Gardening is something you learn by doing---and by making mistakes....
Like Cooking, Gardening is a constant process of experimentation, repeating the successes and throwing out the failures.
Carol Stocker

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pine Nut and Roasted Tomato Relish

I'm not really fond of fish, but this relish makes it worth eating!  I saw a recipe using walnuts in a relish for fish and that inspired me to make up one of my own using Pine Nuts!  This is a nutty, savory-sweet relish.  It goes great with Salmon.  You can add it to your Salmon before cooking or use it as a relish on your cooked fish.....I do both!!
I was a little nervous serving this to my husband, he is afraid of the 'unknown' and leery of my 'concoctions'.  I made only enough for half of the fish (my half).  After being bribed with custard, he reluctantly sampled it.  His response was, "Damn! Do you have anymore of that!" Needless to say, I had to share.....and make custard as well!!

Pine Nut & Roasted Tomato  Relish

1 Cup Pine Nuts, raw
1/4 Cup Roasted Tomatoes, seasoned with Thyme & Garlic(you can use sun-dried tomatoes)
1 Tsp Olive Oil, plus 1 Tbs
1 Tbs Honey
1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
1 Tsp Onion Flakes
Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper

In a small skillet add 1 Tsp Olive Oil and the Pine Nuts. Over medium heat toast Pine Nuts until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Take off heat and coarsely chop the nuts, return to pan.  Add chopped Roasted Tomatoes to chopped nuts and cook until Tomatoes are heated through and softened, remove from heat and place in a small bowl.
To the Nuts and Tomatoes add 1 Tbs Olive Oil, Honey, Parsley, Onion Flakes and Salt & Pepper.  Mix well.  If you have use Sun-dried Tomatoes you may want to add a pinch of Thyme and Garlic Powder for more flavor
Put this relish to the top of your fish prior to cooking or use as a relish to top cooked fish....or both!

Toast Pine Nuts

Coarsely Chop Nuts

Chop Roasted Tomatoes

Add caption

Add Parsley & Spices

Add to fish and bake

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Grilled Pork Chops with a Simple Marinade

I love my indoor grill.  I place it on the burners of my stove and grill away.  My Pork Chops turned out perfect, evenly cooked, tender and juicy.

Pork Chops with Garlic Bread, Corn and Buckwheat Grits

Grilled Pork Chops with a  Simple Marinade

4 Pork Chops
1/4 C Olive Oil
1 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbs Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 Tsp Garlic Powder

Combine all ingredients into a gallon sized Ziploc bag, including chops.  Remove most of the air while closing the baggie.  Coat a Pork Chops with Marinade and lay flat.  Marinate chops  at least 2 hours, flipping every once in awhile to insure chops stay coated.

Heat Grill to med--high.  Place chops on grill and cook until no longer pink....I like to flip several times to get a criss-cross pattern.

Marinated chops on the grill

Cooking Nicely

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Granny's Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding, another comfort brings back memories too.  My Granny would have all kinds of baked goodies made when I'd go to her house.  Bread Pudding, Rice Pudding, Baked Apples and Jelly Rolls, just to name a few.  She would always let me have a little cup of coffee with her, but just a little 'cause "it would stunt my growth"!

Her  Bread Pudding was one of my favorites.  I've tried to replicate her recipe since I was a teenager....the only problem is that there was no recipe to follow... she didn't use (or need) one!  My Bread Pudding is really close to hers, but it was always better when Granny made it.....I think it was just the fact the SHE was the one making it!

Bread Pudding is as old as time.  Frugal cooks would make Bread Pudding (sweet and Savory) as a way of using up stale or hard bread.  It's the simple and practical recipes that stand the test of time!

Granny's Bread Pudding
preheat oven to  325F

3 Cups Stale Bread, cubed
3 Eggs
2 Cups Milk
1 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla
1 Cup Raisins
1/2 Tsp Nutmeg & Cinnamon each
1 Tbs Butter

Place bread in a greased 8x8 baking dish.
In large bowl beat the eggs.  Add milk, sugar, vanilla, raisins, cinnamon & nutmeg.
Pour egg mixture over the cubed bread.  Dot with butter.  Sprinkle top with a pinch of cinnamon and a couple pinches of sugar.
Bake at 325F for 1 hour.  Serve warm or cold with cream or milk.  Refrigerate  after it cools.

Bread & Egg Mixture

Pour Egg Mixture over Bread

Out of the Oven

I love it with milk!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The End of a Season

     Well, its that time again.  The frost has hit.  The final harvest has been made and the last of the garden goodies are gone.  All that remains is a patch of lonely carrots snuggled in their blanket of earth. 
     The pickling, canning, freezing & preserving is done for the season....and what a season it was!  Pickled Beans, Carrots and Beets....Frozen Corn and Tomatoes.....Apple Butter and Pie Filling......Slow Roasted Tomatoes............and Salsa!
Yes, the season has ended.  No more dodging garden spiders while picking zucchini or trying to sweet talk the green tomatoes into ripening.  No more water to set or weeds to pull.  No more storm tracking or cussing hail.
     The Garden may be finished, but that doesn't mean the work had ended.  Soil Preparation in the Fall is just as important as in the Spring, so it is now time for the Fall Chores.  The Garden must be tilled and prepared for it's long winter's nap.
     A rich bountiful Garden has now turned into a barren plot of ground.  It's  bitter sweet to see something you've tended to and put so much work into succumb to the end of a season.  Then I realize,"WoooHooo, I don't have to pull another weed till next year!"

