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
Our monster fig tree has ripened its first wave of figs. It seems to have been a short wave this time, but it has at least one more wave to go so there will be no shortage of figs.
In addition to giving away figs and eating them as many ways as I can think of (yogurt parfait, flatbread pizza, salad, plain, roasted with goat cheese…) I also went ahead and froze some. Mostly because I recall the deliciousness of a fig cake I made with frozen figs this past winter and I want to repeat the recipe.
Last year I froze some figs whole and some chopped up and mixed with a light coating of sugar. After baking with both kinds over the winter, I prefer the already chopped method so that’s what I did again. When chopping them, I cut off the skin where it’s completely green and pare down some of the white flesh parts because they can be somewhat bitter. I toss them in a bowl with a dusting of granulated sugar, spoon them into freezer bags and use a straw to suck out the excess air. Pretty easy and then they’re ready to freeze!
Chopped figs in a bowl.
Figs mixed with sugar.
Figs ready for the freezer.
So it may or may not be a surprise to you that vodka is my favorite alcohol to add to drinks. I love my Bloody Marys, the spicier the better, and my drink is not completed until it’s garnished with home-pickled green beans!
When someone first sent me vodka infusion recipes on Kitchen Konfidence I just knew I had to make the infusions at some point. Now that we’ve skipped spring in Texas and are straight into hot summer weather I decided it was time. I selected the Watermelon Rosemary infusion because I love watermelon. While I don’t really like grapefruit, I had to try the Grapefruit Tarragon infusion because of the drink it was featured in – a Salted Tarragon Greyhound. Not only is it a beautiful looking drink, it’s also a bit salty and it’s named after a dog! Some people even think my mutt is part greyhound (she’s not, she’s too slow). Soon I hope to enjoy the Watermelon Rosemary vodka in the Rosebud recipe as well. I’ll have to get the ingredients to mix the drinks this weekend.
Anyhow, here was my experience making the infusions.
Slicing up the grapefruit. Such a pretty fruit but such a gross taste to me! Notice the bottle of Tito’s in the background. It’s my favorite vodka AND it’s local. Win!
The first step was to put the fruit in the vodka and let it infuse for four days. Somehow I lost those pictures, but after four days you add the herbs. Here’s the grapefruit with the tarragon:
And the watermelon with rosemary from my giant rosemary bush in the garden:
Those mixtures sat for two more days and tonight I strained them using a fine mesh strainer. I tried to get a decent amount of the liquid out of the fruit.
The finished product! The grapefruit infusion is on the left and watermelon on the right. Can’t wait for a delicious drink!