Honey Glazed Carrots

I needed a vegetable side dish to serve up with the chicken casserole I was making and ended up throwing this together on a whim.  We thought it was great!  I’ll definitely want to remember this dish in the summer time when we have an excess of home-grown carrots.

Honey Glazed Carrots

2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into thick slices

1 Tbsp butter

salt and pepper

dash of garlic powder

dash of ground ginger

2 heaping Tbsp honey

Melt the butter in a large non-stick skillet, add the carrot slices.  Stir fry a few minutes over medium heat, then cover with a lid for 10-15 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.  Add the seasonings and honey, and stir to coat.  Serve immediately, and be sure to spoon the glaze over the top.

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Jalapeno Hummus

I’ve commented over and over again about how much I love hummus, so I won’t go into it again.  I’ll just leave you with this kicked up version of hummus for the folks who love jalapeno like us.  Enjoy!

Sorry no picture here, but it looks just like my regular hummus only with tiny green flecks in it from the jalapeno.

Jalapeno Hummus

2 jalapeno peppers, ribbed and seeded {You could go with 1-3 depending on your tastes}

2 small cloves of garlic, peeled

1 (14 oz) can of chickpeas, drained

juice of 2 small lemons

1/4 cup tahini

4-6 Tbsp water

2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

pinch of salt

1/4 tsp cumin

Combine the jalapenos, garlic, and chickpeas in the bowl of a large food processor.  Pulse into coarse paste.  Add lemon juice, tahini, some water {start with 4 Tbsp}, salt, and cumin.  Process until fully ground.  Scrape down sides of bowl.  With the machine running, add the oil through the feed tube.  Scrape sides of bowl again and then process for a few more seconds to ensure that everything is combined.  May need to add more water to reach desired consistency.

Transfer to a storage container and refrigerate before serving to allow flavors to blend.

Garden Update September 2010

This will probably be my last garden update of the year.  I really slacked on posting about the garden this year for some reason, but we had a rather large yield.  I already posted about our cucumbers, peas, and lettuce in a post back in July.

Since then, I have made refrigerator pickles and have frozen the corn from about 2 dozen ears.   We ate about another dozen ears fresh.  What I did to freeze the corn was drop the ears in boiling water for about 6-8 minutes {in at least 2 batches}, drained them, let them cool a bit, then sliced the kernels off the cob and place into freezer safe containers.  Since I portioned the corn into servings for two people in each freezer container, there was room at the top of each each container.  So before adding the lids, I just pressed some plastic wrap onto the surface of the corn to hopefully minimize freezer burn.

We have also harvested tomatoes and fresh green beans, cantaloupe, various peppers, and more cucumbers!  Seriously, we were buried with cucumbers!  I even put a table piled high with cucumber and a “free” sign at the end of the driveway one day, hoping to get rid of some.  No dice.

Roma Tomatoes

Jalapeno Peppers

We still have carrots yet to be harvested as well as our second planting of peas – they’re ready, just haven’t been picked yet.

As far as canning:  In my pantry right now I have about 4 jars of pickles, 6 jars of green beans, and 5 jars of pickled jalapenos.  My mom and sister really talked me down from the ledge about canning so now I’m comfortable with it and I’m grateful to them for it!  They came over to my house and we canned the pickles together, then my mom canned the green beans for me, and I canned the jalapenos myself using this recipe.  Let’s hope nobody gets botulism!  Kidding ……….. kinda ……not really.

Canned Jalapenos

Refrigerator Sweet Pickles

We planted cucumbers in our garden this year with the intent to make pickles first and foremost.  Sure, we love plain cucumbers added to salads and used as dippers for hummus and other dips too, but pickles were the plan.

Then it came time to actually make and can the pickles and I panicked.  Why?  I dunno.  The only two kitchen related fears I have are working with yeast and canning.  I can usually overcome the fear of yeast and am able to go ahead and bake with it.  But someone needs to talk me down from the ledge regarding canning!

