Archive | September, 2012

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Thrift Shop

17 Sep

“A song about thrift-store shopping? Why, yes, I do believe I will post that on my blog.”

Green garden gazpacho

8 Sep

photograph of homegrown green zebra tomatoes, tomatillos, cucumber, basil, and chives

Gazpacho is one of my favorite things to make when the weather is warm. It’s tasty, healthy, and you can throw in just about anything.  We had a number of green zebra tomatoes, so I wanted to try making a green gazpacho using only veggies our garden.  To the tomatoes I added a few tomatillos, a small cucumber, and a ton of fresh basil and chives.  A little red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper rounded things out nicely.

Keep in mind that this is a special tomato variety that is green when ripe.  Unripe tomatoes will not be the same!  Using red tomatoes is fine.

quartered green zebra tomatoes on a pink cutting board

Most gazpacho recipes recommend peeling your tomatoes.  I never do this because I’m lazy and I think that putting them through the blender/food processor is fine.  So I just core and quarter my tomatoes.  Into the blender they go.  Easy as pie.

I did peel and seed the cucumber, though.  I guess I’m not very consistent.

green gazpacho topped with greek yogurt, basil and chives in a bowl with a green and blue retro starburst pattern.

Topped with a little Greek yogurt and some more olive oil, basil, and chives, this made a delicious (and good looking) lunch, and almost all of it came straight from the garden.

The best part, though, is that I didn’t need to turn on a burner to make it.  Hot weather food, for the win!

How do you like them apples

5 Sep

image of apples being prepared for applesauce

Well, it’s finally the most wonderful time of the year! No, not the holiday season but canning season.  These apples came from a family friend and of course the day I planned to make them into sauce turned out to be 90 degrees.  It seems like it’s a fact of life that any day you set aside for hot-water canning will turn out to be unseasonably hot.

This was my first time making applesauce but definitely not my first time canning.  Making this small batch of sauce really got me excited for the upcoming preserving season.  I can’t wait for the plethora of homemade pickles and other goodies.

If you’re interested in learning more about canning, you can download the USDA’s Complete Guide to Home Canning.  It’s free.  I also recommend tracking down a copy of Ball’s Complete Guide to Home Preserving; it’s basically our pickling bible around here.

Is there any sound as rewarding as the pop of a canning jar sealing?

Hot dog!

3 Sep

a hot dog on a toasted bun, with avocado, spicy sriracha mayo, grilled shrimp, and slivers of nori seaweed.

It’s Labor Day and that means it’s time to heat up the grill!  Usually when I think of gourmet grillables, hot dogs are not the first things that come to mind.  But back in June when I first cracked open that month’s Sunset Magazine to a feature on fancy-ing up your every day dog, I knew I had to give it a try.

Photo of hot dogs, shrimp and shredded nori, plus a magazine with the recipe that includes those ingredients

This weekend we decided to try out The Surfer Hot Dog, a dog topped with grilled shrimp, avocado, spicy mayo, and slivers of nori.  We made a few modifications to the recipe, spiral-cutting the dogs (as had been recommended by our dear friend and cook extraordinaire Sara) and letting them hang out in some homemade teriyaki marinade prior to grilling.  CHOW has a handy video on the how and why of spiral-cut hot dogs.

We served these bad boys with some of our homegrown tomatoes.  I roughly diced the large tomatoes and cut the smaller ones in half, tossing them with a homemade vinaigrette (rice wine vinegar, lime juice, sriracha, peanut oil, soy sauce) and chopped fresh basil.  I let them hang out on the counter for an hour before serving so that the tomatoes could soak up the dressing.  Pro-tip: don’t ever put tomatoes in the fridge! The cool temps ruin their flavor.

multi-colored tomato salad with basil in a light blue bowl

Sometimes recipes from magazines can be a disappointing, but these were worth the extra effort.  The same article included recipes for four other topped hot dogs (1, 2, 3, 4).  I think we’ll be trying out the Cowboy soon; spicy mustard, barbecue sauce, cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, and bacon crumbles? Someone sure knows the way to my heart!

a hot dog on a toasted bun, with avocado, spicy sriracha mayo, grilled shrimp, and slivers of nori seaweed.

Happy Labor Day! Happy grilling!

2012 tomato round-up, part 1

2 Sep

Homegrown tomato season is finally here!  I’ve been waiting for this moment for months and months; tasting that first grape tomato could not have been sweeter (both literally and figuratively)!  Since then, we’ve had a few different types of tomatoes ripen, so here’s a round-up of our tomato harvest thus far.

For our “normal” large, slicing tomato, we planted nine Siletz tomatoes.  These guys are great because they show up super early.  Even in our questionable Oregon growing season, we can rely on getting several Siletz tomatoes.

This pretty purple tomato is the Indigo Rose.  Released this year by the Oregon State University, this tomato has been bred to have high levels of anti-oxidants (you can read more about Indigo Rose tomatoes from the OSU extension service).  They’re a pretty rose color inside.  This is the only type of tomato in this post that I did not start from seed myself, but that doesn’t mean I love them any less!

These Chocolate-Cherry tomatoes are my favorite! We planted one of these guys last year and I loved them so much they were on the top of my list of “must plant food of 2012.”  We have six or seven plants this year, so let me know if you’d like to try some.  They really do taste chocolatey and they’re super-sized for a cherry tomato.

These Green Zebra tomatoes might win a contest for coolest looking tomatoes we’re growing this year.  Despite the green/yellow color, these babies are good ‘n ripe.  We traded away for a Green Zebra plant last year and Nate made a special request for them again this year.  This is the tomato that we have the most plants of, with a whopping 13.  I might have gotten a little carried away…

One of the coolest things about composting (besides free plant-food) are the little volunteer plants that pop up.  These SunGold cherry tomatoes were a favorite from years past but we didn’t get around to planting any this year.  I saved a few of the volunteer tomato plants that popped up this spring, hoping that one would be a SunGold.  I’ve been so excited to watch the fruit ripen to this bright orange color this past week.  SunGolds are super sweet, not for the faint of heart.

We also wound up with two volunteer grape tomato plants this year!  These babies were the first to ripen and I could not have been happier to see them.  Surprise tomato plants are among the best surprises!

We’re still waiting on some tomato varieties to ripen (Black Krim, Moskovitz, Old German) but we’re already deep in tomatoes.  Anyone interested in a tomato party with tomato jam, tomato salad, or maybe some truly homemade Bloody Marys?