Recipes
 
 
 

August 22, 2000

Greetings friends,

I hope that all of my friends in cyberspace are enjoying a wonderful summer. If you are like me, you planted an organic garden which is nearing the peak of harvest time. There is nothing better than enjoying the fresh taste of vegetables and herbs that were grown with your very own hands. I openly share baskets of freshly-cut herbs, greens, and vegetables, as well as a few recipe ideas, with friends and neighbors. What better way to spread the organic philosophy than by making homemade gifts from an abundant garden harvest. In this installment of recipes, I've included some ideas for preserved vegetables, condiments, flavored oils and vinegars, and even a liqueur, that showcase the fresh tastes of summer. Let your imagination go wild, and create some of your own garden gifts. Enjoy! As always, be good to one another, and remember... eat your veggies!

 
 

Pepper Divider

 

Italian Country Vinegar

1 Quart red wine vinegar
4 sprigs of oregano
2 sprigs of basil
2 sprigs of parsley
2 sprigs of rosemary
1 sprig of sage
1 T. black peppercorns
1 clove garlic, peeled

In a saucepan, heat the vinegar to the boiling point. Place the remaining ingredients in a quart-size glass bottle or jar. Pour the heated vinegar over the herb mixture, and let steep until cool. Strain the mixture through a coffee filter. Place a fresh sprig of rosemary in another bottle (or several bottles) and add the strained vinegar. Label and date the bottle or bottles. Store at room temperature. Use this vinegar on tomatoes, vegetable side dishes, sandwiches, salads, and in dressings.

Yield: 1 Quart

 

Pepper Divider

 

Zesty Lemon-Dill Vinegar

1 Quart white wine vinegar
1 cup fresh dill sprigs
2 fresh dill blossoms
zest of 1 lemon, removed with a peeler or knife
1 T. mustard seeds
1 clove garlic, peeled

In a saucepan, heat the vinegar to the boiling point. Place the remaining ingredients in a quart-size glass bottle or jar. Pour the heated vinegar over the dill mixture, and let steep until cool. Strain the mixture through a coffee filter. Place a fresh sprig of dill in another bottle (or several bottles) and add the strained vinegar. Label and date the bottle or bottles. Use this vinegar on cucumbers, potatoes, vegetable salads, and in dressings.

Yield: 1 Quart

 

Pepper Divider

 

Southwestern Flavored Oil

1 cup cilantro with stems
4 sprigs of oregano
3 dried chiles or 2 serrano peppers or 1 jalapeno
1 t. cumin seeds
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 Quart vegetable or olive oil

In a quart-size glass bottle or jar, combine all of the ingredients except for the oil. Drizzle the oil over the top of the mixture, and make sure that everything is thoroughly immersed in the oil. Cover and set aside for 2 weeks. Strain the mixture through a coffee filter. Transfer the flavored oil to another bottle or several bottles. Label and date the bottle or bottles. Store in the refrigerator to prevent it from going rancid. Use this oil to add a spicy flavor to sauteed vegetables, grains, salads, and dressings.

Yield: 1 Quart

 

Pepper Divider

 

Spicy Stir-Fry Oil

4 1/4-inch thick slices ginger
2 small hot dried chiles
2 cloves garlic, peeled
zest of 1 orange, removed with a peeler or knife
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise pod
1 t. whole allspice
1 t. coriander seed
1 Quart olive oil

In a quart-size glass bottle or jar, place all of the ingredients except for the oil. Drizzle the oil over the top of the mixture, and make sure that everything is thoroughly immersed in the oil. Cover and set aside for 2 weeks. Strain the mixture through a coffee filter. Transfer the flavored oil to another bottle or several bottles. Label and date the bottle or bottles. Store in the refrigerator to prevent it from going rancid. Use this oil for stir-fries, grains, noodles, salads, and dressings.

Yield: 1 Quart

 

Pepper Divider

 

Rosemary-Parsley Pistou

1/3 cup pine nuts
3 cups fresh parsley, destemmed
1 1/2 cups fresh rosemary, destemmed
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

In a non-stick skillet, toast the pine nuts until lightly browned and fragrant, and set aside to cool. In a food processor or blender, combine the toasted pine nuts, parsley, rosemary, and garlic, and pulse a few times to finely chop all of the ingredients. While the machine is running, drizzle in the olive oil, and continue to process until it forms a smooth puree. Sterilize three 8 oz. jars and their lids by boiling them in a large pot of water for 15 minutes. Using tongs, remove the jars and lids from the water, and set them on a dry surface. Evenly divide the pistou among the three jars. Pour a thin layer of additional olive oil over the top of the pistou to prevent the formation of mold. Wipe clean the rims of the jars and seal with their lids. Label and date the jars. Store in the refrigerator or freezer for several months. Pour a thin layer of olive oil over the top of the pistou after each use. Use to flavor soups, pasta, grains, potatoes, salad dressings, or spread on bread.

