(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
"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.
this book is a pure delight, and i have been having so much fun with it...
a friend recommended it, and sent me home with her copy to enjoy. the more i looked at it, the more i knew i needed to own my own copy.
i made these little shoes for my brand new nephew andrew from the woolies flannels that i love, and made my favorite baby gift, raw edge burp clothes (also from woolies flannels) to go with them.
i also made bloomers and shoes out of the softest coduroys for a baby shower for a friend who loves brown and green polka dots, but forgot to photograph them before i gave them away.
and i made this pillowcase dress - easy, easy and fun, fun - for my little one
I can hear the leaves falling outside my windows, making a rythmic rustling, and I love it. Autumn is heaven where we live.
It's been 4 months since I posted. And the more time that passes, the harder it becomes to post.
I love my blog, but it is difficult to balance blogging into my day, along with family, exercise, spiritual uplift, relaxation, recreation, serving as relief society president in our church, and keeping our businesses running. I spend so much time on the computer with our online shop that it can be hard to justify spending even a little more time in order to blog.
The past 4 months have been full of wonderful moments, and I will try to fill them in...as best I can.
i adore pumpkins. i love the way they look and how they taste. years in japan where it was a real treat to find a small pumpkin for $20 only increased my appreciation. growing up, my mom wouldn't let us put candles in our jack o'lanterns, only flashlights, so they wouldn't be damaged and we could cook, puree, and freeze them for making pies all winter. on special monrings, we even got pumpkin pie for breakfast.
this year a friend taught me how to can pumpkin with - something i had wanted to do, but couldn't find information about. i also found some pumpkin butter recipes online, after being inspired by pumpkin butter at the local pumpkin farm, and tried a few. this is my favorite. it makes a huge batch and is super easy - just dump it all in the slow cooker and let it go. all the online recipes say that you need to freeze or refridgerate pumpkin butter, and not can it. but i processed mine in the pressure canner for 45 minutes.
top and center is the pumpkin butter. canned pumpkin on the left, fresh pumpkin puree on the right.
first she drew these faces: not sure what to think....
i finished my last batch of canned pumpkin this morning, and now have 22 1/2 quarts of canned pumkin. that's a lot of pies. and lot and lots of pumpkin butter....mmmm...tastes just like pumpkin pie on toast.
she's 18 now! and hates her sweet baby face. people often tell her she looks 14. we frequently remind that she will be grateful as she gets older.
and photos of baby grace by tashi, who is not oldest or youngest, but is another one of great photographers in my life.
halloween was wonderful. the only improvement i could have asked for would be the 70 and 80 degree temperatures that we've been blessed with this week rather than the 50 degree temperatures of that week. but it didn't rain, and we were grateful. trick-or-treating happens on beggar's eve here, the night before halloween. it is truly magical to walk the streets filled with other trick-or-treaters, and overhung with glowing orange and red maple leaves and brilliant yellow gingkos, and to feel safe stopping at any house we see.
the pumpkin walk fell on halloween this year, thanks to halloween being considerate enough to fall on saturday. i got some beautiful photos that were lost when i saved them to the computer. still having computer/photo issues. also some amazing photos of the kids buried in the leaves in our yard that afternoon as the sun was low and golden. ~i would greatly appreciate it if you would please try to imagine it in your mind :) ~ to our surprise, the candy corn princess costume got more comments and cheers in the parade, and again later as we walked the streets, than any other. it was chosen because is was such a match with the little princess' persona.
one of my most delightful experiences this fall was discovering the dutchman general store in cantril, iowa. a friend took me to this mennonite store (where you can watch happy rosy cheeked children playing in their traditional clothing. we drove through scenic, rolling, autumn farmland, and i repeated this magical journey for my in-laws when they visited.
i came home with boxes of apples, pears, and tomatoes, delicious and decorative squash, bulk spices and other goodies that i haven't been able to find here in the midwest, like millet, flax seed, unrefined sugar. oh! and unbelievably yummy dark dutch cocoa. and all at great prices! dreamy!
i am enjoying a continuing love affair with canning this fall. the apples and pears combined made scrumptious juice, apple/pear sauce, and my favorite sauce that i discovered last year by accident: follow the apple pie filling recipe on the minute tapioca box (using both pears and apples), cut the sugar by 1/3, and cook until very juicy, then can it to put over pancakes, waffles, etc. so yummy!
i used the tomatoes to make surprisingly delicious fresh chunky past sauce and salsa.
we had fun with crabapples again.
and have been canning more chicken and beans with the new pressure canner.
we've picked apples at baxter's vineyards down the street more than once this fall, and on our first visit found 10 old blue glass canning jars waiting for a new owner. here they are with spices and goodies from the dutchman's store.
i'm still drying apples from our last apple picking at baxter's last week.
i thrill at the bounties of autumn.