Today was the first pickup we’ve had in the thunderstorm. Thank goodness for a storage shed nearby that we could use as a pickup location!
Here’s what we received this week:
Fennel – The licorice taste of fennel is great in a salad. I like to thinly shave it and toss with some lettuce, parsley, bell pepper, radishes, lemon juice, and olive oil. You can also braise it with stock and white wine, but I prefer it fresh.
Cabbage – Homemade sauerkraut.
Basil and tomatoes – Caprese sounds pretty good in this hot weather.
Cucumbers – I already ate one with some salt tonight. I’m going to eat at least another one of these that way, too. One of my favorite snacks. The other two I’ll probably make into dill pickles.
Eggplant, pepper, onion, zucchini, and cilantro – I want to make a maqluba, a middle eastern chicken and rice dish. Dinner in an Instant has an Instant Pot version I’ve been wanting to try.
Lettuce, greens, and tomatoes – As always, salads! I’ll spice it up this week with the fennel above.
Amanda and I canned two varieties of tomatoes from our small garden for the first time. Someone stole them all last year and we didn’t get many the year before):
We also canned some beautiful heirlooms from our
Peace and Carrots Farm CSA.
This was our first time canning tomatoes and here is what we learned:
Tomatoes can be canned via the
water bath method as long as you acidify them. We used 1/4 tsp of citric acid per pint. We use whole canned tomatoes much more than we use paste or crushed tomatoes, so we canned all of ours whole.
We opted to put them in pints because most of the dishes I use canned tomatoes for take either 1 or 2 pints.
All of the San Marzano tomatoes in our cabinet had salt and a basil leaf added, so we mimicked that and added those things to ours, too. We have basil growing right here in our apartment, so it worked well.
The best way to peel tomatoes is to cut a small X in the bottom with a knife (doesn’t need to be deep, just break the skin), drop them in a pot of boiling water for 45 seconds or until the skin starts to peel away on its own, then fish them out and put them in an ice bath until they are cool enough to handle. The skin should peel right off easily.
funnel included with the AeroPress doubles as an excellent canning funnel. You can tightly pack tomatoes down into a jar and they will create their own liquid as you squeeze them in. You shouldn’t need to add any.
Jar lifters are a must. You WILL burn yourself if you try to MacGyver a solution like I did.
They are only $5 and very useful. Get one.
We got 8 pints this year! We know it isn’t a lot, but we are pleased to have gotten so many out of our small garden. We’ll savor each and every one of them this winter.
We had a dozen ears of corn in the fridge a few weeks ago and were sick of corn on the cob, so I started searching for interesting ways to use it. After searching for various combinations of ingredients we had on hand + corn, I found this:
Chesapeake Corn, Tomatoes & Basil by Jennifer Segal and Once Upon a Chef.
It was so good that we ended up making multiple batches of it. You can serve it either hot or cold. It makes a great picnic dish!
I made some modifications to Jennifer’s recipe to speed up the prep and cooking time. Here is my modified version:
4 ears of corn
4 tablespoons ghee
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
2 medium tomatoes, diced (we used some flavorful heirloom green tiger tomatoes, but any tasty variety will work!)
10 fresh basil leaves,
Shuck the corn and cut it off the cob. (An
offset serrated knife is great for this.) Dice the tomatoes and chiffonade the basil.
Heat the ghee for a few minutes in a skillet at around 3/4 power. I prefer
cast iron, but any skillet will do. Toss in the corn and cook until it starts to brown (see the images below). Move it around regularly with a wooden spatula to prevent it from burning.
Once the corn starts to brown, turn the burner off and move the corn into a bowl. Add the Old Bay, diced tomatoes, and basil. Toss to combine.
Remove the corn from the cob
Brown the corn
Remove from the skillet and add Old Bay, tomatoes, and basil
Toss to combine
Green Beans: Putting 1/4 of them in cauliflower rice and the rest we’ll steam and toss with butter and garlic.
Potatoes: We turned these beauties into a breakfast skillet.
Tomatillos: We’ll probably turn these into either a salsa or a stew this weekend. We’ll see.
Green Peppers: We put one into tacos and another into the aforementioned breakfast skillet. The other two will probably go into salads.
Heirloom tomatoes: We turned one into a glorious BLT and the second into a caprese salad.
Regular tomatoes: I cut up one for a taco salad. The other two will probably go into regular salads.
Cherry tomatoes: I cut each of these in half and made a quick pasta sauce (which we ate with Banza chickpea pasta) with onions, garlic, and oregano.
Yellow Squash: I’ll probably cut this up and add it to a big salad for a Friday picnic.
Green chiles: I added a few of these to tacos so far. The rest might go in the tomatillo salsa or stew.
Here is the BLT and breakfast skillet:
Onions – We used one for a breakfast skillet with potatoes and another in cauliflower rice.
Hot peppers – There are three different types here: Jalapeno (left), shishito (middle), and some unknown long green chiles (right). We used the 4 shishito in cauliflower rice.
Green tiger tomato – We’ll either use this for another caprese salad, or perhaps roasting with some garlic for a simple side dish.
Green peppers – We used one in a breakfast skillet and another in cauliflower rice. I’ll use the other two for similar things.
Garlic – We’ll probably save this, use up the garlic we have, then use this. It is a hardneck variety, so it will last a while.
Tomatoes – We put one in a corn and tomato salad with Old Bay. We’ll put the others in salad or roast them.
Not pictured: A beautiful heirloom tomato, just like last week. We made it into another caprese salad with our apartment-grown basil.