Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Yes, I know it's supposed to be called spanakopita.

For the second year in a row we've had pretty measly (not measle-ly) spinach production. We have, however, had a BOUNTIFUL harvest of beets (they are super easy to grow and can be started outside from seed). The Roses love their beets, so much so that Will risks his life by drinking the beet brine straight from the jar when we pickle them.


With so many beet greens, Will had the idea of making his own "Beetakopita" recipe. It goes something like this...

2-3 lbs beet greens, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz. feta cheese
16 oz. ricotta cheese
1/2 c. fresh parsley, chopped (1/4 c. dried)
1 T. dry dill
2 sticks butter
1/2 box of phyllo dough
Saute onions and garlic in large saucepan until translucent. Gradually add handfuls of beet greens until wilted. Stir in feta and ricotta.

Layer phyllo dough and mixture in a greased glass baking dish: 10 sheets on the bottom, add beet/cheese mixture, 10 sheets in the middle, add mixture, and 10 sheets on top. Brush butter on the top of the phyllo as you layer.

Cook at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, uncovered.

(picture missing; camera is on the fritz).

Adios mis amigos, hermanos y hermanas.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Rhubarb Orange Jam

Yes, this is my jam.

I have some sort of debilitating, romanticized idea of rhubarb. No idea why, really. Maybe it's because my dad told me this story once about how rhubarb seemed to be growing every where in Logansport, IN, and that he'd pick it and just eat it like candy when he was a kid. I guess I developed a dream of doing the same and believing it would be easy to grow this supposedly ubiquitous plant. Unfortunately, I'm afraid the rhubarb I've been waiting two years to harvest is going to be a dud in it's third, harvest-able year. It's maybe had two sickly stalks over the past two years.

This summer during a trip to the infamous Kedzie house in the
Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago, I noticed they had a rhubarb plant that likely had about 30 stalks on it. My spirits were crushed.

Oh well.

In a moment of weakness the other day, I impulsively bought 1 1/2 lbs of rhubarb at the store. It was just so red and
stalky...I couldn't resist. As I cut it up for my recipe, I yearned for the day I would have my own absurdly-producing rhubarb plant. *sigh*

This is one of the easiest and quickest canning recipes I've ever made. A great endeavor for a beginning canner!

Rhubarb Orange Jam--makes 7 8 oz. jars (via Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving)

5 c. rhubarb, finely chopped
( chopped mine in the food processor)
2 oranges

6 c. granulated sugar

1 package fruit pectin.

Prepare jars and lids (i.e. bring to 180 degrees in a water bath until ready to use).

With a vegetable peeler, peel half of one orange. Thinly slice the peels into 1 in.-long slivers. Set aside.
Juice both oranges to produce 1 c juice. Add water if needed.

Combine rhubarb, orange slivers, and orange juice in a large stainless steel pot. Bring to a boil. Now, add sugar all at once.

While stirring frequently, return mixture to a boil. Once it is at a rolling boil, stir constantly for one minute and then remove from heat. Skim off foam with a spatula.

Ladle mixture into hot jars, leaving 1/4 in. headspace. Use spatula or plastic chopstick to remove air bubbles. Put lids on and screw until finger tight. Process cans for 10 min. Let sit in bath for 5 min. afterwards, then remove.

Adios mis amigos, hermanos y hermanas.

Monday, July 13, 2009

presto, pesto!

Since we can't keep up with eating all of our garden basil, we end up making a lot of it into pesto and freezing it for the rest of the year. Kevin (a.k.a. the Guff) is harvesting some here...

We use a pesto recipe from Simply In Season (see link on left).

1 c. packed fresh basil leaves
1/3 c. walnuts (walnuts are cheaper than pine nuts)
1/2 t. salt to taste
Chop together in food processor. Freeze in ice cube trays. When frozen, remove cubes and place in a resealable plastic bag. When ready to eat, microwave and add minced garlic and parmesan.

Adios mis amigos, hermanos y hermanas.

Friday, July 3, 2009

tommy pickle

I like pickles.

I've come to learn over the last several years that apparently a lot of people don't. Weird.

Last year was my first attempt at pickling cucumbers, which had mostly disastrous results. Overprocessing, using not-completely fresh cucumbers, and timid packing on my part are just a few of the reasons I think the pickles sat in the cabinet all year without being eaten.

This year, however, I am determined to win over the skeptics. We had just enough cucmbers on the vine yesterday (ok, i had to buy one from the store too) to make a first batch. I made a bread and butter pickle recipe in the hopes that at least our friend Tim would eat them. The recipe comes from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.

Here's our cucumber teepee...

And here's the cucumbers and onions in the pickling salt...

And here's the final product...yum!

Merry pickling! Adios mis amigos, hermanos, y hermanas.