Saturday, October 2, 2010

Dried herbs, classic jars and lids, pickled beets,hot pickles, homemade wine, harvesting basil and tomatoes, southern hot chow chow, spiders are gone

All in a days work ... Ok all in a summers work. 
Sorry for not posting yesterday, Here is what I was doing:
Pulling cleaning and drying what I believe are the last of the herbs.
From left to right:Thyme,rosemary,parsley,tarragon and sage.

All herbs stored in my very cool 1920's jars, some with the original glass lids

Hot pickles and pickled beets. Not to be opened until January 2011 
That's it for today boys and girls..... gotta go harvest some green tomatoes for southern  hot chow-chow.Then I gotta harvest all of Jimmy's beautiful basil and get it hanging to dry. The spiders have all disappeared from the yard so I'm thinking cold weather is on its way. Gotta get it all done so I can park myself, guilt free, in front of the fire with a glass of home made hot spiced wine!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dinner from scratch , mad kitchen skills, we dont need no recipe, fresh ingredients, pasta sauce from scratch, fresh bruschetta, home made bread, gozzo malbec, romantic table, clean house, too tired to eat

I made THE best dinner last night. ALL from scratch and 95% from the garden  (flour,sugar yeast and salt were previously purchased in bulk).  Home made pasta sauce, bruschetta, and garlic and sun dried tomato focaccia bread (shaped into little individual loaves). Topped it off with  a bottle of Gozzo Malbec.  The tragedy of the whole thing? Jimmy was to tired to enjoy it  after putting in a 14 hour day (16 if you count sitting in traffic).  So , lesson learned..... When he is gone long enough for me to harvest all the vegetables and herbs and spend three hours in the kitchen prepping and cooking  and set a romantic table in a spotless house (with fresh flowers)........all I'm going to get for my efforts is a tired, weak smile of appreciation while he tries valiantly not to fall over  face first in his plate.

Here's how I made the pasta sauce (not really a recipe because I didn't follow one).

I lightly browned about a pound of hot Italian  ground sausage.
Chopped up an onion and a green pepper and some garlic
Quartered about 3 pounds of tomatoes
Chopped up  an entire  basil plant (half went in sauce half went in bruschetta)
Pulled off about 3 or 4 tbsps of  fresh thyme
1 maybe 2 tbsp of fresh tarragon ( wasn't really counting)

I put all of this in a huge cast iron skillet and let it simmer on low (covered) for well over an hour keeping a fairly close eye a the culinary magic that happened

Recipe? We don't need no stinkin recipe.  We got mad kitchen skills and fresh ingredients.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

100 year old green tomatoe pickle recipe, Green Tomatoes, kitchen courage, sacrificing virgins, (southern chow-chow), Ida Bailey Allen, Jimmy has his reasons

Many of our tomatoes are turning this week thanks to the strangely warm and summery weather we are experiencing here in Seattle. But its not going to be enough. Now.... I told Jimmy we should put  a half cold frame back over them ( or go on a national search for a virgin to sacrifice) but he has valid reasons for not doing so. That means, it falls to me to get creative.  In desperation I am once again turning to Ida. Pickled green tomatoes. I'm hoping this serves two purposes;
 1.) Our cucumber crop was less than stellar this year resulting in only 7 pints of pickles. We go through about 2 dozen (including gifting).
 2.) Substituting green tomatoes for classic cucumber pickles will keep ALL those wonderful tomatoes, we had such high hopes for, out of the compost bin.

