Tuesday, September 28, 2010

‘Tis the Season

Last Summer the peach surpassed the strawberry as my favorite fruit.  Blueberries made a quick trip to the best-seller list last spring, but then August came along and brought with her hundreds of lovely peaches.  I was so sad when peach season ended last year and so I was determined to make peachfest 2010 last as long as I could.  

So for the past week I have been canning some Lemon Elbertas. 


I had never canned peaches on my own before (I “helped” mom when I was younger, but I think that involved a lot of hiding, excuses and complaining more than anything else.)



My first batch was a little rough until I got a system down.  The last day I canned, I did an entire box (12 jars) in just over two hours.  That includes the 35 minute processing time.  Not bad.  Next up….canning applesauce. 

peaches 2

Monday, September 27, 2010

Vegetarian Chili

I haven’t been in a soup-mood for quite some time. Months, actually. Something changed this week (uh, like the weather) and I’m starting to bring my soups back into the rotation. Vegetarian Chili is one of the first soups to make an appearance each fall; it uses some of those fresh garden veggies, and doesn’t have that heavy-made-from-loads-of-cream feeling. Oh and the leftovers are amazing!
Here’s two ways to get this dinner to the table quickly:
option #1: Prep all of your veggies earlier in the day. Mince and chop everything and put it in the fridge. (A friend of mine preps for dinner right after breakfast. I like to do it right after lunch.) Then when it is time for dinner heat your pot, toss in all veggies and saute. The rest is easy – open all of the cans and dump them in!
option #2: Make the entire soup that morning (or at lunch, like me). About 20 minutes before meal time, heat it up and you’re ready!

California Vegetarian Chili

1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 zucchini, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
2 cans (14-oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 can black beans, drained
1 can great northern beans, drained
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 Tbsp yellow mustard

Heat oil in a large (6 qt) kettle. Add garlic and veggies. Saute until veggies are crisp-tender.
Add all other ingredients. Stir well. Cover and simmer at least 10 minutes, and up to 30 minutes. Serve and garnish with cheese and/or avocados.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Smores (a little late)

I realized today (with a bit of a heavy heart) that it is Fall. Every year I have to be dragged (kicking and screaming) into Fall. I cling to the last bits of Summer any way I can. However, when it looks like this:

(the view near Sundance, Utah)

I have to admit that Fall is here. There is no denying it. The leaves are changing, General Conference is around the corner, and I feel like baking pumpkin bread & making soups.

I really meant to share this Summertime tip with you earlier. I’m hoping it’s not too late. Maybe you can still manage one more campfire before it gets too cold? It’s a quick tip – not life changing by any means. Here it is:

This is how we do smores:

First, roast your marshmallow.

Next, sandwich it between two of these cookies. Eat.

We love these when making smores with kids. These cookies are the perfect size for one marshmallow (and the perfect size for little hands) and the chocolate melts right on to the warm mallow. Yum!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Menu No. 112


Monday – hamburgers, carrot sticks, peaches

Tuesday – spaghetti with a chunky pomodoro sauce, green beans, bruschetta

Wednesday – mozzarella/tomato/basil pesto panini

Thursdayvegetarian chili & skillet cornbread

Friday – eat out

Saturdayyo-yo dinner

Sunday – beef stew, rolls




Friday, September 17, 2010

Out of the Habit

I admit it. I am totally out of the habit of blogging. Somewhere in June I got tired of photographing everything before I ate it. I stopped taking detailed notes about how much of this and that I tossed into the pot. For a weekly menu I just scribbled down a list of things I thought would be delicious, without concern for what day each meal would fall on. I did keep cooking. And I did take a few photos. A few.

Last year we had just a few bean plants in our garden. This year we had 16. I discovered that it was just about the perfect amount for our family. It was wonderful – we were able to have fresh green beans for dinner every three to four days. Here is our favorite way to prepare them:

green beans

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

3-4 Tbsp onion, minced

1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped

olive oil

kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper

Pick beans, and trim the ends off. Cut beans to be similar lengths.

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add beans, boil 5 minutes uncovered. Check for doneness. Cover pot with a lid and boil another 3-5 minutes until done. I’ve found bean “doneness” to be a personal preference. I like softer beans, but if you like your beans with a little crunch, then don’t boil them as long. The size of the beans will determine cooking time as well.

Drain beans and set aside (this will help them dry a little as well. You really don’t want to toss wet beans into hot oil. Trust me.)

Mince garlic and onion, and chop rosemary.

Heat about 1 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat.

Add beans, garlic and onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently (don’t let the garlic & onions burn.) Sprinkle with rosemary, salt and pepper (to taste). Toss to coat. Remove from pan and serve.