on the joys of motherhood, adoption, life in Korea & Japan & small town USA, simplification, homeschooling, sewing, quilting, and much more........
if you are new to my blog, i recommend clicking on a topic below, to see postings on a theme that interests you.
comments are always welcome!
(this lovely photo is not mine. i found it on google images.) green tomato harvest has become one of my favorite times of year. last year when brock wanted to bring in our green tomatoes before the first frost, i was hesitant. there were so many tomatoes and i had images of them rotting in our garage before they were ever used. but i got online and found amazing recipes to try with them. the challenge was on, and i eagerly piacked them all in anticipation of trying every recipe. we tried this green tomato salsa recipe, and it quickly became our favorite salsa ever. in fact, as soon as we started getting baby green tomatoes this spring, the kids started asking if we could pick them and make salsa. well, i had too many plans for the ripe tomatoes, so i made them wait until october....which is now! forget about halloween candy, this is much more exciting!
last year we also made green tomato cake, which was quite good, and green tomato jam, which wasn't (so i won't share that recipe).
yesterday i tried a new recipe i've been excited about since my friend traci shared it with me in the summer, along with the sweet and sour recipe that i fell in love with (and canned 21 quarts of).
Green Enchilada Sauce 5C chopped green tomatoes 1 1/2 C seeded long green chilies 1/2 C (or to your desired heat) jalepenos 4C chopped onion 1C lemon juice 6 cloves garlic (chopped) combine all over high heat bring to a boil. then simmer for 20 min. process in water bath for 20 min for alt. 1000-6000 ft
traci says: "my family loves this sauce over chicken enchiladas! when i use it i usually wisk 1 can cream of chicken soup per quart for sauce just to make it a little creamier or cool the jalapeno taste..enjoy!"
this is very similar to my green tomato salsa recipe, but has only lemon juice, and not vinegar, has a much higher ratio of onions and jalepenos - it's hot! it's very good, and i'm planning to make another milder batch with fewer jalepenos.
for sunday dinner we tried green tomato gratin. it was unusual and very good. if you like fried green tomatoes, i think you will like this. and speaking of fried green tomatoes, i found a wonderful looking recipe for them on the same blog as the gratin.
i also want to try pickled green tomatoes with all of the green cherry pear tomatoes we've harvested, and possibly some green tomato ketchup... and maybe even some green tomato chuteny. british blogs rave about green tomato chutney and i am very curious to give it a try. chutney is not something that americans usually get excited about, but i do love unusual flavors... i really do think i'd like it (but will my family?). we'll have to see how many tomatoes are left after another batch or two of salsa and enchilada sauce. i'm actually getting upset about all of the tomatoes that are ripening into lovely reds and oranges as they wait for me to cook and preserve with them - i can't seem to get enough green tomatoes to do everything i want to with them. but one thing i love about the green tomatoes is that they go so much further than ripe tomatoes - because they are hard and firm you don't lose the juices as you cut, and you don't need to peel, and really don't need to core. so you can get more lovely goodness out of every tomato.
it has been a month since we had our quince picking adventure, and we are still using the quince. most were unripe when we picked, and i have been gradually using them as they slowly ripen. in the photo above (and below), you can see how they range in shape from apple to pear, and everything inbetween. a friend on facebook recommended drying them and using them to scent my linen drawers, which is a very good idea, and one that i haven't tried yet. they smell very fragrant, almost floral.
when i last posted i had made a large batch of juice, and then sauce (like applesauce) from the quince, and found that they both needed a lot of sugar to be very agreeable. since then i have made a large batch of quince jelly, a large batch of quince syrup (made just like the jelly, but not cooked as long), and a large batch of vanilla quince butter - this is a variation of a martha stewart recipe. the juice is very light, paler than apple juice, but it turns a lovely rosy red when it is cooked into jelly/syrup/butter.
