Thursday, September 30, 2010

Freezing Tips

You may have been thinking and planning about freezing food lately.  What a great time to start, with summer veggies going out and fall veggies coming on strong it is time to stock up that freezer!

So far I have frozen tomato sauce, peaches, blueberries, applesauce, and lasagna; and have canned 80+ jars of pickles and 12 pints of peach jam.

The National Center for Home Food Preservation website will help you with the details.  But here are some quick tips for freezing and storing food:

·       Use proper packaging: containers or freezer bags
·      Leave appropriate headspace, some foods need space to expand when frozen
·      Labeling: portion size, ingredients, date frozen
·      Know what foods freeze well and what foods do not
·      Clean out your freezer and if you have space get a chest freezer
·      Freeze foods as soon as they are cooled, packed and sealed
·      Eat in rotation: “first in, first out”
·      Thaw in refrigerator for best results

I have used the NCHFP website for freezing, canning, and recipes and have never been disappointed!  It is so nice during the winter to pull out a tomato sauce and have a nice meal that brings back summer time memories.  What is your favorite food to freeze or can?

I wish you enough!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Time for Dinner

I have been asked recently where I find the time to do "everything", so I thought I'd post a dinner that literally took me 15 minutes to make and was super yummy and fresh.

Sauteed Mushrooms and Garlic
Grilled Peppers, Zucchini, and Fish with thyme and lemon juice
Left-over Unemployed Shepherd's Pie

To answer the time question, I do a lot of planning most weeks and use veggies from the farm and CSA to make up the other meals.  I like to try new recipes so I'll pick 2 or 3 on Sundays and get the ingredients then I am ready to make them throughout the week.  I make at least 1 on Monday then we can have left overs or re-purpose the dish for the next night or two.  (like the one above with left over shepherds pie).  This week I roasted butternut squash and made tomato sauce then I used them for two nights in pasta and lasagna...

I think family dinner is one of the most important times of day.  Because of timing with work and our baby's bedtime it is hard for us to have dinner with her.  So we sit with her while she eats and then she is in bed, asleep by 6:30.  That leaves me a lot of time at night to cook or do other projects, or relax.

To recap:
** Plan 2-3 meals, make extra to re-purpose or eat as left overs
** Use fresh veggies to add to every meal, fall veggies are yummy now
** Cook when you have time and keep it simple.
**Always find time for yourself and relax, (cooking is usually relaxing for me)

I wish you enough!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Unemployed Shepherd's Pie

This veggie version of shepherd's pie is sure to please your pickiest taste buds.  I was so happy while I was eating this I said, "I wish I could share this with everyone."  So I am.  It is pretty easy to make but it did take me a while so it might be more of a weekend meal; and even better when it's not 90 degrees with 50% humidity...

5-6 potatoes, washed and cubed  **
2 T butter
olive oil
1 med onion coarsely chopped  **
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 1/2 c. diced tomatoes, or 1 can diced tomatoes with juice  **
1 1/2 lb sliced mushroom, portobello and/or shitake
1 T thyme  **
1 T fresh basil, chopped  **
1/2 t salt
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
1/2 c. dried bread crumbs, homemade or Italian style
2 lg eggs, beaten
8 oz. firm tofu, cubed
1 green bell pepper, sliced very thin  **
1 sm. zucchini, sliced very thin  **
1/4 t. black pepper

**denotes ingredients from my garden or my CSA.

Boil potatoes and mash with butter, set aside.  I added 2 sweet potatoes to my mix and made it extra tasty!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat olive oil over medium heat, saute onion 5 minutes or until softened.  Add garlic, tomatoes, mushrooms, thyme, basil and salt.  Simmer 7-10 minutes until mushrooms are just tender.  Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, and eggs.  Place in 8x8x2 inch dish.

Spread potato mixture over top, banking up the sides.

Heat 1 Tbs olive oil in a small skillet over med heat.  Add tofu cubes and saute until desired consistency, then add bell pepper and zucchini.  Saute until just tender, 7-10 minutes.  Add this mix to top of potatoes and sprinkle with black pepper.  Bake 20 minutes or until heated through.

