Sunday, August 29, 2010

Apples and Cinnamon in Brandy

So we are on week 4 of The Nourished Kitchen's Preserve the Bounty Challenge. This week was preserving in alcohol and I had a very hard time deciding what I was going to do. I finally settled on Apples (since I had just gotten a bunch from my CSA) with some cinnamon chips in brandy. I think I will have to try this with a few more fruits before the season is over!!

I am aware that this is a rather short blog but I really have nothing else to say about this, except it looks incredible and I can't wait to try it!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Presevering in Vinegar

This week, as part of the challenge from Nourished Kitchen, I tried my hand at preserving in vinegar. (Also known as pickling.) This was great as I have a lot of cucumbers right now. I know that it is neither particularly interesting or different, but as I said I have a lot of cucumbers so it just seemed the thing to do. I added celery seed, mustard seed, peppercorns, a bay leaf, and some crushed leaves of Thia Basil. I'm not exactly sure why I chose these spices (and herbs), they just sounded good to me at the time. Pickling is seriously probably one of the easiest ways to preserve things and it's awful tasty too!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Preserving in Oil

So I am participating in The Nourished Kitchen's Preserve the Bounty Challenge. This week the challenge was oil preservation. I was really hoping to do eggplant, because it sounded so yummy, but I didn't see any at the farm stand I was at. So I bought a few more tomatoes. I have bought an awful lot of those lately, but considering I wasn't really expecting to do this and my weekly budget was already kind of tapped, I didn't have a whole lot of options. I definitely want to try this technique with some eggplants when I find some.

The process itself was pretty straight forward. I used some tomato wine, (my husband's boss made it and gave us some and it went to vinegar) in place of the bit of cider vinegar. I thought it might be a nice touch. I also went out and raided my Thai Basil plant that is in my garden of quiet a few of it's leaves. I probably won't be able to raid it for a while again. (oops.)
The oil was olive oil.

It looks super tasty. Can't wait to try it.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Eating in Season

Eating in season is something I have been trying very hard to incorporate into my family's life. We do fairly well for the most part but we continually try to do better. We belong to a wonderful CSA here in Vermont, Maplewood Organics. They supply us with heavenly produce all summer long and we occasionally buy some of their grass-fed beef. (Okay, enough of the shameless plugs.) Well today was a pick up day and I found myself with a mid sized bundle of kale, among other things. Now normally all kale in this house is systematically turned into kale chips and almost instantaneously inhaled by my children. My son enjoys it so much that he is growing a kale plant in our garden. We decided, however that today we had way too much to be turning into chips so we stopped off at the farm stand and grabbed some tomatoes and made some Tomato and Kale Pesto Pizza. This pizza is a real treat and easy to do!!

The dough I used is a standard pizza dough recipe. If you don't have a standard dough recipe you like to make, I am sure a quick search will yield tons of results. Once you have your dough together then:

Preheat oven to 350.

2 cups (packed) of fresh kale
3 cloves garlic or 3 garlic scapes
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup olive oil
2/3 cup ricotta cheese
2 cups sliced tomatoes (seeded, if you like)
2 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese

Make a pesto with the kale, garlic, sunflower seeds and olive oil in a food processor. Transfer the kale pesto to a medium mixing bowl and mix in the ricotta. Take your pie crust and spread the kale pesto cheese mixture all over it. (Leaving a border of about an inch or two.) Then top with the sliced tomatoes and then the fresh mozzarella.Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and the crust is cooked. Allow the pie to rest for about 5 minutes before cutting.

The summer is SO GOOD!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Lacto-fermented Ketchup

This weekend we bought our second bushel of tomatoes. Since we turned the entire first bushel into tomato sauce for the winter we decided to try our hand at making tomato paste with some of this bushel. The paste came out fairly well, I think will pulverize it next time by using a food processor or something. But it's definitely edible and that's aways a good thing.
I then decided I was going to make some ketchup out of the paste we had made up. I had read somewhere, probably on one of the many food blogs I follow, about being able to make a lacto-fermented ketchup and since I am a fermentation nut I decided that I would give it a try.

There are a bunch of lacto-fermented ketchup recipes online and I just kind of sifted through them and made up my own version of what I thought would A) ferment properly and B) taste good.

This is the recipe I ended up using:
About 16 oz of tomato paste (this is what I had made up to work with)
about 1/4 cup water (you would probably need a bit more if you were using store bought paste.)
3 tablespoons whey (I stole mine from some yogurt I had made.)
1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
Now this part gets a bit sketchy: I used dry mustard, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and cayenne pepper. A couple of pinches of each. I used a bit more mustard and cinnamon then I did the others.
1 freshly mince garlic clove
1/4 cup molasses (you could really use any sweetener here either molasses or honey or even sugar if you wanted to.)

I poured all the ingredients in a ceramic bowl. (I would use ceramic or glass, definitely not metal!) Whipped it all together with a wooden spoon and put it in some glass jars. Taste it once in a while while you're making it so you don't over spice (or under spice.) Placed the tops on the jars and let them sit on the counter for 72(ish) hours. This allows it to ferment a bit. After that just store it in your fridge.

Like I said I mostly got this recipe by taking parts of other's recipes here on the Internet. Incorporating the things in the recipes I did have on hand and swapping out things I didn't.
All in all I would say this turned out to be a total success and we will definitely be making this one again.

Both of the kids not only enjoyed making their own ketchup they both enjoy eating it as well!