9.06.2006

I've been busy canning and putting up food, so the updates here have been fewer than usual. Anyone notice?
Here are some of the successes, and minor, but not quite heartbreaking, failures:
Beer bread pizza: entirely a success. Topped with Charlie's homemade spaghetti sauce (which I canned several weeks ago), fresh Japanese eggplant and green zebra tomatoes.
A hint: infuse your crust with rosemary and garlic. Delicious!
An aside: the green zebra tomatoes were recommended by many a great gardener, and anyone who says they are incredible. . .we'll they're understating the truth. For a green tomato, these little guys are sweet and tomatoey, nothing bland or tart about 'em. Though they are small, these are what a tomato should taste like.
Beer Bread Rolls: So we immediately ate the pizza, but before we cooked the crust I split the dough in half and made 6 rolls. Those are in the freezer, waiting for a night when we're both too tired to cook.
A hint: Get your partner involved in the beer bread escapades. I put all the ingredients minus the beer in the bowl and Charlie jumped in and finished up. It was so easy he made another batch last night (with fresh basil rather than rosemary) to accompany the next item.
Vegetable Lasagna: We are partially making up for my 10 years as a vegan making all these cheesy foods, and also preparing me for the vegan life again. . . This lasagna was made with the other half of a quart of spaghetti sauce from the pizza, a couple more ripe Japanese eggplants, red and green zebra tomatoes, and other miscellaneous tomatoes from the garden. More fresh basil, and I'm not sure what else, I stayed out of the kitchen for this one. I was upstairs crafting away with the mister slaved over a hot stove, and the next thing I knew he had gone over to the neighbors to see if we could bring our lasagna over for dinner. Of course, they concurred and we had a great, fun, and spontaneous dinner party for 4. The lasagna was incredible.
An Aside: Brandywines may be slightly shamed by the flavor of the zebras, but let them vine ripen and they do beat them size-wise. They ripen to a great, juicy, multi-purpose tomato that still beats the grocery store varieties by miles.
Roasted Tomatillo Sauce: This tomato sauce was meant to be canned salsa, but the man doesn't like cilantro so I opted out of canning it with the cilantro. I roasted 1 cayenne pepper, 1 onion, and 2 cups of tomatillos, all drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. When the roasting was finished, I threw it in the blender with a hefty dose of lemon juice and vinegar (both for the flavor and acidity while canning) and heated it back up on the stove with 2 diced Brandywines thrown in. I haven't cooked with it yet, but because the tomatillos were purple the sauce came out an odd sort of khaki color.
Lemony Fig Preserves: This was a test batch; the ingredients included 2 T lemon juice, 3 thinly sliced lemons with seeds removed, 1 cup grape juice, 6 cups figs, 3 cups sugar, and Ball Jar No Sugar Pectin. The grape juice really should be something less recognizable (like apple juice or white grape juice) but it leant the preserves a gorgeous finished color. While the blackberry preserves from earlier in the summer were delicious with jammed with pectin, I think the figs need the syrupy sweetness of full sugar. The mister enjoyed it on beer bread, but last year's whole grain bread from my SIL with the full onslaught of sugary fig jam was perhaps one of the most memorable food experiences of recent memory.
A Hint: Use lemons for lemon curd, keep them out of your fig preserves.
An Aside: The figs have pushed out the last of this year's bounty. Tonight I plan on following through with Fig Chutney, but maybe I will split the figs and make a small batch of chutney and a small batch of old faithful fig preserves. I can't imagine the next 10 months without such a delight!

1 comment:

Blackswamp_Girl said...

I'm confused... you've been a vegan before and are making up for it now, but you're going to go back to being vegan again? Vegan or not, your beer bread pizza, lemon curd, etc., sounds delicious!