emily from spain commented on my last quince post about how they eat quince in spain. it sounds almost identical to the way i made the quince butter. she said:
"Hello, I came here from your Etsy shop. I am from Spain (but live in the US) and over there, quince is very appreciated. The way we prepare it is: Peel the fruit, take the core off and cut it in four. Put it in boiling water and boil for about half hour. Take it out of the water and mix the quince with sugar, same weigh in sugar as in quince. Put it in a pan, medium heat, for anogher half hour, stirring continuously with a spatula to avoid the sugar to burn and stick to the bottom of the pan. While stirring, cut the quince pieces with the edge of the spatula. It will thicken. If you want it to be very smooth, you can use a blender when it is completely cooked. Put it in a rectangular pan (silicon works great) and leave it in the cooler for one day. Take it out of the pan to a plate. We usually have it as a dessert, just a small amount, a couple of bites. It is very good with cheese. Yummy, I wish I could have some quince here!"
my favorite part of her comment is:
"We usually have it as a dessert, just a small amount, a couple of bites."
wouldn't it be amazing if we americans could learn to approach dessert in a similar fashion - just a small amount, a couple of bites?
speaking of desserts, my most favorite quince creation is this recipe for honey poached quince pie (shown above). it was so good that i've canned 8 quarts of the pie filling. it will be heavenly over french toast or pancakes or ice cream. it is by far the most delicious pie filling i have ever tasted. brock came across some online info that said the recipes have been found from ancient rome for cooking quince with honey, and although i had my doubts as to how it would taste, it is divine.
a friend from church invited us to come and pick apples, or pears, or asian pears? she wasn't sure what they were - from her over-loaded tree. i had prayed recently that we could get some free apples or pears for canning this year, if possible, and so i really had to take her up on it, even though i didn't know what they were, or what to do with them. they are quite unusual - some are shaped like apples, and some like pears. they have an asian pear type texture - crisp and juicy, and are very aromatic, almost lemony - with a good but distinctly bitter taste, similar to a crabapple, but not as strong. we picked a huge tub for her - she is recovering from a serious injury and couldn't do the picking herself, three boxes for us, and a box for another friend whose daughter came with us. this last friend told another friend about the mystery fruit, and she said they sounded like quince, a relative of the pear and apple, that originated in persia (thank you google - and according to photos online, that must be what they are). i have juiced a batch - they make a lot of juice - 5 1/2 quarts from one batch! - the juice is good, but needs sweetening - i added stevia extract. and then made quince sauce (like apple sauce) from the remains. i added brown sugar and apple pie spice, and it is a little unusual, but yummy. i would prefer not to need to sweeten, but a great bonus is that these fruit weren't sprayed. i love that! i love pesticide free!
i've searched for recipes, and plan to try quince jelly, which is supposed to be very good, and quince vanilla butter (like apple butter).
and speaking of yummy recipes, we made whole wheat, oatmeal, banana pancakes for dinner tonight (teddy bear shaped pancakes are a tradition for our conference weekends, and we hadn't had them yet), with this new recipe i found. so yummy! i added chocolate chips, which was messy, but extra yummy! i don't recommend using this recipe for shaped pancakes though, it was a ltitle too thick to lend itself well to teddy bear shapes. i added chopped bananas to the pancakes just before flipping them to cook on the second side.
two years ago brock & i had the good fortune to stumble upon the japanese festival at the missouri botanical gardens in st. louis. we were on a labor day weekend get-away for our 20th anniversary. we felt that it would be a wonderful experience for our japanese children, who are being rasied away from japan, and for our caucasian children who were raised in japan, almost as japanese. so last year we took the four kids that were at home to the festival, and it is now a family favorite, that we look forward to all year.
unagi (eel) sushi and yaki soba
little one was chosen to assist in a show. he turned a origami frog into a plastic frog. this show was adorable.
water balloon yo-yo and ramiune soda - a must for any japanese festival.
face painting - "shinkansen" (bullet train) and "mia" (beautiful asia)
little man volunteered to go on stage at the sumo exhibition, and was chosen from a huge group of kids. what he didn't know was that he would be wrestling a real osumosan. he admitted later to being terrified, but he didn't show it. this was a highlight that we'll always treasure.
he did push the sumo wretler out of the ring at the end, with lots of cooperation from mr. sumo.