Monday - Power almost all day... eating highly perishable food in anticipation of losing power...
Buckwheat Pancakes (Adapted from the Little House Cookbook)
Turnip Casserole (Adapted from the Moosewood Restaurant Kitchen Garden Cookbook)
Tuesday - No Power until the evening
Southwestern Potatoes (Adapted from Simply in Season)
|Cat Eating Vampire|
Carved TurnipThis year, while the kids carved pumpkins, I decided to carve a turnip. Check out this link for a history of Jack O'Lanterns. It was very easy (easier than carving a pumpkin). I chose one of my extra large turnips. Then I cut the lid at a bias - just like pumpkin carving, and scooped out the inside with a grapefruit spoon. I then carved in eyes, nose and mouth and added a tea light. It turned out really neat and looked like a little skull - especially when it was lit.
Spaghetti SauceI usually freeze my tomatoes until about the end of September. Then I make one final picking and turn the last of the fresh tomatoes and the frozen ones into sauce. I do this for several reasons. First, spaghetti sauce is a lot of work, rather time consuming and quite a bit of mess. I prefer to only do this process once. Secondly, I've learned that when I freeze tomatoes I'm able to pour a lot of the liquid from the tomato off so there's less water and more pulp when I start. This makes the cooking process much faster. Finally, the tomatoes are already broken down some from the freezer so they require very little cooking time before they can be churned through the Victorio.
Then, once I have the pulp ready, I add garlic, onion and lots of herbs and bake it down until it's thick. This usually takes at least 6 hours - sometimes longer depending on how much liquid is in the tomato pulp when you start. I usually do spaghetti sauce over two days, but this year I did it all in one. I had already picked and prepared the herbs at the end of September and put them in my freezer. Then I bribed the kids with the promise of hot bread sticks if they would peel the garlic. It really made the processing go faster.
The house smelled glorious, full of that rich tomato smell and the heady waft of garlic and herbs. I had a spaghetti squash that I slow roasted at the same time. So, by dinnertime I had sauce in the canner, sauce on our plates and fantastic bread sticks to dip into the sauce. We were all in heaven.
My recipe was adapted from my mom's recipe. She got hers from a first generation Italian immigrant woman from our church. I increased the amount of herbs and garlic, and cut the sugar amount drastically. I'm completely in love with my sauce. I savor it all year long, and when the last jar is finished I feel forlorn. I don't think there's ever been a year when I've made enough. I'd eat it straight from the jar, but that seems a bit extreme.
Garlic and Herb Spaghetti SauceFor every quart of tomato puree....
1 6 oz. can of tomato paste (Optional - some years I use this, and some I don't. It make the sauce thicken faster.)
2 t. fresh basil - chopped
2 t. fresh oregano - chopped
2 t. fresh rosemary
1/2 t. sugar
1 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
1/4 c. onion - rough chopped
1 clove garlic
Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until soft and caramelized. Then buzz in a food processor until smooth.
Add the onion mixture and the rest of the ingredients to the tomato puree. Transfer to a 300 degree oven and bake until thick (approximately 6 hours). Add 2 t. of lemon juice to each jar, then can for 45 minutes.
I measure out sauce into my big roaster and my other big pans, and then chop the correct amount of garlic and onions. I then add the rest of the ingredients directly to the pans. When I first started to make this sauce I actually measured out all of the herbs. Now I only actually measure the salt and pepper. I'm also sure to not have too much onion in the sauce. I've been making this sauce for 15 years, so I've gotten pretty good at eyeballing the rest of the ingredients. I then add salt as needed as the sauce cooks down.
|Tomatoes thawing in the sink the night before processing|
|Tomatoes heating on stove top to finish defrosting|
|Garlic smashing and snacking|
|Sauteed garlic and onions|
|Garlic and Onion Paste|
|Sauce with all the ingredients - ready to cook down|
|Finished! I only got 12 jars. Stupid slugs!|
There were two positive benefits of the storm. The Woodsman has gotten three loads of wood this week (one of them was already cut). We lost eight trees, but none of them hit buildings, although the chicken house was almost a goner. The other great benefit was the snow on the mountains. It's just enough for us to pretend that we live in Colorado, and enough to give us hope for snow this winter.
|What kind of wood do you think this is? We have a little debate going.|
|Sunrise on North Mountain 10/31/12|