Category Archives: SummerPosted on October 11th, 2014 by Dan
Summer’s bounty can be overwhelming sometimes. This dish is a great way to use up the last of summer’s vegetables. Feel free to get creative with the types of vegetables and seasonings. If you plan to switch things up, remember to cook your various vegetables appropriately:
Roast the more hardy ones (potatoes, cauliflower or squash)
Steam (broccoli or asparagus) or briefly boil (peas) the greener ones
Sauté – high heat and quick time – the tender ones (mushrooms, Swiss chard, cherry tomatoes, or green onions)
- 1/2 zucchini (peeled, seeded and cut into wedges)
- 1 onion (sliced)
- 1 carrot (sliced diagonally)
- 1 half bell pepper (sliced)
- 1/4 pound green beans (edges trimmed and cut into 2″ pieces)
- 1 pound penne pasta
- 2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes in oil
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 2 ears of corn (cut off cob)
- 2 big handfuls of kale (stems removed & chopped)
- 1 tbsp Italian herbs (dried or fresh parsley, basil, thyme, rosemary, etc- you get to be creative here)
- On a baking sheet, combine the zucchini, onion, carrot and bell pepper. Toss with enough olive oil to coat and about 1/4 tsp of salt. Bake at 350*F until everything is tender, approx 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of heavily salted water to boil. Once boiling, add the green beans in for no more than 1 minute and then transfer then with a slotted spoon to an ice water bath. Add the pasta to the boiling water and boil until al dente. Strain the pasta and cover.
- In a large pot (possibly the same as our pasta cooker), heat up some olive oil (~ 2 tbsp) on low and add the crushed garlic along with a pinch of salt. Cook until fragrant (30 seconds), add the tomatoes, cook another minute then add the corn (if the garlic stars to brown before you add the corn, turn the heat down). Cook the corn for 1-2 minutes, then add the strained green beans, roasted vegetables and cooked pasta. Add more olive oil coat everything, stirring really well. Season with additional salt, if necessary, and mix in the black pepper and Italian herbs and warm throughout. Turn off the heat, add the chopped kale on top, put the lid on the pot and let sit to soften the kale for 1-2 minutes. Once the kale is just barely wilted and a brighter green, mix everything and serve.
Also, we accidentally grew microgreens. All our arugula went to seed apparently and after I weeded away the dead cucumber vines and lettuce, these adorable little guys immediately sprouted up. They are so delicious, it’s hard to describe.Posted on October 29th, 2013 by Susanna
We made our first cornhole set for our wedding reception. It wasn’t too difficult by following directions from Cornhole How To. It does take some time and the lumber is surprising expensive (about $50-70). Even still, for Dan’s older sister’s wedding, we decided to collaborate with his younger sister and her boyfriend to make them a cornhole set as a wedding present. Lessons learned: an outdoor duck cloth fabric is crucial for the bags! We thought we’d get fancy with a cool canvas pattern, but unfortunately, the bags ripped after a few games… (cornhole is an intense sport).
Even still, one of her bridesmaids liked the idea so much that she asked us to make a set for a party celebrating her wedding. We saw this as a perfect excuse to buy a table saw- which we found at a yard sale. The table saw made it a lot easier and we used sturdy fabric and simple color patterns. She was happy with them.
Posted on October 6th, 2013 by Susanna
It’s been a good year for tomatoes in our garden. We started this summer with a goal to can as many tomatoes as we could, and we’ve done pretty well. We’ve picked a dozen or so large tomatoes per week and made a few cans of salsa and sauce. We found this great asparagus pot at goodwill- and it works PERFECTLY for canning a single jar without wasting a ton of water to fill a large pot.
Since canning a few here and there from our garden just doesn’t add up we decided to find some to buy at a good price. Dan found a great deal at a local farmer’s market and we bought 25 pounds of Roma tomatoes and canned them whole. It took a while but we ended up with 12 jars of whole tomatoes. I think with a few more from our garden and my mom’s garden we might just last the winter without having to buy tomatoes! Much better than our canning efforts in 2011.Posted on August 9th, 2013 by Dan
It’s been a really good year for our garden this year. One of the consistently producing plants in our garden are sugar snap peas. We’ve got about 24 vines growing up some string and they put out like crazy.
I had little luck finding recipes with sugar snap peas in any of my books or online. The one that I did find in a book was from a vegetable cookbook, which stars veggies, but is far from vegetarian. The recipe was for a shrimp and mushroom curry… gross.
So, here’s a delicious curry that showcases my sugar snap peas and proves they can carry this thick, filling curry all by themselves!
- vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 dried whole red chilies
- 2 tsp tumeric
- 2 tsp ginger root, minced
- 200 g sugar snap peas, washed, tips and strings removed
- 500 g small mix of red and gold potatoes, diced
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 small tomato, peeled, seeded and small diced
- 1/2 cup red lentils
- 1 cup water (optionally, substitute 1/4 cup of the water for coconut milk)
- 2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
- Heat oil (~2tsp) in wide cast iron skillet over low heat, and garlic and cook until slightly golden.
- Add the chilies, tumeric, ginger root, and cook for 30 seconds, then boost the heat to medium high and add in the sugar snap peas.
- Season with some salt and cook peas until golden brown (but don’t char them!), then drop the heat back to low.
- Using tongs, remove the pea pods and keep aside. Add in the gold/red potatoes to give them a head start, for about 10 minutes.
- Now, add in the sweet potato, tomato, lentils and water. Increase heat to high to bring the water to a boil, then drop it again to low. Simmer for 20 minutes, covered, scrapping the bottom occasionally to avoid burning and add more water if it becomes too dry.
- Uncover, and cook until the potatoes are soft and there is not runny water left.
- Kill the heat and stir in the oregano and the cooked peas. Serve with some chopped cilantro or extra crushed red peppers.
Staining a deck in July was probably not the greatest idea we’ve had. Although the look of the weathered wood appealed to me, it was getting to be quite dangerous, after rain it would be so slick that you could easily break your neck walking on it, plus one of the boards was almost totally rotted through (and had some beautiful moss growing on it). Here are some pictures of it before:
The power washing part wasn’t too bad on a hot day.
But the drying part took weeks since we’ve been getting afternoon thunderstorms just about every day. Finally after 3 straight 100 degree days it dried out and we waited for the temperatures to get below 90 to stain. It took weeks to find days in between rain to finally get it all stained. We were staining with headlamps until 10PM one night. We really should have waited for a less rainy, more predictable weathered month, but oh well here it is! We really had no idea that deck stain was more like paint than wood stain, so the gray is going to take some getting used to. If we were going to do it again we might go with a transparent weather-proofer rather than a colored stain.Here’s how it turned out, plus some photos we snapped after putting up some string lights and eating a delicious pizza dinner outside.
Next, we’ve got to clean and stain our new deck furniture.Posted on July 19th, 2013 by Dan
Now that summer is in full swing and farmers’ markets are starting to overflow, I need to finally use up all my preserved fruits and vegetables from last year. As of last week, my freezer contained two freezer bags of wineberries, one of black berries, three of strawberries and one of plums, all of which were harvested or bought from a local market. This isn’t even to mention the jars I have stacked in cabinets.
I know it defeats the purpose to use frozen fruit from last year, when in a few weeks I can have it fresh again- I need to get better about enjoying our hard preserving work, instead of harboring it. So, l am now down a bag of plums in the freezer and up two plum cobbler pies. Using guidelines from a recipe from the Kitchn: Summer Recipe: Whole Wheat Plum Crumble Pie, I used up all my plums and made two pies. To share with Susanna’s mom who is experiemnting with eating gluten-free, I made one of them gluten-free. The gf pie was actually a better product; the crust held together nicer and didn’t have any sort of grainy texture or taste. So I thought I’d share the gluten-free version of the recipe I made with some additional changes.
This is a great dessert for picnics or other outdoor summer meal. Depending on your plums, you might want to add or reduce the sugar. Peeling the plums isn’t necessary, since the skins practically dissolve while baking.
Ingredients (makes one pie)
1-1.25 lbs of plums, pitted and quartered or halved
2 Tbl sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup oats
1/4 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Baking Flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
90 g vegan margarine, melted
3/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Baking Flour
1/4 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1 tsp xantham gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tsp sugar
96 g vegetable shortening (like Crisco)
1-2 Tbl cold water
Extra shortening for greasing the pie plate
Before anything, get the crust ingredients cold: weigh out the shortening and put in the freezer, flours in the fridge and put an ice cube in the water.
First, let’s prep the plums. After you quarter and pit the plums, mix them with the sugar and place in a colander over a bowl and place in the fridge for at least an hour or longer.
Meanwhile, make the pie crust. With your cold ingredients, put the flours, salt and sugar in a food processor and pulse a few times to mix. Now put the cold shortening in the processor and pulse 6-8 times to make a sandy mixture. While pulsing, add a tsp of the water and pulse and additional 2-4 times. The dough should appear crumbly and barely hold together when pinched (see simplygluten-free.com for more tips on pie crusts, gf or wheat). Pour the crumbly dough into ziplock bag, compact into a disc, seal and put in the fridge to rest of an hour or up to 3 days.
