Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Total Eclipse of Full Hunter's Moon_ Blood Moon

Wednesday's celestial event, the moon will line up with the Earth and the sun and become progressively redder between 5:15 a.m. EDT when it enters Earth's shadow and 6:25 a.m. EDT when it becomes totally eclipsed.

West coasters had to arise at 2:15 a.m. to see the moon enter the earth's shadow. The moon appears red as the light refracts in the atmosphere and increases in redness as it gets closer to becoming totally eclipsed, hence the Blood Moon.


 







Friday, September 5, 2014

Spicy Homemade Chili Sauce and a Tomato Pie

This is written especially for my brother-in-law Phil who is wondering what to do with all his tomatoes.

Sweet and hot peppers are coming on in the garden while tomatoes continue to ripen.

Having canned or frozen all that we plan and given much to friends and family, what else can be done with tomatoes? Tomato Jam, Tomato Pie (our friend Chef Jeff gave us a recipe_below); Salsa; Insalata Caprese, and most useful of all is our  Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes, a tomato base that we use all year long in various soups and stews, Tomato soup and sauces.

We made a spicy Ketchup last year, and yesterday Chili Sauce came to mind. How will we use it? The possibilities are endless: atop a meatloaf, hamburger, scrambled eggs, omelet; mixed with horseradish and ketchup for a shrimp sauce…

Spicy Chili Sauce atop today's Frittata
Spicy Homemade Chili Sauce from Diana’s kitchen
yield: 9 half-pints and 3 pints

2 TB extra virgin olive oil
2 cups onion, diced
2 cups sweet red pepper, diced
2 cups green pepper, diced
1 cup orange pepper, diced
2 jalapeno pepper, diced
4 garlic cloves, diced
1 TB kosher salt
10-12 pounds ripe heirloom tomatoes, cored, skins removed and chopped
2 tsp ginger
2 TB pickling spice in a bag (see recipe below)  
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup brown sugar
½ cup organic cider vinegar

In a large cast iron Dutch oven, heat the oil and sauté onion, peppers, garlic, and salt for 5-7 minutes or until onion is translucent. Add the tomatoes and heat to boil. (Excess juice from the tomatoes can be drained off and used in another recipe; this should reduce some cooking time.)

Tie spices in a cheesecloth bag. Add all remaining ingredients_ ginger, spice bag, bay leaf, brown sugar and vinegar. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for about three hours or until desired thickness. Stir frequently to prevent sticking.

Remove spice bag. Pour into sterilized jars, leaving ½ inch head room. Wipe rim, adjust the lid and screw bands; process jars in boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes. (If you have any questions on proper canning, be sure to consult Canning Guidelines from the professional sites.) 

Note: An immersion blender could be used to puree some of the sauce, but for now we like the chunkiness of the vegetables.


Pickling Spice 

2 TB mustard seed
2 TB whole allspice
2 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp black pepper seed
2 tsp whole clove
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf, crushed
1  2" stick cinnamon
1 tsp dill seed

Combine all and store in a glass jar. 

Tomato Pie adapted from Chef Jeff 

1 (9 inch) pie shell (I made it with lard)
4-7 ripe tomatoes, sliced
1 sweet onion, caramelized
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons fresh basil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake the pastry shell for 8 to 10 minutes or until browned.

Slice tomatoes and lay out for a few hours, season with kosher salt and crushed black pepper. Slice and caramelize onion in olive oil. Shred cheeses and mix with mayo.

Place onion in the bottom of cooled pastry shell. Slice tomatoes and arrange over onions. Add black pepper to taste.

In a medium bowl, combine the cheeses, mayonnaise and basil. Spread this mixture evenly over tomatoes. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, then 400 for 5 more minutes to brown on top.  Let sit 30 minutes. Slice and enjoy. Once cooked, garnish with more fresh herbs.

Note: We made a few adjustments because of our calorie counting. :) Nonetheless, a delicious pie!!!