Browsing Category

summer veggies

Tomato-Fest Salsa

By August 11, 2014 building relationships with others, feeding ourselves, nurturing, pleasure, slowing down, summer, summer veggies

I spent all of last weekend at a cozy home in the woods with 70 pounds of tomatoes and a good friend. We made fresh tomato juice, canned tomatoes, made salsa, and had an all-around grand time together.

image

I called this endeavor Tomato-fest. I posted many photos on Facebook and Instagram. I had people contact me to ask for recipes.

This has been a good year for tomatoes. I think that many folks with gardens this year have tomatoes coming out of their ears.  Here’s one of the recipes that I made during tomato-fest. Enjoy!

image

Tomato-fest Garden Salsa

You can make this recipe for immediate enjoyment or you can process your jars of salsa in a water bath canner to preserve it. I have done both. This year I wanted to preserve this salsa so that I will have jars of garden fresh flavors around into the winter months. I prepared a batch 3x’s this recipe. If you have a large quantity of tomatoes, you can multiply this recipe easily. You could use any kind of tomatoes that you like. I had an abundance of roma’s.

Equipment you will need:

1 large mixing bowl

A cutting board

A sharp knife

Food processor

A large baking sheet

Aluminum foil or silpat non-stick baking mat

Ingredients for 2 quarts of salsa:

4 lbs of roma tomatoes (you can use any tomatoes that you have in abundance)

1 medium red onion

juice of 4 limes

1 bunch of cilantro

2 roasted Serrano peppers

1 fresh jalapeño

1 tablespoon of sea salt, plus more to taste

1/2 tablespoon of black pepper, plus more to taste

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with a silpat baking sheet or aluminum foil.

Core the tomatoes. Cut the tomatoes in half and place them in a large bowl. Once you have all of your tomatoes halved and cored, toss the tomatoes with 1 tablespoon of sea salt and 1/2 tablespoon of black pepper. Allow the tomatoes to macerate with the salt and pepper for at least 5 minutes. Add the 1/4 cup of olive oil to the tomatoes. Toss the tomatoes with the olive oil until the tomatoes are lightly covered with the olive oil.

Place the tomatoes on your lined baking sheets, skin side down. Pour any juice from the tomatoes onto the baking sheet. Roast the tomatoes in the over for 40 minutes. They should just be showing some charred color when you take them out.

image

While the tomatoes are roasting: Peel a red onion and cut it in half and set aside. Pick the leaves from the bunch of cilantro and set aside. Juice the limes using a citrus juicer or by cutting them in half and squeezing the juice by hand. Set the lime juice aside.

imageFor the Serrano peppers: You could roast them in the over with the tomatoes. If you have a gas stove, you can roast them directly on the fire for a more full flavor. Either way works fine. If you go for the charring directly on the flame, you will have to place them an ice bath after you char them on the stove-top. Once the peppers are cooled, peel the outer layer of the skin off of the peppers. Your peppers are now ready to use. I processed the peppers with the seeds and all.

imageOnce you remove the tomatoes from the oven, pour them along with the juices to a large mixing bowl to cool.

Let the tomatoes cool for 20 minutes or until you can handle them easily. Once they have cooled, you will process the tomatoes in batches in the food processor. I pulsed them until just slightly chunky. I wanted to make sure that the salsa would be chunky enough to stay on a tortilla chip. This is definitely a measure of preference. How chunky or thin do you like your salsa?

imageOnce you have processed all of the tomatoes in the food processor, put them back into a large mixing bowl.

Place the onion in the bowl of the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer the onion into the bowl with the tomatoes. Place the cilantro in the bowl of the food processor and add 1/2 cup of the lime juice. Pulse until the cilantro is finely chopped. Transfer the chopped cilantro into the bowl with the tomatoes.

imageAdd the peppers into the bowl of the food processor. Pulse them until finely chopped. Transfer the peppers into your bowl with the tomatoes.

