Another row finished, time to adjust the frame. Two more rows of letter blocks to finish the piece. Really loving how this is turning out.
Started preparing a batch of cranberry relish for fermenting this morning for Christmas. Cutting my start a bit close this year, normally like the ferment to sit for 4 months before using.
This is a very easy recipe to make. Take a bunch of fresh cranberries and rough chop them, add the berries to a jar along with some grated ginger and a cinnamon stick, and then cover the mixture with unfiltered local honey. Next, cover the jar and store out of direct sunlight for at least three months. Check the jar every week or so to assure the berries stay covered with the honey juice mixture — you may have to add a bit more honey now and again.
Our winter squash are coming in and it is soup time in our house again. For dinner tonight a made arch and creamy winter squash soup with a side of corn muffins.
If you have some winter squash you may want to try this recipe.
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups chopped winter squash (I used kabocha squash for tonight’s recipe)
- 1 pinch each sea salt and black pepper
- 1 1/2 Tbsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 14-ounce can coconut milk
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2-3 Tbsp maple syrup (can use brown sugar or coconut sugar)
- 1-2 tsp chili garlic paste (optional)
- Heat a large pot over medium heat.
- Once hot, add oil, onion, and garlic. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add squash and season with a pinch each salt and pepper, curry powder, and ground cinnamon. Stir to coat. Then cover and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add coconut milk, vegetable broth, maple syrup or sugar, and chili garlic paste (optional – for heat).
- Bring to a low boil over medium heat and then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until squash is fork tender.
- Use an immersion blender, or transfer soup to a blender, and purée on high until creamy and smooth. If using a blender, return soup back to pot.
- Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more curry powder, salt, or sweetener as needed. Continue cooking for a few more minutes over medium heat.
- Serve as is or with garnishes of your choice.
The winter squash harvest is starting to come in. Unfortunately, the squirrels have reeked havoc on crops this year. Many summer and winter squash were eaten prior to maturity or scared by their little nails. Some of the Hubbard squash grew to maturity but were to scared for long term storage and needed to be processed immediately. I used one of these squash to make our first pie for the season since Hubbard, butternut, buttercup squash and pumpkin are interchangeable in pies and quick breads.
The recipe that I used is as follows. I hope that your family enjoys it as much as mine does.
- 1 medium Hubbard squash
- 1/2 stick butter, softened
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup evaporated milk
- 1 unbaked pie crust
- Maple Whipped Cream, optional, recipe follows
Maple Whipped Topping:
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
- Slice into quarters, seed and bake squash for 1 hour in the oven on a baking sheet. When done, let cool.
- Scrape the pulp out of the skin, transfer to a large bowl, and mash. Set 4 cups of the mash aside.
- In a medium bowl, beat together butter, sugar, and brown sugar until creamy. Add eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and salt.
- Add evaporated milk and stir mixture into squash. Beat together with mixer until smooth and pour into an unbaked pie shell.
- Bake on bottom rack of oven for 1 hour or until center of pie is firm. Serve warm. Add dollop of whipped cream if desired.
Maple Whipped Topping:
In a medium bowl, beat together whipping cream and confectioners’ sugar. Add maple syrup. Beat together until soft peaks form.
Dinner tonight is fresh from the garden. Tomato herb tart topped with fresh goat cheese, and a bowl of mixed greens.
The tart is made with a herb crust that was blind baked for 20 minutes so it stayed crispy. After letting the crust rest for 10 minutes I topped it with chopped mixed herbs, sliced tomatoes, fresh goat milk feta, basil salt, pepper, and finished the layers with a drizzle of olive oil. Then baked the tart at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. The resulting tart had a flaky crisp crust and juicy topping.
With the very warm wet summer this year we have a bumper crop of green beans, tomatoes and eggplant. This morning I used 12 pounds of our tomatoes and 4 pounds of eggplant to make some lovely jars of aubergine pasta sauce.
The recipe I use is as follows. Please keep in mind that the canning method is the one that I use in my house. Please follow the canning method and times that are appropriate for your household.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion , chopped
- 6 garlic cloves , chopped
- 1 large bell pepper , chopped
- 2 lbs eggplants, cubed
- 8 cups tomatoes , peeled & cubed
- 1/4 cup tomato powder or 1-6 ounce can of tomato paste
- 4 tablespoons fresh basil
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons dry oregano
- 1/3 cup date sugar (can substitute brown sugar)
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup dry red wine
- In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.
- Add onion and garlic; cook until the onion is soft.
- Add tomatoes, eggplant, bell pepper, tomato paste, basil, oregano, hot pepper flakes, sugar, salt, pepper, and wine; stir.
- Bring to boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Blend mixture with an emersion blender.
- Put into hot jars and add prepared lids and rings. Screw rings on until finger tight.
- Process in hot water bath for 40 minutes.
No matter how much canning I do, the reduction in volume when fresh produce is processed always amazes me.
Our gardens are starting to produce fairly well so I have been doing a lot of canning and dehydrating of vegetables, which has also produces a lot veggie scraps. By the end of this weekend I had enough to fill a large crockpot and make a batch of vegitable broth this afternoon.
I find that making my own vegitable broth saves us a fair amount of money and taste better than any brand I have found in the market. To make your own broth fill a slow cooker with vegitable scraps. For this batch I used onion, mushroom stems, celery, tomatoes, beets, kale stems, broccoli, cabbage, carrot tops, and green bean tips (keep in mind that you can always store scraps in the freezer until you have enough to make a batch of broth). Cover the scraps with water until it is about an inch above the scraps, add salt, pepper and herbs to the pot and cook on low for about 10-12 hours.
Run the cooked scrap mixture through press to render as much liquid as possible and then pour through a fine mesh seive to remove the larger vegitable particles that made it through the press.
Place the pressed scraps in to your compost container.
Pour the the warm broth into prepared canning jars and pressure cook for 75 minutes at the pressure recommended for pressure in your area.