Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Second Go

After Hurricane Irene passed through, I decided it was time to overhaul the vegetable garden.  It had seen far more neglect than care this summer.  The tomatoes were getting smaller and fewer (lack of fertilizer and consistent water).  Next year I'll plant maybe one tomatillo plant instead of four.  They were SO prolific and were dropping fruit before I could use it.  My jalapenos were super abundant as well and not very spicy so I would slice them up fresh on nachos or soup or gazpacho and of course salsa.  I have a drawer full in my fridge still!!  Want some?  

I cleared out most of the boxes to make room for a late summer planting of cool crops.  First I soaked beet seeds and peas overnight then sprouted them between damp paper towels.  This really helps speed the process.  I planted beets where there were once beans and peas where the tomatillos used to tower.  Lettuce, broccoli and cabbage are next.  Maybe some fennel bulbs, too, though I haven't had much luck with them in the past.

I've been looking up green tomato recipes but really you can use them just like you do ripe tomatoes, they just have a tangier taste.  Yummy still.  I have plans to stuff the rest of our peppers with pancetta and ricotta and spices.

It feels good to be back.  We got a nice heavy drenching last night.  That makes for quick sprouting in our future.

Do you have a second go at planting where you live?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sweet Onion Marinara with Paparadelle

Sweet Onion puree

Before cooking the puree down

After cooking it down, it turns a deeper red and reduces it's liquid volume

I make another version of this without onion which is just as good and has red pepper flakes in it.  In this version the onion plays as important a role as the tomato.  I tried it with and without garlic and I, surprisingly liked the version without.  Which is crazy because I am a garlic maniac and always double this ingredient in every recipe.  Somehow, without the garlic the sweetness of the onion can really shine. Puree your onion very well so it becomes a well-incorporated part of the sauce.  This was really good over those wide tender Paparadelle noodles, but I served it with Gnocchi at our Back to School Dinner adding capers to the sauce, and it was just as good.  Versatility makes me happy.


1 sweet white onion, peeled, quartered (vidalia if you can find it)
4-5 medium tomatoes, quartered
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt and FGP to taste
4-5 Tablespoons heavy cream (optional)

Puree the onion in a food processor until smooth, set aside.  Puree the tomato in food processor until smooth, set aside.  Heat olive oil over medium heat in a skillet.  Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes.

Add the tomato puree.  This will be quite runny and requires about 15 minutes of cooking to reduce the liquid.  But, watch it because you don't want to reduce it so much that is becomes dry (see photos above).  Take off the heat and season with salt and fresh ground pepper and stir in cream (this is also just as tasty without the cream).

Toss with pasta, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.  Serves 4.


Monday, August 1, 2011

happy flowers after a flood of rain

It's good to be back in this space.  I'm hoping to make it out in the garden today for some heavy duty weeding.  We've had our own personal Shark Week here at Cicada Cottage and are slowly working our way back into life.  A huge rainfall yesterday has given us a new start in the yard.  A huge outpouring of prayers and support has done the same for our hearts (and Lucy's leg).

We're eating tomatoes every day.  Tomatillos are ripening faster than we can roast them.  A bumper crop of jalapenos and cantaloupe mean summer is still in full force.  August is the best month for fresh eating! 

What are you eating?