Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Summer Kitchen and Garden Part I

With the strange combination of really hot days, rain and some very low temperatures, our harvest hasnt been great. I am starting to get bored with no job to stimulate my mind, so Ive started challenging myself in the kitchen. Ive been making more complicated recipes and trying to learn as much as possible about various cooking techniques. It all focuses on what is in season and making as much as possible from scratch. The most valuable lesson I learned is that my oven is 20 degrees off! Now that I know that and can adjust the temperature, my food is coming out way better!

We grew more peas than we could eat, mostly cooking them as a side dish sauteed with olive oil, salt and pepper. We learned that they taste great alongside garlic scapes, which are ready at the same time.

I made fig jam for the first time. Its extremely easy - ripe figs, sugar, lemon juice and water heated until thick and then refrigerated. It tastes great with Brie or goat cheese and crackers!
We also had decent harvests of broccoli and cauliflower. Sadly the broccoli had lots of bugs, making most of it inedible. We still managed to get more than we could eat. I tried cauliflower for the first time and it was a success. It was slightly purple and delicious! To save the harvest I made a huge dutch oven full of chickpea, cauliflower and potato curry.

thick cut pork chops with parmesan roasted broccoli

Is it possible to plant the right amount of zucchini? It always seems like we have way more than we can ever eat. Every year I struggle to find recipes, especially that can make the huge ones taste good. So far Ive made zucchini bread and zucchini gratin. Im planning on trying zucchini pancakes this week. Hopefully I'll come up with more ideas

Zucchini gratin

Ben and I are on a low carb diet, which is working out well for me. Ive lost most of the weight I gained when I was pregnant and am down to the hardest part. Coming up with new egg dishes has been a challenge. We've had lots of frittata and hardboiled eggs in salads. I decided to try a souffle. Im not sure if it was worth it. It was hard. I had to start over once in the middle and then it didnt come out as well as I hoped AND it is not good left over.
spinach and cheddar souffle

My low carb diet isnt extreme and includes lots of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Breakfast is always hard, especially when you hate oatmeal like me. I love granola with milk and fruit and am happy eating is almost every day. We buy so much granola that I decide to start making it. I tried the cooks illustrated recipe and it came out too sticky. Bon Appetit had an article recently about granola. That recipe came out perfectly.

3 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3 T packed brown sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup honey
2 T vegetable oil
1 cup dried fruit (I used zante currants)

Preheat oven to 300F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix first 7 ingredients in large bowl. Stir honey and oil in saucepan over medium low heat until smooth. Poor honey mixture over oat mixture and toss. Spread on prepared sheet. Bake until golden, stirring every 10 minutes for 40 minutes. Mix in fruit. Cool to room temperature and store in a glass jar.

We had our first harvest of Japanese wineberries. Wow! These berries are good! Really really good. I am going to make scones with them and then hopefully freeze some (if there is any left). We have also been snacking on them and mixing them with our cereal in the morning

The tomatoes, peppers and basil are getting there!

We have 3 whole apples

bee balm



stellars jay


Anonymous said...

Love your photos & the recipes!!! Have you tried zuchini muffins? My friend Joyce makes them & she is on a lo carb diet, too. She eats them for breakfast, i'll get the recipe. Glad you are cooking again! Wonderful post, but no pics of Finley. Miss that little kid so much!! Please send some. Love you all so much. Mom & Dad (F&S) Hugs to Finley. P.S. The souffle looks excellent & I give your credit. never made on myself. Love.

MD said...

Beautiful photos!

Cassandra Forsythe said...

What kind of camera do you have? Wow! Your photos are awesome!