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.
We are currently living through the wettest summer in a good number of years. The upside is that we have not needed to water our crops in almost two months and we are seeing a bumper crop of all types of green beans, pinto beans and kale. The downside is our tomatoes are splitting, cabbage is starting to rot, and the pumpkins and butternut squash are slow to produce, and slugs are starting to become a real problem. In an effort to reduces some of the water related issues we have let the ducks loose in the fields to help with bugs, have been canning and running the dehydrators at least twice a week, covered every flat surface in the house with tomatoes that need to finish ripening, and cooking all types of kale and Swiss chard dishes. For dinner today I made a Pistachio, Farro and Kale Salad with hot water cornbread. The dish was very easy to make, used several items from our gardens and was very tasty. If you would like to try the salad recipe it can be found at https://dailyburn.com/life/recipes/farro-kale-salad-recipe/
How are your gardens doing?
We have finally arrived at the Time in the growing season hat we can eat mainly out of our gardens. This morning I picked eggplant, sweet peppers, green beans, tomatoes and onions. A number of the fresh veggies noted earlier, and a block of tofu made by a local farm were used to create a Sriracha-spiced Stir-Fried tofu with eggplant and red bell peppers for dinner. There is nothing quite like the taste of garden ripened produce to make a very memorable meal.
If you would like to try this dish the base recipe can be found on Kalyn’s blog.
I made some minor adjustments to her recipe to fit what I had available in my gardens. I replaced the Thai basil with fresh Italian basil, the green onion with a freshly picked shallot, peanut oil with canola oil, and stevia with maple syrup. I also sliced the fried garlic and added it back to the dish at the same time as the sauce was added,
This morning I needed to stay in the kitchen while the pressure cooker processed our first batch of green beans for the season, so I baked a gluten-free double chocolate banana bread. The bread is easy to make and allowed me to use some of the almond pulp in my freezer from making almond milk and a couple of overripe bananas. An added bonus to this recipe is that it is only about 155 calories per slice and contains very little fat.
Point your browser to http://thetoastedpinenut.com/double-chocolate-banana-bread/ If you are interested in trying the recipe.
This time of year our chickens start producing a lot of eggs and there is a lot of milk avalable, so I make a lot of old fashioned recipes for family and friends. One recipe that I make often is egg custard. It only takes about five minutes to prepare, uses simple ingredients, and if made in single serving container can be pulled out and dressed up for guests.
My family likes the custard plain with a healthy sprinkle of nutmeg on top. For guests it can be pulled out of the refrigator, topped with fresh seasonal fruit and some fresh whipped cream. Some of my favorite fruit toppings are blueberries, raspberries and strawberries in simple syrup.
The custard recipe that I use is:
- 4 cups milk (room tempature)
- 6 large eggs (room tempature)
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- fresh ground nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Place all of the ingridents in a blinder and mix until will incorporated.
- Pour mixture into 8-one cup baking dishes or a 9×13 inch pan. Place in a large pan with enough water to reach about 1 inch from the top of the custard dish(s).
- Sprinkle a bit more nutmeg on the top of each dish.
- Bake for about 45 minutes or until the custard has just set. Be careful not to over cook.
- Cool custard then cover and refrigerate. Will keep for 5-7 days in refrigerator.
Twice a month I take a Friday morning to make bread for my household. This Friday i took advantage of some early spring herbs and made a tabbouleh bread. The bread has a great sent, flavor and makes great sandwiches that are piled high with fresh feta or Farmer’s cheese and vegetables.
2 cup water
1/2 cup bulgar
3 T olive oil
1 T yeast
1 cup warm water (additional)
2 tsp salt
1 bunch flat leaf parsley chopped
6 green onions sliced thinly
Zest 1 lemon
5-6 cloves garlic chopped
6 cups flour (may use white or a white/whole wheat mix)
Cook the bulgar in 2 cups of water and the olive oil. Turn pan off when it comes to a boil and cool until lukewarm.
Dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water.
Mix parsley, green onions, lemon zest, chopped garlic, salt, egg, flour, bulgar mixture, and yeast mixture well.
Allow dough to rest for fifteen minutes. Add more flour if needed to make a soft dough.The dough should be soft and slightly tacky, but not sticky.
