Thursday, August 30, 2012

Single Servings

If I don't get to canning my tomatoes fast enough and some parts start to go bad I just cut out the bad and make sauce with the leftover good bits. (This is how seeds end up in the compost.)

This pasta sauce was a simple toss together of onion, garlic, basil and tomatoes (skins on) which all came from my garden. 

I added some salt and lemon juice and cooked it down and then canned the sauce in small single serve jam jars. There's no hard and fast recipe, I just add as I go.

The size of jam jars is perfect for a single serving. Great for the nights when you come in late or are eating alone - like tonight - and want a dish of pasta fast. Boy, are these handy.

It's a one pot, one spoon meal. After the pasta is cooked and drained you can throw the sauce in the same hot pot to warm as you plate up. One pot to clean.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Three Tiny Tomatoes

These three yellow tomatoes are from three different bushes. A grape tomato, a cherry tomato and a plum.  Two of the three are volunteers from seeds that found their way into the compost. Hearty little devils. The garden is now teaming with tiny tomatoes.

Ah, a million cherries but nary a Purple Cherokee to be seen. 

The flavor of red (and purple) tomatoes have a superior flavor in my books, but I eat mostly yellows because of the reduced acid.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Nectarine Jam

I've leapt on the small batch preservation wagon, and am loving it. It's quick, easy and the work fits nicely into length of my Sunday morning radio program.

Peel and slice nectarines. Squirt in lemon juice. 

Mix up sugar and pectin. Stir in and boil.

Heat jars and process for 10 minutes.

Voila.  Nectarine preserves.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Icicle Pickles, the Finale

Plenty of pickles for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sweet and piquant at the same time, these crunchy pickles never disappoint. Cassia buds are the secret.

Recipe here. Last year I peeled the pickling cucumbers. This year, skins were left on for a more rustic, traditional taste. Quicker to make too.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Three Cheers for Mark Bittman

Bittman wrote an impassioned opinion about celebrating the farm community in today's New York Times. Read it here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Freezing Rhubarb

Small batch preservation is a worthwhile endeavour when the rhubarb is flourishing and you don't have time to make that pie or compote.

Storing rhubarb is as simple as 1. 2. 3. Wash. Cut. Bag and Freeze.

The bag of frozen rhubarb I'm storing today will seem like veggie gold in November when supplies are scarce and we're craving a rhubarb pie.

Rhubarb freezes well and if you pre-cut it pie prep is a snap.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Scalloped Potatoes - From Garden to Table

This is where you start:

This is how you finish:

This is how you get there:


You'll need olive oil, milk, butter, flour, salt and pepper, croutons, potatoes and shredded cheese of your choice.

Grease a casserole with olive oil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Peel and thinly slice about 4 cups of potatoes. (Listen to music while cooking.)

In a saucepan cook over a low heat:
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 Tsp of combined salt and pepper

Stir in:
1 3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup of Cheddar or Asiago cheese (or Cheese Whiz, whatever you have)
Simmer on low, stirring.
Add a bit of milk if sauce thickens too quickly.
(Dance briefly to good song.)

Arrange slices of potatoes in layers in the casserole. Pour sauce over each layer as you go. Building it up. Use all potatoes.

(Note: I have some purple potatoes in this casserole.)

Crush croutons (or bread crumbs) and top the casserole with the crumbs. I use garlic croutons.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

Let set for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve warm.
(Sing Aria with wild abandon between bites.)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Perfect Peck of Purple Potatoes

What's great about this crop is that it was 100% volunteer. I believe these potatoes hailed from potato berries since I thoroughly cleaned out that bed last season. But you never know, purples are difficult to find in the soil. They blend right in. So there could have been a few left in from last season.

On the tomato front, this tomato is from another volunteer that I have been waiting to ripen. It came from heirloom seeds that ended up in the compost bin. I thought it would be Brandywine, but it's starting to look like a Zebra tomato.

There are five or six of these bushes starting to ripen. Waiting for the verdict has been great fun.

Lots of harvesting today. Tons of Mache and other lettuces for salad.

 Just a gorgeous day to be in the garden.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

We've all been there

That moment when the harvest starts to get away from us.

Time to begin preserving or experience loss. I bought a new pickling crock this season, expressly for icicle and dill pickles. My Harsch crock, despite aggressive scrubbing and cleaning, smells perpetually like sauerkraut. The crock has spoken. I have been defeated. So here's my new beauty from Ohio. Made in the good ole USA. Buy American!

I'm sure it's unnatural to love pickling crocks the way I do. But they do cheer me so.

Inside, icicle pickles begin their 10 day brine. They'll be on the table for Thanksgiving, which should make a certain family member very, very happy.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Heavy With Fruit

It's been a good year for raspberries. Enough for the birds, squirrels and... the people. I lost my grapes to the raccoons, but the raspberries have been plentiful enough for all to enjoy.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

My Latest Cookbook

How could anyone resist a title like this? This great little book is stuffed with yummy comfort food. Easy to make recipes and luscious photos. Five stars. A $27.95 book, I nabbed it on sale for $6.99. Booyah!

Today's tomatoes will work well with the author's tomato, avocado and basil salad page 95.