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
Several weeks ago, we had dinner at a friend’s house and were served this delicious fall treat. Since then I have made it several times, with many different variations. It combines all the wonderful flavors of fall in one simple dish.
Due to how easy, delicious and seasonally appropriate it is, it has become my go to, “I don’t feel like making something exciting for dinner dish.” Yet with a little maple sausage thrown in, it becomes quite an exciting meal all its own.
For the past several weeks, this farm stand near us has had signs every 8 feet or so leading up to it from both directions, that say: ‘Gorgeous’ … ‘Spectacular’ … ‘Cauliflower’. Who can resist such advertising? Not me. Especially when I haven’t been able to make this fantastic dish since last year, and the brussels sprouts in our garden are just beginning to look perfect for picking.
And they weren’t lying, if that cauliflower isn’t gorgeous and spectacular, I don’t know what is.
I discovered this recipe last April in one of my food blog wanderings. I was looking for new interesting dishes during the time of year when fresh local vegetables are scarce, but just starting to appear out of greenhouses. I was looking to use up the last of my frozen corn from the previous year, before the bountiful new year began, and this dish lent itself beautifully to such an endeavor.
Over the course of this summer I have made this dish several times with all fresh local ingredients, and it was spectacular each and every time.
Isn’t it funny how much our tastes change as we move from childhood to adulthood? It is a gradual change that happens over the course of many years, but looking back at the age of 27, I realize that almost all those previously “yucky” vegetables that I refused to touch with a ten foot pole as a child, I now simply can’t get enough of. Beets are one such vegetable that I now find to be addicting, especially when they are prepared with this Maple-Balsamic dressing.
Now, I will admit that you could cover almost anything in maple syrup and I would eat it with gusto, but what makes these beets delicious isn’t simply the maple. It is the combination of the sweetness of the maple, the tang of the balsamic vinegar and earthiness of the beets.
Everything in our garden is a little bit behind this year, in terms of normal harvest times, because of all the rain we got early in the season. As a result, right now we are drowning in peppers. We made salsa and tomato sauce, which used up quite a few, but there are still more than enough to go around. So, how to turn green and red peppers into a meal? Use up all those things just hanging around in your fridge and garden, and stuff them with sausage, couscous, cheese, etc.
A fresh tomato is a truly beautiful and delicious thing. I love to simply eat them sliced, perhaps with a bit of sliced basil and fresh ground pepper on top, or to pick a cherry tomato and pop it in my mouth straight from the vine. This is one of the sweetest things that nature has to offer. One of my favorite dishes to make with fresh tomatoes and fresh herbs is Ottolenghi’s Tomato Party.
This recipe utilizes many different kinds of tomatoes, including green tomatoes, red and yellow cherry tomatoes and vine-ripened tomatoes. Some are roasted, some are raw, and the combination of flavors between the tomatoes, fresh garlic, oregano, mint and tarragon are divine, and only seem to get better with time.