Knead dough for 5 to 10 minutes by hand or by machine, until a smooth ball. Place dough in a greased bowl and allow to rise for one hour or until double. Punch dough down. Rest for 10 minutes. Shape into two loaves and place into greased pans. Let rise for 45 minutes or until double. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
Bread is great served with a olive oil and lemon dipping sauce or used on a sandwich of herbed feta cheese, sliced tomatoes and sliced cucumbers.
I just love having a large batch of fresh, colorful vegetables to work with. Fortunately, peaches are in and the vegetable gardens are producing well, so this morning I made and canned a batch of peach salsa.
Fruit salsa is so popular in my house that this is the second batch that I have made in the last week (all will be gone by next spring). I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as we do.
- 9 cups fresh peaches, mangoes, or a combination of both, peeled and chopped
- 2 Tbsp lemon or lime juice (fresh or bottled)
- 4 cups fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- 2 large sweet peppers, diced
- 2 cups onions, diced
- 2 Tbsp dried jalapeno flakes (or fresh hot peppers if you wish. Add more or less to your desired heat level)
- 1/4 cup cilantro or parsley, chopped
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 T honey
- 2 T clear gel to thicken
- Mix peaches with lime or lemon juice.
- Combine all ingredients in large pot.
- Bring to boil over medium heat and cook for five or six minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Ladle into prepared canning jars.
- Screw on lids and process in boiling water canner for 10 minutes.
It appears that the spring is going to be just as unpredictable as the 2015 winter. Last week it was in the 70s and we started yard work, took the plastic off the chicken’s winter run (they are a bit puffed up today since the wind break is down), and moved the veggie seedling trays to the sun porch. Today it was in the 30s with rain that changed to sleet and then to snow and back again.
With all of the lovely weather we were blessed with over the past few weeks I had planned to change to our spring menus and clean the wood stove for the season. The weather today and the what is now promised for the balance of the week actually had me to start the wood stove, and brush off a couple of winter favorites for dinners this week. Today I made a pot of vegan red beans and rice with a side of pumpkin cornbread. The red beans have a very rich flavor with just a hint of spiciness created with fresh vegetables, veggie stock, creole seasoning, and a nice bunch of kale.
If you like red beans and rice but would like to forego the animal fat in the traditional recipe than you may want to try the following.
- 1 cup of dried rice
- 1 cup dried red beans, picked over
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped fine
- 1 medium carrot, chopped fine
- 1 large celery stalk, chopped fine
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped fine
- 5 cups vegetable stock
- 1 Tbsp creole seasoning
- 1 bunch of fresh kale, roughly chopped, or 1/2 cup of dehydrated kale
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Soak the beans overnight in a large bowl of water.
- Rinse and drain the beans.
- Add the beans, onion, carrot, celery, jalapeno, creole seasoning, and vegetable stock to a medium-sized crock pot, and cook for 6 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
- Taste the broth and adjust seasoning as needed.
- Cook rice according to package directions.
- Add the kale to bean mixture and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
- Serve the beans over 1/2 cup or so of rice with a side of cornbread.
The dogs got us up really early this morning so I decided to make some carrot cake scones to go with our morning tea. One of the things that I like about this recipe is that they use no processed sugar and are very low in fat while still being moist and packed with flavor.
The scones were a very nice Sunday morning treat. I hope that you will give the recipe a try.
for the scones
- 1 ½ cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter or coconut oil, very cold and cubed
- ½ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 3 tbsp maple syrup or honey
- 2 tbsp + 2 tsp nonfat milk, divided
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup freshly grated carrots
for the drizzle
- 1 tbsp Greek yogurt cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1 ½ tsp nonfat milk
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 425°F, and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or the back of a fork until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
- Stir in the Greek yogurt, maple syrup, 2 tablespoons of milk, and vanilla. Fold in the grated carrots.
- Shape the dough into a ¾” tall circle on the prepared baking sheet, and brush with the remaining milk. Slice the circle into 8 triangular segments with a sharp knife.
- Bake at 425°F for 17-20 minutes, or until the tops are lightly golden. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the drizzle, stir together the Greek yogurt cream cheese, milk, and maple syrup in a small bowl. Transfer the mixture to a zip-topped bag, and cut off a tiny piece of one corner. Just before serving, drizzle on top of the scones.