Tag Archives: preserving

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

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

What’s Cooking: November 2012, Week 2

I know it looks like all I do around here right now is eat pie.  And tomorrow, steel yourselves, there will be more.  But in between, we’ve actually been making all kinds of great things with tofu.  A vegan variation of this saag paneer, and a vegan riff on this lemony broccoli and harissa dinner salad, and straight-up tofu with greens and rice and so-good spicy peanut sauce.  Stay tuned.  Because by this weekend we’ll all be over talking about Thanksgiving, won’t we?  Or at least ready to sneak in some healthier meals among the gravy-laden feasts?In the Kitchen

Menu 1: We had 30 of our closest neighbors over for dinner last weekend and I made an extra-big batch of my biggest pot of minestrone Continue reading

How to Make Applesauce

I have a book in which I record, from time to time, the big and small adventures in our family’s life.  I mean to write in it every day, just a sentence or two.  More often, weeks or even months go by between entries.  I try to catch the important stuff, though, when I do sit down to write–milestones and anecdotes from our daughters’ lives, travels we want to remember, loving moments with our extended family.  And, of course, what’s happening in the kitchen.Our family’s book begins with applesauce.  It was an October when I started the family journal (abandoning, in the process, my girls’ individual baby books) and we had just turned our three trees worth of apples into a year’s worth of applesauce.  So in a way, I think of making applesauce as the beginning of each new year.  At this time of year I often flip back through the years contained in my book and marvel at how fast life changes.  And how each chapter is even better than the last.

Applesauce, though, is a constant in our lives.  Every year we lighten the groaning branches of the apple trees in the fall, piling box after box of apples into the house.  We sort the apples, setting aside the unblemished best for eating and sharing.  We eat and bake and dry as many apples as we can.  And the rest become applesauce for the year ahead. Continue reading

What’s Cooking: October 2012, Week 3

Aside from the apples, this has been a very relaxing week for me in the kitchen.  My in-laws visited last weekend and, as I’ve told you already, my mother in law is an excellent cook.  She arrived with a stack of recipe print-outs and a plan, and she fed us well.  What luxury.  I could get used to that.

In The Kitchen

Menu 1: My mother in law made this leek and gruyere tart in puff pastry, which sparked a lively discussion about the difference between a tart and a pizza.  The upshot, I think, is that if you want to serve something fancier than a pizza you should put the toppings on puff pastry instead of pizza dough.  (These mushrooms and blue cheese would certainly work in puff pastry.)  I made that super-green lemony spinach soup and my favorite summer crunch salad–which is too good to confine to summer–to serve with the tart.Menu 2: If you’re most people in the world, apparently you’ll love Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce.  But whatever tomato sauce you choose, I recommend serving your pasta alongside roasted eggplant tossed with pesto and garlic bread.  My favorite garlic bread formula is as follows: 2 Tb. softened butter, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 2 pressed cloves of garlic, a big pinch of salt.  Mix together and spread on a length of baguette.  Top with fresh parsley and toast for a minute under the broiler.Preserving

Meanwhile, we’ve been peeling and peeling apples.  We made more applesauce.  A friend dropped two dehydrators by so we could dry countless apple rings (which somehow, once dried, shrink to an insignificant size that belies all the work it took to make them).  And I made apple peel tea.  I’ll tell you more about that this week.On My Plate

I’m looking forward to participating in the Virtual Vegan Potluck on November 1!  I’m bringing soup, of course.  A roasted celery soup.  Creamy.  Intense.  Vegan.  I hope you’ll join us!

And now we’re on to the good part of the apple project: all the perfect ones we stashed in the fridge for eating and baking.  I can never decide between apple cake and apple pie.  Which do you prefer?

What’s Cooking: October 2012, Week 1

In the Kitchen

What’s cooking in your kitchen this week?  Please feel free to leave your seasonal favorites and links in the comments!  Here’s a glimpse into my kitchen:

Menu 1: Grilled salmon, salsa verde, and three salads.  I always feel like it’s so decadent to have three salads.  The first was a quinoa salad with corn, green onions, cilantro, tomatoes, and lime.  The second was a plate of thinly sliced cooked beets dressed with olive oil, sherry vinegar, and chopped hazelnuts.  The last was a lemony arugula salad.Menu 2:  The leftover arugula salad & quinoa became ingredients in a batch of quinoa cakes, which I served with the leftover salsa verde.  (We also slathered some of the quinoa cakes with tomato jam.)  We had them with beet soup and braised greens in an anchovy broth.Menu 3: Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Tomatoes, and Olives (using fresh tomatoes instead of jarred) and a green salad.  If you roast the cauliflower in advance, this meal can be ready in the time it takes to cook pasta.Other Tidbits:

I make granola when our gallon jar runs empty–which is to say, quite often.  Continue reading

My Favorite Recipes: September 2012

Have you entered the Food in Jars Cookbook giveaway yet?  Do it now.  It’s not just for canning enthusiasts, although it might turn you into one.