Mix all of your added ingredients into the tomatoes. This will be when you will begin tasting for your preference. Keep in mind to add a little at a time. You can always keep adding. You cannot remove salt once you add it in.

imageYou can add more salt, pepper, lime juice, or even extra chiles to your salsa depending on your personal taste and preference.

I kept my salsa very basic. When I open one of the jars, I can always add more chiles to make it spicier if I want.

imageThis recipe will produce 2 quarts of salsa. If you will eat it quickly, refrigerate immediately. It will keep for a couple weeks.

I processed my salsa in a canner, so it will keep for several months. I placed the closed jars in a canning pot for 10 minutes. My goal in deciding to only process in the canner for 10 minute was to maintain the fresh taste of the cilantro and lime juice.

Lesson: With the busy lives that we lead, it can be challenging to make room in our schedules for concentrated time spent with our friends. Thankfully one of my best friends and I really enjoy being in the kitchen together. We rolled in a productive canning project into spending quality time together. We laughed, we danced, we sang, we ate well, and we worked until we could work no more for two days. The outcome was 30 quarts of preserved tomato goodness and an appreciation of the time that I had with my dear friend. Our tomato fest fed my heart and soul and nurtured our friendship. What creative ways do you carve out time for people in your life that is nurturing to self and the friendship?

 

You Might Also Like

Dear Summer, thank you for the pleasures you bring!

By June 30, 2014 feeding ourselves, getting out of our comfort zone, nurturing, pleasure, practice, self care, simplicity, slowing down, summer veggies

Here’s a visual expression of a few things that are bringing pleasure to me right now. IMG_0169The anticipation of tomato season is beyond words. I savor every juicy bite!

IMG_0288There are few pleasures greater than homemade vanilla bean ice cream.

IMG_0321I wake to see blossoming all around me! 

IMG_0335Fruits of summer at the Durham Farmers’ Market.

IMG_0284Grilling and chilling.

IMG_0388More blossoming. Sungold tomatoes on their way.

IMG_0407Okra flower.

IMG_0417My garden mentor, Peter.

IMG_0451Look at those beautiful bean plants.

IMG_0445Cantaloupe, I can eat all day every day.

IMG_0476Summer supper with friends. My first corn of the season, elote` asada.

Lesson: Summer brings simple pleasures. I am taking the time to appreciate all of the simple things in my life right now: the juicy bite of a tomato, the refreshment that a slice of cantaloupe brings to my senses, learning in the garden with my dear friend Peter, time spent in my garden reflecting on the growth I am seeing inside and outside of me, and so much more.

I am shifting my attitude about my life. I am making room for more pleasure. In previous posts I have mentioned that I am only choosing to do things that feed me. Paying attention to pleasure and allowing it in my life is what is feeding me right now. What is feeding you? 

 

You Might Also Like

Bring on Summer!

By June 22, 2014 coffee, Durham, feeding ourselves, nurturing, sandwiches, simplicity, summer veggies

Here’s a photo recap on my week leading into the beginning of summer. My sense of wonderment is overflowing right now. These pictures capture what would take me more hundreds of words than anyone may have the time to read in one sitting. I will break it all down. I will share my love of summer in recipes like mint iced tea, fresh tomato juice, chilled cucumber soup, peach and blackberry crisp, and vanilla bean ice cream. Anything else you’re particularly interested in hearing about?

IMG_0140

I  L – O – V – E  zinnias!

 

IMG_0109

Cucumber Puree with Fresh Dill for Cucumber and Buttermilk Soup

 

IMG_0087

Enjoying a beautiful evening in Durham with my dear friend Peter at Alley 26.

 

IMG_0217

First peaches, won’t be the last!

 

IMG_0212

Sungold tomatoes

 

IMG_0223

Friday night burgers – grass-fed beef and gruyere

 

IMG_0247

Summer = iced coffee! My first Japanese method home brew

 

IMG_0251

Cold beer for stocking the fridge.

 

IMG_0269

Summer love => BLT

Stay tuned for lots more summer food and FUN!