I will be practicing some kitchen courage with 10 of  the  40 pounds or so of unripened tomatoes.  The rest I will pull this weekend , put in a cardboard box (not touching) and allow to ripen  before making sauce.
I have faith in this because I have used green tomatoes for other purposes ( southern  chow-chow and frying)

Pickled green tomatoes
5  pounds green tomatoes (quartered and the seeds cleaned out)
2 pounds onions
2 pounds green peppers  (quartered and the seeds cleaned out)
5 cups  vinegar
2 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp mixed pickling spices
1 tsp each celery and mustard seed (I'm gonna use 2 tbsp mustard seed cuz I like all pickles really mustard-y)
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp horseradish (I'm not gonna use this cuz horseradish and me do not mix well)

Put all vegetables in a container of brine water (1/2 cup salt to 1 quart of water) Let stand over night. Drain and pack in sterilized  jars
Put vinegar,sugar and seasonings in a pot and bring to a boil, simmer 20 minutes. Pour over  vegetables in jars making sure to cover all vegetables  with liquid.  Put on sterilized lids  and water bath for 10 minutes. Store in cool dark place.  Allow 6 weeks for curing.   

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

100 year old squash recipe, What to do with squash, Ida Bailey Allen, Surprise!, Kitchen super heroes, pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, pie crust super heroe power, kitchen courage a must

Uhmmmm... squash.... what to do with it?  Make Pie of course.

Jimmy and I cut back on our summer squash plantings this year and we are STILL getting the beat down by squash. So, in desperation I turned to Ida Bailey Allen who provided this surprisingly yummy solution: PIE!

Yessiree brave kitchen  super heroes Ida says PIE.
Gotta tell ya it tastes better than it sounds. I just never thought of putting squash and pie in the same sentence. But it works and its good.  If you like pumpkin pie or sweet potato pie, you will like this.

I'm  going to give you the recipe for the squash pie filling but not the pie crust.  Why no pie crust recipe?  Because I make lousy pie crust.  Seems I'm missing the pie crust super hero power. I don't mind feeding it to Jimmy cuz he'll eat anything I put in front of him. But I just cant do that to people I have not taken a solemn oath to love, cherish and torture til death do us part.  So , I suggest you get the pie crust recipe from someone who knows what they are about.  I wish I could just pull something from a cook book that sounds good, but my conscience wont let me.

Ida says:

Squash Pie

2 1/2 cupfuls cooked and mashed squash (no seeds no rind) ( I clean the seeds out of mine , wrap them in foil and bake them in the oven for about 45 minutes or so)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 tsp ginger
2 cups milk

Combine all ingredients, beat until smooth and fluffy, Pour into  pie crust (made with NOT my pie crust recipe)
Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes , turn down the heat to 350 degrees  and cook for 35- 40 minutes

Monday, September 27, 2010

100 year old jam recipe, Spiced blackberry apricot jam, spiced plum jam, commercial pectin, brave hearts and kitchen courage, time machine cooking, raw cane sugar, turbinado

Its Jam and Jelly making time. Fruit is everywhere!

This is an ANY FRUIT YOU HAVE  recipe
Its over  one hundred years old.
I also use it for plum jam because my neighbors have a tree and they give me bushels of them.  Most of them are turned into wine but I like to save out  a couple of pounds for jam.

I know some of you jam and jelly makers out there are hooked  on commercial pectin. For You folks... use the ingredients here and follow the instructions on the pectin packet.

For braver souls who are willing to get into the way back time machine and do it like granny did it, here is my favorite jam recipe and directions.

Spiced Blackberry -Apricot Jam

2 cups strained blackberry juice (you can use whole berries but I hate the seeds)
2 cups pitted  quartered apricots
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon butter ( optional to stop foaming)
5 cups sugar  (if you want a truly amazing jam, use turbinado or raw cane suger)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Put all ingredients together in large pot, stir gently and let stand for 1 hour.
2. Bring all ingredients to  a rolling boil, stirring constantly
3. Simmer until the mixture is thick when dropped on a plate

When done,  pour into sterilizeded jars, cap with sterilizeded lids and water bath for 10 minutes.

If you need a little extra courage for this process, keep remembering that people were making jams and jellies for hundreds of years before commercial pectin   showed up in the 1920's and became the 'only' way to make jams and jellies.  Most fruits want to be jam, especially strawberries and apples. All you really need  is the ingredients, some patience and some kitchen courage.