Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ike's a b*tch

Thanks to Ike, our poor Fair Shares farmer's have been flooded out. These hard working folks don't get the government subsidies because they have chosen to forgo the feed corn and soy for more edible, nutritious and organic crops. Shame on government!
Tonight's dinner had none of the lovely produce we usually get on Wednesday's. I made steamed carrots, green beans and (burnt) pork chops. Yes, I'm not always a great cook. Everyone has their off days and apparently today was mine. A little scraping and they were good enough. We did; however, have some Companion Bread from Fair Shares. Usually by the time we get around to it, its gone fuzzy. But tonight I wanted something from Fair Shares.
We are running into the late season where fresh anything is quickly going out the window. Luckily, the wonder women that run Fair Shares have contracted with some of the Amish in our area for canned goods.
Speaking of: I bought a book on small batch canning that I may have to put to use soon. I can still pick up fresh green beans at the local farmer's market for next to nothing. I've never been much on canned green beans but why not try it out.

To freeze your own green beans all you have to do is blanch them in boiling water until they turn bright green. Remove to an ice bath, pat dry with towels and lay flat on a baking sheet. I usually line the sheet with waxed paper to prevent sticking and freeze until solid. Store in a labeled zip top bag.
To reheat, just steam until you've reached the desired texture. I like them a little crunchy.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Fall into soup!

There's a chill in the air that can only mean fall is on its way. Yay!
Usually on a nice early fall day I will get out all my stock pots (I have a lot) and make every kind of soup I can think of. Roasted red pepper and tomato, chicken chili, steak and bean, vegetable chowder, you name it! All of these soups freeze really well, too.
Here is my Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato recipe:
1 t olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jar roasted red peppers, chopped (I use the Trader Joe's brand, but you could always roast your own)
4 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (or a 28 oz can)
1 1/2 t dried thyme
2 t paprika
1 lg can tomato paste
6 cups broth of choice
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 c fat free 1/2 & 1/2
sour cream for garnish (optional)

In a giganto, mungo pot soften onion and garlic in olive oil. Add in tomato, bell peppers, thyme and paprika. Cook over medium heat until reduced by about 1/2. Stir in tomato paste, broth and cayenne. Let simmer for about 10 minutes. Puree the entire batch, then add the 1/2 & 1/2 and heat through. Serve with sour cream. It's also good with some pepperoni sprinkled in.
I want to try it with some other add-in's like: corn, rice, chicken or bacon too.
Try it and let me know what you think!

Oh, to freeze: let cool completely and pour into labeled freezer bags. Lie flat on a baking sheet and freeze solid. This will keep for about 4-6 months.
To reheat: let thaw and either heat through on stove top or in microwave.