Roasted Summer Bounty Sauce

Sat, Jul 14 • 0

When the production of your garden really starts to kick in during the summer, it’s hard not to get overwhelmed with the bounty. This recipe helps, because by roasting down all of the vegetables, you intensify their flavor. And you’ll love the aroma of the roasting vegetables.

Aside from the tomatoes and the garlic, you can add or subtract any vegetable, depending on what you have too much of. Swap eggplant and/or zucchini in place of the carrots. Add some bell peppers if you have them.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a large roasting pan, combine:

6 pounds tomatoes (plums are best, but some additional cherry tomatos will sweeten the sauce), cored and quartered
1½ c. coarsely chopped carrots (optional)
1½ c. coarsely chopped celery (optional)
1½ c. coarsely chopped onions
9 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
6 T. balsamic vinegar
1 bay leaf
1½ t. each fresh thyme, oregano, basil, and parsley
1½ t. salt
1 T. freshly ground pepper

Roast all of these for 45 minutes or until everything is soft (I’ve left it going for almost 2 hours with no ill-effects). Remove the bay leaf and whatever herb stems you can find, and pulse in a food processor or blender or even a hand whizzer, but leave it slightly chunky. Freeze in 2 cup portions. Makes 2 quarts.


Pocket Guide to Pesticides

Wed, Mar 11 • 0

The Environmental Working Group has just released their updated Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides. Based on 87,000 tests for pesticide residues in produce conducted between 2000 and 2007 by the US FDA and USDA, they list the 12 worst and 15 best foods to consider in an effort to  limit your exposure to pesticides, which, despite rinsing and peeling, can only be avoided if they are grown using organic methods.

“Those who eat the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables consume an average of 10 pesticides a day. Those who eat the 15 least contaminated conventionally grown fruits and vegetables ingest fewer than 2…”

The “dirty dozen” foods are peaches, apples, bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, kale, lettuce, imported grapes, carrots, and pears. They recommend you buy these items as organics if you can, or not at all.

The “clean 15” foods are onions, avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, mangos, asparagus, sweet peas, kiwis, cabbages, eggplants, papyas, watermelons, broccoli, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes. The methods in producing these foods, even if they’re done using “conventional,” modern farming practices, are thought to be safe.


Pick Your Own Produce VA/MD/DC

Sun, Apr 20 • 0

Last year, I used Google Maps to locate all of the “pick your own produce” farms in the greater Washington DC area. Berries dominate the list (black-, straw-, blue-), but also apples, cherries, and some let you pick your own vegetables, too.

If you’re not a DC local, I encourage you to create your own Google map of these sorts of places near you and link it here!

Google Maps: Pick your own produce VA/MD/DC


Creamed Shallots

Sun, Dec 23 • 0

A nice side dish for steaks or roasted chicken.

10-12 shallots
1 tsp. salt
1 T sugar
2 oz Gruyere cheese, shredded
2 oz cream
salt & pepper
¼ t thyme

Clean the shallots by slicing each end, and peeling it down to the first clean layer without the papery skin. Place shallots in a small saucepan, cover with water, and add the sugar and the salt, and bring the water to a gentle boil, parboiling the shallots for about 10-15 minutes.

Grease a gratin dish with a little butter or canola oil. Add the shallots, the cream, top with cheese, and seasoning. Bake for 10 minutes in a hot oven or toaster oven until hot and bubbly. Optionally, broil for a few more minutes to brown the top.


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