What's Cooking in Carolina?

Mainly creative menus and recipes (usually healthy) and always from scratch with tips for party planning, theme parties, weddings and decorating tips so you can give swank parties or dinners to delight your guests from a part time caterer, owner/operator of a coming soon Entree Vous, but mainly a cook and eater who grows much of her own food and loves to laugh.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

You say tomato...

We've been really busy, hence the delay in posting. We walk the walk and talk the talk. When we say fresh, we mean fresh!

These are the tomatoes we picked yesterday and we picked this many the day before. We tend to cook then down overnight because they have so much water in them; if you put them up right off the vine, you end up with just about half tomato water in every quart
Cooking them down saves on canning jars. They look really good this year, with a few Hugh tomatoes interwoven in with the reds.

What else are we getting in the garden: pink-eyed purple hull peas, green beans, corn, egg plant, cucumbers, peppers, okra and cantaloupes. What are pink-eyed purple hulls, you ask? There are like black eyed peas. We grow them under our corn to control weeds as well as to eat and as a cover crop.
Oh, and we are getting figs. I've already made fig preserves and fig relish and I have an almost-full dehydrator full of them right now. I have canned (cooked down) tomatoes, made tomato juice and tomato sauce. We also dehydrate tomatoes for 'sun-dried'. We have made roasted tomato soup, eaten sliced tomatoes, caprese salad, fresh tomato salsa, fresh tomato sauce with basil, and our marinara, stewed tomatoes to serve on those pick-eyed purple hulls and Spanish rice with fresh tomatoes, peppers and herbs.

Eggplant is my husband’s favorite vegetable. We have had Ratatouille, Baba Ghanoush, Coponata, eggplant slices rolled up with ricotta, parmesan, mozzarella and parmesan and topped with that fresh tomato sauce, eggplant sliced, baked then topped with fresh mozzarella, fresh tomato and parmesan and baked (his favorite!), grilled eggplant along with squash, mushrooms and onion panini and a hot Chinese eggplant stir-fry.

Okra we have eaten oven fried, with tomatoes, onions and corn, and today I am making a gumbo base (concentrated gumbo solution as taught to us by our Cajun friend Barry Comeaux). You cook a boat-load of okra with bell peppers, onions and cayenne pepper with a little oil and water. You cook it until you cook the slime out (I am not kidding!). I do it in the oven over low heat for about a day, stirring every now; then you cool it and freeze it and use it as a base for gumbo during the winter! It is yummy. And there is still pickled okra to make.

We have mainly eaten corn on the cob. We grow three varieties: How Sweet It Is, Bodacious, and Super Sweet. We have made corn chowder, and corn and roasted bell pepper relish (with and without black beans). We also made a okra, corn, onion and tomato succotash and a veggie soup with about everything!

Peppers are a little behind. We have only had Chili Rellenos, stuffed banana peppers, but we still need to can salsa, pickle banana peppers, make red hot pepper jelly, pickle jalapenos, and dry peppers.

I am actually getting so much I have used most of my canning jars (and space) so my Mom came today to bring jars and get fruit and veggies. This is a picture of her trunk before she left and it doesn’t show her back seat!

As you can see, we eat well all the time however summer gardens sure make it easy!

Until next time, enjoy summer food while it lasts! Send us a note or visit our website! We'd love to know what you think as well as what's cookin'!
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