I wish you enough!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rice Cooker Curry

I discovered this recipe during our 1 year kitchen remodel.  During that year we used a microwave, bbq, and rice cooker to make food, and the utility tub in the basement to wash dishes.

It was all worth it though, because now we have a beautiful kitchen that we get to spend time in with our favorite people.

So you basically just throw all of this in a rice cooker and enjoy 20-30 minutes later, it's great!

The original recipe was to use Zatarain's jambalaya mix but I don't like to eat MSG so I made up this spice mix and just use plain rice instead... this looks like a long list but you probably have most of it in your cupboard.

2 T oil
1 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. bell pepper
1-2 carrots, sliced
1/2 c. peas, frozen or fresh
1 T minced garlic
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
2 c. water
1 c. rice  (use water:rice ratio listed on rice package)
1 lb protein (your choice here: tofu, beans, chicken, ???)
2 T curry powder
1/2 T paprika
1/2 T chili powder
1/4 T salt
pinch cayenne
pepper to taste
3/4 c. plain yogurt
1/3 c. chopped cashews
Optional: 1/2 c golden raisins

Hit cook and place oil in pan, add onion, bell pepper, carrots, garlic and cook 5 minutes stirring often.  Add all spices and cook and stir 2 more minutes.

Add water, tomato sauce, rice, peas, raisins, protein and mix well.

Close lid and hit cook again.  Once rice cooker turns to warm turn it off, unplug it and stir in the yogurt.  Let stand 5 minutes and sprinkle with cashews.


**I imagine you could also make this in your slow cooker and come home to a nice meal after work.  The veggies might be mushier but it will still taste yummy.

I wish you enough!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Peach Salsa

I continue to drown in peaches, yummy, right? So last night before dinner we were craving chips and salsa and didn't have any salsa so I threw this together in my cuisinart food processor.  Craving fulfilled!

3 Peaches
1T Lime juice
1/4 c. Onion (red or white), chopped
1/2 c. Bell pepper, halved
1 T Cilantro, chopped
1-3 Jalapenos, roasted, seeded, halved
1/2 Salt

Place onion, jalapeno, and bell pepper in food processor and pulse until chopped.  Add remaining ingredients and pulse to desired consistency.  Enjoy.

I wish you enough!

Saturday, September 18, 2010


I love making bread.  Bread of all kinds, but mostly dense sourdough artisan bread.  In fact I can't think of a better thing to pull out of the oven and eat warm!  This will be the first of, probably, many bread posts and it just happens to be sweet bread.  What a great time of year to use up those baseball bat sized zucchini from the garden right?

Last night I had a relaxing time making Amish Friendship Bread.  It is made from a starter that is often shared with others much like a chain letter, but much tastier.  I received my starter from my MIL who got hers from someone at work.  As I can best tell she has given it to 6+ people and I gave it to 7 which ended my bread making for some time.  Then I got it back from a friend that I gave it to, who in turn had already given it to 11 people.  So boy, this bread has been around the block.

I will have 2 extra bags from this batch, let me know if you want one.

Amish Friendship Bread

You might ask yourself, what kind of wine should I drink when I make this bread???

Malbec is a nice choice, and I happen to like this one.

"Malbec originates from France, but it is Argentina where the grape truly thrives. While it is used primarily as a blending grape in Bordeaux, it has developed into a premium stand-alone varietal in Argentina."

Friday, September 17, 2010

Yummy but Not Easy

First let me say, I am so happy to have 5 followers!!!  Have to start somewhere right?

So I started this blog as a way to share good food (and other things) that is easy to make because I think it is an important skill to keep and pass on.  But sometimes I dapple in recipes that take me, um, fooorreever!  They are usually super tasty but I assume most people don't have 3-6 hours to make dinner every night, right?  hmmm, so here are a few pics of some yummy food that I enjoyed with some amazing people.  Enjoy.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Lasagna

Homemade flat bread with Garbanzos, Tomatoes, Avocado, Feta, and Reduced Balsamic Glaze
(This one is pretty easy after making the flat bread)

I love to try new fancy yummy recipes, if you have some please share.  

