Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Preserving Summer


Yes, I know the calendar says Fall. Or Autumn, as I prefer. But according to the sweatiness factor after my run this morning, it is still summer in Baltimore. Unfortunately. I yearn for dry, crisp autumn days, but I will dearly miss my herbs, summer fruit, and summer vegetables. 

Since I've had quite a bit of time on my hands lately (being in between jobs and all) I have used a good chunk of it to preserve the best of summer in jars and waxed paper. Want to know what I made? Well:


From top left: Sweet Pepper Relish, Italian Farmhouse Pickled
Green Tomatoes, Peach Sauce, Balsamic Blueberry Peaches
From bottom left: Chipotle Peach Salsa, Balsamic Blueberry Peaches,
Pickled Hot Peppers, Rosemary Sage Pickles, Italian Farmhouse Pickled
Green Tomatoes, Sweet Pepper Relish, Peach Sauce, Cranberry Apple Chutney
Oh, and then there was also...

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fresh Corn Pesto Pasta


Run and get the last of summer's corn! Don't worry about getting too much, because I am going to tell you what to do with it. You can make this amazingly delicious fresh corn pesto, and then freeze it! Use it for a dip, or to go with pasta, or as a topping to soup. Imagine scratching your head over what to have for dinner in the coming months, and then pulling little pesto packages out of the freezer that help you put together a great meal.

I have to say, it takes a lot to convince me to shuck thirteen ears of corn and then saw off the kernels (I doubled the recipe, which is why thirteen ears of corn were in order). This recipe, which had been bookmarked for a year, finally wooed me. At the farmer's market veggie stand, the farmer/seller had a lovely homemade sign reading: "Sweet Corn: $6 Baker's Dozen." Sold.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Last Joys of the Summer


Friends, I went peach picking on Labor Day. Yes, I know it was over a week ago, but it took me a while to bake, freeze, and preserve my way through 22 pounds of peaches.


I had planned to go earlier in the season, but the hurricane (which was a tropical storm here) changed my plans. I was sad it didn't work out and thought I had missed my chance for peaches. Then, out of the blue, friends invited me to go on Labor Day. I was a bit tired from having been away all weekend, but I just couldn't say no to peaches.

We went to a farm west of Baltimore on an overcast day. The skies had already opened up that morning, but we stayed dry in the orchards. Then it poured all week -- perfect for staying in the kitchen and baking. The farm had pick-your-own flowers, too, and it made me so happy to stuff as many cheery flowers into my little container as I could. Then, I felt equally happy picking them apart into smaller arrangements once I got home. The house was bright with flowers.



Do you want to know what I made with my peaches? Probably, but by the sixth recipe, you might get cross-eyed. Here goes:

Whole Wheat Peach Kuchen (Simply in Season)
Fruit Platz (Simply in Season)
Peach Shortbread
Peach and Blackberry Cobbler with Crystallized Ginger
Raw Peaches and Cream Tart
Peach Muffins (don't be fooled when the website says "scones." It's totally a muffin batter)
Peach Frangipane Galette

Whew! And I even veered off course and made a fig almond tart and a chocolate cake. Plus, I still want to make Peach Gelato. I know, how does anyone have time to do all that? Well, for starters, it took me four days. And, I don't have a job. (I quit, because I'm planning to start a bakery that hires homeless people. Read more about it here.)


I froze a lot of the baked goods before even baking them. For example, for the Top Crust Peach and Cardamom Pie, I cut and mixed up the peaches for the filling, and then I made the pie dough, and I froze both separately last week. On Monday I pulled both out of the freezer and let them thaw before assembling and baking it. Other things I baked and then froze, like the Whole Wheat Peach Kuchen. So far, it's working well. Everything tastes fresh, as if it hadn't been frozen.



I'll share with you today the recipe for Top Crust Peach Cardamom Pie. It was an easy recipe to make. The addition of cardamom makes it unique, and the pie crust cut out with cookie cutters makes it special. It was fun. I might like it better, though, with a bottom crust too, to make it a normal pie. After all, there can never be too much pie crust!