Category Archives: DIY

Tomato Peach Balsamic Jam

Tomato Peach Balsamic Jam

The upside of seasonal eating has gotten enough play.  Today we turn to its darker side.  To the part of eating seasonally where summer ends and I am supposed to set aside perfect peaches for pumpkin soup and root vegetables.  What kind of solace is that, I ask?

In the coming weeks I’ll settle in, I know, remembering the unexpected heights that Brussels sprouts can reach and that miso-roasted squash and kale salad.  I’ll even delight in planning our vegetarian Thanksgiving menu.  Eventually.

But for today, let’s talk about holding onto those peaches for as long as we can.

This recipe is the love child of this sweet tomato jam and this savory peach jam.  It was inspired by a tomato and peach salad we ate all summer and a tomato and peach gazpacho served in the cafe of my favorite bookstore.  And like all my good jam ideas, I later learned that Marisa had it first.

This jam is equal parts peaches and tomatoes by weight, but the result is more sweet than savory; the umami notes of tomato and balsamic add just a whisper of intrigue.  As you’d expect, it’s most at home alongside a soft cheese or spooned over a piece of salmon, but it’s no slouch in a sandwich or vinaigrette either.

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Zucchini Relish

At 2 a.m. I was still in the kitchen. Peach jam in the canner, tomato jam out of the canner, three trays of fruit leather in the oven, tomatoes and peaches in the dehydrator, prepping zucchini relish.  This is what I always forget in those dreamy, carefree spring months when I plant my garden or sign up for a CSA (or, this year, do both): The harvest season is also a season of all-out frenzy.

This recipe is here to help.  You will find both emotional and practical relief as you reduce two truly gargantuan zucchini to five tidy pints of the hot dog relish you remember from childhood.

Pile it onto a field roast sausage with that better-than-ketchup (and I don’t say that lightly) tomato jam and a beery mustard, and you’ll almost forget about the boxes of ripe pears in the basement still awaiting your attention.

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Any ideas for those pears? Continue reading

Grilled Fava Beans

For the most part I’m a lazy cook, which is why I don’t get along too well with fava beans.

If you have it in you to shuck the beans from the pod, simmer them briefly and then peel each and every single bean, more power to you.  You are now ready to make some elegant little appetizer that will be gone in two bites, like this fava bean and arugula crostini or that fava and ricotta bruschetta.  (That second recipe recommends having a friend do the work for you, which is at least a step in the right direction.)

If you don’t have it in you to do all that work, this recipe is for you.  It neatly foists the labor of excavating the tender beans straight onto your guests, providing a lively to start to your dinner party as your guests roll up their sleeves and forge a camaraderie based on their mutual amazement at your laziness.  Provide a tiny bowl of good salt for dipping the beans, napkins, and a bowl for discarded pods and bean skins.Grilled Fava Beans Continue reading

One-Ingredient Oven Baked Apple Chips

Each summer, I fill my freezer and pantry shelves with jam and pickles and applesauce and roasted tomatoes and pesto and all the tastes of summer that I think I’ll need to make it through the Seattle winter.  And each year, right about this time, I either start wondering where it all went or wondering how we’re ever going to get through it all.  This year it’s the latter.

So here we are: the chickens are laying again, green rows are peeking up in the garden, and although even the rhubarb is a few weeks off, all signs indicate that spring will come again.  Which means that it’s time to be working through our winter stores.One-Ingredient Baked Apple ChipsIt was in that spirit that I hauled the last of our apple harvest out from the back of the fridge today.  Last fall we borrowed two dehydrators from a friend and dried a few gallons of apples that lasted, oh, right until whenever the girls found them.  They loved them.  So today when the counter was piled high with apples and I started talking sauce, an intense lobbying campaign was launched from around the height of my bellybutton.  Who could resist?