Welcome to Emmy Cooks!  You can see more of my favorite recent recipes by clicking the “My Favorite Recipes” category on the sidebar (here are June, July, and August).  If you like what you see here, you can sign up on the sidebar to receive a daily recipe by email, add the RSS feed to your own reader, or follow Emmy Cooks on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

At the end of each month, J and I separately choose our top five Emmy Cooks recipes of the month and then we compare notes.  Usually a bit of discussion goes into the final selection, and occasionally even dissent (like when we couldn’t agree on the best chocolate cookies of the month).  But this month, we picked the exact same five.  Here you go.

  Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad
  Baked Fish with Thai Basil and Peppers
  Grilled Broccoli
  Grilled Kale Salad with Ricotta and Plums
  Sweet and Spicy Tomato Jam
  And the Readers’ Favorite: Healthy Cookies

Thank you for reading and cooking along!

What’s Cooking: September 2012, Week 4

Hello, friends!  I’ve been kicking around a new idea, will you tell me what you think?

At this point there are so many recipes on this site that most of them are simply buried by time.  (I need a recipe index, I know; the sidebar category search is rudimentary.)  And although I’m posting new recipes daily here, I’m also always cooking my old favorites off-screen.  I’m thinking that it might be fun to share more with you about my kitchen and what’s happening there from week to week.

Regular “What’s Cooking” dispatches would give me an opportunity to tell you what recipes I’m loving  as the seasons go by, to tell you about delicious ideas that don’t rise to the level of being “recipes” themselves, and to show you how I fit these many individual recipes together as meals (and then repurpose the leftovers as more meals!).  Hopefully this will give you some menu-planning inspiration and remind you, for example, that this is the week to roast a few pans of tomatoes to freeze for the winter.

I’m thinking that I’ll do these updates mid-week, as I’m regrouping between weekend cooking sprees.  Also, “What’s Cooking Wednesday” is kind of cute, right?  Don’t worry, I’ll try not to give in to the attraction of alluring alliteration.  (Gah!)

Here goes.  Tell me what you think.

What’s Cooking in the Emmy’s Kitchen: Last Week of September 2012

Part 1: In the Kitchen

Menu 1: I filled my 7-quart crockpot with a batch of black beans and froze most of them.  A few cups went into a pot of seasoned black beans, which we ate with quinoa with corn and green onions (no feta this time), tomatillo salsa, and corn tortillas.  Today I had leftovers for lunch with a pile of nearly-charred red peppers and onions; tomorrow we’ll finish the beans off as huevos rancheros.  The leftover quinoa is destined for greens-stuffed quinoa cakes.

Menu 2: A friend who loves me came over and washed and sliced every bunch of greens from my CSA box (ruby chard, rainbow chard, collard greens, and mustard).  We sauteed the greens with an onion and the chard stems, then cooked half of them into a Pound-of-Greens Frittata with gruyere.  We ate the frittata with salad and dollops of sweet and spicy tomato jam (recipe coming this week).  Thin slices of leftover frittata replaced avocado in my favorite tomato sandwich the next day.  (By the way, we also tried some of your favorite tomato sandwiches from the comments on the tomato sandwich post, and especially enjoyed Nicole’s version with Vegemite.)

Menu 3: We had dinner with a few other couples here on Saturday and I made a big dish of baked pasta with roasted vegetables.  I also took advantage of the last opportunity to make a couple of my favorite salads from this summer: a watermelon and feta salad and the grilled kale salad with ricotta and plums.  We had a blackberry cake for dessert (it’s an almond-scented butter cake that also takes quite happily to nectarines, pears, peaches, plums…you get the idea.  Recipe coming someday).

Part 2: Preserving Summer

This week we made and canned the excellent sweet and spicy tomato jam from the Food in Jars Cookbook (watch for a giveaway tomorrow!).  We also did a batch of hot pepper jelly, which I had never made before, and I kept adding more chiles (and then red chile flakes) to taste enough heat.  Later it occurred to me that perhaps the jelly becomes spicier with time?  We’ll have to see how that one turns out!

I bought ten pounds of Roma tomatoes and roasted them to keep in the freezer.  I freeze them in a single layer on a tray and then move them to a freezer bag or jar.  This method ensures that the tomatoes don’t freeze into a solid block, so it’s easy to remove a handful at a time. Continue reading

Spicy Pickled Peppers

While we’re enjoying September’s fine harvest of assorted spicy peppers, why not preserve a few to enjoy when the season is over?

Honestly, my standard method for preserving peppers (of any kind) is to slice or chop them, pile them into a freezer bag, and put them in the freezer.  But you don’t need a recipe for that, do you?

You don’t need much of a recipe for this, either, but I always like to pickle a jar or two of mildly spicy peppers to enjoy in the fall.  This a a quick refrigerator pickle, which takes little time beyond slicing the peppers and simmering a simple brine for five minutes.  The investment will pay off many times over, since it only takes a few of these pickled pepper rings to spice up any meal. Continue reading