Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Kitchen Queen Rides Again

Okay, one more tomato has passed all the tests here. You can tell by my measuring 'stick' how big it is, almost disguising itself as one of those tasty Brandywines.......almost.
Its size and flavor live up to its name:
Super Maarmalade!
After harvesting all my tomatoes yesterday because the temperatures are dipping for good (there is snow on Grangeville Mountain today!) this relentless Amish Paste, below, surpassed all my expectations. This is a washtub full from ONE plant! I gathered 4 washtubs of greeningtomatoes, placing them in a cool dark room.

Salsa has taken a back burner to roasted tomatoes today. The aroma in the house induces me to snack all day long for want of a taste. Below is a mixture of zucchini, garlic and tomatoes covered in a drizzle of olive oil, some kosher salt, a healthy sprinkling of basil and oregano. It took about 2 and a half hours at 350 degrees and warmed up the kitchen right nicely. Thanks for this idea and the recipe help, Connie!

The 'Piece de Resistance':
Green Tomato Pie
(my favorite, next to rhubarb custard)

Green Tomato Pie Recipe
Mix together:
1 1/3 cup sugar
6 2/3 T flour
1 t salt
1/1/3 t cinnamon or nutmeg
4 cups sliced green tomatoes
1 T vinegar
1/1/3 t lemon zest
Let sit while you make the crust of your choice. I always make a whole wheat crust because we don't do white flour any more. Place the filling into the botton crust, add 1 1/3 T butter in pieces on top.
Bake at 425 for 50-60 minutes.
Since I have only 10 inch pie pans I increase everything a little to adjust for a larger pie. You know how to do that, I'm sure.
I felt like the Queen of the Kitchen yesterday. And my DH, who has rules for what he eats (exotic? never eaten it before? "No thank you!"). could not stay out of the pie. After lunch I ask brightly, "Did you get enough?" His reply, with a twinkling eye, was "I think I need a few more vegetables." And, away he took himself to cut a big slice of pie. He is so funny! It is very much like Apple Pie, but not.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tastey Tomato 'Keepers'

My new measuring 'stick' is butter these days. We all know how big one is, so it is a perfect comparison tool. You may recall a few blogs ago I used butter to show the size of our plums, which are nearly finished.

You might also recall that I had a 'plant failure' in June because I'd forgotten to take the cover off the plants one day when it finally warmed up. The plants were 'baked', so to speak, and have taken their time in the recovery room. Today, in this Indian Summer weather, I have picked a bucket of luscious keepers.
I would love to be able to grow Brandywines and Principe Borghese, but they don't do well in the cool summers we endure here at 3000 feet near the mountains in Idaho.
The two favorite keepers in the bowl are the Amish Paste Tomatoes we jokingly call our footballs. They are meaty and flavorful. The Fedco catalog touts them as "prolific, good in drought and wet weather. They were also ranked as the 2nd best-tasting variety at the 2006 Heirloom Tomato Tasting at Decorah, IA." This year I was willing to give space for two plants, and will certainly do that again next year! The Cosmonaut Volkov is the other tomato in the bowl. It is "sweet, rich and fullbodied", says the Fedco Catalog, "always good and occasionally sublime." Both of these tomatoes have passed numerous tests here in the high mountain country where the days are short and cool. The heat of summer is short. We've already had one frost that I know of. And these just keep on tickin'!

You can see the plants have recovered quite well.

I am getting about 2 1/2 gallons each day right now. And you KNOW what I do with them if you read the last blog on Salsa!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Splendid Salsa ...Bon Apetit

This is the Splendid Salsa from the farmgirl kitchen where I've been acting like Julia Child is my best friend lately.
I know; I'm so fickle; MaryJane Butters was my best friend two weeks ago.

It is I doing my best Julia Child imitation.
After having seen the movie Julia and Julie I decided that my pearls had spent enough time in their beautiful box. I'm wearing them, along with the darling apron my sister Margy made for me. You KNOW I'm mad for aprons!

Here are the chopped tomatoes, which I usually put in quart freezer baggies and pop into the freezer. Our favorite use for these frozen tomatoes is salsa in the dead of winter. They act like they've never been frozen at all! I also pop limes (after cutting them in half) into the freezer for this recipe. They don't act like they've been frozen either! In fact, they are easier to juice.

Nygous tomatoes are the ones Connie has encouraged me to grow. And this is how I save the seeds of these and other favorites: I cut them on the cutting board and lay a napkin down on top to soak up the seeds. I label and date them, setting them in the sunroom to dry, then store them away for the winter. I've spelled the name wrong on the napkin, but you get the idea.
Anna's Salsa
1 quart of fresh or frozen tomatoes, chopped
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/2 lime squeezed
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons salt
We don't like our salsa hot, but you can add hot stuff (cayenne, tobasco) if you like.
Also, below is the requested recipe for pesto. I just found it on the internet, and there are many variations. This is one I like:
Pesto Sauce for Amuse Bouche
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Olive oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
Place basil leaves in small batches in food processor and whip until well chopped (do about 3/4 cup at a time). Add about 1/3 the nuts and garlic, blend again. Add about 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese; blend while slowly adding about 1/3 of the olive oil, stopping to scrape down sides of container. Process until it forms a thick smooth paste. Repeat until all ingredients are added, mix all batchs together well.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Amuse Bouche

Amuse Bouche, (pronounced ah mooz' boosh), is French for something to amuse your mouth (bouche), a tastey treat before dinner, like an hors d'oeuvre. Finally I have tomatoes! I made pesto from fresh basil in the garden, and stuffed these tiny sweet tomatoes. No everyone likes pesto, so I've surrounded the amuse bouche with some wedges for my "Girls Night Out" get together.
This bee is having a little Amuse Bouche too! We inspected honey bees today for the home-school science project to see how much pollen they were carrying. This bee was one of many on the Gailardia today.

Then, one of my favorite plants in the garden, thanks to Connie,
is the tall Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate. I delight in its height and winsome waving of slender arms in a breeze. Hunter and Carson are peeking out to show the height. They are almost as tall as I (not quite 5 feet), so you can see how tall this KMOtGG is!

A new apron!
My friend Lisa gave me a card table size tablecloth from her mother's things. It is the most darling apron I've made. And I'm keepin' this one! I could eat it up...another little amuse bouche ;).

Friday, September 4, 2009

Table for Two?

I have longed for a spot on the patio to set up a table for a romatic lunch or sweet tea time with a friend. My DH removed his table saw from the patio while I was gone to western Washington to care for my daughter and grand-daughter. Today I spent hours out there removing other items, storing garden equipment in a better fashion and setting up this little piece of heaven. The flowers are from the garden. The plums are just now ripening.
Would you get a look at the size of these puppies? They are almost as big as puppies, come to think of it!

My dear daughter, Kimber, with baby Dante beginning to show pretty well in front has been so sick with this pregnancy, suffering a raging ear infection for two weeks on top of morning sickness all day long even now at 27 weeks. She has recovered now and is back to work.

Isabella and I love to play beauty shop where she braids my very short hair, doctor where she fills my belly button with sparkly lip gloss and school where she is the bossy teacher, calling me Elizabeth, and telling me to be the snack monitor today.