Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The "Ugly Truth" About Imperfect Fruits and Vegetables - a Thumbs' Up From the Z Family!

Happy Tuesday!

I'll be posting links and other helpful food, garden, and other tips on my blog for information purposes for those so inclined.

So...today... there's this:


The "ugly truth" about imperfect fruits and vegetables...a thumbs' up from the Z family!

Happy eating!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Holy harvest, Batman! It's time for pickling!

Here in Wisconsin it's been quite humid and we've had deluge rains...which...lead to... Holy harvest, Batman!  It's time for pickling!  And consuming...and freezing... :)

These last few years with too many peppers to count and lovely CSA and Z garden vegetables, I've found that I enjoy "quick pickling" as a way of preserving these gorgeous veggies.  This year, I'm doing the "tried and true" peppers/carrots/onions/garlic mixture, but I'm also pickling a few new versions:  tomatillos and fennel, cherry tomatoes, and my own version of regular pickles, aka cucumber "chips".  We'll see how these turn out.  I hope they will be "winners".

Here's the quick pickling recipe for those that are curious:

3 1/2 c. water
2 1/4 c. vinegar (I used a mixture of white vinegar and apple cider vinegar)
6-7 T. kosher salt
6-7 T. organic sugar
dried herbs (parsley, dill, sometimes oregano) and whole black peppercorns

variety of peppers, sliced (I use my mandolin)
peeled, rough chopped garlic cloves
peeled, sliced carrots (again, I use my mandolin for a consistent cut)
peeled and chopped white onion

Pack veggies into clear, dry jars.  Dissolve salt and sugar in water first, then add vinegar.  Heat on stove until boiling.  Remove from heat.  Pour over peppers in jars.  Cover immediately.  Let cool on counter, then refrigerate.

Ready in about7-10 days for eating!  Num num!

**I use upcycled jars for my pickled goodies - the red and white lid jars are Bonne Maman jam jars (aren't they cute?!) and jars from other pickled goodies, jams, spices.**

Monday, July 11, 2016

Z Garden Harvests and Glimpse in the Kitchen

 The Z garden and yard is in full summer mode and the weather has been very suitable for great garden growth.  It's been a busy week and a half of so in the Z Garden and kitchen...harvests and herb prep for the table, freezer, and spice cabinet!  With basil from our lovely CSA and our Z garden, I was able to prepare basil pesto for the table and freezer, and our dried herbs were ready for whirring in the food processor and storage in upcycled jam jars.

There are now a few glimpses of color in the harvests now with a few beets, carrots, and a few random schmaters and raspberries.  Soon there will be a color explosion.  Can't wait!

Hoping you've all had a great week and a half or so, and I hope you're all enjoying your summer!

Friday, July 1, 2016

After a long hiatus...I'm back!

I didn't intend to take a few YEARS hiatus from blogging...eek!!!  Life happens, in a very good way.  After a long hiatus and with encouragement from friends and a few co-workers...I'm back!  I'll be sharing my journeys and joys of  my love of food, cooking, recipes/recipes with my Jen'isms and tweaks, kitchen/gardening tips and tricks, and any other related thoughts that cross my mind.

It's summer in Wisconsin, and the Z Garden is in full-swing (with special thanks to my hubby for his hard work...he plants and is the "care giver" and I'm the harvester) and is providing us with some yummy additions to our table.  Green goodies, such as spinach and lettuces, abound so far.  We have also picked many spicy radishes, and "round two" are peeking through the ground.  Color is coming soon (carrots, beets, tomatoes aka schmaters).  We partake in a wonderful CSA through our work, as well, so with CSA veggie shares and our garden glory we are able to get creative with "recipes" and meals, which we quite enjoy. 

I experimented a bit this past week and was able to create a yummy pesto:  Garlic Scape and Cilantro.  YUMMMMMMMYYYY!!!  Garlic scapes, lemon balm, cilantro from our CSA (and a friend's CSA!) were combined in the food processor with grated parmesan cheese, peeled garlic cloves, and roasted and sea salt pepitas (pumpkin seeds). 

I freeze the paste mixture in small containers without olive oil in order to preserve the flavor and texture.  The pesto can be thawed out the evening before in the refrigerator, and when it's ready to use, olive oil is added to taste, to desired consistency. 

This bright and garlicky pesto will pair nicely with grilled meats/veggies, pasta, even as a salad dressing (in addition to olive oil, just add your favorite vinegar to taste). 

Guten appetit!  Bon appetit!  Noosh-e-jan!

Hope you are all having a great start to your summer.  Thanks for following my journeys!