...Growing, Building, Cooking, Preserving, Crafting...

2006 began our urban homestead when I broke ground on a garden, which now includes perennial fruits, flowers, & many vegetable varieties. We dream of solar panels, keeping bees and hens. Until then we'll continue growing and preserving our own fruits and vegetables, building what we can for our home, cooking from scratch, and crafting most days.


Soup's On!

It's been a bit chilly, at least in the mornings, this week.  That, coupled with the fact that our fridge is overflowing with veggies from our garden and CSA box, made it feel like the right time to make soup.  I made two big pots tonight--Turnip and Turnip Greens Soup for dinner and Creamy Chile-Carrot-Tomatillo Soup to take to Ben's parents' house on Saturday.  I always try to make large batches of soup so that we can freeze the leftovers as our local "convenience" food.  This has saved us from spending money on takeout on many busy evenings when there was no time to cook.

Cream of Chile-Carrot-Tomatillo Soup
Creamy Carrot Soup, Turnip & Turnip Greens Soup
Serves 6

This is a recipe I developed for our CSA farm newsletter.

2 T. butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large shallots, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 hot pepper, seeded and chopped
3 tomatillos, husks removed, and chopped
6 large carrots, peeled and chopped
4 c. vegetable stock
1 corn tortillas, broken into small pieces
1/4 c. lime juice
1/2 c. to 1 c. heavy cream or half and half (depending on desired consistency)
salt, to taste

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat and saute the onions and shallots until transparent.  Add peppers, tomatillos, and carrots; cook until soft.  Add stock and corn tortilla.  Bring to a boil then turn down the heat and cook 5-6 min.  Transfer to blender and blend until smooth, in batches, if needed.  Return to heat and add lime juice, cream, and salt to taste.  Heat through and serve.

Whole Wheat French Boule
Of course there's nothing like hot soup with a hearty bread.  I may have finally found an accessible bread recipe.  I've longed to bake homemade bread on a regular basis, but haven't found a recipe that was reasonable enough for everyday or at least bi-weekly preparation.  Today I stumbled upon a recipe for French Bread in Beth Hensperger's The Bread Bible for which the dough is made in the food processor.  I substituted stoneground wheat flour for the bread flour it called for and after very little kneading and a couple rounds of proofing it baked up soft inside with a nice crusty outside.  I think it's better than the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day method, which I personally found to be messy.

This week I  had a craving for Sloppy Joe's.  I substituted local ground bison and added some more green veggies to pump up the nutrient content for Vera's sake (I'm telling you, I'm willing to sneak veggies in anywhere!)  She loved it.

Bison Sloppy Joe's with Raw Green Veggies
Sloppy Joe's from Scratch
Serves 4

1 lb. ground pastured beef, bison, or venison
1/4 c. chopped onion
1/4 c. chopped green bell pepper

1 celery stalk
3 mustard green leaves
1 scallion, chopped
1/2 t. garlic powder

1 t. prepared yellow mustard
3/4 c. ketchup
3 t. brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium skillet over medium heat, brown the ground meat, onion, pepper, drain off any liquid (though it will mostly like be very lean.)  While the meat is cooking, chop the celery, mustards, and scallions in the food processor.  Stir into cooked meat.  Stir in the garlic powder, mustard, ketchup, and brown sugar; mix thoroughly.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 min.  Season with salt and pepper.

This week actually found Ben cooking dinner one night.  After recent lamenting that summer had come and gone so quickly he commented that he hadn't even gotten to make his Eggplant Parmesan, one of the few dishes in humble repertoire.  I harvested our last two eggplant early this week so I asked him to make the evening meal last night.  He happily agreed to the plan and made the most delicious Eggplant Parmesan I've had.  Vera went to bed early so the two of us savored a nice quiet dinner alone with some wine.  It's amazing how the little things are such a big deal since we've become parents.

I believe I have finally finished stocking my pantry for the season.  I preserved dill green tomatoes and pickled kohlrabi on Tuesday.  That's about all the space I have for now.  We should be good to get through the biggest Wisconsin snowstorm we can imagine.

Dill Green Tomatoes (look like green olives!)

I have one last recipe before I close this post.  I discovered a vintage (circa 1987) cookbook at the thrift store last week.  Smart Muffins by Jane Kinderlehrer is packed with tons of recipes for all kinds of muffins, which I love to make as a breakfast option as well as easy snacks for Vera.

Banana Muffins with Hazelnut Topping
Makes about 10 muffins
I added fresh mint that I had picked and on hand in the fridge.  I also substituted 2 T. okara (by-product of making soy-milk) for the eggs.  These muffins are packed with goodness and they're not too sweet like a lot of "muffins" you can buy these days, which I think of as more like cupcakes.  

2 large eggs
2 bananas (about 3/4 c.)
1/4 c. fresh mint
3 T. honey
2 T. olive oil or vegetable oil
1/2 c. yogurt, buttermilk, or soured milk
1 1/4 c. sifted whole wheat pastry flour
2 T. oat bran
2 T. wheat germ
2 T. wheat bran
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
Chopped hazelnuts

In a food processor, blend together eggs, bananas, mint, honey, oil, and yogurt/buttermilk/soured milk.  In another bowl, combine pastry flour, oat bran, wheat germ, wheat bran, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease muffin pan or line with paper baking cups. Combine the dry ingredients with banana mixture and mix briefly, only until no flour is visible.  Spoon batter into muffin cups.  Top each muffin with chopped hazelnuts.  Bake 20 min. or until tops are golden.  Cool 5 min., then remove to wire rack to fully cool.  Enjoy with butter or cream cheese flavored with your own preserves, roasted/pureed squash/pumpkin, or other fruits.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! It looks like there are a lot of great foods in your life right now. Jill and I just reorganized our pantry today, and it looks a bit like a miniature version of yours... I could only dream that one day mine will be as full of home-canned foods!