Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dehydrator Dried Tomatoes

Plate of dried tomato slices
Dried Heirlooms & Super Bushes

Method from Excalibur and TomatoDirt

Tomatoes! Here in the Santa Cruz mountains, we still have them ripening like crazy in the garden. I’ve made baked tomato sauce and slow cooker tomato sauce, which I’ve frozen for a rainy (January) day. Bruce made raw tomato sauce and I experimented with baked tomatoes and even candied tomatoes. We’ve had herbed tomato soup, fresh tomatoes with basil and balsamic, chili spiced Romanesco cauliflower, turkey Hungarian goulash, squash with fresh tomato sauce, and more tomato/veggie/pasta dishes and salads than we can count. Freezer is filling up. What’s next? Dried tomatoes!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce

Slow Cooker Pasta Sauce over Chicken and Kale
Pasta Alternative: Cooked Chicken and Kale

Recipe created from Conversation at Farmers’ Market

I love men who can cook and like to do so. It’s especially heartening to see young men experimenting with their own recipes and talking about them. Such was the case at the farmers’ market a few weeks back when a handsome young tomato vendor told me how he’d cook the discounted sauce tomatoes he was selling. Yes, I know it was a sales pitch. And it would have worked if I didn’t have 5 lbs. of tomatoes at home already. It almost worked anyway.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Harvest Vegetable Chowder

Bowl of Veggie Chowder
Instant Love!

Recipe adapted from Healing Foods

Welcome to Fall! Sometimes we need a bit of comfort food to ground ourselves. Perhaps we’ve been betrayed by a trusted friend, perhaps we feel alone in our world, perhaps we’re just stressed and need some nurturing…and perhaps I’m just projecting. Perhaps the change of season has left us a little blue. In any case, comfort food doesn’t really help if it’s filled with unhealthy ingredients. That’s not taking best care of ourselves. So I present a milk-based vegetarian chowder filled with comforting whole ingredients like corn, potatoes, and winter squash. Worked for me, and hope it does for you too.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Candied Tomatoes

2 Candied Tomatoes on Plate
A Most Unusual Recipe

Recipe adapted from the Hawaii Kai Cookbook

The words candied and tomatoes are rarely seen together. But once you do see them together, they create a strange and compelling idea in the mind, at least in my mind. Since tomatoes are technically fruits, the candied concept seems plausible. Until you consider that eggplant, green beans, and peppers are also fruits, because they too contain seeds.  And what’s up with sweet onion in the candy part? Clearly this is one unusual recipe. But since it was served in an iconic NYC restaurant specializing in Hawaiian cuisine, how could it not be good?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Baked Tomatoes

Baking Dish of Baked Tomatoes
Whimsical Side Dish

Recipe adapted from Healing Foods

Sometimes I love it when I’m wrong. Like when I first read Miriam Polunin’s Healing Foods, and dismissed it because some of the nutritional information, from the carbo-loading era, was outdated. I did copy a few of the recipes before returning the book to the library, and throughout the years every one of the recipes I’ve tried has turned out fabulous. So, not only did I revise my review on Goodreads, I’m also going to order the book. Baked Tomatoes follow Carrot-Cilantro Soup, Golden Beet Soup with Herbs, and Healthy Polish Carrot Cake in the string of hit recipes from this book. To try next: Veggie Chowder. If these recipes resonate with you, perhaps you’d like to treat yourself to this bargain price cookbook as well.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Southwestern Three Sisters Stew

Bowl of 3 Sisters Stew with Sour Cream and Cilantro
Healthy & Delish, with or without Garnish

Adapted from Cooking By Moonlight

If someone told me that I could only cook from one cookbook for the rest of my life, I’d choose Karri Ann Allrich’s “Cooking by Moonlight, a Witch’s Guide to Culinary Magic.” Perfect for seasonal cooks, this book contains full menus with recipes for every moon (month) of the year, including a special section for blue moons. Chapters on developing seasonal intuition, stocking a moonlit kitchen, using herbs and spices magically, and even love foods lead the mind to endless possibilities. Also, every single one of the recipes is absolutely fabulous. I would love to meet this woman!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fresh Raw Tomato Sauce with Garlic and Herbs

Plate of Shiritaki noodles with Fresh Tomato Sauce
Traditionally Served at Room Temperature

Recipe by Bruce and Robin

While perusing cookbooks and recipe websites I often get the impression that Bruce and I like garlic and herbs more than the average person. Such was the case this week when we researched fresh tomato sauce. America’s Test Kitchen wizard Christopher Kimball fries up garlic in quite a bit of oil, but strains out the garlic and adds only the oil to his sauce. Spendid Table’s food maven Lynn Rosetto Kasper rubs the serving bowl with a clove of garlic, but then discards it before adding the tomatoes. Many recipes use no garlic whatsoever. We wondered: what would happen if we just minced up some garlic and threw it into the mix? So we tried it with two small cloves.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Quick Turkey Hungarian Goulash

Plate of Hungarian Goulash
With Wholegrain Penne Pasta

Recipe by Mom and Robin

Consider tomatoes as a possible comfort food. Just picked from the garden, still warm from the sun, yes. Cold from the fridge and sliced up in a salad, not so much. With tomato harvests reaching their peak, it’s time to figure out how to use mass quantities, while creating comforting meals that are also healthy. That’s a tall order. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Peach Raspberry Jam

5 jars of jam with big peach and raspberries
It's All About the Fruit

Recipe adapted from Sunset magazine, August 2006

Peaches and raspberries, my absolute favorite fruits. Peach melba aside, we rarely see them combined. Since both peach and raspberry seasons are winding down, now is the perfect time to preserve these fruits in a jam to enjoy all winter. As you’ll remember from August’s recipe, raspberry jam is tricky because if it’s cooked down too much, there are too many seeds and too little jellied fruit. Peaches are the perfect foil for this dilemma, adding fruity bulk without seeds and lightening the color from crimson to an agreeable bright red. And the flavor is unique and fun.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

September Veggies and Recipes

Magenta Dahlia and Yellow Calendulas
Dahlia in Calendula Patch

Last Precious Days of Summer, then Fall

Golden days of September have arrived, and with them the bountiful harvests of late summer and early fall. During this transitional time we have a unique chance to mix summer and fall veggies and fruits together in our menus. Combinations such as plums with pears, apples with blueberries, and tomatoes with winter squash and corn are possible during this brief time. Indulge your creativity and invent a mixed fruit crumble or a summer/fall stew!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Peach Cobbler

Dish of Cobbler with Spoon
After Increasing Amount of Peaches

Recipe adapted from Crumbles & Cobblers

Are you baffled by recipes that call for 6 peaches or other fruits? I am, especially when the recipe comes from another country. How big are these fruits, and how much does each one weigh? Are our fruits bigger or smaller than theirs? Does the size of the peach stone matter? If I guess will the recipe come out right? Or wrong? In most recent experience…wrong. But fear not, cobblers aren’t rocket science (like pies and yeast breads are), so for this recipe FAIL there is redemption.