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Savory Egg Muffins

September 27th, 2014

Finding ways to make breakfast both quick and healthy can be a challenge. Around here, eggs are on the menu pretty much every day. I love making baked egg cocottes, but that’s a little time consuming for a weekday morning. This is where savory egg muffins come in, they’re full of healthy eggs and vegetables, you can even throw in ham, bacon, sausage, beans or another form of protein if you want more. Lately mine have been just eggs and vegetables.
egg muffins
They’re so simple: whisk 8 eggs in a large bowl, add 3 cups of diced vegetables or protein of your choice, stir, pour into greased muffin tin and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. I like to lightly cook my vegetables first, but that’s not necessary. You can also mix in cheese, chopped herbs, and other goodies. Earlier this week ours were filled with: onions, peppers, zucchini, parsley and parmesan cheese. They’re good hot out of the oven or even room temperature later that day.

What’s your favorite quick breakfast?

Friday Favorite: Potting Sheds

September 26th, 2014

I’ve always dreamed of having a proper potting shed, instead most of my potting is done on the kitchen table or kneeling on the ground outside. Some day I will have a potting shed, but that probably won’t be for a few more years. Until then I’ll enjoy potting sheds that I see out and about. Like this beauty spotted on one of my garden tours this summer.
potting shed (1)
potting shed (2)
Lovely isn’t it? I also took photos of everyones work and compost areas, you know those areas of the garden we all have but are less than perfect. I actually love seeing them and I’ll post photos of those later.

Do you have a dedicated potting ares?

Picking Pecks of Peppers

September 25th, 2014

This year I had a bumper pepper harvest. I could have left them on the plants longer, but I wanted to clear out that spot in the garden to move the strawberries. Thus I ended up picking mountains of peppers. Most of them will be roasted over a fire and canned, some will be stuffed and frozen (here’s my recipe if you’re interested).
picking peppers 2
Some of them were given to neighbors, others have already been used for delicious meals. There are still a good many to process, looks like I’ll be busy tonight!
picking peppers 1
The small peppers are the Mini Bells I talked about last week, I’m thinking I’ll make mass quantities of bite sized peppers stuffed with sausage, onions, garlic, herbs and cheese. I made a batch of ricotta earlier this week just for them. I think popping a few of these beauties out of the freezer for a quick breakfast or dinner will be so convenient.

Do you like green peppers? What’s your favorite way to enjoy them?

Roasted Tomato Passata

September 24th, 2014

I’ve been making this version of tomato sauce for years, ever since I got The River Cottage Preserves Handbook five years ago. It’s quick and easy and tastes AMAZING. Many of you asked for the recipe so here it is.
roasting tomatoes
ROASTED TOMATO PASSATA
(adapted from The River Cottage Preserves)

4.5 pounds of ripe tomatoes
7 ounces of thinly sliced shallots or onions
1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced
a few sprigs of various herbs, thyme, basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary,
(I use one sprig of each if I have them)
1 teaspoon of sea salt
freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup good olive oil
2 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (optional)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Cut tomatoes and place them cut side up in a single layer in a shallow dish. Scatter onions and garlic slices over the tomatoes, tuck herbs down under the tomatoes. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top, drizzle with olive oil and put in over. Bake for 1.5 or 2 hours.

Remove from oven, put into pan and bring to a slow simmer, cook until shallots are soft. Stir in balsamic vinegar. Pul through food mill with medium sized place, you want the seeds to be strained out but want a bit of texture to remain.

Proceed to can as you would tomato sauce, I did mine for 40 mine in a waterbath canner for pints. Check your favorite canning book for guidelines for canning tomato sauce.

roasting tomatoes (1)
roasting tomatoes (2)
This recipe is great because it can be used for pasta sauce, pizza sauce, it can be thinned with chicken stock to make a delicious tomato soup. I love the rich flavor, it’s well worth the effort to roast the tomatoes.

What’s your favorite way to use tomato sauce?

Small Wonders

September 23rd, 2014

One of the things I love about gardening is that it make me very observant, when I’m out I see all sorts of lovely things, often tiny things that are barely noticeable. Perhaps it’s that gardening keeps our eyes keen to see insects that we label as pests, or perhaps it’s that we learn to look for small details in flowers. Whatever the case, I notice so many tiny things that I’d probably never see if I didn’t spend so much time outside in the garden.
tiny toad 2
Yesterday I spotted this little guy while I was mowing. I like to push mow, partly because I like the exercise, partly because it’s therapeutic, partly because I can scan the grass in front of the mower and slow down to stop to rescue snakes, butterflies, lightening bugs and other insects.
tiny toad3
I rescued him and moved him somewhere so he’d be safe from the mower. What a sweet little guy this was, I haven’t had time to Google an identification yet, so if you know speak up.

What tiny wonders do you notice when you’re out in the garden?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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