Monthly Archives: September 2013

Barb’s Pesto

My neighbor Barb is one of the reasons I’m vegan.  She and her family have been low-fat vegan for a while and finally convinced Michael and I to give it a try.  We did, we’re more healthy, we love it!  Low-fat vegan cooking is a whole new beastie, when you’re used to olive oil and cheese and eggs.  Barb is my go-to girl when I have questions like, “but how do you saute?”  I love basil and make pesto every summer to preserve that lovely summery flavor all winter.  But pesto has cheese.  And oil.  So, I went to Barb with a “but how do you…” question and of course, she had the answer.  So yummy, so fresh.  And an added bonus–no nuts!  Barb’s allergic to tree nuts, so naturally, she makes her pesto without them.  How could it be yummy without oil and cheese and nuts?!  See for yourself:

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Here’s what you’ll need:

ingredients

  • 8-12 cloves of garlic, depending on the size and how much you like garlic, minced
  • juice of 2 limes (2/3 cup)
  • juice of 1 lemon (1/2 cup)
  • garlic salt to taste, or just regular salt–again, depends on your garlic tolerances  🙂
  • 1 bag (16 oz) frozen corn, thawed
  • black pepper to taste
  • enough fresh basil to fill your processor

Place everything in the bowl of a food processor with the chopping blade in place.

all in the processor

Process until smooth, scraping down sides as needed.

process til smooth

To freeze for later, place 1/2 cup pesto into containers–I use snack size ziplocs and then place them into a labelled freezer bag.

package to freeze

Or, enjoy right away:  on pasta, with crackers, with veggies, on a yummy garden-fresh tomato….

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What do you like to eat pesto with?

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Filed under Canning and preserving, dairy-free, dinner, food gifts, Garden produce, lunch, recipe, salad, side dish, Vegetarian

Lizette’s Dilly Beans

Late August and September are when my garden is most productive.  Tomatoes, squash, peppers, and LOTS of beans.  They need picked twice a week!  Definitely more than I can keep up with, so what to do?  Make my friend Lizette’s Hot and Spicy Dilly Beans, of course! Just as easy as regular cucumber-based dill pickles, but even more yummy.  

let cool and label

Head out to the garden or farmer’s market and grab some dill, garlic, jalapenos and green beans.  Mine are purple, an heirloom variety called Royal Burgundy.  They turn green when cooked, unfortunately.  Although, these pickles retained some of the purple color in the brine!  I’ll give you the brine proportions (make more as needed) and what you’ll put into each jar.  It’s easy to adjust as you go.

ingredients

  • 5 cups vinegar
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 cup pickling salt
  • peeled whole garlic cloves
  • fresh heads of dill
  • jalapeno peppers
  • fresh green beans

Sterilize jars, rings and lids; make your best guess at how many you’ll need.  I try to over-estimate so I don’t have to stop mid-process to get more ready.

Get your brine going (vinegar, water and pickling salt) at the same time you start water boiling in your canner.

prepare brine and canner

Wash and snap the stem ends off the beans.

snap beans

Peel garlic and wash and cut jalapenos in half length-wise.  Remove seeds and veins if you want your beans less spicy.

cut jalapenos

Place a head of dill and a clove or two of garlic at the bottom of the jar.

dill and garlic on jar

Fill the rest with beans, and then squeeze in a jalapeno half.

beans and jalapeno in jar

Add boiling brine, leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Use a knife to help any air bubbles come to the surface, and add more brine to keep the 1/2 inch head space if needed.

add brine

Wipe the rim and adjust the lid.  Process 10 minutes in boiling water. 

process

Remove jars and let cool.  Label each jar with the date.   If any refused to seal, re-water bath them, or keep them in the fridge.

let cool and label

Let your Dilly Beans sit for a day or two for full crispy-spicy-dilly yumminess.  Save a jar for midwinter and enjoy the taste of summer.  Perfect for your holiday relish trays!

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Filed under Canning and preserving, food gifts, Garden produce, Holiday foods, recipe, side dish, snack, Vegetarian

The Smoothest, Yummiest Peach Daquiris Ever!

After becoming the lucky recipient of 3 boxes of peaches, I set about to “put them up,” as my Mom would say.  I made peach pie filling, and peach butter, but saved a few back to celebrate with some yummy fresh peach daiquiris.  Here’s how:

  • 3 peaches, peeled pitted, quartered
  • 3 TBSP sugar
  • 1/2 cup light rum
  • 1 oz triple sec
  • 2 TBSP lime juice
  • 3 cups ice.

