Not just an adorable animated movie, but a delicious, easy summer meal that is perfect for using up all sorts of summer vegetables! Zucchini, eggplant, basil, tomatoes... oh my. It is also an incredibly forgiving and flexible recipe — there is no broth, no meat necessary — the vegetables simply speak for themselves. You are free to add any things that you like, and leave out things you don't. Leaving out garlic, adding celery, throwing in some ground sausage to please your hungry date after a long bike ride, or using cherry tomatoes instead of beefsteak ones, are all acceptable, I've found (which is perfect for me, as I rarely follow recipes properly). I've made this two nights in a row with some variations, and it was delicious two times over. And if you have a date and red wine to go with it, well...
a few tablespoons of olive oil
1 diced yellow onion
2 cloves minced garlic
2 cups medium diced eggplant, skin on
2 cups diced green bell peppers
3 cups diced zucchini or summer squash
2 cups chopped tomatoes
Thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
Thyme, parsley, sage, minced celery, or other favourite herbs
Salt and black pepper
grated parmesan cheese
Saute your onions in olive oil, then add peppers, eggplant, and squash and cook over medium heat for a few minutes. Add tomatoes and herbs, cover and simmer everything together for a while, until squashes and eggplant soften and juices are bubbling. Throw in any additional seasonings, and serve warm, garnished with grated parmesan and sliced basil. Bon appetit!
I've been doing some meat inventory this morning and sorting out the pork we got last week. We got four pigs back from Reid's Meats late last week, and since it was late in the day, Tim and I just had time to label it and get it into the freezer.
Today though, I have some time to sort out what we have and organize for next weeks meat shares. Once the pigs are at the butchers, I call in with what we want it cut into. I usually get roasts, but this time I decided to get all the roasts cut into steaks. So we have fresh ham steaks, shoulder steaks, ground pork, pork chops, hocks, and spare ribs. Enough to fill one whole chest freezer (med size), and probably that will give us pork for two meat shares.
You only get a few ribs back from four pigs and so we'll be putting those on as add on's. They range from 2lbs packages to 4-5lbs. I wanted to share a rib recipe that is quite delicious. It's called 12345 spare ribs, and growing up it was the rib recipe that my dad would always make. He presented it in a covered dish and would serve it with white rice (which is so good with some of the rib sauce on it), gingered carrots, and a salad. This recipe does have quite a bit of sugar in it. So what I do is really enjoy it in moderation and make it once or twice a year.
12345 Spare Ribs
2 pounds pork ribs (spare ribs or country-style, cut into chunks)
1 tablespoon sherry
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons tamari
5 tablespoons water
In a large wide-mouthed heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, combine the rice wine, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and water. Add the spareribs and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 40 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
If the meat dries out and starts to burn, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time. The ribs are ready when the meat is tender and glossed with a sticky, reddish-brown glaze and the liquid has been absorbed. Serve with freshly steamed rice and a vegetable side dish.
If there’s still a lot of liquid at the end of the cooking time (this can happen if the meat contains a lot of water), remove the meat and raise the heat to high. Cook until the liquid turns into a thick, sticky sauce. Add the ribs back into the pot and toss to coat. You can also broil the ribs on high for 3 to 4 minutes to create a nice burnished crust while you reduce the sauce..
Last week, Josh let me know that the pickling cucumbers were ready, and we decided this year we will sell them as pickling packs, which include everything you need to make a batch of dill pickles.
One quick phone call to my Mom yesterday to get her recipe, and the smell of all that dill in the office made me decide to make a batch after work last night. So, if you want to do the same, here's what you'll need:
-8 quart jars
-8 lid flats and screw tops
-4 cups vinegar
-1 cup kosher or pickling salt
-A TapRoot Pickle Pack
The process is pretty simple. I used to make pickles for my Mom to sell every night in cucumber season, so I've gotten pretty efficient, and it took just 35 minutes last night to make 8 jars. For yourself, budget an hour of your time, with maybe a little extra for clean up.
Step 1: Sanitize the jars. I don't have any fancy equipment, and just put my jars open side down in a big roasting pan filled with water with the oven on about 350 degrees. A jar lifter is a huge help getting the jars back out and avoiding burns while doing so! See photo>>
Step 2: Make the brine. Mix 4 cups vinegar (I use regular vinegar, if you're using the pickling vinegar it is stronger and will require less vinegar and more water for this recipe), 12 cups water, and 1 cup salt in a pot. Bring to a boil and maintain heat so that it is just below a simmer (not boiling, still hot and steaming).
