Saturday, August 30, 2014

Preserving the Garden

  It has been a busy week in my garden and kitchen. The weather made my work seem more like fun then work. Everyday this week there has been something that needed picking and preserving. The biggest reaping was once again tomatoes. I had another large batch and no real idea of what to do with them. I don't need more sauce for sure I have 12 quarts all ready frozen.

 So what to do with the tomatoes was the question of the day.
  I turned to the computer for the answer. I found my answer on a site called Food Foto Gallery. If you like food porn you need to visit this site it will have you drooling on your screen. Anyway I found a photo of tomato soup that looked real good so I clicked on it. The recipe looked easy enough and was made for freezing so I gave it a try.
 I cored and chopped the tomatoes and opted not to peel. 

I followed the recipe as written and well I won't follow it again. The soup is good but not the tomato soup I was looking for. The texture is off, it isn't smooth and creamy and the flavor isn't tomato enough the garlic and onion over power the taste completely. 

 Tomato soup is one of my favorites I love love a good bowl of tomato soup so I will try this again. As soon as another batch of tomatoes ripen. I am hoping cutting back a lot on the onion and garlic will help with the flavor. I also plan on using my food mill instead of the immersion blender that was recommended. I am hoping the mill will make the texture smoother and creamier. 
 While it is not the tomato soup I was hoping for the soup is still really good. It is a garlicy Italian style tomato soup that is only made better with the addition of a grilled cheese sandwich. 

 The soup won't go to waste for sure. I froze 3 quarts and enjoyed a bowl for lunch.
 This is how the recipe was originally written.
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 6 cups chopped yellow onions (About 2 very large onions)
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 cups chopped tomatoes 
  • 6 cups chicken broth 
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  1. In a large  heavy pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 5-7 minutes, or until they've started to soften. Add the balsamic, sugar, and garlic and saute for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until garlic is fragrant.
  2. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in the chicken broth and bring the mixture back to a simmer. Simmer another five minutes then taste. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
  4. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup into the consistency of your choosing. You can also blend this in your blender.
  5. To freeze, allow the mixture to cool then ladle it into freezer safe containers or quart size freezer bags. Freeze bags laying flat.
  6. Tomato soup author
 I plan on cutting the garlic and onion by at least half and I believe I am going to leave out the vinegar as well. Before adding the broth I am going to use the food mill and then slowly add the broth as the soup simmers.

   Have a wonderful weekend! Happy Labor day. Thank you for stopping by. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Still Walking & Dinner

 On Wednesday I shared with you Madeline's view of Haddonfield NJ. Today I plan to share a little of my view of Haddonfield NJ.
   It was incredibly hard to not take pictures of Madeline taking pictures. As you browse through my pictures today I am sure you will get the idea I didn't resists very much.

 It was a beautiful day, perfect temperature, blue skies filled with fluffy white clouds and the sun shining bright.A day like that makes a stroll down the busy flower lined main street feel like one of life's guilty pleasures.

  I was just as enamored with the dinosaur as Madeline and took a few pictures of my own.

 There is a lot that we didn't see or do. Some things didn't open till the middle of the week and somethings there just wasn't enough time to get to. 

I will return before the fall season ends I am sure. 
 This little tea shop serves lunch and high teas. I am hoping someday a friend of mine will bring herself east and sit at one of those tables and enjoy afternoon tea with me.
Madeline's photo mine was not as crisply clear

 Yes Paula these pictures are just for you.
  I have been to some very interesting cemeteries before and this one was not a disappointment. The shady well kept paths were inviting and strangely welcoming to walk. The old stones that were worded so differently actually moved you back into time a little letting your imagination have a peek into the past.

 The double stones for the young brothers that past within days of one another had Madeline really thinking. She only asked why the stone had sheep carved on it.

 The family plot with the fancy stones had Madeline's attention too.

 Every angel in the cemetery had every inch photographed each wing, hand and in a few cases the eyes too.

 The white washed chapel is just so charming you can't help be drawn to it as you pass by.

  I have to agree with Madeline. What a good day. 
 " What Was Dinner " Dinner is a throw back. I went back to 08/23/2014 to see what was dinner and I am so glad I did.

 I had forgotten how good fresh tomatoes make chili taste. The pictures are from last year but I am not going to copy and paste the blog. I never make chili the same way twice anyway. Do you? How do you make chili?

 Me I start by heating a little cooking oil and cooking chopped onion and minced garlic until translucent and fragrant add your ground meat cooking until browned and crumbled.  Season with chili powder, cumin, cardamom, ancho chili powder, and black pepper. Adjusting the heat to suit the occasion. Add 1/2 cup water and let simmer 10 minutes. Add black beans rinsed and drained, red beans rinsed and drained. Depending on the season I use a large can of whole tomatoes or large fresh tomatoes. If I am using canned I squeeze the tomatoes as I put them in the pan. If it is fresh I quarter the tomatoes. I add water a little at a time so as not to drown the flavor. I add about a cup to a cup and a half water or beef broth bring it to a boil and then simmer uncovered about 30 minutes. Add more liquid if needed and continue to simmer 30 more minutes or so. 

As I said I never do it the same twice but this is my basic starting point and this alone makes a good bowl of chili.
    Have a wonderful weekend! Thank you for stopping by.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Picture Walk with Madeline & Dinner

 Today I have a guest photographer. Miss Madeline my granddaughter took a camera walk with me yesterday. We visited the town of Haddonfield NJ in the early afternoon.

We walked until we thought our feet were going to fall off, stopping for a little lunch and then walking some more. 

Madeline likes and is interested in many of the same things as me and taking pictures is one of them. I handed her my old point and shoot and said take any picture you want.She started taking pictures as soon as we got in the car.

 I showed her how to zoom, and she was most interested in the flash. It wasn't easy convincing her she didn't need it. I did my best not to interfere and succeeded pretty well. Some things like the dinosaur she took pictures of every part and angle.

 Not a single person walking by didn't pause and at the very least smile as she worked at taking her pictures. Her stance while focusing is too cute. It was fun to watch what she was  photoing.  She shares my love for flowers, clouds, and pretty baubles. 

  On the way out of town I saw the cemetery and asked if she would like to walk there. I told her what a cemetery was and she was all for it. We spent an hour in the cemetery looking at stones and quietly walking in the shade enjoying the cool calm breeze. With every picture she would ask and who lives here. I would read the stones for her, every time she would pause a second a look of deep thought on her face and then click the picture was taken.

 She got a real kick out of the strange wording on some the really older stones. As I was taking her home later that evening we past a cemetery and she pointed it out saying we would need to walk there someday. I wasn't able to hold back the smile as I realized she shares my enjoyment of cemeteries.
  Back in the car on the way home she continued to click away including a selfie.

 Stopping at the grocery store for soda and milk the camera came with her, and with out realizing it Madeline had given me my What was dinner photos as well.
  All the pictures you see were taken by Madeline and untouched. No editing what so ever. She took 272 pictures and it was dang difficult not to post them all. The good the bad and the ugly everyone of them a happy memory for me. 
   As we got back in the car after the grocery store Madeline melted my heart and sent it soaring when she said " Didn't we have so much fun today?" That was the last thing she said on the ride home,because before we left the parking lot she was a sleep.
  " What Was Dinner?" I was trying to think of what to make for dinner when Madeline went to the buffet and started pointing out what she would eat.

 Dinner solved and when I loaded her pictures on to the computer it turns out she had my photos for me as well.

 Some times take out can be good.