Tomato-Peach Salsa

It’s peach season!

My canning friend said she’d get a box of utility peaches from the local orchard, and we started to list what we’d make: peach-raspberry jam, peach-ginger jam, peach salsa. I envisioned a jar of golden, spicy goodness. Then she said she wanted to use tomatoes in it. I wasn’t convinced, but I am now. I’m totally hooked.

Tomato Peach Salsa

makes about 12 pints
  • 3 c. chopped onion
  • 12 c. peeled, chopped tomatoes
  • 8 c. peeled, pitted, diced white peaches
  • 4 c. diced bell peppers (mix of red and green)
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 6 jalapeno peppers, minced
  • 8 Thai chilis, minced
  • 6 c. cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Sterilize 12 pint jars, bands, and lids.
  2. While that’s happening, peel the tomatoes and chop them roughly. Drain off a bunch of the excess juice. Put the tomatoes in a large stock pot. Add the chopped onion, the peeled, diced peaches and the diced bell peppers.
  3. Mince the hot peppers and garlic. (I like to use a mini food processor for this.) Leave the seeds in for a salsa with a nice heat to it. Combine the hots and garlic with the rest of the ingredients. Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add the cider vinegar and mix well.
  5. Bring the salsa to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  6. Pour into hot sterilized jars. Leave 1/4 inch headspace.
  7. Screw on caps and process in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes. Turn off heat. Let sit for 10 minutes before removing from water bath.

We had just enough to taste after we filled all the jars. I came home with 6 jars, and I don’t think they’ll last long.

Ricotta Quiche, or The Z Word Part 1

Zucchini is notorious for being overabundant. There are stories of people desperate to get rid of them, dropping them off on neighbors steps, abandoning them by the side of the road. For years I’ve heard these stories and wondered “Who are these people?,” because squash borers and squash bugs destroy our plants most years before we get tired of zucchini. Not this year.

With a veggie bin in the fridge full of zukes, I’ve been looking for new things to sneak them into. A few weeks ago a friend served me ricotta pie from the Moosewood Cookbook and I found it quite yummy.

With a couple of modifications (no crust, tapioca flour), it’s gluten free. And though I call it ricotta quiche, it’s not really eggy, a plus for non-egg lovers.

It would work with a number of vegetables, but right now I’m filling it up with zucchini.

Ricotta Quiche with Zucchini

  • 1 lb. ricotta cheese
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 zucchini, sliced in thin rounds
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 tsp. fresh chopped basil
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose or tapioca flour
  • 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 c. grated sharp cheddar
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • paprika
  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
  2. Saute the onion in a little olive oil. Add the zucchini slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook until both are soft, but not browned. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Mix the ricotta, egg, Parmesan and cheddar cheeses, flour, and herbs together. (I used tapioca only to make it gluten-free. If that doesn’t matter, regular flour works just fine.)
  4. Add the zucchini and onion and mix well.
  5. Spread the mixture into a 10-inch pie plate.
  6. Cover with cream cheese and sprinkle top liberally with paprika.
  7. Bake for 40–45 minutes. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.

I found this worked well at a number of temperatures. We had it about 45 minutes after it was done and it was quite good. I’ve had it cold from the fridge, also good, but room temp or above is probably best.

Peachy

I’ll start with a confession. I haven’t made this. I just ate it last night. And asked for seconds. And poured the drippings onto my plate. And licked the spoon.

Here’s the “recipe” I got verbally. As soon I get out to buy some peaches, I’ll try it.

Antigone’s Grilled Peaches and Cream

  • peaches, skinned and halved
  • 1 block cream cheese
  • honey
  • cinnamon
  • pecans, finely chopped
  1. Grill peaches. (She used an indoor grill, though I imagine you could do it on a regular grill.)
  2. Arrange in a single layer in a pan or on a platter (the platter should be able to catch a little juice).
  3. Mix cream cheese, honey, cinnamon, and pecans to taste.
  4. When peaches have cooled a little, but are still warm, spread the cream cheese mix on top.

I had this served with ice cream, which sounded like a good idea, but the ice cream seemed superfluous. It doesn’t really need anything, but it would probably be very good over French toast or a waffle.

Peach Cobbler

One of the things I look forward to when our favorite farm stand opens each summer is the fresh Georgia peaches they bring in. These are not your average grocery store peach–there is nothing like them! My two year old eats at least one a day, sometimes two. Is there anything sweeter than a toddler with a face full of a juicy, ripe peach?

That’s what I thought.

