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.

Part 3: On my plate

A box of peaches arrived from the Washington State Fruit Commission yesterday.  What a fun thing to get in the mail!  I’ve been browsing their Sweet Preservation website and I see peach jam in my immediate future.  Any favorite peach preserving recipes for me?  Peach-Cardamom Jam?  A chutney?

I’ll be posting the tomato jam recipe I mentioned above and giving away a copy of the Food in Jars Cookbook this week (thank you Marisa and Running Press!).

And I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again: I’ve got my eye on Alana’s hot sauce from The Homemade Pantry.

Part 4: Thanks for Cooking with Emmy Cooks!

I love reading your comments here and I get inspiration from so many other writers!  It’s always fun to see my posts show up across the web as well.

The Cook’s Life improved those Healthy Cookies (originally from Blue Kale Road) by filling them with peanut butter and chocolate.

Life Through the Kitchen Window also cooked a pot of chickpeas (and she turned hers into good-looking butternut squash and chickpea cakes!).

My Sister’s Pantry enjoyed my Tomato and Nectarine Salad with Basil, and shared more vegan inspiration for using up those late-summer veggies.

Thanks again for being part of the Emmy Cooks community!  If you like what you see here, you can sign up on the sidebar to receive a daily recipe by email, or follow Emmy Cooks on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.


35 thoughts on “What’s Cooking: September 2012, Week 4

  1. Laura

    I like this new feature. I’m also looking forward to Mushroom Mondays, Tomato Tuesdays, Three-Cheese Thursdays, Frittata Fridays, Sorbet Saturdays, and of course Sunflower Seed Sundays.

    Oh, wait — you said you wouldn’t go overboard with alliteration. Never mind.

    1. emmycooks Post author

      This is a busy time of year! I’m sure your kitchen is feeling that way as well. Soon the fruits and veggies will become scarcer and things will mellow out–there’s never a hurry to cook lentil soup before the lentils go bad. :)

  2. Sarah

    Great idea! I am looking forward to the tomato jam recipe too! And thanks for the link and shout out about the healthy cookies. Still eating those for breakfast and snacks. Probably I like them a little too much…

    1. emmycooks Post author

      Well, this week was busier than usual because there are so many great fruits and veggies still coming in! But as you yourself know well, once you get in the cooking groove you just fit it in. :)

  3. Hannah

    Wow, this is a terrific idea! I love your round up of recipes here and am adding roasted tomatoes and chickpeas to my to-do list for today. The Preservation Kitchen has a great recipe for Peach Saffron Jam. Can’t wait to see what you do with your peach bounty!

    1. emmycooks Post author

      Thank you for the great idea–part of what I did with my peach bounty was to make that peach saffron jam! Have you made or had it? I ended up making a much sweeter version and am going to post about it tomorrow. :)

      1. Hannah

        I’ve made a simplified version – just cooking and mashing the peaches, skipping the part of letting the jam sit overnight and then running thru a foodmill. I’m not normally a big saffron fan but I like the way it blends with the sweet peaches, giving them a rather musky flavor. Look forward to seeing your post on it!

  4. safifer

    I think that this is a fantastic idea–something that should help those who have issues with cooking for one to manage the leftovers and to learn more about improvisation! Thank you!

    1. emmycooks Post author

      If I can convert one person to loving leftovers, it’s all worth it. Leftovers = a day without cooking! And as much as I love to cook, I love great food that I didn’t have to cook even more. :)

      1. safifer

        I’m with you there–it is good to have the occasional day without cooking. I just don’t want my “leftovers” to taste that way, but planned conversion easily to a “new” dish makes them welcome!

  5. littleveg

    It’s fun to read about the way cooking flows in your life and how much you share that with friends. I almost felt like I was in your kitchen helping wash greens, too! Great idea. I look forward to next Wednesday.

    1. emmycooks Post author

      Thanks, Allison! I realized too late that this week was probably a bad one to start because I was so busy in the kitchen. Expect future weeks to be far more unimpressive. :)

  6. musingmar

    Thank you for the shout out, Emmy; I appreciate the links to my site! I really like the idea of your ‘what’s cooking’ feature. I for one am always interested to see what’s going on in your kitchen. Like you, I don’t just cook new recipes all the time; lots of the time I’m remaking old favourites and this is a good way to showcase those again. I also like the way the weekly recap gives a sense of the rhythm of your kitchen. As you know, I’m a huge fan of your blog, and if a day goes by when I miss one of your posts, I make sure to catch up later. Cheers, Mar PS – those jars of jelly look amazing, but I’m wondering how hot they really will be; you’ll have to let us know!

    1. emmycooks Post author

      Thanks, Mar! I think we are kindred spirits in the kitchen and I so enjoy cooking with you from afar! :) But uh oh–do you think that jelly’s going to be crazy hot? I will open a jar in a few weeks and report back. :)

      1. musingmar

        I do feel that kindred kitchen spirit with you! Back when my kids were little (my three are the same age ranges as yours, just grown up now) it would have been so wonderful to have been able to share and make connections on the blogosphere like we can do now. But no looking back!

        I’m sure curious to hear how that jelly turned out! I have a whole host of ‘never-haves’ on my kitchen list, including jam and jelly making, and canning in general. When the time comes, I’ll be turning to your recipes yet again. Just goes to show how we all learn from each other, regardless of what stage we’re at in life!

  7. Pingback: Simple Pleasures ❦ Tomatoes, Roasted Slowly | life through the kitchen window

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