Happy end of along blog hiatus! I’m back in the kitchen, if not in the garden this year (my husband commandeered that little area and I’m trying not to bug him about it.) He took it over because we’ve had a little more on our familial plate than usual: a new baby this summer!
And he’s sensitive to dairy, so I’ve had to cut it out (cue the sad trombones).
But, I’m experimenting more with vegan and dairy free products in the meantime while I wait to be done breastfeeding, so watch for more of those type of recipes on the blog this summer, fall, and winter.
First up, a seasonal cobbler. We discovered this past weekend that vegan butter is a great sub in baking for regular butter, so I had to use our fresh produce to make something amazing. I used a mixture of raspberries and nectarines, but you could use 4ish cups of just about any summer baking fruit (ie, not watermelon).
3 cups of fresh raspberries, washed and drained (or equivalent of frozen raspberries)
2-3 large nectarines or peaches, peeled and diced (if skin not easily removed, check the technique here),
1/4 cup of instant tapioca pearls
2/3 cup of white sugar or coconut sugar
1/4 tsp of vanilla (if desired)
4 tbsp of vegan butter , melted
1/2 cup of whole wheat flower
1/2 cup of old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/4 tsp of salt
Preheat oven to 350° and spray a ceramic or glass baking dish.
Mix together filling ingredients in dish, ensuring that tapioca well incorporated.
In a separate bowl, mix topping ingredients until form small chunks. Top filling with topping.
Bake in oven for 30 minutes. Should be bubbly and slightly brown when you remove. Allow to cool, and enjoy with dairy-free topping of your choice!
If you’re like me, you hate grocery store tomatoes. Anemic. Pale pink. Pathetic. They just don’t taste as good. I don’t even like to used canned tomatoes, if I can avoid them because of the metallic taste that you can’t get rid of. Boxed tomatoes are tasty, but expensive. I’m still slightly intimidated by canning, but I like to preserve my food. So, if you’re cheap, have an extra hour, and have access to a farmer’s market or a tomato plant of your own, freezing tomatoes can be a great option to enjoy that tomato flavor through the winter.
This was my project today, and the little guy even helped (or at least watched with fascination.)
Ripe tomatoes (larger varieties work best; don’t try to do this with cherries or you will drive yourself crazy!)
Several Large Bowls
Quart freezer bags
Kitchen scale (optional)
First, collect ripe tomatoes (though not over ripe or they may be difficult to work with) and wash them gently. Don’t worry if their skins aren’t perfect since soon you’re going to get these tomatoes naked. Scandalous!
Prepare your work area, since you’ll need a lot of bowls for this project. Place a large pot of water to boil and prepare a bowl of ice water near by. Lay out another clean bowl next to that and finally, place your strainer over a final bowl.
Make a tiny “x” on the bottom of each tomato, just deep enough to pierce the skin but not so deep as to cut into the seeds. Working in batches, blanch the tomatoes for two minutes. Place the blanched tomatoes in a bin of ice water. Once iced, the skins should slide easily from the tomatoes.
With your paring knife (or a strawberry huller), remove the stem area from the tomato and seed. Don’t be afraid to squish and squeeze the tomatoes a bit to get the seeds out. Place the seeded and stemmed tomatoes in the mesh strainer to drain into a bowl.
If desired, measure out preset quantities of your tomatoes for easy kitchen work. I always do 1 lb bags for simplicity’s sake. Press out all of the air and freeze flat for easy stacking. The tomatoes should last at least three months, and for most freezers, could last much more than that without any loss of flavor.
Remember that bowl you were straining into? Fresh tomato juice! Feel free to pass it though the strainer one more time for good measure.
I teach, and so the past few weeks have been a mixture of abandonment to the joys of summer and disillusionment at its ending. The family and I have tried to go on lots of walks and hikes, and we’ve been using the ‘taj mahal’ of hiking backpacks, complete with bug net and sun cover.
But along with the fun of the summer, I’ve been starting to look forward to the semester ahead. I know that with my schedule (which stretches into the evening hours), dinner will often not even be on a back burner… I usually turn to the crockpot on days that I work, and so this past week I sent the babe to the sitter’s and cranked out 40 meals in what should have been just four hours, but really took about eight. I can’t vouch for any of them yet, but reviews will follow later once we pop these guys out of our nearly-full freezer.
The one freeze ahead that I prepared just today that I can vouch for is a recipe for butternut squash soup that we’ve been making for years and that we realized freezes quite well. We like it so much, and it makes us feel so gosh-darn healthy, that we’ve nicknamed it “spa soup.” Continue reading Azteca Squash Soup and Freezer Craziness→