After your dough rests, roll it out between two sheets of rice floured wax paper until it’s about 1/8-1/4″ thick. Grease a 9″ pie plate with shortening and carefully transfer the rolled out dough onto the dish. It will likely rip, but don’t worry, this buttery dough can easily be pieced back together. Now put the pie plate in the freezer for 45 minutes.
While the dough is in the freezer,preheat the oven to 300°F and make the crumble topping. Use a large bowl to combine the oats, flours, sugars, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the melted butter and form clumps, about 1″ big or smaller. The topping will barely form together and that’s okay.
Take the plums out of the fridge and take the juice that has strained out and mix with the cornstarch until it is complete dissolved. Bring the juice to a boil and then simmer for 2 minutes. Once cool, add the vanilla extract. Take the pie plate/dough out of the freezer, add the plums, pour the juice over it, sprinkle with extra sugar is desired, then cover with the crumble topping. Bake for 45 minutes at 300°F, then increase the temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 30-45 minutes. It’s done when the crust has darkened and the plum juice is bubbling over. You might want to place a sheet pan under the pie plate to avoid and plum juice overflow.
Serve with vanilla ice cream!Posted on October 14th, 2012 by Dan
I’m proud of myself for how much I used the grill this summer. I’ll admit, the heat and our lack of air conditioning had a lot to do with it. Additionally, we lost power for over a week from a storm, so our oven was out of commission anyway.
One of my favorite things from the grill was a pizza flat bread. I was re-inspired by an article in Bon Appetit magazine which gave tips on grilling flat bread. So I went to work and made the dough from Alton Brown, but divided it into 4 balls for even more diversity!
For each of these toppings, I followed the directions laid out by Alton Brown, rolling out the dough, spreading the top with oil, flipping it over and grilling the oiled side for 2 minutes, remove from heat, oil the non-grilled side, flip, top with ingredients and then grill for an additional 2 minutes. Depending on what you’re looking for, grill time may vary from 1-2 minutes, so check the bottom and stop before you get past the point of no return.
Topping 1 – Margarita. 1 large tomato (sliced and grilled alongside the pizza, per Mr Brown’s instructions), a handful of Diaya Cheese, and a handful of basil chiffonade.
Topping 2 – Basil Pesto. Pesto and 1 large tomato (sliced and grilled alongside the pizza, per Mr Brown’s instructions)
Topping 3 – Sun dried Tomato and Green Charmoula. Green charmoula spread and sun dried tomatoes (chopped).
Topping 4 – Sausage & Cheese. Field Roast Italian Sausage (chopped), Diaya Cheese, tomato sauce and pesto.
Use whatever sorts of proportions you’d like. I’ll share my recipe for the Green Charmoula spread below. I originally made the one from the magazine, but it taste, unsavory, so I added some extra herbage and sugar. Combined with the tomatoes, I think it turned out pretty good.
- 1/4 cup parsley
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
- 1/8 cup mint leaves
- /2 tsp ginger, diced
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
- olive oil
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp sugar
- Pulse all ingredients, except oil, in a food processor, scraping down until combined and the herbs shredded.
- With the food processor running, slowly add olive oil until the mixture comes together into a spreadable paste.
- Season with salt and pepper.
It is slowly, but inevitably, dawning on me that summer will soon be over along with home gardens and farmer’s markets. I’ve been desperately trying to hold onto the season by freezing and canning several fruits and veggies.
Yesterday, I decided to hold on to hot peppers.
Habaneros hold a deep, beautiful aroma and fruity, sweet flavor… once you get past the heat. Fortunately for me, I appreciate the flavor alongside the heat, so here’s a hot sauce. Made with habeneros and cherry bomb peppers. The recipe is from Bon Appétit. After you let it sit for a week with seeds and all, you strain it and can keep in the fridge for 4 months. I halved the recipe for my first go and it made almost exactly 1 cup after straining.Posted on August 26th, 2012 by Susanna
We love everything homemade, so we just FINALLY got into homebrewing. We completed our first homemade beer! It is a hefeweizen with coriander (from our garden) and lemon peel. Thanks to help from Dan’s uncle, Dave, the brewing process went well, it fermented for 1 week (not quite long enough), we managed to bottle it up without too many things going wrong, and brought it on vacation with us to Chincoteague to share with the fam.
We think it turned out pretty decent for our first beer. Our second beer is already fermenting. It’s going to be a lambic and we’re adding figs from Dan’s sister’s fig tree. It actually needs to ferment with the figs for quite a while and will be done a year from now! So..not such a great beer for someone with no patience such as myself but it’s pretty exciting.
Posted on August 25th, 2012 by Susanna
One of the most fun things we did on our honeymoon on Nantucket Island was tag monarchs. We finally ordered a few tags from Monarch Watch for this fall and went out for the first time last weekend. We caught nine monarchs in less than an hour! They were everywhere!