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Summer is for roasting vegetables

September 5, 2011

Sure, summer is hot.  Sure, yesterday was muggy.  But did I shy away from turning my oven to 425°F?  With vegetables to roast?  I don’t think so!

Join me in heating up the kitchen and roast some beautiful summer produce.  These are more of guidelines than actual recipes, so vary to your heart’s content and your fridge’s content.

Oven roasted tomato and onion sauce

Roasted tomato sauce with onions:

  • 1 can 24 oz diced tomatoes
  • 6 small onions, peeled & quartered
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon of table salt or to taste
Place all ingredients in a large, high sided baking dish (11 x 17 is a solid choice).  Stir to mix spices.  Roast at 425°F for 30 minutes or as long as you can stand it.  Longer would yield a thicker, heartier sauce.  It was late and I was hungry, so 30 minutes was all I could stomach stand.
Roasted eggplant and zucchini
Roasted eggplant and zucchini:
(Any variety of eggplant or summer squash would work here.)
  • 2 long purple eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch crescents or quarters
  • 1 small or 1/2 a monster, seeded if desired, cut as the eggplant
  • 2-4 Tablespoons olive oil (eggplant and zucchini are oil-greedy, like mushrooms)
  • salt to taste
Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet.  Scatter cut vegetables in a single layer.  Salt.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Shake or stir to distribute.  Roast at 425°F for 20-30 minutes.
Some of the eggplant and zucchini will be soft and creamy, others gently caramelized.
roasted sauce and veggies over whole wheat spaghetti
Serve on top of whole wheat spaghetti, barley, or brown rice or alongside corn bread made with fresh corn.
Roasted tomato sauceh and veggies over pasta
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Green jalapenos turn red

September 4, 2011

Remember my defense of dried green jalapeños?  Perhaps it was unnecessary; my green jalapeños are turning red as they dry!

Green jalapenos turning red as they dry

No sign yet whether they’ll all turn red as they dry, though those further along seem to be the blushing peppers.

drying jalapenos turning red

Of beans and birthdays

September 2, 2011
San Fanciscano Beans tumbling out a a package

striped and spotted birthday beans

Siblings can be the most important people in a person’s life.  Particularly when that sibling knows exactly what to get you for your birthday.  I would just like to thanks my sister, Barbara, for the fabulous Rancho Gordo sampler she gave me for my birthday.  You are wonderful.  (Also, thanks for the help driving from Ikea with that enormous couch that didn’t quite fit in the truck . . . . I owe you.)

Pile of San Franciscano Beans

Will they retain their tiger stripes in cooking?

This sampler of note is the Rancho Gordo-Xoxoc Project Sampler.  The project helps small farmers in Mexico grow heirloom beans with traditional methods.  The sampler contains four types of beans: San Franciscano, Lila, Moro, and Rebosero.  The beans themselves are delightfully colored–bruised lilac, vivid maroon with black stripes, deep brick red, pebbled gray and bark brown (I’ve focused on San Franciscano this time; more pictures will follow).  Will the taste stand up to the promise of their flowery descriptions Rancho Gordo publishes?

packaged beans, unopened

Open me!

Despite a Cook’s Illustrated review that declared their straight up black beans hit or miss, I have every confidence that these will be life altering beans.  They just look that good.

San Franciscano beans spilling out

Bean cooking and recipe card testing (because who ships beans without recipes?  Not Rancho Gordo!) are here!

Bean and Corn Salad

Leek and Bean Soup

Tempeh, bean, and zucchini tacos

red beans with black stripes scattered on a wooden surface

Reconstitution, part 2

August 26, 2011

Worried about the lack of visual in the last post?  My trusty little point ‘n shoot camera has gone to the graveyard of broken and obsolete electronics.

Dried fruit: strawberries, cherries, blueberries, tomatoes, raspberries

Have no fear!  Replacement camera is here and is probably better than the last one. Enjoy the lovely shots of dried fruit and drying green jalapeños.

Dried fruits in glass jars: cherries, strawberries, blueberries

Green jalapeños?  Apparently you can dry green jalapeños and either toss them in beans or soups whole for flavoring or grind them up and use them like crushed red pepper (the kind you sprinkle on pizza if you’re anything like me) or grind them even more and use them like chili powder.  Yup, dried (drying) green jalapeños.

green jalapenos strung to dry

As you can see, I’m utilizing the bad ass solar method mentioned in yesterday’s dehydrating fun:

Green jalapenos strung to dry

Hanger and thread is hardcore, no?

