Homesteading In The Pacific Northwest

Monday, September 26, 2011

Harvest Monday ... and Ripening Tomatoes Indoors

I'm joining other bloggers over at Daphne's Dandelions as we share our weekly's fun to see what others are harvesting and what they are cooking up with it...check it out!

I've still been harvesting tomatoes and cucumbers ... and now some winter squash is ready to go into the Hobbit Hole .

I picked a lot of tomatoes that were just barely beginning to blush since rain was forecast for this week (and showed up right on schedule; it's been coming down in buckets today).  I did a lot of reading on various blogs for ways of ripening tomatoes indoors, and this is what I came up with ...

I put a bunch of shredded paper in the bottom of a fruit box with my under ripe tomatoes ... and placed apples in two corners of the box.  The apples will supply ethylene gas which will help the tomatoes ripen ...

... I added another layer of shredded paper and another layer of tomatoes and put the cover on the box.  A week later they look like this ...

I'm going to be turning these into homemade ketchup later this afternoon : )


Friday, September 23, 2011

Watch Out ....

FitzGyver: "Watch out for the gate; I just painted it."

Deb: "OK"

Later ...

FitzGyver: "Watch out for the gate; I just painted it."

Deb: "OK"

And again, later ....

FitzGyver: "Watch out for the gate; I just painted it."

Deb: "OK"

And then, later ...

FitzGyver: "Expletive Deleted!"

Deb: "Watch out for the gate, you just painted it."

;  )

Pizza with Sausage and Chanterelles...

It's the first day of Autumn ... and in the Pacific Northwest that means chanterelle mushrooms!

 Ingredients: pizza dough, pesto, sliced Kalamata olives, chanterelle mushrooms, shredded Italian cheeses, Aidell's Apple and Chicken sausages...

Heat oven with a pizza stone to 450 degrees...spread cornmeal on a pizza peel...roll dough out fairly thick and put onto with pesto, cheese, olives, mushrooms and sausage...slide onto the pizza stone and bake for 8 the oven and sprinkle a little more cheese on top...bake 4 more minutes...
until golden brown.



Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce

It's been a while since I posted; sorry about that but it's been busy in the kitchen here the last couple of weeks.  First I bought 60 pounds of tomatoes from a local produce shop since it didn't look like mine were going to cooperate ... then it got warm and everything ripened at once ... I picked another 60 pounds of my own tomatoes over a period of four days!  So there's sauce, salsa, catsup and more all in various stages of completion.  I'm really pleased with the way the sauce turned out.

20 pounds tomatoes (I used Romas), halved
3 sweet onions, coarsely chopped
12 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
6 Tbsp olive oil
3 "Mixed Herb Blobs"  or a few sprigs each of your favorite herbs
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup good red wine
2 bay leaves (preferbly fresh)
citric acid (you can use bottled lemon juice but I don't care for the taste it gives the sauce)

A word about my ingredients list.  There is one thing you DON'T see listed here; salt.  I seldom use salt in my cooking; leaving it up to the diner to add it or not at the table.  I think this ought to be a law....

Place the tomatoes face-up in casserole dishes (after the first batch I used my big, rimmed cookie sheets; it went much faster as I could roast more tomatoes at the same time).  Toss the onions and garlic on top of the tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil.

 Roast at 325 degrees oven for 2 hours (I rotated the pans after the first hour to get even roasting since my stove is very old ... 1956!  I am going to have to clean the ovens again after the main portion of the fall cooking frenzy is over; this was built before self cleaning.  I'm never going to replace it since I love the second, smaller oven on the side : )

Once the vegetables have cooled there are a couple of ways you can prepare it for the sauce. I used my Victorio Strainer (you could use a food mill, food processor or an immersion blender.)

Place the strained sauce in a heavy stock pot, add the herbs, wine and bay leaves

and simmer on medium heat for an hour.

While the sauce is simmering prepare jars, lids and bands for canning ... remove hot jars from canner, add citric acid to each jar (1/2 tsp for quart jars, 1/4 tsp. for pint jars or 2 tbsp. lemon juice for quart jars, 1 tbsp for pint jars)  Ladle sauce into jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe rim and center lid on jar.  Screw band on to fingertip tight.  Process in water bath for 40 minutes for quart jars; 35 minutes for pint jars.  Makes about 5 quarts.


PS: 2/25/12  Note to self : Next fall can at least 24 quarts and 12 pints of this ...

Monday, September 5, 2011

Harvest Monday ... and "Don't You Hate It When They Do That? "

I'm joining other bloggers over at Daphne's Dandelions as we share our weekly's fun to see what others are harvesting and what they are cooking up with it...check it out!

My harvests have been tomatoes ... lots of them (probably 15 pounds this week : )

...and cucumbers ... lots of them ...this is the second fermentation crock ....

I spent a lot of the week canning and getting some storage items ready for the root cellar ... yes, the root cellar!     If you follow my blog you know that I have been in a 2 YEAR LONG discussion with FitzGyver over the merits of having a root cellar.  I bought a book, did Internet searches, etc. all to no avail; there was always a reason why not (usually having to do with the amount of liquid that comes down out of the sky and saturates the ground here in Washington).  So a week or so ago we were at the local feed store (which carries all the really good brands of dog food ... not because I was buying chicken feed "Which is a discussion that is still not over, FitzGyver!")   As we were parking I pointed to all of the Rubbermaid stock ponds and commented that we could sink one of them into the ground and build the root cellar in and over it, thus eliminating the H2O problem.  He thought for a minute and agreed that that this might work.  And then he said "Why don't you just use the Hobbit Hole? "  The Hobbit Hole!!  I could have strangled him ... because it was BRILLIANT!  "For 2 years I've wanted a root cellar and NOW you decide to be brilliant, FitzGyver??!!"

This is the Hobbit Hole ...

... a storage area built into the area under the stairs when the second floor was added to the house, accessible from the outside only and used to store miscellaneous junk ... ( you can see from the yard stick why we call it the Hobbit Hole)  ...

...and here it is today with an area for my root cellared vegetables ...

... and room to store my canning jars ...

 ... OK, I'm a Happy Camper ... "But REALLY, FitzGyver, couldn't you have been brilliant 2 YEARS AGO??!!"