Step 3: Place the lid flats in another small pot of almost boiling water (This sanitizes them as well and softens the rubber so you get a good seal. Always use new flats, it's just a good practice, and saves the disappointment of seals not holding)
Step 4: Prepare the cucumbers, garlic, and dill while everything is heating up. The dill should be washed and divided into the amount you want in each jar (I use a stem or two and 1 flower head per jar). The garlic should be removed from it's paper wrapper (I put one clove per jar, some people like more, so depending on your taste). Both the stem end and the end of the cucumber should be trimmed off, and then they should be washed in cold water. Depending on how dirty they are, sometimes I scrub each one. Poke through any larger cucumbers with a sharp knife to help them pickle uniformly. All this trimming and scrubbing may seem like a lot of work, but it goes fast and is totally worth it (according to Mom and I, at least) in the final product.
Step 5: Start packing the jars. Remove the hot jar with a jar lifter (totally worth getting one, even if you never make pickles again, they are amazing!), and continuing to hold the jar with the lifter, put in dill and garlic (The signature Teri move is tying the dill in a loose knot, so it stays out of the way at the bottom). Start with larger cucumbers, lining them up along the bottom layer, and the smaller ones are great for packing in the top.
Step 6: Fill jar as much as you can with cucumbers, and then fill to the bottom of the jar rim with brine. Wipe the rim to ensure no excess brine is between the seal and the glass. Take out a flat from the hot water, place on top, and tighten screw lid to finger tight (you'll regret it if you tighten it too much at this point).
Step 7: You should process the full jars in a hot water bath just until the cucumbers turn from green to brownish green. So long as everything has been hot along the way, you shouldn't have any problems with seals. Place in a cooler place (basement, root cellar, etc) to seal jars. The flat will suck inwards and sometimes even make a "POP!" when they seal.
You can eat these right away as young dills, or store for a later time and more intense pickle flavour! I don't actually like eating pickles, but Mom's recipe is such a hit that each year she has cases upon cases of pre-orders, so I know it's a good one!
The TapRoot Pickle Pack was awesome. The perfect amount of everything for this recipe, the cucumbers are a great size, and there's the variety you need in sizing for making dills (some big ones, some small ones, and everything in between).
Jon and I get an entree veggie share as part of working at the farm. With zucchini in season, and a few weekly bonuses of these abundant vegetables, we ended up with a whole lot in our crisper, and my valiant efforts making stir fry, zucchini pasta sauce, zucchini lasagna, and zucchini cake still left some in the fridge! I reached out on Facebook and Dionne shared her recipe for zucchini relish with me. Can't wait, and it uses 10 cups of zucchini which will help get through the glut!
10 cups grated zucchini, peels too
1 cup grated carrots
4 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped green peppers
1 cup chopped red peppers
1/4 cup pickling salt
Place vegetables in a large bowl. Add pickling salt. Leave overnight. In morning, rinse in cold water; drain well.
Mix dressing in large pot on stove; add rinsed vegetables and boil 5 to 10 minutes. Seal in jars. Makes 6-7 500ml jars.
The recipe is quite old… I process it in a hot water bath for 10 minutes even though it doesn't call for it. I think it might just be that the recipe is from way back when people figured if the seal on the jar "popped" it was safe enough.
Fennel was a mystery, then I made this yesterday in my slow cooker with a half chicken from my share a few weeks ago and last week's fennel:
4 bone in chicken breasts, skin removed (I used a half chicken and took the skin off, you could use a whole duck or thighs or anything, really)
1 fennel bulb, cored and sliced thin
3 garlic cloves, smashed
Tblsp fennel fronds, chopped
1 onion thinly sliced
1 lemon thinly sliced
salt and pepper
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup chicken broth (i just used more wine)
juice of another lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
Lay fennel, garlic and onion in bottom of slowcooker, layer lemon over top. Place chicken on top of this and liberally sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix wine, broth, water, oil, lemon juice and fennel fronds and more salt and pepper, pour over chicken. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 5.