Archive for the ‘recipe’ Category

Pumpkin Pancakes Monday, September 20th, 2010

Whisk in a bowl:

1 1/2 C whole wheat flour

2 Tblsp. ground flaxseed

1 3/4 tsp. backing powder

3 Tblsp. sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

Melt together in small saucepan over medium low (I don’t have a microwave):

2 Tblsp. butter

3/4 C cooked pumpkin

Whisk together:

1 C. milk (I use 1%)

2 eggs

Pour pumpkin butter mixture into milk and eggs mixture

Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix quickly with a whisk until just mixed. Pour as desired onto med-heated flat, oiled, griddle. Flip when bubbles surface and golden on bottom. I enjoyed these plain and the kids had them with a little honey

Chile Relleno Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Poblano and jalapeno peppers

This Labor Day was spent laboring over making chile relleno. My mom’s hot Big Jim peppers were ripe for the picking and the Hub and I had found 4 lovely poblanos on one of our little pepper plants. So, what better to end a long weekend with than a 3.5 hour experimental cooking session. My mother had made them several times with mixed results and I was inspired this year by a post from a favorite blogger who happened to get into more and more cooking posts recently – much to my liking.

It was fun charring the peppers – too much rain meant we couldn’t use the grill so luckily my mom had a gas stove. The poblanos really danced but the Big Jim’s seemed to rest well during the toasting.

The blister-skinned peppers were then placed in a paper bag. Thus making their own steam which helps with the skinning of the pepper. While skinning I held the still hot peppers under cold water which also seemed to help the skins release.

My mother either sliced the tops off or made a slit in each pepper to dig the seeds out as best as possible. With 14 peppers to do I finished the job not as thoroughly which made for a few surprising hot mouthfuls when we’d finally sat down to eat. I told burning-eared sis that she’d won the Prize Pepper. After seeding we commenced to stuffing with triangles of Jack cheese and some cooked burger I’d seasoned with a little salt and cumin.

The very-basic batter is what attracted me. The peppers are simply dusted with white flour . . .

and then dipped in stiff-beaten egg whites folded back in with their whipped yolks. I used a pinch of salt during the white beating to get them to thicken a bit more substantially.

After dipping the lightly floured peppers they were placed in 1/4 inch of oil in a medium skillet. The oil is ready when you can put the end of a wooden spoon in it and small bubbles rise up. This test is less splattery than the water flick test I used to use.

The batter was puffy and light and adhered well to the floured peppers. They turned a lovely golden color. Each one took about 5-7 minutes to make sure the cheese had melted inside, turning every couple minutes. We served them up with homemade refried beans that my mother had started earlier and a tomato sauce I started earlier, from our garden tomatoes we cooked down, strained and blended. It was seasoned with chili powder, cumin, dried onion, fresh garlic, paprika, salt and a pinch of sugar.

It was well worth the mess and process. Definitely not something I’d want to whip up every weekend but a great once-a-year treat when the garden is bursting with that bounty of peppers.

Cha-cha sal-sa Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Last week my sis, mom and I made quick work of 18 pints of salsa. Last year we hadn’t done any. It can be quite the chore, but with three (and a couple beers) it was quite a fun evening.

  1. Sterilized jars
  2. First we scalded the tomatoes in simmering water for easy peeling
  3. Peeled tomatoes
  4. Chopped onions, garlic, sweet and hot peppers (make sure to use gloves – I also made it a point to take my contacts out before starting this venture, nothing says, “youch!” like hot pepper in the eye)
  5. Threw it all in a couple stockpots to simmer with some vinegar, a little brown sugar and salt – upwards of 3 hours (we didn’t do it nearly as long as the recipe said)
  6. Just before ladling into jars we added some lime, fresh garlic and chopped cilantro
  7. Ladled to within 1/2″ of top of jar
  8. Topped with sterilized lids and rings, tightened
  9. Immersed jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes

I’ve been eating piles of it. We used a few long hot peppers and a couple jalapenos to two grocery-sized bags of tomatoes. We got an awesome medium heat and it is very smooth.

