Monday, September 10, 2012

Grapes. Again.

Yep.  These again. Apparently, I was meant to make jam this year.

Grape jam is incredibly labor intensive.  The grapes have to be cleaned, removed from the vine and sorted into usable and unusable grapes.  Then, each grape has to be separated from its peel.

The recipe that I followed (Blue Chair Jam cookbook's Concord Grape Jam) had me cooking down the grape guts and then reacquainting them with their skins along with sugar, lemon juice, orange juice and orange zest.

The result is delicious!  I think it is so much tastier than grape jelly would have been.  I like the texture that the peels add.

Also, for the record, I made another batch of juice, too.  I have officially drawn the line.  No more grapes.  Until next year, that is!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cherry Tomato Soup

We are at the peak of these beauties coming out of our garden.  Growing big tomatoes is nice and all, but the little ones are my favorite.  They are so versatile.  I would even go so far as to say they are the candy of vegetables.  Although, that may not be accurate, because I am pretty sure these are technically considered to be fruit.  Any which way, they are freaking scrumptious and have endless potential.

I made a soup with them that I definitely want to repeat.  It was meant to be a bisque, but before adding the cream I tasted it and decided it was perfect just as it was.  The inspiration for this soup came from the bisque soup recipe in this post. I changed it a little bit and it was super impressive for a super small amount of labor (if you don't count the part where we planted, grew and picked them).

Cherry Tomato Soup
Yields approximately 7 cups


  • 6-7 cups of cherry tomatoes, ideally a mix of varieties.  I used sun golds, yellow pear and sweet 100s
  • 3 cups vegetable broth/stock
  • 5 cloves of garlic, roughly minced
  • 1/2 of a medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 5 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt and pepper, if needed


  1. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat.
  2. Saute the onions and garlic until soft and fragrant
  3. Add the tomatoes and broth
  4. Let simmer for about 30 minutes, until the tomatoes have mostly broken down
  5. Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender or in a blender
  6. Add salt and pepper, if needed.

Garnish with your choice of cheese, avocado, basil, pepitas or whatever else sounds good to you!

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we also have Hillbilly heirloom tomatoes coming out of the garden at a steady pace.  Big as a baby's head, they are.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Visit to Dave's BrewFarm

Over the weekend, we spent a lovely evening with friends at Dave's BrewFarm
Some photos to remember the evening by:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

There is a funny thing about spending your time and energy preserving food, you tend to not have enough to time to eat well at the same time!  I have been eating a lot of "pick-up meals", which is what we called meals made up of a bunch of miscellaneous finger food when I was growing up.  These meals oftentimes consist of cut up veggies and fruit and some variation of cheese and crackers.  While well and good in its own right, it doesn't feel like it is doing the bounty of the season justice to be consuming each item raw and separately every day.  Over the past (long!) weekend, I attempted to switch the preserving/cooking ratio to a better balance.  At the same time, our purple tomatillo plants let go of a 1/2 pound of ripe tomatillos.

A half pound is not enough to preserve, but it is certainly enough to make a small batch of tomatillo salsa for now!  And, by now, I mean that we ate the whole batch the day I made it.  Delicious!

The variety we are growing is purple, which yields a stunning purple green combo with a charming heart-shaped interior. This small batch recipe comes together quickly and easily.  The little bit of heat comes from the raw garlic, which is a heat I enjoy in salsa much more so than a pepper-based heat.

I gave Paul a taste to ask his opinion on the saltiness as I was finishing this batch.  He followed me back to the kitchen shortly after and found me taking this photo.  He patiently waited for me to take the shot before asking, "Can I eat that?".  With that kind of reaction, I figured this is a recipe I better record for future use!

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
This salsa is fabulous with tortilla chips.  Warming it with black beans and adding it to a burrito is also highly recommended.
yields 1 to 1-1/2 cups and is easily sized up for a bigger batch


  • 1/2 pound tomatillos (purple or green)
  • 1 banana pepper, cored and seeded
  • 1/4 of a medium onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • handful of cilantro leaves (approx. 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • salt


  1. Cut the tomatillos in half and lay them cut side down on a foil lined baking sheet.
  2. Broil until the skin starts to darken and the tomatillos are soft (about 5-7 minutes)
  3. Place tomatillos along with all the ingredients (except the salt) in a food processor.
  4. Process on low until all ingredients are chopped.
  5. Add salt to taste.

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