Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fall Book Giveaway

Fall is here! And in honor of this most glorious of seasons, I'm giving away some very gently used Gooseberry Patch cookbooks: Flavors of Fall, Good for You!, and Thanksgiving/Pumpkin recipe booklets. Three prizes, three winners. Just leave a comment here by Friday, Oct. 1, noon Pacific time, and tell me what's your very favorite thing about fall.
If you want to enter more than once, you can mention the giveaway on your blog or on Facebook and enter again.
And make sure, if you don't have a blog, to leave an email address so I can let you know when you win.
Happy fall, y'all!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Summer Food Wrap-up

With Kahuna's gardening prowess and my enthusiasm for playing with my food, we've had a good summer here at the castle. Here's my wrap-up of the season -- or, What I Learned (about Food) on My Summer Vacation. 1. Most tragic food blunder: garlic paste. Thinking this was a good way to preserve

our garlic harvest, I used fully half of the year's crop, roasting and turning it into a paste to use on bread, in stews, etc. Result: a very mellow-tasting spread that doesn't even make a decent piece of garlic bread.
Epic fail.

2. Most ill-advised historical food experiment: these muffins from a 17th-century recipe. I don't remember the name, but I do remember they tasted like chalk and contained enough baking powder to make a horse float. A castle record: amount of time from taking first bite until entire batch is pitched into the garbage -- 1.2 seconds.
3. Biggest surprise: homemade "butter," whereby cream, blenderized and promised to magically transform into fresh home-made butter, instead resolutely remained cream, albeit slightly dazed cream. Said cream's sole action was, upon seeing daylight as blender top was lifted, to defiantly and maniacally splash into blender wielder's eye.
"Butter" - 1. Castle Queen - 0.

4. Biggest (pleasant) garden surprise: eggplant.

Our first time growing this, we grilled, roasted, and baked it. Vegetable medleys, ratatouille, eggplant Parmesan -- all were delicious. All were eaten within minutes.

Our mothers would never believe it: we actually like vegetables.
5. Most frequently made recipe: pear nectar. Or maybe peach nectar. What can I say? I love nectar. Probably because I love sugar, and after a summer of eating vegetables, I am a tad sugar-deprived.
6. Most triumphant garden victory: enough basil for homemade pesto. The fulfillment of a lifelong dream. Totally worth the wait.
Never mind that we received said basil as a gift, already a very large plant. The point is, at this date it is still a very large plant, thriving in Kahuna's garden and popping out an abundance of leaves daily.
You go, basil. You go.
So how about you? Any summertime hits, misses, surprises? Feel free to leave a link if you've posted about your summertime food adventures. We'd love to read all about it.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pickled Peppers

Cue up the Peter Piper jokes, 'cause here come my pickled peppers.

Last year's crop of green peppers were eenie-beenie little things -- maybe golf ball size, if that.

But this year? This year our peppers have been amazing. Big as a softball. See?

We've had lots of them, and they're still going strong.
Kahuna is a sucker for anything pickled. So pickled peppers it is.
Here's a wonderful recipe I unearthed from the depths of my file drawers. It's from an ancient issue of Cooking Light, back when home-grown peppers were merely a twinkle in Kahuna's eye.


4 large bell peppers, either red, green, yellow, or any combination (about 2 lbs. total)
2 c. water
1/2 c. sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar or white vinegar
1/4 c. honey
1 t. black peppercorns
4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 c. sliced onion (about 2 small)
Slice up peppers, lengthwise, into strips about 1 inch wide; discard stems and seeds. Set aside.
In medium saucepan, heat water, vinegar, honey, peppercorns, and garlic until boiling. Add peppers and onions and return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and continue cooking for 20 minutes, or until peppers are very tender. (I cooked mine about 30 minutes.) Let cool, and pack into jars or plastic containers. Refrigerate. Serve with a slotted spoon.
I've made several batches of this, and what we didn't eat, I popped into the freezer. 'Twill be a wonderful reminder of warmer days come February.
So how about you? Any surprise successes in your garden this year?
NOTE: I'm entering this recipe in the Grow Your Own food roundup, held this month at Girlichef's blog.