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Archive for the ‘cooking’ Category

What to do with a plethora of sweet cherry tomatoes.. pickle em! My market customers are going to love these little babies. 🙂 Yumma!

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❤ Thanks so much for my new kitchen helper, Beth! She’s already being put to the task this afternoon, readying for tomorrow’s market day! 🙂

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With our growing season a little later here this year, we’re just now have bundles and bundles of garlic scapes for the picking in the gardens for the next week or two. Yummy, Jimbo!

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For those not familiar with scapes…. the garlic scape is the flower shoot that has shot up from the stem of a hardneck garlic bulb when growing. The scapes are slender, bright green, and often twisting and turning in elegant swan-like shapes. Shortly after they appear, which seems to happen almost overnight, it is important to snap them off of the rest of the stem to allow the garlic plant to instead put its energy into growing the garlic bulb, which will be harvested a couple of weeks later.

A favorite of mine, the  scapes have a flavor that is definitely garlic, but much mellower, with hints of herbal summerness. They make a stunning pesto, turning into an outrageously bright green paste that keeps its color when cooked or frozen. I will often just puree garlic scapes with olive oil and freeze in about one cup portions that will keep for several months.

Always on the lookout for new oils and vinegars for homemade salad dressings, this year I made garlic scape infused vinegar. It will still be a week or so before it hits its full potency, but so far so good, and the snaking scapes in the bottles are stunning if nothing else. The vinegar will be beautiful in simple vinaigrettes to dress greens and cucumbers from the garden, and also added to a marinade for grilling meat and seafood, splashed on sauteed chard, collards or kale, or for dunking crusty grilled bread. If your herb garden is overflowing, you can experiment a bit, and try adding a few sprigs of basil, thyme, dill or even a dried chili pepper to the bottle. Or, chop the scapes and add to potato or macaroni salad…  like to grill? Roll those beauties in olive oil and toss them on the grill.. once charred, sprinkle with fresh grated Romano cheese.

And because I have so many of these scapes right now… I decided to make a new jam for farmers market as well.  Simply scrumptious!

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Don’t let scape season escape you! You’ll be sorry if you do… don’t grow garlic? No excuse! Get to your nearest farmers market and pick up a handful! 🙂

 

 

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Early  October and only a light frost here so far. Everyone is saying it’s been their best garden season in a long time. Dry, hot summer days with lots of watering this year. We were rewarded with a glorious harvest. Today after I finished cleaning out the seasonal beds, and setting next years garlic bed, (yes, Jimbo it’s time) I picked the last of my hot peppers for some of my hot pepper jellies, relishes and  hot sauces.

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My name is J… and I am a recipe addict! Or I should say.. was.

A few months ago, after a recent move I made the decision that it was time to sell a rather large cookbook collection I’ve had for over 25 years. Why was I saving recipes from twenty five years ago? Cooking styles have surely changed over these years that more than half of the bookmarked recipes were for things I would never make any more. I was thrilled to find a wonderful cookbook dealer who assured me, my library of 900 treasured books would all go to good homes.. Of course before I made my decision I had to go through them all one more time because there was one favorite recipe that I couldn’t be without. Enough already! Admittedly, this is how a recipe addict thinks, but in addition to my favorite recipes.. I got into the habit years ago, of sticking family recipes into my books as well, along with family pictures that were very special to me. They just brought an instant smile or warm remembrance of a special event or special person, that called for a certain recipe, whenever I reached for my books.

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My daughter came to visit in the midst of all this madness and suggested that I put my favorite recipes on to the computer, but I couldn’t even begin to fathom the length of time that would take, and what if I forgot to do backups? Well it ended up taking me 3 weeks to go through each & every book, sort the keepers and separate the ones I would part with.

Yes, I still have a very nice collection, but now actually manageable, and space in my new kitchen. I’ve been slowly putting some of them into computer files.. but it’s just not the same for me. I actually prefer having a book with my hand scribbled marginal notes from years ago in it.. There definitely are memories connected with them and as I gazed at my faded writing and that smudge of cinnamon and butter encrusted on the pages, I’m transported back to that time years ago when I baked my first apple pie for my own daughters during the holidays. And yes, what about all those hand written recipe cards with recipes from my mom’s collection, my Nonna’s recipes brought from Naples? My sister’s famous Leg of Lamb, Uncle Pete’s famous lobster pie recipe? Auntie Ella’s arancine or baccala salad, Jimbo’s fabulous Prime Rib.. or his famous Guiness Beer Brats.  I’ll always hang on to those. Whenever I make Ma’s delicious apple pie I get out that recipe card, even though I know it like the back of my hand… and many of my favorites are up on my cooking blog or in my journal for safe keeping. 🙂

My newest cookbook, a birthday gift from my daughter, Top Chef-The Cookbook, with an inscription.. ‘this will just be a start to your new collection of cookbooks 🙂 Bon Appetit’. So whether old or new, collecting cookbooks and recipes .. like dear old friends, will always remain in this addicts life!

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They cleaned me out at farmers market this week, so..its gonna be a dilly of a morning.

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Well I guess it had to happen–summer is drawing to a close.  And though we’d never know it today on this perfect eighty degree day, I’ll be reminded in a few short months of how great a summer it’s been.  The garden did flourish..the yields just fabulous!  My cupboards are well stocked with pickles,  salsa’s, preserves, jams and jellies, relishes and more than enough tomato sauce to feed an army.  The freezer is well stocked with frozen berries and fruits of the season gone by.

Gorgeous apples are just plentiful this year, so that will be the next outing for us.  I’m thinking of all the pies and crisps I will prepare with my larder.

But by far, my favorite fruit of the summer is–the peach.  Freshly picked, so wonderfully juicy– You know the ones I mean–the kind that when you first bite into them, those scrumptious juices drip down onto your chin. Those mealy, impenetrable fruits that you pay a small fortune for during the winter just can’t possibly compare.   So I’ve put you into jars  and we’ll be remembering the good times  of another great season when our north winds blow.  Sigh–  See you again next summer.

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