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?
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.
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.
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.This 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 →
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
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 →
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 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 →