Something had to give…

31 07 2009

We’re all too busy these days. I don’t just mean me and my beloved. I mean EVERYONE. Society, all of us… too busy all of the time. Everytime I catch up with a friend or run into someone, it’s always the same story at both ends: “Oh I’ve been wanting to get together but I’ve just been so busy…” Et cetera. Same story… all too often. So I am no different when I tell you that I’ve had a busy couple of months – I know you are just as busy as I am, if not busier – but I want to point out that everyone I know seems guilty of this.

Maybe that’s why it’s so easy and tempting to resort to convenience foods, or so challenging to find the time to garden, or to store food for the winter. I don’t feel like I should tell you that you should make time for fresh and local food. I just know that for me it keeps my sanity in check (… and you can STOP LAUGHING GEORGE). I love looking at my packed freezer and knowing how much we will enjoy it this winter. I feel such pride in all my canned goods. And the garden! …I love watching it grow in the same way I love watching my little bean grow.

Cheers to that.

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hello FLAVOUR!

17 06 2009

Well for all you Googlers who have been finding me with your rhubarb searches, I have yet another treat for you. If you like flavours with a tangy zing to them, then you will LOVE this recipe.

Gingered Rhubarb Jam

  • 4 cups sliced rhubarb (slice it thin but not superthin)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup candied ginger
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice

Combine ingredients and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently. Be sure not to let the bottom of the pan burn. When the jam has thickened pour it into sterilized jars. Next, process the jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Then…  YUM, enjoy for breakfast and snacks!





the magical fruit…

26 09 2008

The first frost has come and gone, but I am still harvesting. These beautiful black turtle beans grew tall in my beds this summer, crying out to passers-by, “Notice me! Notice me!” But I knew better and ignored them in their green glory. I let them bake in the summer sun until their husks had dried out into papery packages. Finally, as the nights got cooler, I invited them inside. Now they sit in a clear glass jar in my pantry and wait patiently for dinner.





my freezer runneth over

9 09 2008

HELP!!!

I am running out of space in my freezer. I suppose this is a good thing. It must mean that we’ve stored lots of food, right?!? But I can’t help and think of all that’s left. WE ARE AT THE HEIGHT OF THE HARVEST, PEOPLE. There’s so much more that can be stored…

Thank goodness I still have lots of canning jars left.





catch up!

29 08 2008

Today marks the end of my peachy week. And I have saved the BEST recipe for last. This is a recipe that will make people arch their eyebrows when they first hear the name. But then when you serve them a bite, their eyes will widen with surprise and they will eagerly await a second bite. I say, hold off sharing that second bite unless you REALLY think they’re worth it. What is it, you ask? Tomato Peach Ketchup!!

I have trouble thinking of the word ketchup without picturing Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction. If you don’t know why, well then… ketchup! Ohhh, I crack myself up… Anyways, my beloved wants me to change the name of this concoction. He says that it is most definitely not ketchup. I say it is what ketchup should have always been. HEY HEINZ – YOU’RE NOT THE ONLY KINDS!!!

I love to serve this ketchup with slices of old cheddar and some crisp crackers. I gave a jar to a friend and she poured some over a few chicken breasts and baked them with a thick slice of brie on top. It’s quite versatile, so be creative!

The recipe was given to me during a food preservation workshop held at the Urban Element cooking studio. Since then I’ve modified it some more. Don’t worry though – I didn’t mess with the acidity, so you should have no qualms about canning this ketchup and keeping it on your shelf.

Tomato Peach Ketchup

A warning first though, you will need a BIG pot to make this.

  • 12 1/2 lbs of peaches and tomatoes combined
  • 6 cups of cider vineagar
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 tsp mustard seed
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 large ginger root finely grated
  • 2 tsp grated cloves

Chop the peaches and tomatoes. Combine everything in a large pot except the sugar. Simmer and reduce for approximately 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add the sugar and cook for 15 minutes more. Pulse mixture briefly in a food processor until a desired consistency is reached – and be careful adding too much hot liquid in the food processor – it can blow the top off if there’s too much! Place misture in hards and process in a hot water bath for five minutes.

Happy Peaches!





back to basics

28 08 2008

Okay, now that you’ve had your peach cobbler fun, we’re back to peach preservation.

Freezing Peaches

There is a lot of information out there about how to freeze peaches but most sources talk about freezing peaches in a syrup. I never really liked peaches in syrup so I hunted down a non-syrup method.

  1. Freestone peaches are a must for freezing. With freestones, the fruit separates easily from the stone. And since it’s important to avoid bruising, you don’t want to have to spend any energy fighting with your peaches. Get freestone.
  2. Peaches should be ripe but firm. If the peach is starting to go mushy, it’s too far gone. Use it for cooking instead.
  3. Of course, wash the peaches – they’re known for having pesticides on them. You may even want to peel them if that makes you nervous. I’m never sure because the skins also have a lot of the vitamin content in them. Maybe washing is enough.
  4. Halve, quarter or slice your peaches.
  5. To stop them from browning, put them in a mixture of lemon juice and water (1 Tbsp lemon juice per four cups of water).
  6. Drain the peaches and toss GENTLY with sugar. I found different recommendations for how much sugar to use. In the end I went with ½ a cup of sugar for every 4 cups of sliced peaches.
  7. Spoon the peaches into freezer-proof bags or containers.
  8. Place into freezer – don’t squish them in though! Place gently.
  9. Enjoy for the next 12 months!




the peaches continue…

27 08 2008

Today’s entry comes from The New Best Recipe cookbook. This cooking bible is written by the editors of Cook’s Illustrated magazine, who are quite simply awesome. They experiment with recipes like nobody’s business and then they write about all the different experiments and the results of each one – trust me, it’s fascinating and very educational. Hmm, maybe they’ve got a pie crust recipe in there…

Peach Cobbler

Filling

  • 2 ½ lbs ripe but firm peaches (6-7 medium peaches)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • pinch of salt

Biscuit topping

  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar, plus a little more for sprinkling
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 5 tbsp cold unsalted butter cut into small cubes
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt

Filling: Heat oven to 425. Peel and slice peaches. Gently toss peaches and sugar in a bowl. Let stand 30 minutes, tossing a few more times. Drain peaches into bowl. Whisk 1/4 cup of drained juice with cornstarch, lemon juice, and salt. Toss mixture with peaches and put into an 8 x 8 bakign dish. Bake until peaches begin to bubble around the edges – about 10 minutes.

Topping: While peaches are baking, pulse flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a food processor. (Warning – don’t start the topping early! The CI editors say so…) Scatter butter cubes and pulse until mixture has a coarse meal texture. Transfer to a bowl and add yogurt. Toss until a cohesive dough is formed but don’t overmix! The topping will be tough if you do. Break the dough into six evenly sized mounds.

When peaches are done, place the biscuit mounds over peaches and flatten slightly. The mounds shouldn’t touch each other – don’t ask me why. Sprinkle a little more sugar over the top and bake until the topping is golden brown – about 16-18 minutes.

Cool and serve with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream!