Monday, September 26, 2011

Harvest Monday 9/26/11

Since I didn't post last week, here's my harvest for the past 2 weeks.  

Pepperoncini, Cherry Bomb & Red Marconi Peppers

Jalapeno Peppers

Listanda de Gandia, Ichiban, Konasu & Tiger Eggplant
Tomato Fest!

This week saw more tomatoes and peppers.
Ananas Noire, San Marzano, Roma & Paul Robeson

Cherokee Purple, Kelloggs Breakfast, Green Zebra & Paul Robeson
Pepperoncinis, Red Marconi, Cherry Bomb & Shishito

Harvest Totals:
Week of 9/12-9/18:
- Peppers: 2 lb
- Tomatoes: 16.27 lb
- Eggplant: 2.98 lb

Week of 9/19-9/26:
- Tomatoes: 43.94 lb
- Peppers: 2.89 lb

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Canning: Salsa

Mmmm....salsa.  If there's one thing I love, it's salsa.  I canned 2 batches of Annie's Salsa last season.  I gave away a few jars here and there and used the rest up way too early.  This year I'm planning ahead.  I need to can more than 2 batches to keep my salsa cravings under control (and still play nice and share).

Yesterday I started by canning 2 batches (or 12 pints) of this salsa.  I used half roma tomatoes and half slicing tomatoes.  I find the consistency of the salsa is to my liking this way.  Last year the batch that I made with just Romas was too thick.  I also used 3/4 cup cider vinegar (as opposed to white vinegar).  I tried to make it spicier.  The jalapenos from my garden was small so I used 7 small jalapenos (plus the seeds from one pepper) in both batches. The salsa is turned out mild.

The next batch will be more medium with more jalapeno seeds or a habenero.  I wish you could see me grinning from ear to ear.  Mmm....more salsa!  I'm a very happy camper!

Canning: Short Brined Dill Pickles

I'm behind on my posting again.  Last week I used my garden Parisian Pickling Cucumbers to make more dill pickles.  I did the same Short Brined Dill Pickle recipe that I tried earlier this season.  I liked the way these turned out.  You can never have too many dill pickles (in my opinion anyway!!)  

Monday, September 12, 2011

Harvest Monday: 9/12/11

Wow!  I must be getting senile because I just forgot my first Harvest Monday!!  Here's my belated posting. There's been lots happening here.  Who woulda thunk!  In September!  

It's been tomato city!!  I added it all up and I harvested 16 pounds of tomatoes this week!  Waahoo!  Spaghetti sauce and salsa, here I come!

September 5th's harvest included LOTS of tomatoes, eggplants and cucumbers.

On September 7, I picked more tomatoes!  Look at these beauties!  I also picked some thyme, oregano and rosemary.  

More tomatoes on September 9th and 10th.  This time a few of one of my favorites: Green Zebra Tomatoes!  I also harvested a lot of Shishito Peppers, Konasu Eggplant and Tomatillos.

This is a comparison of the Paul Robeson (left) and Cherokee Purple (right).  I just love tomatoes.  They're sooo photogenic!


This week's harvest totals:
- tomatoes: 16.07 lb
- eggplant: 0.63 lb
- cucumbers: 1.66 lb
- herbs: 0.02 lb
- peppers: 0.66 lb
- tomatillos: 2.43 lb

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tomato Envy No More!

We've had a really warm start to September here in the Pacific NW.  Today's high topped out at 90 plus.  As you can see by the 7 day forecast, more hot hot hot weather is on it's way.  My tomatoes are soaking up the heat.  I just hope they don't fry themselves.

Today I picked a whole lotta tomatoes!!  I was so excited.  In addition to the plentiful Sungold Cherry, Glaciers and Black Tomatoes, I picked my first Cherokee Purple tomatoes today.  I also picked a few more Paul Robeson, Roma, San Marzanos and Kelloggs Breakfast.  I'm in tomato heaven!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Harvest Monday 9/5/11

Happy September!!  Wait, what?  September already??  Where did the summer go?  It's still summer here in the Pacific Northwest.  We've been having very warm weather.  I hope it gives the tomatoes one last push to ripen before the cold settles in.  

For the harvest, it's still been a mixed bag of goodies.  There's lots of colors to be found!  This harvest early in the week brought cucumbers (Lemon, Boston Pickling and Parisian), a few (and likely the last) Lebanese squash, strawberries (still) and peppers (Pepperoncini and Shishito).
I was able to pick my second Paul Robeson, lots of Glacier, Black Plum and Sungold Tomatoes. 

Second Paul Robeson tomato of the season
About mid-week, I did another picking of tomatoes.  This time there were Glaciers, one small Roma and lots of Black Plum and Sungolds.  Yummy!

On Sunday I made another tomato sweep.  More Black Plums, Glaciers and Sungolds.  But this time there was a surprise waiting for me...a small Kelloggs Breakfast.  It's the beautiful bright orange tomato.  I can't wait to taste this one.  I also picked whatever Pepperoncinis I could to pickle.  I forgot to weigh this harvest.  DOH!

This week's harvest totals: 
- strawberries = 0.23 lb
- zucchini = 0.76 lb
- cucumbers = 1.84 lb
- green beans = 0.46 lb
- peppers = 0.42 lb
- tomatoes = 3.79 lb
- basil = 0.07

**Linking to Daphne's Dandelion's Harvest Monday** 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

GTTC: 9/4/11

I haven't posted a GTTC in a while.  I guess you can say I've been busy in the garden and kitchen.  I've had a lot of apples and peaches to use up.  There have been a lot of u-pick opportunities here.  

Here's a simple but refreshing Peach Lemonade.

I tried a new recipe with some Shishito peppers picked from the garden.  This is a Shishito Pepper with Miso Vinaigrette recipe.

I cooked Borlotti Beans for the first time.  These were also harvested from my garden and slow cooked in the oven.  The smell was heavenly and the taste was divine!  I'll be growing more of these beans next season!  You can find the recipe for Slow Cooked Borlotti Beans here.

I made a delicious Apple Cake with leftover Gravenstein apples.  This cake was very moist with the addition of applesauce instead of the oil.

I also have been canning like a mad woman!  I canned several batches of applesauce and peaches.  

**Linking up to Wendy's GTTC**

What's Cooking: Steamed Clams with Portuguese Sausage

I had some leftover Portuguese sausage in the refrigerator and had already planned on making steamed clams.  I found this recipe using chorizo.  I changed it and used my Portuguese sausage instead.  I served it on a bed of linguine pasta with crusty bread to soak up the juices.  Delicious!!

Steamed Clams with Portuguese Sausage
Adapted from: Steamed Clams in Wine and Chorizo from Gourmet, July 2001
Serves: 2

1 medium sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. dry white wine
2 lb. clams (Manila or littleneck), scrubbed 
1/4 lb. hot Portuguese sausage, diced in 1/4 inch cubes
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley
salt and pepper

1) Place the clams in a large bowl of cold water and let them stand for 1 hour.  This will help remove the grit in the clams.  Scrub them well and set aside.  

2) Cook onions, garlic, cumin seeds and salt in olive oil in a pan (with a lid) over medium-high heat.  Stir occasionally until the onions are translucent, about 7-9 minutes.  

3) Pour in wine and bring to a boil.  Add the clams and Portuguese sausage and return to a boil.  Cover the pan and cook until the clams open, around 7-8 minutes.  Discard any clams that don't open after 9 minutes of cooking.  Add the parsley.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.  

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Homemade Peach Lemonade

I had a Costco bag of lemons and a tons of left over peaches.  You can see the post where I decided to make a multi-functional peach puree with the leftover peaches.  I juiced some of the lemons and decided to make a Peach Lemonade.  Yummy!  It was perfect for a hot summer day.

Homemade Peach Lemonade
Makes 2 quarts

1 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4 large lemons)
1 c. peach puree
1/2 c. agave or 1 c. sugar (and more to taste)

1) Add the lemon juice, peach puree and agave (or sugar) to a large pitcher.  Add water to make 2 quarts.  Stir well to combine.  Add more agave or sugar to your taste.  If you want to add garnishes for presentation, try mint sprigs or sliced peaches.

Peach Puree

What do you do with all those leftover summer peaches?  After you're done canning, jamming and desserted yourself out, consider a simple peach puree.  It's a great way to store the summer harvest and save it to use in many different ways.

To make your puree, rinse your peaches under cold water.  Dip peaches in boiling water for 30-60 minutes then place them in an ice water bath.  The skins should be easy to remove at this point.  Remove skins and pits and roughly chop peaches.  Place the peaches in a blender and puree.  As an alternative, you can use an immersion blender to puree the peaches.

I poured some of the puree into quart jars and placed them in the freezer to use later.

The Peach Puree is multi-functional.  Use it in cocktails or virgin drinks (such as a Peach Lemonade).  Use it to make bread or fruit leather.  It's uses are endless!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Restaurant Ramblings: Hall Street Grill

Happy Hour at Hall Street Grill included this summer cocktail.  It was delicious!!

Deja vu: amaretto, gin, blackberry puree and lime sour
Their happy hours is pretty reasonable and runs until 6pm.  I had the Beef Empanadas ($6) which were very tasty.  My friend had the Clams with Chorizo, Fennel & Olives ($7).  We shared the Hummus with Toasted Pita ($5).  Delicious!

Hall Street Grill 
3775 SW Hall Street
Beaverton, OR 97005
ph: (503) 641-6161

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What's Bakin?: Apple Cake

Since I had a surplus of apples, I decided to try an apple cake.  I wanted to make the cake more "healthy".  Haha, is that possible?  I used some whole wheat flour and decreased the amount of sugar and oil in this recipe.  The recipe came with a glaze but I omitted it since it seems very sweet.  I used just Gravenstein apples and it was just a hint of tart.  If you're using sweet apples, you may want to decrease the sugar even more.  

The cake turned out really moist and fluffy!  It was a hit at work the next day.  I didn't have any nuts but I think pecans would be delicious in this cake!  This is my version of an apple cake.  

Apple Cake
Adapted from & submitted by out of here
Makes a 9 x 12 pan

2 c. all purpose flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. 2% milk
1 c. apple sauce
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 c. diced apples
1 c. chopped nuts (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2) In a large bowl, combine the 2 kinds of flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Make a well in the center of the mixture and set aside.

3) In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, oil, milk, applesauce and vanilla extract.  Stir in the apples and nuts (if using).  Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients, just until moistened.

4) Spread the batter in a greased and floured 9 x 13 inch baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

**Linking up to Allison at The Life of a Novice's Apple Harvest Party**

Canning: Peaches

These are Vivid peaches that I canned from my first 34 pounds of peaches.  I ended up canning 8 pints of Vivids.  More peach canning this weekend!  These will taste great in the dead of winter!

For instructions on canning peaches, see my original post here.