Yield: Three 8 oz. jars

 

Pepper Divider

 

Peppers Packed in Oil

8 oz. green pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and cut in half lengthwise
8 oz. orange pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and cut in half lengthwise
8 oz. red pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and cut in half lengthwise
8 oz. yellow pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and cut in half lengthwise
coarse salt
12 whole black peppercorns
8 garlic cloves, peeled
4 sprigs fresh basil
4 sprigs fresh marjoram or oregano
olive oil

Begin by cutting the peppers into 1-inch strips and pat dry the strips with a towel. Place the pepper strips in a colander, sprinkle them with coarse salt, and place the colander over a bowl. Allow the peppers to drain overnight. Using a towel, wipe the salt from the peppers, and set aside. Sterilize four 8 oz. jars and their lids by boiling them in a large pot of water for 15 minutes. Using tongs, remove the jars and lids from the water, and set them on a dry surface. In each jar, place 3 peppercorns, 2 cloves garlic, 1 sprig of basil, and 1 sprig of marjoram. Evenly divide the pepper strips among the jars and completely cover with olive oil. Wipe clean the rims of the jars and seal with their lids. Label and date the jars. Keep in a cool place or in the refrigerator for several months. Serve a part of an antipasto platter, add to salads or sandwiches, and the oil can also be used to flavor dressings or drizzle on bread.

Yield: Four 8 oz. jars

 

Pepper Divider

 

Tuscan Dried Tomatoes

4 lbs. Roma tomatoes, destemmed and cut in half lengthwise
4 cloves garlic, peeled
4-5 sprigs fresh basil
4 - 2-inch sprigs fresh rosemary
olive oil

To dry in a dehydrator, begin by placing the halved tomatoes cut-side up on the racks. Stack the racks and leave to dry for 2-3 hours. The tomatoes will feel dry and will darken in color. They should not be brittle or crisp.

To oven-dry the tomatoes, begin by lining a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil, and place a rack on top of the foil. Place the halved tomatoes cut-side up on the rack, making sure that they do not touch. Place the cookie sheet in a 200 degree oven and leave to dry for 4-5 hours. They should feel dry and will darken in color.

Sterilize four 8 oz. jars with their lids by boiling them in a large pot of water for 10 minutes. Using tongs, remove the jars and lids from the water, and allow to cool on a dry surface. Place 1 clove of garlic in the bottom of each jar. Begin layering the dried tomatoes. When half full, tuck in 3-4 basil leaves and 1 sprig of rosemary, and then continue layering dried tomatoes until almost reaching the top. Pack down slightly with a spoon. Pour olive oil over the top and make sure they are thoroughly immersed in the oil. Wipe clean the rims of the jars and seal with their lids. Label and date the jars. Store in the refrigerator for up to several months. The oil in the jars can be pureed with the dried tomatoes for making a pesto, or to flavor bread, pastas, or vegetables.

Yield: Four 8 oz. jars

 

Pepper Divider

 

Zesty Marinated Zucchini and Squash

1 1/2 lbs. zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and deseeded
1 lb. summer squash, cut in half lengthwise and deseeded
2 hot red peppers, destemmed and deseeded
1 red pepper, destemmed and deseeded
coarse salt
1/3 cup freshly chopped basil
1/3 cup freshly chopped parsley
olive oil

Begin by cutting the zucchini and summer squash into strips that are 3 inches long and 1/4-inch thick. Cut the hot red peppers and the red pepper into thin strips that are 3 inches long. Place all of the vegetables in a colander, sprinkle with the coarse salt, and place the colander over a bowl. Allow the vegetables to drain overnight. Using a towel, wipe the salt from the vegetables. Sterilize three 8oz. jars and their lids by boiling them in a large pot of water for 15 minutes. Using tongs, remove the jars and lids from the water and place on a dry surface. For each jar, arrange the strips of vegetables upright in the jars, alternating the vegetables as you fill for a pretty presentation. Divide the chopped herbs evenly between the jars and fill the jars with enough olive oil to completely immerse the vegetables. Wipe clean the rims and seal with their lids. Label and date the jars. Store jars in the refrigerator. Serve as part of an antipasto platter, add to salads or sandwiches, or on bread.

Yield: Three 8 oz. jars

 

Pepper Divider

 

Hot Pickled Eggplants

4 eggplants, washed
coarse salt
2 cups water
1 1/4 cups white wine vinegar, divided
1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley
1/3 cup freshly chopped rosemary
1/4 cup freshly chopped thyme
1/4 cup garlic, thinly sliced
1 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup olive oil

Begin by cutting the eggplants into 1/4-inch thick slices and cut each slice into 1/4-inch thick strips. Place the eggplant strips in a colander and sprinkle with coarse salt. Place a plate on top of the eggplant, place the colander in the sink, place a few heavy cans on top of the plate, and leave the eggplant to drain for 1 hour. Using your hands, squeeze the eggplant to remove as much of the bitter juices as possible. In a large pot, combine the eggplant, water, and 1 cup vinegar, and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, remove from heat, set aside, and allow the eggplant to cool in the liquid. Using your hands, squeeze the eggplant to remove as much of the cooking liquid as possible. Transfer the eggplant to a bowl. Add the herbs, garlic, and pepper flakes, and toss gently. Add the remaining vinegar and olive oil, and toss gently to combine.

