Cultivate Simple Podcast in iTunes Chiot's Run on Facebook Chiot's Run on Twitter Chiot's Run on Pinterest Chiot's Run on Flickr RSS Feed StumbleUpon

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?

In My Cup

September 22nd, 2014

I enjoy morning, always have. My parents said, when I was a wee little girl, I’d be up before anyone else watching Charles Kuralt, an odd choice for a four year old to be sure. I’ve also enjoyed coffee for as long as I can remember. I spent much of my childhood in Colombia, South America, and as a result I started drinking coffee in the womb, something not frowned upon in other countries like it is here in the United States. I remember my mom making us cups of coffee when we were little, we’d all sit down in the afternoon and enjoy a cup together. This is a habit I’ve carried with me to this day. (I’m the one in the curlers on the left)
wendy Susy Tea
My coffee has, however, changed throughout the years. When I was in Colombia, I loved cafe con leche, which is strong coffee mixed with scalded milk. When I lived in the U.S., regular brewed coffee filled my cup. Thirteen years ago, when I tried espresso for the first time, everything changed. Espresso is now my beverage of choice, usually in the form of a latte with steamed milk added to the espresso. I don’t just drink any espresso though, I have to admit I’m a bit of a coffee snob. Mr Chiots has spent the last thirteen years honing his brewing skills, upgrading machines, and learning to make the best shot of espresso around. Usually, if we’re out and about, we don’t even bother buying coffee, even at a small coffee shop. We find the majority of espresso to be lacking in flavor and depth.
coffee
There’s nothing like starting your day with something that you truly enjoy, for me that’s a cup of good coffee and a few chapters in the latest book on my reading stack. I get up a little earlier in the morning so I can have time to savor what’s in my cup. I firmly believe in living life to the fullest and making the most of everything. If I’m going to drink coffee in the morning it’s going to be the best cup of coffee, I’m not settling for something mediocre. That’s why we roast our own coffee beans and why we get our milk from a local farm. Every morning you’ll find my alarm going off a half hour early, just so I have extra time to enjoy the pleasure of a cup of coffee and a bit of reading before I start my day.

What’s in your cup in the morning?

Quote of the Day: Tamar Adler

September 21st, 2014

“We’re anxious about serving, but the simple, blessed fact is that no one ever comes to a dinner for what you’re cooking. We are all hungry and thirsty and happy that someone’s predicted we would be and made arrangements for dealing with it. We come for the opportunity to look up from our plates and say “thank you.” It is for recognition of our common hungers that we come when we are asked.”

-Tamar Adler from An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace
meals with friends 5
Recently I’ve been thinking about starting a supper club or some sort of way to gather around the table with people. Then I read an article on Serious Eats titled Friday Night Meatballs: Changing Your life with Pasta and knew this is exactly how I wanted to structure my weekly dinners. There are so many people we want to have over yet somehow it never works when we try to schedule it, as is common with busy people. Setting one evening a week to open our home seems like the best way to have meals with people when it’s convenient for both us and them.
meals with friends 4
When we lived back in Ohio we had a couple that we got together with weekly, there were also lots of other people that came over often to gather around our table or we went to their homes to gather around theirs. There really is no better way to fill not only our stomachs but also ourselves.
Christmas Dinner Again 2
Making Christmas Dinner 6
I love the idea of settling on one simple meal to make each week, something that makes it easy for people to choose accompanying salad, dessert or wine to bring. I love the idea of people coming when they can, bringing friends and family if they happen to be in town. I love the idea of meeting new people and sharing food with friends we haven’t seen often enough. But most of all, I love the idea of gathering around a table for conversation and community.

Do you get together with friends often for meals and conversation?

Shop Through Amazon

Shop through this link and I get a few cents each time. It's not much, but it allows me to buy a new cookbook or new gardening book every couple months. I appreciate your support!

Reading & Watching
Resources

Shop through these links and I get a few cents each time. It's not much, but it allows me to buy a new cookbook or new gardening book every couple months. I appreciate your support!

About

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 moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

Blogroll
Admin