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Canning our garden harvest

15 May

My husband and I have been busy bees trying to keep up with our garden. With over 10 tomatilla plants and 20 tomato plants and dozens of a varieties of pepper plants we certainly have our hands full.

We started canning for the first time last year. Neither one of us really had any idea how to do this. I didn’t exactly have any warm and fuzzy memories of parents or grandparents doing any such thing. So, through a little trial and error we started off with a couple of simple recipes from the Ball Blue Book guide to preserving. We bought the necessary pots and tools, burned a few fingers in the process, forgot to sterilize lids and promptly had to start all over. Trust me, you only forget once! Now that we’re ‘pros’, canning has become much easier and more routine and we work well as a team.

Here are some of the things we’ve been canning this season.

1) Tomatilla salsa, mild and spicy

2) Jalapeno salsa

3) Pickled banana peppers

4) Pickled zucchini spears

5) Dill pickles

Eggplant Caponata

3 May

I’m always looking for different recipes to utilize our over abundance of eggplants. One person can only eat so much Baba Ganoush. This particular dish is our favorite. I hope you enjoy it as  much as we do.

This fabulous recipe was borrowed from the Food Network, courtesy of Mario Batali.

Recipe

1/2 cup olive oil

1 sweet onion, diced

2 tbs pine nuts (we substitute sunflower seeds)

3 tbs currants (we substitute sweetened cranberries)

1 tbs hot chili flakes

4 cups diced eggplant

2 tbs sugar (or any substitute)

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp unsweetened cocoa or cacao  powder

2 tsp fresh thyme leaves

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup basic tomato sauce, recipe to follow

****the recipe calls for 1/4 cup, we add the entire batch of tomato sauce to the recipe. We found the Caponata to be too dry with only 1/4 cup of sauce.

Directions

In a large saute pan, over medium heat, heat oil, add onions, pine nuts, currants and chili flakes and saute for 4-5 minutes until softened.

Add eggplant, sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Add thyme, tomato sauce, and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil.

Lower heat and simmer mixture for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature.

Tomato Sauce Recipe

1/4 cup olive oil

1 onion, diced

4 garlic cloves

3 tbs fresh thyme leaves

1/2 medium carrot, grated

2 (28 oz) cans diced tomatoes, do not drain

salt

Tomato Sauce In a 3 qt pain, heat olive oil, add onion and garlic, and saute, for 8 minutes. Add thyme and carrot and cook for 5 minutes more, until carrot is soft. Add tomatoes and juice, bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve with toasted baguettes.

 

Garden pictures April 2012

24 Apr

Just a few pictures on how our garden is coming along.

We have a lot of canning, dehydrating, and food sharing in our near future.

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Edible flowers

24 Apr

I was inspired when reading another blog where school children created amazing dishes using local food and tropical flowers. Check out these amazing pictures at the following link. 2012 March « FlipSide Adventures.

We enjoy growing borage in our garden. This edible plant has gorgeous star-shaped blue flowers that taste like cucumber. Honey bees are attracted to the flowers and are crazy for the nectar.

The entire plant is edible, however, the stems and the leaves are covered with numerous tiny hairs making it distasteful. The flowers, on the other hand, do not contain the hairs and can easily be separated from the stem. Just grab the stem and gently pull and separate the stem from the flower.

The leaves work well in stews and the petals can be used in a variety of dishes such as cake and dessert decorations and salads. When used in salads, add the flowers at the last minute or the dressing/vinegar will cause the petals to wilt.

Kimchi salad

7 Apr

Kimchi is a fermented Korean dish made with napa cabbage and red chili pepper flakes spice.

For those who do not have the time to watch the cabbage ferment, I have provided a quick, easy and delicious recipe.

RECIPE

1 head Napa cabbage, coarsely chopped

1 bunch scallions, coarsely chopped

1 tsp red pepper flakes (or ground paprika for less heat)

1 garlic clove

1 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped

4 tbs rice vinegar

3 tbs sesame oil

3 tbs coconut aminos (soy substitute)

2 tbs sesame seeds

Toss napa cabbage and scallions in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, combine ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, sesame oil, vinegar and soy sauce. Pour mixture over the cabbage/scallions. Toss thoroughly and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Kale Chips

11 Mar

Hello. Welcome to my blog.  My first real attempt at blogging failed…. so here we go again.

The following are the details in which I make my Kale Chip Recipe.

First of all, I’m proud to say the kale comes straight from my garden, right outside our front door.  Say hello to my future Kale Chips:)

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