Sterilize four 8 oz. jars and their lids by boiling them in a large pot of water for 15 minutes. Using tongs, remove the jars and lids from the water and place on a dry surface. Evenly divide the eggplant mixture among the four jars. Pour extra olive oil on top to ensure that they are thoroughly immersed. Wipe clean the rims of the jars and seal with their lids. Label and date the jars. Place the jars in the refrigerator and allow to marinate for several weeks before using. Store in the refrigerator and add additional olive oil to the jar after each use as needed. Serve as part of an antipasto platter, add to salads or sandwiches, or on bread.

Yield: Four 8 oz. jars

 

Pepper Divider

 

Garlic Dill Pickles

2 lbs. small cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise
water
5 cups white wine vinegar
2 cups water
1/4 cup salt
8 whole black peppercorns
8 whole white peppercorns
8 cloves garlic, peeled
1 bunch fresh dill
2 t. mustard seeds

Place the cucumbers in a bowl of cold water, cover, and chill for 24 hours. Drain well and set aside. Sterilize four pint-size jars and their lids by boiling them in a large pot of water for 10 minutes, and leave them in the hot water until ready to use. In a large non-metal pan, combine the vinegar, water, salt, and both peppercorns, and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, using tongs, remove the sterilized jars and lids from the hot water. Place a rack in the pot of hot water and keep the water hot. Divide the cucumbers, garlic, dill, and mustard seeds, evenly among 4 pint-size jars. Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the cucumbers, wipe clean the rims of the jars, and seal with their lids. Place the jars on the rack in the hot water and add additional water to cover the jars by 1-inch. Return water to a boil and process the jars for 10 minutes. Using tongs, remove the jars from the water bath and allow to cool. Label and date the jars. Store in a cool place. After opening, store in the refrigerator.

Yield: Four pints

 

Pepper Divider

 

Corn Relish

2 1/2 cups cut corn
2/3 cup celery, diced
2/3 cup onion, diced
2/3 cup apple juice
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 jalapeno, destemmed, deseeded, and diced
2 t. dry mustard
2 t. onion powder
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
2/3 cup green pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and diced
2/3 cup red pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and diced
2/3 cup orange pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and diced

Sterilize four 8 oz. glass jars with their lids, by boiling them in a large pot of water for 15 minutes, and leave them in the hot water until ready to use. Place a rack in the pot of water and keep hot. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine all of the ingredients, except the peppers, and bring to a boil. Cook the corn mixture over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the peppers and cook an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Using tongs, remove the sterilized jars and lids from the water. Using a funnel and a ladle, transfer the corn relish to glass jars, filling within 1/4-inch of the top of the jar. Wipe clean the rims of the jars, and seal the jars with their lids. Return the pot of water to a boil. Place the filled jars in boiling water, adding more water as needed to completely cover the jars by 1-inch. Once water boils again, process for 10 minutes. Use tongs to remove the jars from the water, and allow to cool on a dry surface. Label and date the jars. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Yield: Four 8 oz. jars

 

Pepper Divider

 

Catalina Ketchup

1/2 cup onion, diced
1 T. garlic, minced
1 T. olive oil
1 1/2 lbs. Roma tomatoes, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup unbleached cane sugar
1 bay leaf
1/4 t. ground coriander
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. nutmeg
1/8 t. cayenne

In a stainless steel pan, saute the onion and garlic in olive oil for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and saute an additional 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and discard. In a food processor or blender, puree ketchup until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. If ketchup is a little thin, return it to the pan and cook an additional 5-10 minutes or until desired consistency. Transfer to a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Yield: 2 Cups

Variation: this ketchup can also be made in larger quantities and canned. Sterilize jars and lids by boiling them in a large pot of water for 15 minutes. Using tongs, remove the jars and lids from the water. Place a rack in the water and keep it hot. Use a funnel and ladle to fill the jars with the warm ketchup, wipe clean the rims of the jars, and seal with their lids. Place the jars on the rack in the pot, and add additional water to cover the jars by 1-inch. Return the water to a boil and process for 15 minutes. Using tongs, remove the jars from the water and allow to cool on a dry surface. Label and date the jars. Store in a cool, dark place, and in the refrigerator after opening.

 

Pepper Divider

 

Mocha Mint Liqueur

8 oz. coffee, coarsely ground
2 cups unbleached cane sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
2/3 cup fresh peppermint leaves, packed
2 T. vanilla
1 Quart vodka

In a non-stick skillet, toast the coffee until it is fragrant. Sift together the sugar and cocoa to remove any lumps. In a glass quart bottle or jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the coffee, sugar-cocoa mixture, peppermint, and vanilla. Pour the vodka over the top, seal, and steep for 1 week. Shake the container occasionally to help dissolve the sugar-cocoa mixture. Strain the liqueur through a coffee filter. Transfer the liqueur to a clean quart bottle, or several smaller bottles, and seal. Label and date the bottle or bottles. Store in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks to age. Use to flavor coffee, specialty drinks, or desserts. Store in the refrigerator after opening.

Yield: 1 Quart

 
 
 

Garlic Press

 
 
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