Sunday, September 13, 2009

Summer Harvests

Most of you know that I get busy with things like canning this time of year. I really prefer eating foods that are regional, fresh, and in season. Nothing can beat the intense flavours of vine ripened vegetables or fruits. Summers are plentiful, but, of course, living in a northern climate, there's not much that's regional and fresh in the winter. Essentially, canning or freeing is the only way to capture those fresh flavours and save them for grey, dreary, dark days.

This year, like most, I canned a whole slew of tomatoes, essentially because they are so versatile and go in so many dishes. Some years I think I will eat less tomatoes...they are, after all, from the nightshade family, however, I haven't yet gotten to the point where I feel the necessity to eliminate them.

I also did up apple sauce. We have bumper crops of apples this year the likes of which haven't been seen in years. Old trees in the mountains, which haven't produced much in years, have boughs bending to the point of breaking they are so heavily laden with fruit. Apples are definitely on the menu this fall and some sauce for the winter.

I don't always, but this year I also did up a couple batches of tomato sauce. It's nice to have sauce already prepared and to be able to simply open a jar. I did one batch with a recipe from the Re-Bar cookbook and then made up a batch of my own making. Mine was heavy on the basil, with not quite as much garlic as the first batch.

I still have some more canning / food prep to do if I can find the time, but I essentially feel okay about the colder weather settling in.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Plea

Be the fire in my heart
Be the wind in these sails
Be the reason that I live
Give me hope to carry on.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Heavenly Concoctions

My latest ice cream experiment was a screaming success and I have to share it before summer leaves us completely. I've learned a few things about home made ice cream this summer. First, the addition of alcohol keeps it from freezing so hard (an issue with non-commercial ice creams). Second, if one uses fresh (or even frozen) fruit, one can totally eliminate the cooking of an egg custard step found in so many recipes. This is a real coup if you are trying to eat raw. Now the real trick here is going to be to try to remember exact proportions of ingredients as a couple weeks have now passed since I first created this concoction.

Rum Raisin Peach Ice Cream

Take about a half cup of raisins and cover with rum. Let sit over night.

In blender, mix 1 1/2 C of cream, 3/4 C of sugar, 3 C of skinned chopped peaches, rum and raisins. Blend until thoroughly mixed. Put into your ice cream maker and process as usual.

How easy is that? Enjoy.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Zucchini Soup with Pasta

It's that time of year when harvest is plentiful and cheap...if not free. If you've ever grown zucchini, you will know that they can go, or rather grow, a bit crazy. Many around here are continually looking for ways to use or disguise the stuff so their children will eat it. When they're not doing that, they are pawning these huge squash off to neighbours and friends. I never mind, I actually quite love the stuff and have used it in all kinds of things. I have never, however, up to this point made soup with it, but must say I was pleasantly surprised by how fresh, light and refreshing it was. It's just the sort of fair you need for this time of year. And of course, this is really simple to make. The taste almost reminds me of the soups my Italian neighbour from my childhood used to make. Rosa never ever, to my knowledge, put zucchini in her soup, but she always made these light brothy soups with little pasta like stellette, so different from the more substantial meal in a bowl type soups my mother usually made. In any case, if you'd like to try something a little different with your zucchini, I'd recommend this. It's perfect for a cooler, end of the summer evening and would be perfect served with a slice of crusty bread.

4 Tbsp olive oil
2 smaller onions finely chopped (or one large)
6 1/4 cups of chicken or turkey broth
1 1/2 lbs of zucchini (probably about 4 cups grated)
1/2 cup of small soup pasta (I used small bows, but use whatever)
a little lemon or lime juice
2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper
cherry tomatoes halved
fresh grated Parmesan or another hard cheese of your choice

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onions. Cover and cook gently for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft but not coloured.

Add the chicken or turkey broth and bring the mixture to a boil.

Grate the zucchini and stir into the boiling stock with the pasta. Reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes until the pasta is tender.

Season to taste with a bit of lemon or lime juice, salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped parsley. Just before serving top with some halved cherry tomatoes and grated Parmesan cheese.


Wednesday, September 02, 2009


At the end of the day, all that matters is who is in your life.