without enough height for clamps, I used double stick carpet tape on the bottom of the guide and spring clamps

For each cut, start by back cutting a bit at the end. This is to prevent uneven chip out. You just need to go back a few inches.  Then start with the main cut.   Here you can also see one mistake. I used a Sharpie on the quartz for my marks. This did not come off even with Xylol and the marks had to be polished out (800-3000 grit)!

 

Even angle cuts are easily made.

 

The corner radius is done with the polisher. A 50 grit pad works quickly. You just need to always keep moving. Then work yup through the grits and don’t skip any . To polish the entire end took <20 minutes to sequence through all of the grits up to 3000. I had a Workmate to hold the end of the piece so it stayed vertical.

The sink cut outs were a bit daunting as there are no straight lines for the 2 we chose.  Position the template, tape down one edge then lift it to put some contrasting vinyl or duct tape under the cut lines. Check for overlap and then cut through the template and the tape with a razor knife.

Remove the template and peel the inner pieces of the tape off and this is ready to cut.

Start with diagonal slices for the corners   You can also cut across the center.  However that is not really necessary

Next do the sides. At this point the piece will not drop out as there are still arcs on the bottom that are not cut through.

Make a few more angled cuts . Break out the narrow wedges with a large screwdriver and then it just drops out.

Make a few more nibbling cuts with the wet saw and switch to the angle grinder.

Ready to test fit.

It does fit – first try. I did put green masking tape on the back  to avoid scratching the blue paint.

Same in granite.

The diamond blade for the saw took a bit of beating but is still cutting reasonably well. The polishing pads have hardly any wear.  I had bought a spare set but I am really impressed with these Stadea D series grinding / polishing pads. I also really like the grinder. Nice soft start /stop and rugged construction.

 

Eggplant Caponata

I have searched for years to find a good Eggplant Caponata recipe.  This was started when I was looking for something similar to my Grandma Ann’s  Antipasto recipe but without the tuna and not quite as difficult to make.  What I have found in italian markets and specialty grocers never comes close. Hers was a food of love.

A few weeks ago an old friend posted a link to an Eggplant Caponata recipe on Facebook from: https://createtv.com/recipe/caponata+stewed+summer+vegetables.

I made it, and our family quickly devoured it (and I had a few bites for leftovers).

It is still time consuming, but  while not the same as my Grandmas. it evokes some of the same “food memories” and our family loves it.  So take the following recipe with a grain of salt (and maybe a glass of wine)  and adjust to the summer or fall garden bounty at hand. The grouping of ingredients and cooking technique are more important than the exact proportions. Having real garden (or farmers market) fresh plum tomatoes is one of the keys to success (as is the fresh basil).  This year I discovered growing San Marzano tomatoes. Great flavor and very low moisture compared to other varieties that I have grown.

Ingredients per batch

4-5 small or 2 large eggplants  ~2 lbs

1/2 cup red wine vinegar – boiled to reduce by half

2 Tbsp sugar

2 medium or 1 large onion

1 medium to large yellow or red bell pepper

4 ribs celery

1lb fresh plum tomatoes  – San Marzano are ideal. Frozen, thawed and drained also work, but you may have to add back some liquid that was drained at the end if things are too stiff.

1 cup green olives – castelvetrano or cerignola – sliced

1/3 cup small capers drained or salted that were washed and soaked in warm water. For either, soak in warm water changes a few times for 15-30 min total to remove some more salt.

10 large basil leaves – finely chopped

Prep and cook

Chop all of the veggies into 1/2-3/4″ pieces. There is no need to peel the eggplant or tomatoes.

Toss the eggplant with 1-1.5 tsp fine grained salt (Morton Canning and Pickling Salt)  and drain for 60 min.

Use your largest skillet, dutch oven or shallow stock pot. The frying will make a mess otherwise and you want lots of surface area for evaporation.

Pan fry the eggplant in 2/3 c vegetable oil for 15 min on high heat 0r deep fry at 365F for 10 min.  Drain and set aside

Saute the onion, celery and pepper in olive oil until translucent on medium heat. You still want a little bit of snap and definitely no browning. About 8-10 min

Add the capers, olives and tomatoes, vinegar and sugar.  Saute until the liquid is basically gone. About 10 min or close to 20 if using regular tomatoes (non-plum). Add basil at the end so as to not cook off the flavor.

Add several grinds coarse black pepper (~1/3 tsp)

Cool and serve or continue to canning while hot

Canning

For vegetables such as these,the pH must be below 4.5 and preferably around 4.0 for food safety when boiling water bath canning . Consult your University Extension if you have ANY doubts on technique. https://learningstore.uwex.edu/Assets/pdfs/B1159.pdf.

Test with pH paper. I have a roll of Hydrion 0-6 pH which I use for canning to give sufficient resolution.  If pH is too high, add more red wine vinegar or lemon juice and boil a bit more if too runny. Ours came out in the 4-4.3 pH range consistently over 3 batches.

Pack in sterilized jars and process in boiling water bath for 20 minutes

Each batch should make about 4-5 pints minus what you sample.