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Sunday
Sep182011

« Preserving Summer's Bounty »

I love autumn in NYC. But I have to admit, I am having a hard time letting go of the summer and all it's bounty. Wouldn't it be nice to can and freeze everything? But who am I kidding? I have neither the time, the space, nor the energy to do that.

So this year, I took a more measured and practical approach to preserving. I froze 5 pounds of sour cherries (enough for 2 pies) as well as 8 pints of raspberries (from my CSA fruit share).  I also made apricot, peach and raspberry jam -- some of which I will use and some of which I will give as gifts.  

And last weekend, I turned my attention to basil, corn and tomatoes. 

Around here, it is all about fast and easy.  And what is more easy than pasta with basil pesto and a side salad? In years past, I have frozen individual portions of pesto in ice cube trays. But pesto also stays a very long time in the refrigerator. The trick is to float a little olive oil on the top, so that it doesn't oxide and turn dark.

Traditionally, pesto is made with pine nuts. But in a pinch (or a frugal moment), you can also use walnuts or almonds. I make my pesto with pecorino, but it works equally well with parmigiano.

 

Mortar and pestle vs a food processor? In my kitchen, it is not even a discussion. I use my food processor, which makes for very light and efficient work.

I made a double recipe, equivalent to 2 cups.

This is the last of the Long Island corn that my mother sent home with me. It is earmarked for a batch of Peter Reinhart's corn bread in the fall. Four ears yielded 2 1/2 cups of kernels. I blanched the corn before cutting it off the cob and freezing it.

And as for the tomatoes, I had a mix of plum, beef steak, heirlooms and cherries.

I used the plum and beefsteak tomatoes to make a pot of tomato sauce. Normally, plum tomatoes are preferable for sauce, as they have fewer seeds and juice. But no matter. I just cooked the sauce down a little longer.

Tomatoe sauce can be canned, but it a bit involved. I chose instead to freeze the sauce in individual containers. 

As for the cherry and heirloom tomatoes, I slow roasted them in a low oven (with fresh rosemary, oregano, garlic and a drizzle of olive oil) for about 4 hours.

Dory Greenspan describes these tomatoes as "somewhere between fresh tomatoes and sun dried tomatoes. They are delicious right out of the oven as a side dish. They are also delicious in a salad or as a stuffing for grilled fish. 

I roasted 2 cookie sheets of tomatoes and packed them (with the garlic and herbs) in olive oil after they had cooled.

These tomatoes are delicious on crusty bread (with fresh mozzarella), in pasta or as a simple sauce for fish or meat. As an added bonus, you also get tomato and garlic infused olive oil!

Basil Pesto recipe is here

Basic Tomato Sauce recipe is here

Slow Roasted Tomatoes recipe is here

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