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

I had an abundance of small Roma Tomatoes, which I planted thinking they were normal sized Romas.  What to do with all those tomatoes?  Freezing would be too much of a hassle, they are so I decided to roast them.  They turned out wonderful, good to snack on right out of the fridge or put in sauces or add to any recipe.

Oven Roasted Tomatoes
preheat oven to 225F

Any variety of small Tomatoes (small Roma, Grape, Cherry)
Olive Oil
Garlic Salt
Onion Flakes
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Rosemary in desired

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Slice Tomatoes in half and place skin side down onto parchment paper.  Brush each Tomato half with Olive Oil.  Sprinkle seasonings evenly onto Tomatoes (get messy-I don't measure, just sprinkle till I think it look good)
Bake in a slow oven, about 225F for 2-3 hrs, depending on the size of your Tomatoes and depending on how juicy you like them.....don't let them brown, they are then over cooked.
Cool Tomatoes and place in a plastic baggie or container in the refrigerator. Add a little Olive Oil if needed so they don't dry out.

Plump juicy Romas

Cut in half and season

And season some more!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Baked Custard

Baked Custard has 'Comfort Food' written all over it!  What a way to end a meal than with a warm ramekin of Custard!  It is so easy to make, such a simple recipe, I don't know why I don't make it more often.

Baked Custard
preheat oven to 350F

3 Eggs
2 Cups Milk
1/3 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla (I use Vanilla Sugar)
Cinnamon & Nutmeg

Whisk Eggs, Milk, Sugar and Vanilla together.  Pour into 4 custard cups;  sprinkle Cinnamon & Nutmeg. (a good pinch of each)
Fill a 9x13 pan with about 3/4 inch of hot water. Place custard cups in the water and carefully transfer to the oven.  Bake uncovered 50-60 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
Serve warm or chilled, store in the refrigerator.

Pour into custard cups, top with Cinnamon & Nutmeg.  Place in a pan filled with 3/4 inch of water

Friday, October 14, 2011

Bisquick Cardamom Rolls

I got this recipe from a Bisquick Cook Book...of course, I can't leave things alone so I modified it quite a bit.  If you aren't too keen on Cardamom you can replace it with Cinnamon....I switch it up quite a bit, depending on what I'm in the mood for.

Bisquick Cardamom Rolls

preheat oven to 400F

2 1/2 Cups Bisquick Mix
1/3 Cup Milk
1 Egg
2 Tbs Butter, softened
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Tsp Ground Cardamom (or Cinnamon)
1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans--optional
1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar
1-2 Tsp Warm Water

Stir Bisquick, milk and egg until a soft dough forms.  Place dough on a surface dusted with Bisquick, roll in Bisquick, adding more if too sticky.  Shape into a ball and knead until smooth.
Roll dough in a 10x8 rectangle.  Spread with Butter.  Mix Brown sugar and Cardamom together, then sprinkle evenly over dough.  Sprinkle Pecans over top, if desired.
Roll dough tightly beginning at the 10 inch side, pinching the ends of dough into the roll to seal.
Place the dough seam side down onto an ungreased cookie sheet ( I like to use parchment paper).
With a sharp knife cut dough at one inch intervals, almost through to the bottom.
Bake 20 minutes or until light brown.
Mix Powdered sugar and water until smooth; drizzle over warm rolls (I sometimes do this twice!)

Egg, Bisquick and Milk

Make the dough

Knead until smooth

Roll out 10x8 and Butter

Sprinkle Sugar and Spice

Roll starting on long side

Cut the dough
Out of the Oven

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Roasted Carrots and Potatoes

I'm slowly getting my carrots Out of the Garden.  Roasted carrots sounded so good tonight, so I dug a few, cut up some potatoes & onion and did some, the flavors were unbelievable!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Dressed up Baked Potatoes

Baked Potatoes can get boring... I like a little variety.  Here is an easy way to dress them up.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Turtle Brownies

I got this recipe from my niece, but I tweaked it a bit...then had to 'untweak' half of it because my son, Ryan can't eat pecans.
I added pecans and coconut to only half of the brownies so Ryan could still enjoy the 'caramel only' side.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Freezing Tomatoes

The tomatoes are ripening fast and I can't keep up with them, so it's time to freeze them.  I like canned tomatoes too but freezing is just as good and I don't have to mess with jars or a pressure canner.
I like to use the frozen tomatoes rather than commercial canned tomatoes when making soup, spaghetti sauce, name it.
Here is my process.

Freezing Tomatoes
Wash your tomatoes.  Drop into boiling water for 30-45 seconds, this will allow you to peal them easily (you don't want to freeze the peals, they are tough)
Immediately submerge tomatoes into ice water, then slip the skins off.
Chop the tomatoes into the size you prefer, seed and put in a drainer or colander to remove water. (I'm not too picky about getting every seed out, I just get the majority.
Fill quart freezer bags with 2 cups of tomatoes, express air and freeze.

You may want to save the juice from your tomatoes.  I put it through a strainer and got fresh tomato juice!

Wash Tomatoes

Drop into boiling water for 30-45 seconds, skin will break

Transfer Tomatoes into ice cold water

Slip skins off the tomatoes
Seed Tomatoes and strain
2 Cups Tomatoes per quart sized bag, seal and freeze

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Apple Tart Cake

Apples Galore!

I picked more apples at my sister's place and I had a new, unused tart pan that was screaming to be put to work.  Tonight I decided to throw this quick cake together....mmmm it's almost like a coffee cake.  It is a fairly dense cake with a crunch topping.  It was good right out of the oven, but I can't wait to have some in the morning with my coffee.


Cutting Silage at Berry Creek