Reconstitution

August 25, 2011
Reconstitution
\(ˌ)rē-ˌkän(t)-stə-ˈt(y)ü-shən\
transitive verb
– to constitute again or anew; reconstruct; recompose; especially : to restore to a former condition by adding water
– To provide with a new structure
Welcome back to the Eaten Word.

Dried foods have been my fancy this summer.  Dehydrating is a fabulous method for putting up (by? away? chose your own preposition).  Once you’ve prepped your food and laid it out, the work is done by the machine (or the sun if you’re really bad ass about these things).  It does take time, but like many recipes remind us, it’s passive time!  Pop it in the oven and walk away!  Pop in the dehydrator and walk away!  (Just, you know, don’t leave electrical or gas appliances completely unattended.  That’s just asking for trouble.)

What do I have so far?  Raspberries, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, and tomatoes.  Wow, am I going to love me this winter.  My steel cut oats (reconstituted in the handy dandy set-it-and-forget-it fuzzy logic rice cooker) are going to be dazzling when the wind’s blowing at 6 am and I can’t believe I’m waking up in the dark. Again.

I love dried fruit.  Can I say that again?  I love dried fruit.  Tasty, chewy, snappy fruit.  Okay, so my dried raspberries are kind weird looking.  And I usually don’t bother acidulating the apples so they end up sorta brown.  But they taste so good.  And the DIY version is cheaper and more satisfying than buying from a store.  I bought those cherries on sale after all ($2.99 a pound–seriously, I felt like I was getting away with something).  The strawberries and blueberries were pick your own (blueberries are even organic, thank you Running Fox Farm!).  The tomatoes were from E’s family (and we’ll be adding to those).  They make for pizza that really pops, salads that make you salivate, risotto with that gives you a raison d’être.

Herbs are also wicked easy to dry that way.  Next year, when I’m totally on top of things like container gardening (yes, gone is the beautiful former farm house kitchen garden–I’m living in a city now (technically)), I’ll dry my own herbs.  You can also dry leftover fresh herbs (because sometimes that bunch of thyme is way bigger than it looked and you only needed THREE TABLESPOONS).  But I mostly feed my extra fresh herbs to the rabbits because I’m a sucker for that dewy-eyed begging look.

When I truly master the art of dehydration, I’ll be whipping up dehydrated soups served with dehydrated raw crackers.  Seriously, though, my next dehydration experiment will be kale chips.  I know you can do them in the oven, but the dehydrator?  Even better, right?  Especially for me since my rent is electric inclusive but not gas (and I’ve got a gas stove).

Anyway, while I’m dehydrating the fruits of summer, I’m also reconstituting this blog.

Sweet Pickled Onion Rings

July 2, 2010

Or, more success from Monday!

Last year when I made bread and butter pickles, I layered some onion slices in among the cucumbers.  Yum.  Delicious.  I do like those sweet pickled onions.  This year, the canning bug bit me hard.  Since my cucumbers aren’t ready I gave in and bought a bag of local storage onions.

Oh, well, what can you do?  Make pickles, of course.

The golden color comes from turmeric added to the vinegar mixture–and from the apple cider vinegar.  Interesting, the mixture is all vinegar–no water added.  I guess the 2:1 ratio of vinegar to sugar makes the water unnecessary.  My garlic dills and even my bread & butter pickles had some water in the vinegar.

I did boiling water bath can these pickles.  And I’m glad I did.  No botulism worries for me!  I heard the telltale ping! ping! ping! ping!  Of each jar within an hour of them coming out of the bath.

When I pop open a jar, I’ll be sure to report on taste.

Recipe from: The Complete Book of Pickling by Jennifer MacKenzie.
modification: added 1 tsp dill seeds

Enter the cheese

June 29, 2010
tags: ,

Folks, we have paneer success!  Okay, qualified success.  It certainly looks like cheese and the curds I popped in my mouth before pressing it taste like paneer, but I haven’t cooked with it yet.  When I do, and if it responds like a proper flavor-soaking morsel of delight, then I will have complete cheese success.

But it certainly looks like success to me!  I have no doubts that it will be delicious in a paneer tikka masala (I’m pretty sure that’s what I’ll make–anyone have a favorite recipe for it?).

What’s next on the cheese agenda?  Hmm, quark maybe, for pierogi-making.  (Quark is more common in Europe than the US, but it’s supposedly similar to farmer’s cheese or cottage cheese.  Nope, I’ve never had it before.  I use farmer’s cheese to make cheese pierogi.)  Yes, I’m a soft cheese softie!