Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Blooming Fresh Asparagus

Thrifty Freshness
To keep your asparagus fresh, just treat it like the flower it is!  Trim about 1" off the cut end (leave the rubber bands in place), then stand in a jar or large glass of water.  Store in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it.

If you're only keeping for a day or two, a glass or a jar is far less expensive than Crate & Barrel's version!

And don't forget to compost the trimmings!

Bonus recipe:

Roasted Asparagus

Fresh asparagus, pencil-thin, dry stem trimmed
Olive oil
Sea salt

Preheat over to 425 degrees.  Line a jelly-roll pan with foil, then spray with cooking spray. Alternate in pan so that bloom ends are at the edges.  Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with sea salt.  Roast until blossoms are crispy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Made with Love

A small pie pumpkin after roasting
Back in October, I roasted a few pumpkins and made puree (see Roasting Life's Pumpkins) in anticipation of making the Resident Dragon's favorite pie for Thanksgiving.  Well, Thanksgiving is here and it's time to put that pumpkin puree to good use.

I froze the pumpkin in 2 cup bags which should be just about the right quantity for a pie.  I've adapted a recipe from Yvonne Young Tarr's The Farm House Cookbook.

Pastry for 2-Crust Pie

Homemade pastry is easy!
2.5 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1.25 t. salt
1 cup (scant) cold butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup (maybe a bit more) ice water

Mix together the flour and salt, then cut in the butter until the mixture resembles corn meal with a few pea-sized pieces.  Stir in ice water with a fork, but do not add too much.  It should still look somewhat dry.  Form into 2 dry balls, and wrap each in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes or so before rolling out on a lightly floured cloth to a 1/8 to 1/4" thickness.  Prepare two 8" pie plates and line with pastry.  Set aside to make filling

Pumpkin Pie Filling

The pumpkin puree is more yellow
 than I expected
2 cups pumpkin puree
1.5 c. light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
5 eggs
3 cups milk

The brown sugar turns dark in the batter
The batter seems very thin but firmed up.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix together puree, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.  Add eggs and mix well.  Change mixer to lowest speed, and add milk very slowly, as though making mayonnaise, until all is incorporated.  Mixture will be thin.  Divide between prepared pastries.  Bake approximately 1.5 hours or until knife inserted into center comes out clean.  Allow to cool before serving.  Makes 2 8" pies.

The Resident Dragon, who is a pumpkin pie epicure, lurked around the kitchen until the pies were ready.  It was worth all the effort to see him enjoy the home-made treat.

Love does come in all shapes and sizes--and flavors.

Happy Thanksgiving!

What's cooking in your kitchen?
The pie puffs up right at the end.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Kissing Dragons

Twilight at Dragon Hollow
Original Painting by AnnMarie Eastburn copyright 1985
from the Resident Dragon's personal collection
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to kiss a dragon?  Would the kiss be fiery and ferocious, or would it be something . . . more?

We envision dragons to be ferocious, but in many folk tales they are also sensuous and beguiling (and ferocious)!  It's appropriate, then, that the new Savory recipe is called Dragon's Kiss.  It beguiles the palate with a sweet start, but thrills with a fiery finish.

The secret to this dragon's fire is organic tabasco peppers (30,000-50,000 Scovill units), grown here on the farm.  For more about how we grew the peppers, jump on over to our garden blog, Savory LeJardin.

SAFETY HINT:  Don't neglect to wear safety equipment any time you are working with hot peppers:  rubber gloves, eye protection, and sleeves.  I wore a sleeveless blouse and my arms itched for days.

Warnings aside, this savory condiment is well worth the effort!  It's perfect for gifts--perhaps adding a dragon--soft or hard--for that special someone?-- and for spicing up your favorite meals.  Just one taste, and you'll know what it's like to kiss a dragon!

Dragon's Kiss

Even the steam rising from the pot
is muy picante!
1 cup organic tabasco peppers, ground with seeds
2.5 cups white vinegar (divided)
0.5 cups cider vinegar
2/3 cup sugar
2 t. salt
1.5 T. Monterey Bay pickling spice (tie in a spice bag)
1.33 quarts crushed tomatoes (I used canned)

Combine tomatoes, peppers, and half of the vinegar in a large non-reactive sauce pot.  Cook until tomatoes are soft, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.  Add sugar, salt, and pickling spice and cook until thickened, stirring frequently.  Add remaining vinegar and cook until desired thickness, about 30 minutes.  Ladle into sterilized, hot half-pint jars, leaving 1/4" headspace.  Adjust two-piece caps and process 15 minutes in a boiling water canner.  Yield:  about 5 half-pints.

What's cooking in your Savory kitchen?