So, I consider this recipe a compromise with canning.  Dipping my toe into the water if you will.  We still get pickles out of the deal, but I don’t have to can using a water-bath or pressure cooker.

A word of warning:  Due to the turmeric, this liquid may stain everything it touches including your fingernails, light colored countertops, plastic spoons and bowls, etc.  Use the necessary precautions that you see fit such as working on a cutting board to protect your countertop, wearing disposable plastic gloves {I didn’t, but I haven’t had a manicure in over 3 years.}, and using metal spoons and glass bowls.

Also, if you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you should not be surprised that I couldn’t find an ingredient at my local grocery stores, so I had to substitute pickling spice for the whole mustard seed.

Refrigerator Pickles

Source:  family recipe

Yield:  one large jar of pickles

Ingredients:

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp mustard seed {I subbed a pickling spice mixture containing mustard seeds}

1/4 tsp celery seed

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup cider vinegar

2 small onions, thinly sliced

3 cups thinly sliced unpeeled cucumbers {about 2 medium cucumbers}

Directions:

Place the sliced cucumbers and onions in a large glass microwave-safe bowl.

In a small bowl combine the dry ingredients.  Add the vinegar to the dry ingredients and mix well.  Then pour over the cucumbers and pickles.

Microwave uncovered on high power for 5 minutes.  Stir well and microwave for 5 more minutes.

Pour or spoon all of the onions, cucumbers, and liquid into a clean jar using a wide mouth canning funnel, add lid, and refrigerate.

I don’t know if its necessary, but I give the jars an occasional gentle shake over the first 3-4 hours that they’re in the fridge.

Garden Update July 2010

I haven’t really mentioned our garden too much this year.  But it is going strong.  🙂

So far we’ve had lettuce {now done}, peas {done}, red and white onions, and cucumbers. The sweet corn and green beans won’t be too far off and we have one tiny bell pepper starting to grow.

Peas

Lettuce

Cucumbers

We’re also growing carrots, cantaloupe, tomatoes, and jalapenos.  But, those won’t be ready for awhile yet.

We tried to grow strawberries, but that was a big ol’ fail.  And I never got around to planting my herb seeds – parsley and basil.  Maybe I’ll pick up some plants to transplant this week?

As always, a big thank you goes out to Tim for doing most of the work!  He tills, plants, weeds, and I harvest.

Garden Plan 2010

Well, its that time of year again!  Time to plan and plant the garden.  We started last weekend by planting strawberries, 3 rows of white onions, 3 rows of red onions, 3 rows of peas, a couple rows of carrots, and a row of lettuce.

Soon, we will plant sweet corn, green beans, melons, sweet potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, and herbs.  Maybe cucumbers and squash too.

For reference, or in case you weren’t reading this boring blog last year…here’s the link to last year’s garden post {click here}.  And here is a follow up post {click here}.

Pesto

Finally!  I found one lonely package of basil at the store.   I guess I have never tried to buy basil at the store before {especially in the winter} because I grow my own in the summer.  It is one of the few herbs I can successfully grow in my garden!

Anywho, I was finally able to make a batch of pesto that I have been craving for a few weeks!  I love to use pesto to just simply coat some pasta for a vegetarian meal as I am showing here {gnocchi}.  You can add grilled chicken breasts to the pasta if you chose, but it is definitely wonderful without.  Pizza sauce is another great use for pesto.  And also, the pasta with pesto is great hot or cold.  Enjoy!

Pesto

1 slightly packed cup of basil leaves

2 peeled garlic cloves

1/2 cup pine nuts

1/2 – 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

salt and a lot of black pepper

1/3 cup EVOO

Process the garlic, nuts, and basil in a food processor to make a paste.  Add the cheese and s&p and process some more.  Then stream in the EVOO while the processor is on.  Taste and adjust as needed with more s&p if needed.

If using as a pasta sauce, reserve some of the pasta’s cooking water to add as needed when mixing the pasta with the pesto.  It just makes for a smoother and evenly coated pasta dish.

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