What a great way to spend an evening.

A is for Apricot Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

I’d posted earlier that our mystery tree was an apricot afterall. This is the first year it has both bloomed and borne fruit. The Hub and The Son had stepped out one morning before us girls had awoken and found that many had swan-songed their way to the ground. The boys gathered them up and were eager to present their find.

I could almost watch their orangening sugars release – I knew we had to do something quick to maximize the quick harvest. I took the ripest ones, split them, threw out the seeds and dumped them in my, not yet christened, chinois (french colander). This is a great tool for all fruits that you want to to maintain the highest amount of pulp from but not the sometimes fibrous skins and seeds. You can also use a food processor or a good blender – these won’t take the skins off as nicely.

It just feels good turning the basic pestel round and round as it smashes the fruit through the colander leaving behind the fuzzy, bitter skins. I tried to peel a couple of the little fruits myself – what a mess. What comes out is a lovely, smooth puree.

This puree can them be made into jams, jellies, syrups, etc. What path did I take? Baby food. One of my focuses with our garden this year was to plant baby-food friendly items like squash and edible pumpkins (some varieties are only for looks and aren’t at all palatable) so I was elated that we were also privy to this unexpected bounty. The best/easiest way I know to store baby food is by using an ice cube tray – way quicker and less fussier than canning.

I ladled the yolk-hued goo into each tray pocket, tapped it on the counter a couple times to release air bubbles and then stuck it in the freezer for a couple hours. Once frozen I put the whole lot into a heavy-duty freezer bag and labeled with the month and year.

Now, in about 3 months, when my youngest daughter is ready to try some solid foods, I can offer her this sweet-tart treat, already individually portioned and needing only a brief heat-up. These should keep 6 months in a deep freeze (we have a smaller, chest-style one – awesome for this type of thing), 3 months in a fridge freezer. Can’t wait to use this same system with my pumpkins and squash!

First spuds Friday, July 9th, 2010

Norland Red and Yukon gold fingerling potatoes

In April we’d planted Norland Red and Yukon Gold potatoes. A couple days ago I asked The Hub to see if there were some potatoes ready for eating. I was grilling some spice rubbed chicken on our charcoal grill and we’d used up everything in the fridge as far as veggies go. He came back with two plant’s worth of new potatoes. Since I alternated the gold and red potatoes we got a variety. I cut them up with a small white onion our daughter picked, drizzled them with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted them on  a sheet in the oven – about 425F for 20 minutes.

A little extra – I used oregano and thyme, chopped, from the garden with a mix of dry coriander, salt, br. sugar, pepper, nutmeg and garlic powder for the dry rub on the chicken. To top the potatoes we mixed some light sour cream with a generous portion of fresh dill leaves and chives.

It was goooood eats!

Round 3 seed planting – tomatoes Monday, March 29th, 2010

Now, approximately 7 weeks out from the last average frost date, I got my tomato seeds planted.

  • Sioux – touted: In 1947, Oscar H. Will & Co. stated, “It out-yielded all other varieties in South Dakota trials.” This one sounded perfect for our area, duh! It’s sounds like it is going to be a humble but universal tomato lending itself to anything from burgers to canning.
  • Royal Chico – We always like having a bunch of Roma-type tomatoes for quick spaghetti sauces, canning and fresh pico de gallo. This one is touted as being disease resistant and is also becoming rare so I’m glad to contribute to maintaining its use in the home garden.
  • Henderson’s Pink Ponderosa – sounds like it will be a great one for BLTs or a caprese salad (basil, tomato, fresh mozzarella with a little olive oil, salt and pepper). It came as a freebie with my order.

I planted 4 seeds of each in 3 TP roll pots. Then cut up some plastic clam-shell type packaging to make water-resistant labels using a permanent marker. I also labeled each packet with the date I planted them. Hopefully they will germinate a little quicker than the 2-weeks-or-more stubborn peppers.