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Citrus Sugar

It’s unfortunate that we’re not supposed to eat sugar anymore, because at this time of year I’m zesting citrus like mad and there’s nothing like a little (or a lot of) sugar to tame the delectable bitterness of orange and lemon peels.  Think marmalade, think lemon-olive oil cake, think whole wheat quick bread with orange zest and brown sugar.  Need more ideas?  I loved this recent post from Food In Jars.Orange Zest Sugar from emmycooks.comThis isn’t a recipe so much as a good idea: before the next time you peel or juice a (washed, organic) lemon or orange, scrub off the zest with a microplane first.  Zest the fruit directly into a bowl to catch every drop of oil and essence from the peel.  Add sugar.  For this batch I added 1/2 c. granulated sugar to the zest of one orange and half a lemon.  Mash it around to help the sugar absorb the flavor of the zest, then leave the bowl uncovered at room temperature for a day or two, stirring occasionally, until the zest is completely dry.  Transfer to a sealed jar for storage. Continue reading

Caraway Cookies

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The season of holiday excess is upon us, and one of my year-round favorite indulgences gets its due at this time of year: the cookie.  Caraway CookiesThese caraway cookies are a fine specimen—not chocolate, I’ll admit, but otherwise quite good.  They have a reliable pedigree, hailing from Maida Heatter’s Cookies, where she describes the “caraway crisp” as a classic Scottish recipe.  The flavor is restrained, the caraway and lemon are fragrant but not overwhelming, and the overall effect is a very nice balance of sweet but not too sweet. Continue reading

Overnight Oats with Peanut Butter and Banana (and Chocolate)

You guys are the best!  All day today, I felt like we were all standing around in the kitchen together, chatting about how to pull off a last-minute Thanksgiving dinner.  It’s easy, you reminded me.  Stuff a winter squash, roast some veggies, make a soup or a good salad, put out cheese or olives. Easy is perfect.  And just as perfect were the reminders that it’s not the food that makes a holiday special; it’s the excuse to gather as a family and enjoy each others’ company.

And…that’s good.  Because we arrived to find our rental-with-kitchen unsavory, and decamped to a hotel suite with only a mini-bar fridge instead.  So no kitchen, no Thanksgiving cooking.  We’re going to have our Thanksgiving dinner this weekend instead, back in Seattle.  Which I already have planned now, days in advance—I’m so uncharacteristically organized!  But seriously, thank you–I am so lucky to have met so many wonderful cooks and epicures and readers and writers in this little place called the internet (interwebs?) and I’m thankful to know you all.In celebration of life with a mini-fridge, and especially for those of you on the road this weekend, I’m sharing my favorite hotel-room breakfast today.  Continue reading

Pumpkin Pancakes (Vegan)

Sweet potato in my pie, pumpkin in my pancakes?  That’s right, green vegetables are giving way to orange, as evidenced by the piles of winter squash on my counters.  Luckily, orange is a very popular vegetable color around here.  Especially when the vegetables come in the form of pancakes.  Or pie. Continue reading

Tiny Pies

Apologies for the sugar rush this week, but ’tis the season.

There’s a sweet little pie shop in my neighborhood that boasts a bakery case full of the cutest little pies you’ll ever see.  Pies in jars, lollipop pies, handheld pies.  Little deep-dish pies piled impossibly high with whipped cream or meringue.  Itty-bitty mini muffin bite-sized pies.  And, of course, the classic larger size.

I love them all, but my special favorite is the Cutie Pie, made in a standard-size muffin tin.  It’s substantial enough, but you can get away with eating one all by yourself.  In fact, I recommend that you do so.  Make them for your holiday table, sure, but be sure to set aside a few moments and at least one tiny pie to enjoy alone as well.

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Rustic Apple Pie with Walnut Streusel Topping

I always make at least one apple pie a year, on Thanksgiving, with the last of the apples from our trees that are tucked away in the fridge.  I always use this recipe.Today, Election Day here in the U.S., seemed to call for an extra apple pie.  There’s the Americana kitch of apple pie, of course, and there’s the fact that a pie is always welcome at a potluck.  But making a pie is also meditative, soothing, distracting.  By the time I arrived at our usual Election Day party with three little girls and a warm pie in my hands, I was calm and confident and I had stopped obsessively refreshing polling data on my phone.  This was our fourth Presidential election in a row with the same savvy, snarky, deeply caring group of friends, and I rather think that we all deserved an apple pie tonight.  So do you. Continue reading