...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.


Indian Summer

Pickled Garlic Scapes

I am loving this Indian Summer we've had all weekend though I haven't spent nearly enough time outdoors.  Such is the nature of this time of the season when I'm indoors trying to preserve the remainder of the harvest.  Today we're planning to take a break from it all and head to a pumpkin farm; it's Vera's third autumn and he have yet to take this fall field trip.

This past week/weekend I put up Pickled Garlic Scapes, Curried Winter Squash and Apple Chutney, Midwest Capers, Pickled Green Cherry Tomatoes, more Salsa Verde, and more tomatoes for our farmer friends.
Pickled Garlic Scapes
Spice Mixture for Winter Squash Chutney
Curried Winter Squash and Apple Chutney
Midwest Capers from above
Capers are Done!
Preparing the jars for Pickled Green Cherry Tomatoes
I also tried some new recipes last week including one with fresh fennel, a vegetable I enjoy in moderation though I'll admit I'm not much good at growing it.

Rustic Fennel Tart with Mushrooms (GF)
Serves 6-8

There is room for flexibility in this recipe.  I used my home-canned pickled green peppers, which are sweet/sour, but one could also use a variety of fresh red, yellow, and green bell peppers.

Fresh out of the oven!
1 c. amaranth flour
1 c. all-purpose gluten-free flour
1/2 t. xanthan gum
3/4 t. salt
1/2 c. cold water (or more if necessary)
1/4 c. olive oil

2 T. olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced, fronds reserved
1 c. sliced mushrooms
2 medium onions, thinly sliced (about 2 c.)
2 large leeks, white and green part halved lengthwise then thinly sliced (about 2 c.)
1/2 c. pickled green bell peppers
1/2 t. dried rosemary
1/2 t. dried thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan, grated

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Heat oil in over medium heat in large skillet or dutch oven.  Add fennel, mushrooms, onions, leeks.  Cover and cook for 20-25 min., stirring occasionally, until vegetables have browned a bit.  Uncover, add pickled peppers and herbs, and cook another 5-7 min. more until vegetables are very soft.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  In the meantime, combine flours, xanthan gum, and salt in a mixing bowl or a food processor.  Whisk in water and oil (or w/ food processor, add slowly through feed tube with machine running) until the dough comes together.  Add more or less oil/water as necessary.  The dough should be slightly sticky.  On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough to a 12-inch round and carefully transfer to a Silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet.  Mound the vegetables in the middle of the dough then fold the edges up over the filling.  (You don't have to completely cover the vegetables, just contain them.  Brush the edges of the dough with milk then sprinkle Parmesan cheese all over the tart (on dough and filling).  Bake for 25-30 min. until the dough is a nice golden brown.  Let cool slightly before cutting.  Serve with a green salad or fresh sliced apples or pears.


  1. The capers look great! Would you care to share your recipe? We use a fair amount of capers in our cooking, and I'd love to be able to do them myself.

  2. Would love to share. I actually posted about it last year at this time. Check out the link: http://leforthomestead.blogspot.com/2010/10/fall-preserving.html

    Thanks for reading.