I wish you enough!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

No Internet

We were without internet for several days this week and I started feeling out of touch with people.  I wasn't really because I talk to people on the phone... but I had to actually turn on the TV to find out the weather (b/c I check it 3 or 4 times a day, like it's going to change.)  Anyway this week has been nice without technology and lots of projects.  Looking forward to a couple more days without internet, so I probably won't be posting much until next weekend.  Can you wait that long?

Friday, September 10, 2010

from Plant to Popper

Since my tomatillo plants dried up I can’t make anymore salsa verde this year. BUT the jalapeno plant is thriving so I am swimming in these spicy little peppers of love.  I got to spend Labor Day weekend with great friends at a BBQ so I brought these lovely homemade jalapeno poppers.

Ingredient list:
10 Jalapenos, halved, seeded and deveined
6 oz cream cheese, soft
3 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
½ t ground cumin
¼ t onion powder
2 eggs
¼ c flour
2 c bread crumbs, I added herbs de provence to mine
oil for pan

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil 8x12 pan.

In a small bowl combine cream and cheddar cheeses, cumin and onion powder.
Fill each halve jalapeno with cheese mixture, and prepare to coat.

Place flour and breadcrumbs on separate plates and beat eggs in small container.
Coat cheese filled jalapenos with flour, then egg, then bread crumbs and place in pan in rows.

Bake 25-35 minutes or until browned and bubbly.
These won’t last long once taken out of the oven, so you better taste test them before offering them to others…

**Be creative with your coatings: corn flakes, bread crumbs with different herb mixes, cornmeal…  what will you top yours with?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde

I had two tasty food projects this summer, the pickle project and the salsa verde project.  So, I decide to grow what I needed to make them mostly in my front yard, but also at the farm.  So I started seeds in March and bought a few plants from Poor Boys Garden Store and here is the final product for salsa verde.  The pickle project will come soon.

Ingredient List for Salsa Verde:
3 lbs. Tomatillos
1 Green Bell Pepper, halved, seeds removed
1-3 Jalapeno(s), based on how high you sit on the spicy scale, halved, seeds removed
2 Yellow Wax Peppers, halved, seeds removed
1 sm Onion and 2 cloves of Garlic  (I didn’t grow these, but I tried)
2 Tbs. Lime Juice
2 Tbs. fresh or dried Cilantro, chopped
Optional for additional heat: Serrano peppers, additional wax peppers.

Place tomatillos, and all peppers on foil lined (or silpat) sheet and broil on low 8-12 minutes or until browned.

Let cool 10 minutes.  Set aside roasted tomatillos.  Place all other veggies in food processor with lime juice and cilantro and pulse till chopped.  Add tomatillos and pulse to desired consistency.  This makes about 1 quart of salsa verde.

Enjoy with your favorite chips, veggies, over burritos or enchiladas, or just plain on a big spoon.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cold Brew Coffee

As requested, I am posting today about the yummiest coffee recipe.  I found a version of this online after reading about it in the America's Test Kitchen magazine, and went about experimenting.  This is how I like it best:

Things you need to get started:  french press, coffee, water, container for fridge, coffee mug.

Mix coffee and water in a 1:4 ratio, respectively, in a french press.  Let sit overnight, 8-12 hours.  (Example: 1/2 c. ground coffee and 2 c. water)

When you wake up, press out the grounds and pour the coffee concentrate into a container that you can put in the fridge.  The concentrate may be 2-3 times stronger than your normal cup of coffee and can be used for several days before you have to make more.

To make your coffee (I do this one cup at a time):
HOT: heat up water first and mix with equal parts of coffee concentrate, if this isn't hot enough for you just throw it in the microwave.
COLD: mix the concentrate with equal parts water and pour over ice.

Add your favorite flavorings

questions?  Is this clear? clear as coffee concentrate?

**If you drink more than one cup per day you should increase this recipe so you don't have to make it so often.  If you double this recipe you should have enough concentrate for about 6 cups of coffee.
**I like this best cold but.... you decide and be creative.
**I use this recipe for my women's health patients because it has much less acid and bitterness resulting in less irritation to the bladder.   People love their coffee so it's easier to give them an alternative than to ask them to stop drinking it altogether.
**Some people use a special brewer for this called a toddy, but a press works fine and you can use whatever you want as long as you can strain out the grounds easily.