September 26, 2011

Green tomato chutney

This chutney was my answer to the green tomatoes that have been hanging on my plant, but not turning red. Since it's getting cooler, I figured I should try to do something with them before we lost them. I left a couple on the plant, just in case, because the past couple of days have been a little warmer than usual... maybe we will get another red tomato or two to enjoy before the season is officially over. This chutney has a lot of spices in it as well as vinegar, salt, and brown sugar. It would be really good over some pork or chicken along with some rice. It would even be good as a dip for some corn chips. As with any chutney, the opportunities are endless.

This recipe yielded about 3 cups of chutney. I put half in a jar in the refrigerator and the other half in a freezer container and froze it. I wanted to preserve and store some of the tomatoes, but I didn't have a ton - only one plant. If you have a lot of green tomatoes, you can easily adjust the recipe to make a large batch to freeze more. 

September 23, 2011

Buckwheat pancakes

As the weather begins to cool and the leaves are starting to have hints of orange and yellow, I fear I am getting back into "pancake mode" on Sunday mornings. You would think that I would have run out of pancake ideas by now, but that doesn't seem to be the case. It's OK though, I mean, that's what Sunday mornings are for - leisurely coffee and a big breakfast. 

Buckwheat is not wheat at all and also does not contain any gluten. It is a seed, not a grain, and has a lot of healthful properties. It has a strong, assertive taste that is very unique. You can make these pancakes with all buckwheat flour, which is great if you can't or don't eat gluten, or you can cut it with some wheat flour (which is what I did). These pancakes are very hearty and when I'm cooking them on a cast iron griddle, the smell makes me think of what it may have been like in "the old days" for some reason. Give these pancakes a try now that the weather is cooling. This recipe should make enough to serve three to four people.

September 19, 2011

Beef and wild mushroom stew

Autumn is in the air and I love it! As soon as the temperature begins to drop down, I'm ready for stews, soups, and all other comfort foods. I'm already grabbing up butternut squash, beets, cabbage, and more. I was in the mood to kick-off my cool weather cooking with a hearty and earthy stew. Full of beef and mushrooms on top of some creamy mashed potatoes - it was a perfect way to begin the season! These little baby carrots are not something I would normally use, but I got the for free and figured this would be a good way to use them up. Any carrots would work well for this (I just bought some orange, purple, and white ones at the farmer's market that I'm looking forward to eating). The mushrooms were from the farmer's market - a jar of dried wild chanterelles supplemented by some my husband had foraged.

This stew is something that you make on the weekend so you can let it slow cook for a few hours until the beef almost melts in your mouth. This recipe will serve about four people. 

September 12, 2011

Classic zucchini bread

You know it's the end of summer when you begin making zucchini bread to try to use up more of your zucchini! I have always loved zucchini bread; it's one of those classic treats. I'm sure there are many of you out there that have your favorite zucchini bread recipes. I enjoy how the bread uses a summer vegetable with some classic fall spices. It is a nice transition from summer to fall. This quick bread goes well with your morning coffee or tea, or as a snack anytime of day - I like it with a glass of apple cider. This recipe will make two loaves of bread, but is easily halved if you only want one (I just use one large egg and it works).

September 6, 2011

Thai basil chicken

Thai basil chicken (sometimes called Pad Kapow or Pad Krapow) is one of my go-to dishes to order when I am at a Thai restaurant. I love the sauce with its sweet and spicy notes and Thai basil is one of my favorite herbs. Since we have Thai basil in our herb garden this year, I set out to recreate my restaurant favorite at home. I've made this twice now and both times I've found it to be very successful and similar in flavor to what I've eaten out. I read a lot of different sauce recipes and messed around with it until I found the flavor combination I was looking for. This dish is packed full of flavor and is quick and easy to make. I hope that you have the opportunity to get Thai basil where you are so that you can try it. I used chicken thighs and peppers in my dish because that's what I always see in the restaurant. Some recipes use ground chicken or pork, and I'm not sure what the "authentic" recipe uses.

My husband and I ate all of this the first night - no lunch leftovers. I think it should have fed at least three people though, but it was just so good (or maybe we were just really hungry that night). Serve this dish with some Jasmine or regular rice.