October 29, 2013

Hot German potato salad

We celebrated Oktoberfest a little late this year, but that's OK because we still got it in before October faded away. As part of our dinner we had delicious sausages from Spar's European Sausage and Meats, German sweet and sour red cabbage, and this Hot German potato salad along with some German beers. All in all, a very tasty meal! I can't believe that October is almost over. October and November are my favorite months of the year and I'm trying to make sure I enjoy them fully (before the craziness of December takes over everything).

This potato salad recipe is just slightly adapted from The German Cookbook. Since receiving this book for Christmas last year, I have really come to love it and the process of learning more German recipes. If you are at all interested in German cooking, I highly recommend it! When my husband tasted this potato salad he said it reminded him of what his grandparents would serve when he was a kid. I previously posted the cold version which we also enjoy. This recipe will make enough to feed about four people as a side dish.

October 25, 2013

Salsa verde

As you may have seen on my Facebook page, I came into a bushel of organic tomatillos for a good price from a local farm. A bushel of tomatillos turned out to be more than I thought! I made a couple batches of this recipe for salsa verde and it felt like I hardly made a dent (but I was running out of all the other vegetables that go into it). So I also canned some plain for stews/soups and made a couple batches of hot pickled tomatillos. I haven't tried those yet, but we have tried the salsa verde and it's really delicious! My husband commented that it is much better than what we usually get at the store. I have made this small batch of roasted salsa verde before, but that recipe only makes enough for one snack and isn't canning safe. This recipe comes from Ball (as found here and a couple other places for verification) with only one small modification noted below. This recipe will yield about 4-5 pints of salsa verde. This salsa verde is so bright tasting. Of course, it's perfect for eating with corn chips, but you can also use it in white chili, enchiladas, scrambled eggs, tacos, and much more. 

I've really been enjoying this harvest season and learning more of the skills to preserve, especially can, food for the winter. While we certainly can go to the grocery store in January and buy almost anything we want, I'm really trying to make sure we are eating as locally as possible and also frugally. We have a lot of winter squash in the basement, blueberries in the freezer, sauerkraut curing, and other things like that in addition to the canning.

October 21, 2013

Slow cooker sticky Asian drumsticks with sesame savoy cabbage

Lately, I've been trying to come up with ways to eat more frugally while still using high-quality ingredients (organic, local, pastured/grass-fed meats). As you know, I've been canning a lot this year. We also bought a 1/4 of a grass-fed organic cow and will be getting 1/2 of a pastured pig soon. While these meats are expensive, they are cheaper to buy in bulk. One thing I've been finding in my grocery store lately is good deals on bulk packages of organic chicken drumsticks. I bought up a few packs and have been coming up with ways to use them. This meal came from my love of using the slow cooker and that we had some savoy cabbage in the fridge. I bought a giant head of savoy cabbage at the farmer's market for only $2.00 and have ended up using it in about six different meals - it was a great bargain!

This meal is quick and easy. The sauce ingredients are all things that we have in the fridge and cupboard all the time (mainly because I like to cook a lot of Asian food). This meal will feed three to four people, but is easily adjustable to more people. 

October 16, 2013

Apple and pork macaroni and cheese

This past weekend was a fun and food-filled one. On Saturday I spent the day at the 10th Annual World on Your Plate conference. I attended some workshops, listened to speakers, ate delicious local food, and met some great people. Then on Sunday I canned (again) - this time applesauce and a hot & sweet chili-garlic sauce. Last weekend we went apple picking at LynOaken Farms where they have a lot of heritage apples - so we were able to pick and sample all kinds of different apples this year.  It was a lovely day and it is definitely one of my favorite fall activities. Even though I make a bunch of applesauce, and we eat an apple a day after picking, we always end up with a lot to use. Of course, I'll make a pie, but I like to try out apples in other dishes as well. Hence this super decadent autumn mac n' cheese. I was left with a bit of applesauce that wouldn't fit in one my my jars, so I used it in this dish along with some local pastured pork, spices, and creamy cheese sauce. It's autumn in a dish. I served this mac n' cheese with a side of roasted romanesco. It's a really rich dish, so a vegetable is highly recommended. It will easily serve about 6 people.

October 10, 2013

Cabbage roll soup

Galumpkis (cabbage rolls) are a favorite meal of ours; however, they can be time consuming to make on a weeknight. I saw this sauerkraut cabbage roll soup and was inspired to create a soup version of our classic family dish. As you've already seen, I've been canning and preserving a lot this year. This has provided me with an abundance of diced and crushed tomatoes - so I already had those on hand. I've made a couple small batches of sauerkraut, had some cabbage in the fridge, and ground beef in the freezer (from our 1/4 grass-fed organic cow we ordered this year). I've been making broths as well. I'm really trying my hardest to cut our food costs while ensuring that we are still eating healthfully, seasonally, organic, etc. as much as possible. Since we are in the harvest season, this is the easiest time of year to do that and that's why I'm canning, freezing, etc. more than before. This soup is a great example of a relatively easy and inexpensive dinner that utilized ingredients that were already in my home. This recipe will make about four to five main dish servings of soup. 

October 4, 2013

Hot and spicy refrigerator turnip pickles

Hot, spicy, tangy, and delicious -- these refrigerator turnip pickles add terrific flavor to any meal or relish tray!

Is it obvious yet that I am really enjoying canning, pickling, and all sorts of preserving this year? My husband and I dream of having a little self-sufficient green home and farm someday, so I've been practicing my homesteading skills. Plus, we are trying to save money and eat as local as possible, so when we get a bunch of free produce from our family's garden, or score a good deal at the farmers' market, I want to find a way to make it last and not go to waste.

I had seen this recipe for quick turnip pickles a while back and when we got a big bag of turnips recently, I decided it was time to try pickling them. I only discovered turnips a few years ago, and now I love them. Since they have a bit of a bite, I thought that using some fresh jalapenos and increasing the Indian spices in them would be a good experiment. I was right. These pickles are spicy and a bit hot, but not over-the-top hot. They would be a great addition to any Indian dish or part of a relish tray (I like to just grab one out of the fridge every once in a while - but, be careful, they are full of turmeric and will stain!). This recipe will make one quart jar of pickles.