Sunday, September 30, 2012

Roasting Peppers

We've been so busy around here with all the local produce coming in. I visit my favorite farm stand in town and pick up their "seconds" which are priced just right. I never know what I'll find when I stop by, but I keep my fingers crossed that there will be a cheap bag of something good. This time is was peppers - miniature sweet red peppers, sweet banana peppers and jalapenos. Ben roasted them and then we put them into paper bags to trap the steam. Peeling was easy on the big peppers, but not the jalapenos. Those ended up soaking in a jar of vinegar for a future hot sauce. My plan for the other peppers was to jar them up with minced garlic and olive oil, but they ended up in my favorite recipe a couple of times over the past week!

Friday, September 28, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - AS

Monday, September 24, 2012

Pick Your Own Tomatoes

After a terrible tomato year in 2011, I am so happy to see the abundance of them this year. While we are getting quite a few from our garden, they don't amount to jars and jars of homemade tomato sauce, pasta sauce, ketchup, tomato paste and crushed tomatoes. I was so happy to see this sign at a local farm.

While the field was full of weeds (always a good sign of no spraying) and the plants a bit scraggly, the fruit on them was amazing! It was easy picking.  We spent an hour on Saturday picking 100 pounds of tomatoes and I sent Pieter and Ben back for another 65 pounds on Sunday. I have been busy in the kitchen and don't see the work ending for a while this week!
{Pieter and his friend driving the tractor}

{our haul from Saturday}

Friday, September 21, 2012

A new way to sauce it

The fall harvest and preserving is going full steam ahead here. Batches of apple sauce, peach jam, beet relish, pickled beets and oh so many other yummy jars are filling up the store room. Tomato sauce for cold winter days is also in progress. I've learned a great new way to make it by roasting the tomatoes and letting the juices evaporate in the oven, ending up with a thick sauce, otherwise known as Tomato Passata. I really like this method because I can do it over a couple days, instead of one big day (or night as sometimes happens in these fall days).

Cut tomatoes in half, place face up on trays. Dot with freshly pressed garlic (I use a whole bulb when filling these three sheets), sea salt and herbs (I use thyme, oregano and rosemary). Drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 2-3 hours at 350 degrees. 

Mid-way through the roasting, remove from oven and mash the tomatoes to release the juices. This will quicken the evaporation. Remove from oven when most of the juice has evaporated. 

Place all tomatoes in a pot and cool down over night.

Put tomatoes through a sieve to remove skins and seeds. I use a Victorio Strainer. Since parts of it are plastic, I let the tomatoes cool down first to avoid pulling out any chemicals from the plastic.

Bring sauce to a simmer and preserve it through water-bath canning. I use quart and pint jars and add two tablespoons of bottled lemon juice per jar (or 1/2 teaspoon citric acid). Process for 45 minutes.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Friday, September 7, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - AS

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