What to do when you have more cucumbers, tomatoes and basil growing than you can reasonably eat or give away? Find a way to freeze them of course! A few weeks back we were in the middle of an amazing tomato season which I’m sad to say is just about over now because of the Texas summer heat. Anyhow, I decided to make some gazpacho, a delicious cold summer soup. I didn’t feel like going to the store for extra ingredients so I looked around for a recipe that mostly relied on the things I had in the garden. I ended up adapting a gazpacho recipe from The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving.
Garden fresh vegetables
My ingredients ended up being:
- Peeled and seeded cucumbers
- Peeled and seeded tomatoes (using the boiling water method of peeling tomatoes)
- Two jalapeños
- About 1.5 cups of cubed bakery bread (baked by the grocery store, not me)
- Some olive oil
- Fresh ground salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh basil
In the second batch I made, I added some white onion to change the flavor a bit. I liked both varieties.
Peel and seed cucumbers
Combine cucumbers and peppers (and onion if you’re using it) in a food processor
Use boiling water method to peel tomatoes. First you slice their skin and then dunk them in boiling water for about 30 – 45 seconds followed with an ice bath.
Add peeled and seeded tomatoes to the food processor and combine.
Add bread to food processor and combine.
At the end, add olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh basil to taste.
We then ate about half the batch and I froze the rest in a plastic container. A few days later I made another batch and froze it. Mmmm… garden vegetables.
Do you have a favorite gazpacho recipe I should try?
How our garden grows
Split pea soup
Yellow split pea soup, ready to be eaten.
This fall I realized that I love split pea soup, whether from a can of Amy’s or from the cafe in Whole Foods. Christmas leftovers gave me just what I needed to try making it at home. After reviewing a few recipes, I decided on this Cooking Light recipe. I used yellow split peas instead of green, leftover ham from our Whole Foods spiral sliced him, added some green onions because I had them, and omitted the lemon juice. I think this soup could easily be made without ham. The only item I had to get at the store was the split peas. A delicious way to use up leftovers.
First step – simmer water, broth, ham, split peas and onion for an hour.
After an hour, adding the carrots and celery and then simmering for another 40 minutes.
For a while I’ve had some miso in the fridge. I knew I wanted to try making something with it again so I settled on making soup. I found this recipe from Vegetarian Times that appealed to me because of the variety of vegetables it includes. Of course, I made the decision to change it up so I got extra cremini mushrooms in addition to the oysters, an extra white onion, a poblano pepper, and went for mustards greens instead of spinach since they were particularly pretty at the store and they’re a winter crop. The grocery store also conspired against me by not having any fresh ginger OR frozen edamame. The nerve! Of course I also doubled or perhaps tripled the recipe so that it would last all week (and then some it turns out, must remember that I’m only feeding two people).
Anyhow, my version went something like this:
Slice 3 large carrots, one poblano pepper, onion, scallions (AKA green onions), and mushrooms and cook in minimal oil for a few minutes.
Add lots of water to the pot, bring to a boil. Add frozen peas in place of edamame, continue to cook for a few more minutes
Add mustard greens since they are a little tougher than spinach and I assume take longer to cook than the spinach called for in the recipe. Cook a few minutes.
Reduce heat, add rice noodles that had been soaking in water and powdered ginger. I just tend to wing it with ginger since I’m a fan of the spice.
Blend a bunch of brown miso in some warm water with a mini whisk or fork. Add miso, sesame oil, and soy sauce to pot. Allow to simmer for a while. Taste and adjust flavors as needed. Of course, soups are always better the next day. We ended up adding sriracha to our individual bowls to make them a bit spicy.
Turned out pretty well, overall. Definitely more flavorful than many other soups I’ve made. And probably pretty healthy with all of those pretty veggies…
Recently we were on a salad eating kick, and we always like to have a slice of nice bread with our salad. However, we were out of bread so I decided to whip up a batch of beer bread yet again. This time I tried a recipe from Farmgirl Fare. I made the Garlic Herb version with a bottle of Avery White Rascal.
I skipped the glaze. It turned out pretty well, especially toasted with some butter.
Because it’s starting to feel like fall, I settled on making french onion soup for dinner this week. I wanted to make a vegetarian recipe, so I modified this recipe from the Craftzine blog. My modifications were:
- Cooking the onions with a small amount of vegetable broth rather than a slew of butter
- Using a bottle of Maredsous along with the vegetable broth to make the stock, instead of sherry. I used 4 cups of vegetable broth, one bottle of beer and probably about one extra cup of water to make sure we would have enough broth to go with all of the onion
- I added dried thyme to the broth for some extra flavor
So many onions:
After simmering with the beer vegetable broth:
I then ladled the onion soup into a soup crock, topped it with a slice of the beer bread mentioned earlier, and covered it with cheese. After baking in the oven for a few minutes and then using the broiler to finish the top, it was ready to eat!