Monthly Archives: October 2013

Pickled Rainbow Tomatoes with Italian Spices

DSC_0025The first frost is predicted to arrive this Wednesday so I harvested the remaining tomatoes and peppers. I set the damaged tomatoes and peppers aside to prepare meals this week and used the “perfect” tomatoes for canning.
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for 2 pint jars or 1 quart jar:

1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 cup water
1 Tablespoons natural sea salt (no anti clumping agents or iodine)

DSC_0029for each pint jar*:
1/8 of an onion wedged
1/4 Tablespoon dry oregano
1/4 Tablespoon dry basil
1 garlic clove; halved
1/4 teaspoon peppercorns
tomatoes at different stages; cut to bite sized pieces
* double for quart jar

Sterilize jars by boiling for 10 minutes. Pour boiling water over lids and rings and leave until ready to use.

Bring vinegar, water and salt to a boil and simmer until the salt dissolves and turn off heat.

DSC_0030Fill each hot sterilized jar with the spices and pack the jars full of tomatoes leaving a half inch of head space then pour the hot brine over the jars leaving half an inch of head space (if there isn’t enough brine add a 50/50 mixture of water/vinegar to fill the jars). Wipe the rim of the jars with a damp paper towel, place the lid on the jar and secure with the rings. Place the jars into a water bath, bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes. Open after 6 weeks when the flavors have matured.

Savory Tomatoes on the left and Italian Spiced tomatoes on the right.

Savory Tomatoes on the left and Italian Spiced Tomatoes on the right.

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Pickled Savory Rainbow Tomatoes

DSC_0025The first frost is predicted to arrive this Wednesday so I harvested the remaining tomatoes and peppers. I set the damaged tomatoes and peppers aside to prepare meals this week and used the “perfect” tomatoes for canning.
DSC_0024

for 2 pint jars or 1 quart jar:

1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 cup water
1 Tablespoons natural sea salt (no anti clumping agents or iodine)

DSC_0026for each pint jar*:
1 teaspoon fresh ginger; chopped
1 dried chili pepper
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
tomatoes at different stages; cut to bite sized pieces
*double spices for quart jar

Sterilize jars by boiling for 10 minutes. Pour boiling water over lids and rings and leave until ready to use.

Bring vinegar, water and salt to a boil and simmer until the salt dissolves and turn off heat.

DSC_0027 DSC_0028
Fill each hot sterilized jar with the spices and pack the jars full of tomatoes leaving a half inch of head space then pour the hot brine over the jars leaving half an inch of head space (if there isn’t enough brine add a 50/50 mixture of water/vinegar to fill the jars). Wipe the rim of the jars with a damp paper towel, place the lid on the jar and secure with the rings. Place the jars into a water bath, bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes. Open after 6 weeks when the flavors have matured.

Vegan Cream of Celeriac Soup

DSC_0028My mother used to make a cream of celeriac soup that, according to my father, was famous among their friends. On a visit to my father’s he was inspired to make this soup that he had no recipe for. He found a Hungarian recipe (what would we do without the world wide web?) that we prepared. Here is my version that is both easier and healthier (no butter or milk/cream).DSC_0017

1 large celeriac root; washed, pealed and cut into ½ inch cubes
1 tablespoons canola oil
1 onion; diced
1 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups water
1 large potato; washed, pealed and diced

fresh ground black pepper to taste

fresh parsley to garnish (optional)

DSC_0019 DSC_0021 DSC_0023 DSC_0025Wash and peal the celeriac root and cut into ½ inch cubes. Heat a large skillet over medium low heat and gently sauté celeriac in 1 tablespoon canola oil with lid on until it becomes slightly golden. Meanwhile, in a 3 or 4 quart soup pot over medium low heat sauté the onions and salt in 1 tablespoon canola oil with lid on until they become translucent. Add the water to the onions and bring to a boil. Add the celeriac cubes to the onion and water, return to boiling, reduce heat and simmer until the celeriac cubes are almost tender, about 10 minutes. (*Note the freshly harvested celeriac root from Hall’s Farm was tender after sauteing so I simply omitted the “simmer for 10 minutes till tender” step.) Add the potatoes and continue to simmer for 20 more minutes. Replenish water if necessary. Puree the celeriac, onion and potatoes with an emersion blender, in a blender or by pressing through a strainer/sieve. If the blender is plastic or straining through a sieve, allow the celeriac and water to cool slightly. Return the puree to the pot and reheat slowly on the stove. Serve as is or with some chopped parsley to garnish. I found that fresh ground black pepper was tasty so try it as the recipe states and add pepper as needed. In Hungary this type of soup is served with croutons but I made a sandwich with labneh left over from the weekend, tomato and lettuce for Xav while I had some gluten free chips in lieu of the crackers I was craving.

Clam Stew

DSC_00151 50-count bag fresh little neck clams
natural sea salt (not iodized)
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion; diced
1 small pepper; diced
2 stalks celery; diced
4 cloves garlic; minced
1 cup white wine (or 1/2 cup of vodka if there isn’t an opened bottle of wine on hand)
6-8 cups fresh tomatoes; diced (or a box of crushed tomatoes)
1 cup water
2 Turkish bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

The most difficult part of making this delicious stew is cleaning the clams. Place the clams in a large bowl/basin, cover with cold water and sprinkle with natural sea salt (not iodized) and let them soak while preparing the onions, peppers and celery. *Wash hands with warm soapy water after each time that you touch the raw clams to keep the kitchen and utensils sanitary.

Preheat a large stock pot over medium heat. Add olive oil, onions, peppers and celery. Cover and sauté. Meanwhile, transfer the clams to another bowl/basin and adding water and sea salt. Rinse the grit out of the first basin and reserve for future rinses.

Mince the garlic, add to the onion, pepper and celery and saute another minute. Add the wine and simmer for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, transfer the clams to the other bowl/basin and add water and sea salt. Rinse the grit out of the first basin and reserve for yet more rinses.

Prepare the tomatoes, add them to the pot, cover and simmer until the tomatoes break down. Meanwhile, scrub each clam with a brush and transfer to the fresh basin. Cover the now scrubbed clams with cold water and sprinkle with salt.

Add 1 cup water, the bay leaves and pepper to the pot, stir and continue to simmer. Continue rinsing the clams until there is no remaining grit in the bowl/basin.

Add another cup of water to the stew, bring the stew to a boil on high heat and add the clean clams when it is at a rolling boil, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Stir the stew checking the clams to see if they are open(ing). I needed another 5-10 minutes for the clams to open so replace the lid if needed and continue to cook. If the clams are not cooked through put the stirring spoon in the sink for sanitary reasons.

Serve this stew with a large bowl to discard the shells, bread, cheese and crackers. Note that there is no salt added to the stew because there is usually enough salt from the seafood.

Mutinus Mushroom

Check out this crazy mushroom that sprouted after the first rainfall this very dry fall.
DSC_0034According to the mushroom expert it is one of the mutinus mushrooms. Apparently, the slimy green area gets very stinky to attract flies that will spread the spores. No, I didn’t get close enough to smell it. Those are Angelo’s hand as he inspects his curious find.
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