Tomato seeds planted 3/28/2010

After getting these planted I assessed my peppers and replanted the ones that had little to no germination. Odessa market (a sweet pepper) had only sprouted one seedling after planting 3 pots of 3 seeds each. Then the Chinese 5 color peppers hadn’t had a single seed germinate so I replanted a couple pots of those as well. We’ll see. I have sprouts from the mini-red sweet peppers (notably did the best from a germination standpoint) and a couple each from Craig’s jalapeno and the lemon-yellow habanero. After the re-planting I added a 2nd-planting date on my seed packet.

Brr sets in Saturday, September 26th, 2009

I’m ready for autumn – for SURE. The mosquitoes have kept me at bay from my garden for nearly the last month. It doesn’t seem like the weekly sprayings are making a dent. But, they probably are – the skeets are just THAT bad. Ick. I’m hoping there is enough sun/warmth left to turn my last few pumpkins from milky yellow and green to bright Halloween-welcoming orange. The Hub took a friend’s bounty of hot peppers and made both a green and red variety of hot sauce. The bulk of ingredients was a combo of habanero/red chili/green chili, garlic, all our leftover vinegar (balsamic/red wine/and some white). He blended the concoction to his liking then strained it through cheese cloth. It was great on some mild chili we made for the fam. We adults added a few splashes and it had perfect heat. YUM!

Preserving the bounty Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Today The Hub will start the preservation ritual. Mostly tomatoes but we do a bit with other stuff too.

Tomatoes: Cook down or stew tomatoes til desired consistency

  • Chunky sauce: Cut chunks, cook off some water – any extra tomatoes are good for this
  • Smooth sauce: Do as above, strain through colander to get rid of seeds or peels – any extra tomatoes are good for this
  • Paste: Follow step for smooth sauce, then put back over low heat, stirring frequently until thick – this can take several hours. Use Roma or plum tomatoes to speed up process (they have less water than others.
  • For sweeter, low acid tomatoes like yellow, pink, orange, etc. Or, just to be safe, add 1 T. per pint or 2 T. per quart of lemon juice. Vinegar may be used but it could change taste. This brings the acid level up to safe levels so botulism does not set in.
  • After your tomatoes are cooked down to desired consistency, take clean mason jars, rings and seals. Put all in a large clean colander and pour boiling water over all. Canning tongs and silicon tongues makes handling these much easier. Pour water out of jars and set on a towel on your counter close to your pot of tomatoes.
  • Using a  funnel and ladle, spoon the mixture to within an inch or so to the top of the jar. Take a clean dish towel and wipe the rim of the jar. Place on a sterile lid and then ring. Screw on only til you feel tension – do NOT tighten.
  • In a stockpot of boiling water with an elevator (a small cooling rack can work for this, just to keep the bottom of the jars off the base of the stockpot – they will burst otherwise). Place in jars – the water should just cover the top of them and the jars should not touch – do not crowd them. If you need more water you should have a backup of boiling water in a teapot just in case. Or if there is too much, ladle it off. Let the jars sit in the stockpot for 15 min. Then, using a canning tongs (it fits around the rim of the jar to pull them out) carefully place them back on the towel – do not bump them again.
  • Within the hour you should hear popping noises of the jars sealing themselves. If any don’t seal, place them in the fridge after cool and use them within a week.
  • Reasons a jar doesn’t seal: the ring was too tight, the rim of the jar was dirty, they didn’t sit in the stockpot long enough, there was too much or too little sauce put in them.
  • Extra: Tomatoes do not need any extra accompaniments to be canned – there acid content is high enough to inhibit any bacterial growth. Once sealed the jars can sit for more than a year. During the initial stewing process, you may add any spices or other veggies you like (do this after the straining process if you want the tomato parts smooth though). Hot peppers, onions, salt, lime and garlic for salsa or basil, salt, pepper, garlic and onions for pasta sauce. Whatever you like. Except for making salsa, I like to keep my tomatoes plain so I can add whatever I like when I want to use them. Many times it’s just a dollop of homemade pesto to make a wonderful pasta accompaniment.
Tomato Tomato Friday, September 11th, 2009
Juicy heirloom tomato