But this week, I bought too many peaches. Since I had four that were starting to go bad I decided to try peach cobbler. I have never even eaten a cobbler to my knowledge so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I checked out a few recipes and this is what I came up with:

1. Melt 1 stick of butter and pour it into the bottom of a 2 quart baking dish.
2. In a separate bowl, mix together 1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt.
3. Stir in 1 cup of milk and 1 tsp. of vanilla.
4. Pour this mixture over the melted butter.
5. Toss 4-5 slices peaches with 2 tsp sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
6. Bake at 375 for about 35 minutes, until the crust is brown and pulling away from the sides of the pan.

YUM. I always imagined cobbler to be more of a biscuity crust but it wasn’t. The batter rises over the peaches and forms this gooey, sticky, chewy crust. My 5 year old, who was not excited about this dessert because he doesn’t like peaches, asked if we could “always” have this for dessert. The only thing missing was vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Cheesy cauliflower casserole

I’m not really a fan of cauliflower. Still, when we were at our weekly potluck, I thought I’d try the cauliflower casserole. It was cheesy—how bad could it be?

I loved it, and K. loved it.

A few days later when a friend offered me a cauliflower from her garden, I gladly took it and did my own take of her casserole. It comes together pretty quickly. We had it with maple-mustard glazed grilled pork chops.

Cheesy cauliflower casserole

  • 1 cauliflower
  • mustard (enough to coat cauliflower) (I used Plochman’s Natural Stoneground)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. mustard seeds (yellow or black)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • sharp cheddar cheese (to taste) (I used Cabot hunter sharp)
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Remove leaves and any tough center stem of the cauliflower. Chop up the rest into small to medium-sized chunks. Steam until just tender.
  3. Coat cauliflower with mustard and place in a casserole dish.
  4. Saute onion in a little butter or olive oil. Toss in the mustard seeds. Cook until the onion is soft, but not browned. Add to the cauliflower and mix.
  5. Sprinkle liberally with chunks of cheese or shredded cheese.
  6. Bake until cheese is melted.

You can vary the flavor of this quite a bit by using different mustards or different cheeses.

Birthday Pie: Raspberry Rhubarb

B. is a pie guy, so for his birthday he gets a pie instead of a cake. Last year, he asked for a raspberry pie, but since his birthday comes at the very beginning of raspberry season (this year when everything is early being an exception), I suggested it might be hard (read, expensive) to come by that many raspberries. “How about raspberry rhubarb?” he suggested.

He bought a pint of raspberries from a local farm. I chopped a bunch of stalks or rhubarb from our garden and put it together as I would have a straight-up rhubarb pie. And it was good.

It’s a twist on an old classic, his new favorite, and likely a birthday tradition.

Raspberry Rhubarb Pie

Crust

2 1/2 c. flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 c. shortening

1/4 c. butter (chilled and cut into small pieces)

6–7 Tbsp. cold water

1/2 c. crushed corn flakes or Total

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour and salt. Cut in shortening and butter until it forms small balls the size of peas. Gently blend in water, one table spoon at a time, with a fork until the dough holds together.
  3. Divide dough into two roughly equal parts. On a floured counter, roll out the dough for the bottom crust. Arrange in a 9-inch pie pan.
  4. Cover the crust with the crushed cereal.
  5. Set the pie pan and remaining dough aside  and move on to the filling.

Filling

1 pint red raspberries

4 cups chopped rhubarb

3/4 c. sugar

1 egg

2 Tbsp. cold water

  1. Gently mix together the raspberries and rhubarb and put in the prepared pie pan.
  2. Mix the sugar, egg, and water in a medium bowl, and pour over the fruit.

Finishing

  1. Roll out the remaining crust and cut into 1-inch strips. Weave the strips into a lattice crust.
  2. Put the pie pan on a cookie sheet to catch drips.
  3. Put the pie into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Then lower heat to 350°F and bake for 40–50 minutes longer. (You can use frozen raspberries or rhubarb, but it will take longer to cook. Keep baking until the filling starts to bubble a little.)

 


Spanakopita calzone

This meal reminded me of the kind of thing Sara and I would have come up with together if we still lived down the road from each other. (Sara would have had the pizza dough rising and I would have had the spinach and feta.) I threw it together last night because I wasn’t in the mood for traditional pizza, which I was making for the kids.

I split the pizza dough I had in half, and let N. do his thing on the the boys’ pizza. I sauteed some onion, garlic, and a bag of fresh spinach from my favorite local farm store, squeezed some lemon juice over the whole thing, threw in some crumbled feta (I used fat free, I don’t notice a difference), and folded it into the dough. Baked for about 25 mins at 450. It was delicious–flavorful, satisfying, and not too heavy. Great simple meal!