Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes

This weekend I am beginning the process of putting my little container garden to bed.  It was an awesome pepper year for me, particularly for my habanero plant which yielded more than 50 habanero peppers on one small plant.  Habaneroes are tough to use up due to their extreme level of spice, however I like to slice and dry them in my dehydrator for use all winter whenever a recipe call for a little zip.  I also grow them to use in my Habanero – Maple Barbecue Sauce which I pressure can and use on everything from chicken wings to ribs and pulled pork.

My little garden also yielded a number of beautiful red cayenne peppers which I have dried whole for use this winter, as well as a great number of jalapeno and spicy black peppers, most of which I have already used up over the course of the past few months.  One thing that saddened me about my CSA is that I did not receive any hot peppers all summer which makes me very grateful that my own did so well this year, seeing as how I use them all the time. Continue reading

Welcome Back! … and Leek Fritters

The answer to your question is, yes, I am alive.  Unfortunately, however, it is September, and I have not posted a single thing since December of 2011.  At this point, I think it is fair to say that I have been more than a little bit of a failure at this for the better part of a year.  Between everything to do with planning a wedding, a job that was consuming my soul in a way that I would prefer not to discuss, applying for jobs, getting an interview three days before my wedding, getting married, getting a new job two days later, giving my notice, traveling to Ohio for a second wedding reception, starting my new job, and all those millions of little things in between that life throws at you, I have been both physically and emotionally exhausted.  However, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel now that I have posted the last of my thank you notes!

Over the past year, there have been so very many recipes that I have wanted to share, and while I have taken many photos and made many notes, I have failed to post anything at all.  Now I am left with a terrible loss of words at where to start…as a result, I have decided to start fresh…so I guess I will jump right in… Continue reading

Pumpkin – Black Bean Cakes with Creamy Horseradish Sauce

All right, I know, enough with the black beans already!  The posting of this recipe, as well as my Black Bean and Wheat Berry Chili with Turkey Sausage, comes from the fact that I made black beans just a few days ago, and therefore wanted to show a few ways in which I use them.

I work very hard to be economical in my kitchen, I don’t buy or make things that I don’t have some sort of plan for because I absolutely hate to waste food.  Learning how to maximize your ingredients and to reduce the amount of waste in your kitchen, is not always a simple as it might sound, but it is, in my opinion, a very important skill to attempt to master.  Such an endeavor requires creativity in cooking and the willingness to experiment.

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Apple – Jalapeño Chutney

Based on the fact that I seem to be trying to put anything interesting and seasonal I can into a jar, and seeing how my Peach – Jalapeño Chutney turned out so great, I decided to try the same recipe with apples instead of peaches.  I made it as a one off recipe a few weeks ago, and served it over a baked brie as an appetizer, getting a very positive response, I of course decided to make a batch and can it.

Just before I attempted to undertake this endeavor, I received my November/December 2011 issue of Cook’s Illustrated which included a great piece of advice on how to seed jalapeños, so I thought I would share it with you here.  Start by slicing the chili lengthwise about a quarter of the way in, leaving the stem and seed pod intact.

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Crab cakes with chipotle chili sauce and grilled corn and tomato salsa

Birthdays are a time for celebration.  They provide the perfect excuse to show someone that you care.  Even a simple gesture can mean a great deal, after all, who doesn’t like to receive a birthday card in the mail.

This year, for my Mom’s birthday, I decided to throw her a little party.  I asked her more than a month ago what she might like for her special dinner, and she responded with the definitive statement: “really good crab cakes and your maple carrot cake.”  So that is what we had!

I have made crab cakes a number of times before, but have never found a recipe that I was in love with, until now!  These crab cakes were absolutely delicious, they were moist and flavorful, and did not require a sauce of any kind.  However, wanting to appeal to everyone’s tastes in my dinner party, I did make two sauces both of which were excellent, and did a lovely job of enhancing the crab cakes.  Of the two sauces, I think that the chipolte chili sauce was definitely the better of the two.  It provided just the right amount of heat (however, I do love spicy food), but did not overpower the flavor of the crab cakes themselves.  The grilled corn and tomato salsa was also good, and appealed more to those who do not prefer spicy food.

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Zucchini Fritters

Yotam Ottolenghi got me hooked on fritters.  His leek fritters, sweet potato fritters and cauliflower fritters (all of which I will share with you in due course) are of my favorite recipes in his books: Ottolenghi: The Cookbook and Plenty.  So, when I saw this recipe for zucchini fritters in my most recent Food & Wine magazine, one fritter variety which Ottolenghi does not delve into, I knew I HAD to try them.  However, I did make a lemony cilantro yogurt and sour cream sauce that was inspired by Ottolenghi to accompany them, which I think was an excellent addition to these delicious vegetarian treats.

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Mrs. Sio’s Garden Salsa

I fell in love with this salsa recipe in college while having dinner at a friend’s house.  I now make it every summer so that I may savor it throughout the rest of the year.  Beyond the traditional, chips and salsa, I love to serve this with all different kinds of dishes.  My all time favorite is a dollop of this salsa on top of a La Platte River organic ground beef burger with a melted slice of Cabot extra sharp cheddar cheese on an english muffin, with a side of homemade baked sweet potato fries.  YUM!!!

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