Juicy heirloom tomato

Tomatoes have been one of the most consistent crops for us, minus slugs. Any problems we have are usually caused by us: waiting to long to stake, watering incorrectly, not clearing out debris. There are pretty simple fixes, but trying to stake an overgrown tomato is like trying to wrangle a brittle octopus into 8-legged footie pajamas. Tomatoes have typical ailments: blossom end rot (inconsistent watering), blight (not rotating crops after several years or not cleaning up leftover garden debris), bloom drop (too high temps), lack of blooms (soil nutrients unbalanced). We always plant more than we need but there are too many awesome varieties to have only planted a couple plants.

Cherries and grape tomatoes are sweet and fun for little kids – their overabundance leads to lots of harvest. They are great simply off-plant, shish-kebabbed, split in salads or roasted with olive oil and salt and pepper.

Roma or paste are solid, palm-sized, and less watery. They are great cooking tomatoes for canning sauces or salsas, they also make a quick mild base to fresh pico de gallo.

Slicers are the round, typical tomato that comes to mind. They are generally mild-flavored. The are also good for sauce though the higher moisture content means a longer cook time. They are the quintessential burger topper and many overly-bland varieties make it to the grocer shelves. We usually have one or two plants to make canned sauces.

Beefsteak, heirloom, etc. are generally the ultimate sandwich tomatoes. In a caprese salad they can be dressed with olive oil, salt and pepper and layered between fresh mozzarella and basil, just this side of heaven. Heavy, meaty, sweet and tangy. These are the stars of flavor in the tomato world. Because of their heft and water content they are less apt to show up in stores and are a delicacy to find at farmers’ markets. They come in myriad of colors and shapes. Some lumpy and pushing a couple pounds, others are pearly-rose, black, yellow or even green when ripe. These need heavy staking.

Quick-sauteed tomatoes, garlic, onion, olive oil, basil, salt and pepper over shell pasta with parmesan

Quick-sauteed tomatoes, garlic, onion, olive oil, basil, salt and pepper over shell pasta with parmesan

Garden Recipe: Squash lasagna Thursday, August 27th, 2009

1/2 bush acorn squash cooked (mine was leftover)
2 big meaty tomatoes (brandyboy and black krim), cut into 1 inch chunks
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 handful basil leaves, chopped
1 container ricotta
1 bag shredded mozzarella
1/2 Cup parmesan
olive oil
salt and pepper
12 lasagna noodles, uncooked
3/4 Cup water
Take a 13×9 pan, spray with non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 350F. Take just a few tomato chunks and smash them on the bottom – doesn’t need to be coated. Mix ricotta and cooked squash, season with a little salt and pepper. Lay down 4 noodles in a single layer (1 will have to be broken to finish the edge). Spoon 1/3 of the ricotta/squash mix. Spread out. Top with 1/3 of the tomatoes, basil and garlic, cheeses, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Repeat using 1/3 of each for a total of 3 layers. Pour water over all. Cover with foil, cook 45 min. Remove foil and cook an additional 15 min.

It was awesome using only my own ingredients besides the noodles and cheeses, that I grew myself. I didn’t want to use regular jarred spaghetti sauce as I thought it would go against the rich squash flavor – tomatoes, basil and garlic were a simple complement to the subtle squash flavor. My kids loved it, I loved it.

Also, I never, ever precook lasagna noodles – I do not dirty pans if I can help it. I have been balked at for doing this but it’s how my mom always did it. The noodles come out nice and al dente. The added water is all it needs, especially with the juice from the tomatoes. If you use drier ingred. you can up the water to 1 Cup.