Posts Tagged garlic

What is to be done?

We’ve had a serious tomato glut this year, despite the best efforts of spouse and self to gorge on tomato sandwiches, tomato salad and various types of gazpacho. A sandwich of home made bread, home made pesto, home grown tomato and artisan cheese has been my perfect lunch. But it only uses a couple of slices of our heirloom giants.

tomatoes

So this morning I turned the oven on very low — still a bold undertaking given Toronto’s prolonged heatwave — halved some of our cherry tomatoes, added salt, pepper and olive oil, put the tomatoes in the oven and retreated to my air conditioned office until mid afternoon.

wp-image-391728784jpg.jpg

And the result is pretty damn good, like essence of heirloom tomato. It’s so simple that it hardly seems worth posting the recipe, but here it is anyway.

Slow roasted tomatoes

Slice or halve the tomatoes (depending on size), put on a baking sheet and brush generously with good quality olive oil. Grind on a little salt and pepper, and add a few garlic cloves, unpeeled.

Roast for 4-8 hours, depending on your mood and how chewy you think the tomatoes ought to be. Mine are still pretty moist. Store in the fridge.

You can cover them with olive oil for a longer shelf life, but I don’t think they are going to last that long.

tomatoes2

Next up. Using some of the spoils in King Arthur Flour’s #bakealong challenge, which this month offers a yummy sounding bread that I might eat in a single sitting.

Something that combines gardening, preserving (of sorts) and baking bread? How can I go wrong.

Advertisements

Comments (1)

Bubbling away

Canning buddy and I signed up for a pickling class last week, on the logic that we needed to broaden out beyond our jams and chutney comfort zone and try something new. We’ve done a few pickles — cukes and beets in particular — but there’s always stuff to learn.

We didn’t realize quite how new it was until we actually sat down for the start of the two hour lesson. Our pickles wouldn’t be regular vinegar pickles at all. We were using veggies, salt and air to ferment our food, in what teacher lady assured us was by far the safest method of preserving anything because the good bacteria slaughtered the bad.

I admit the whole thing was a bit of a shock to a system that’s been focusing frantically on sterilization, water baths and making sure no bugs come anywhere near our food, as my fellow classmates and I happily shredded a dozen cabbages and reshaped random veggies (beets, carrots, onions, garlic, turnips, ginger) into discs and wedges. You add salt (for cabbage) or brine (for veggies) and wait for the bubbles, the fermentation smell and the miraculous transformation.

If you look very, very carefully, you’ll see the little bubbles at the top, which shows the bacteria are happily doing their stuff as my jar of weighted down veggies sit on the kitchen counter.

The kraut was less happy, and (following another set of guidelines) I added a little brine today, which seemed to get it bubbling nicely as well. It smells pretty evil right now. I am told the good smell follows the bad one, so I am prepared to wait a bit, provided it doesn’t stink the kitchen out too much.

I

I’ll report back in a couple of weeks, but would welcome feedback from anyone who has actually succeeded in this particular sort of alchemy.

Comments (2)

Now what did I do?

I wish I could remember what went into this latest batch of bread and butter pickles.

IMG_0366

I started, as always, with my yellowing copy of the NY Times food section from last July, which offers an easy, but oversweet recipe from a “make-em-don’t-buy-em” section on things to go with burgers. It’s one of those “tweak now” recipes that makes enough pickles to store in the fridge for a week or so. I love it.

There have been many experiments with this one, but I almost always add more vinegar than the recipe says, some sliced up garlic and a lot less sugar (probably only half the amount the recipe says). And I throw in herbs and spices according to mood or based on what’s in the pantry or the garden.

But the latest iteration is quite possibly the best I’ve ever made, with a chilli kick, the coolness of mint and a pink glow that came because I used the pickling brine I had left over from a couple of batches of pickled beets rather than mixing sugar, vinegar and spice anew. I know I added chilli, mint and mustard seeds, but can I ever make it work again?

My mother never followed recipes either. I guess I inherited the just-be-clueless gene.
IMG_0361

Comments (2)

I’m so proud

Back in the fall I visited the Toronto Garlic Festival, a bonanza of bulbs, sauces, relishes and garlic ice cream, which I did not try. But I did come back with a collection of organic Ontario garlic bulbs, which I duly split into cloves and planted at random in the pocket handkerchief back yard.

Come spring they started poking up through the still-cold soil, and a few weeks back I hacked off the scapes (the curly bits that would turn to flowers if you let them) and turned it into some garlic scape pesto sort of thing.

The plants kept growing, and started turning a little brown around the edges. New Jersey canning buddy, who knows about such things, said that was a Good Sign, so I put out a quick prayer to any garlic god available, and started digging.

Here’s what happens to a collection of organic garlic cloves after 9 months of soil, rain, sun and (mostly) neglect.

IMG_2866

I rinsed them carefully under the hose, blotted them on newspaper and then put them out downstairs in the basement to dry.

I hope they are cat-proof, because this is certainly one curious cat.

IMG_2862

Help me peoples. What should I cook with fresh-from-the-garden garlic?

Comments (2)