Blend until smooth. Makes a blender-full of some of the smoothest, yummiest peach daiquiris ever.  Enjoy!

daiquiris

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Filed under drinks, recipe, Uncategorized

Peach Pie Filling (to make now and freeze for later!)

I have wonderful friends who pack peaches for an organic grower here in the Valley.  The grower comps them boxes of “thirds”–peaches with bird damage, split pits, bruised, etc.  Perhaps not beautiful from every angle, but still delicious and perfect for cooking.  Anyway, my friends had more boxes than they could deal with and gave three boxes to me!  Score!  Have a look at my bounty:

big peach

lots of peachesI decided I could make lots of peachy things (including daiquiris!), and decided to start with some pie filling.  Won’t a freshly-baked peach pie be spectacular on a snowy day?!  I tackled the peeling and pitting first.  Peeling is easier when peaches are dropped into boiling water for a minute or two and then placed into cold water.  The skins tend to slip right off.  Some people score a small x  into the skin of each peach before boiling to help the process, but I’m too lazy to do that and have never had trouble with just the boiling water-cold water thang.

After peaches are peeled, assemble ingredients.  Here’s what’s needed for each future peach pie; recipe from The Prairie Homestead Blog:

ingredients pie filling

  • 5 cups peeled, sliced peaches
  • 3 Tablespoons arrowroot powder OR cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (or more to taste) sugar or other granulated natural sweetener
  • 2 Tablespoons pure lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt

Mix everything thoroughly in a bowl.

combine all in bowl

Pour into labelled freezer bags and voila!  Freeze until you need them.

place in freezer bag and label

When you’re ready, defrost the frozen filling, place in a crust and bake 25 minutes at 375F.  Or make a cobbler!  Or a crisp!  Or defrost, heat and serve over ice cream!  Or bake into cinnamon rolls!  Oh, your house is gonna smell good this winter, and your people will be so happy you froze these yummy peaches for them!  I just love baking for others.  How ’bout YOU?

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Filed under Canning and preserving, comfort food, dessert, food gifts, recipe

Perfect Peach Salsa

Peach season.  Farm stands loaded with luscious glowing orbs of yumminess.  Perfect for eating fresh.   The juice running down your arm?  No worries!  All hail the glorious peach!  Enjoy them fresh now, and save some to brighten the dark days of winter.  So many options to save peaches: canning, freezing, pie filling, jams, jellies, and butters.  One of my favs is the spectacular combo of sweet and heat, peach salsa.  Yummy as a dip and as the perfect condiment to Mexican foods, especially in my humble opinion, fish or chicken tacos!

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Make it and store it in the fridge or can it to have all winter.  Peach salsa is an easy canning project–don’t fear the canner!  Recipe from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

ingredients

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 6 cups chopped, peeled and pitted peaches
  • 1 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 4 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped (seeded as well if you want to tone down the heat)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped (I used a green pepper, because that’s what I had on hand–red would make a pretty salsa, though!)
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed, finely chopped cilantro (Ok to leave this out if you hate cilantro)
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Prepare your canner, jars, lids and rings.  Combine all ingredients in a large stainless steel pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.  (Placing vinegar into the pot first and chopping peaches into it as you go will stop peaches from browning.)

chop and combine

Reduce heat and and boil gently, stirring frequently until slightly thickened, about 5-10 minutes.

Boil and simmer

Ladle hot salsa into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace with more salsa if needed.  Wipe rim, center lid and screw band down to finger-tight.

ladle into hot jars

Process in hot water bath canner for 15 minutes for 1/2 pints, 20 minutes for pints.  Remove canner lid, wait 5 more minutes and remove jars.

process for 15 min plus 5

Let cool for lids to seal–you’ll hear a “thunk,” and the lid will be concave.

remove and let cool to seal

Label your pretty jars with the date canned.

label lids

Peach Salsa makes a lovely gift, but be sure to save some for yourself to enjoy!  Yum!

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I’ve noticed people either love or hate the whole “sweet and heat” thang.  Which side are you on?

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Filed under Canning and preserving, dairy-free, Garden produce, snack, Vegetarian