Lesson: My cup has been overflowing with so much appreciation for what this summer season is bringing- at the dinner table and in my life. I am moving into a new way of how I want to live my life. Without defining it, it feels exhilarating from the inside out. If you see or sense some extra exuberance, you’ll know why! I feel like I am opening up and blossoming like those zinnias I posted. Getting to this place has taken consistent focus and intention. I have been planting these seeds for as long as my feet have been on this planet. The importance of self is a life-long journey for me. If you’re wondering how I got here or where I plan on going, feel free to ask!

Where are you going? What seeds that you have planted are beginning to bloom? What seeds are you wanting to plant for the future? I would love to hear about your journey! Thanks for being here and your interest in mine!

You Might Also Like

Getting to know Summer Squash

By June 8, 2014 asking questions, curiosity, personal growth, practice, so much to learn, summer veggies

IMG_0019Considering the many years that I have spent in the kitchen, and the many nerdy health-food kicks that I have gone on, I am here to tell you that I learned something new today. I learned about the health benefits of summer squash.

What was I doing studying these benefits anyway? I am glad you were wondering! Knowing a lot about food – or any topic for that matter – can lead to something dangerous. It can lead to people thinking that they are “know it all’s,” it can lead to putting a stop to one’s own curiosity, and it can lead someone to taking a lot for granted. I took summer squash for granted. I feel a bit ashamed for it. I feel like maybe I sold them out a bit. I swear, I didn’t mean to. I will certainly not do it again – to squash or any other vegetable for that matter! Each and every vegetable has a unique essence. It has a unique flavor that it provides to the world. Each vegetable deserves appreciation for its contribution to the dinner table.

For a moment or two I forgot how well squash plays its part. It’s not fancy or highly prized like truffles are. It doesn’t get anywhere near the attention that the garden fresh tomato receives every summer. What can I say? I grew up eating a lot of squash in the summer, and even though I truly love it, I took it for granted.

During my years of working in restaurants, no one ever asked me detailed questions about summer squash. I am willing to bet that other people have taken it for granted, too. How about people who didn’t grow up in the South? They are probably not even familiar with summer squash to begin with!

IMG_0029

So here’s the deal, according to Wikipedia: summer squashes are a subset of squashes that are harvested when immature, while the rind is still tender and edible. Technically speaking, squash is a fruit of various members of the gourd family (according to The New Food Lover’s Companion). Squash is native to the Western Hemisphere. There is evidence of it being eaten in Mexico as far back as 500 B.C., and in South America more than 2,000 years ago. Squash is generally divided into two categories – summer squash and winter squash. I will tell you more about my favorite winter squashes next time.

All parts of the summer squash are edible. They are comprised mostly of water, so they are a low calorie vegetable choice. There are 18 calories in one cup of summer squash, which provides 32 percent of your daily value of vitamin C. It is also high in niacin and vitamin A.

Summer squashes themselves come in a number of varieties. The most common ones are yellow crookneck, zucchini, and patty pan, which can be yellow or green. Summer squashes have a mild flavor. They are nicely complemented with flavors of onions, garlic, and fresh herbs like basil and oregano.

You can fry, roast, bake, steam, grill, or sauté summer squash. They are popular in a dish called ratatouille, which comes from the French region of Provence. In the southern region of the United States, summer squashes often get put into casseroles. That is definitely one of my favorite renditions. My dear friend and fellow foodie Fran Moore loves squash as much as I do. I am going to share Fran’s squash recipe with you in my next post.

Lesson: Sometimes we can miss some gems in life because we get a bit too comfy thinking that we know a lot about “this or that.” We can always learn more. Our lives will be enriched and certainly more enjoyable with a healthy drive for learning and asking questions. The most “zealous for life and learning” people I know on this planet have a question that drives their work: “What is it that we do not know, that we do not know, that we do not know yet?” How about that for a question to ask yourself at least once a day?

If you are interested, you can learn more about their passion for learning and expertise at globalprocessology.com

You Might Also Like