Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Bountiful Harvest

There's a farmer in me somewhere. I love to grow vegetables but my garden is very shady. So in order to have at least a little bit of a garden, I grow things in pots. Every year I have at least two tomato plants, some pepper plants, and a few pots full of herbs. Nothing better than fresh herbs. Last year a friend of mine, who lives in the country and can have a proper garden, grew banana peppers and ended up with so many that she had to find something to do with them. She found this great receipe on the internet and made a spicey mustard with them, and I was the recipient of a jar. The first taste and I was hooked. The mustard is incredible. I found out that not only is it wonderful on sandwiches, it's great on baked salmon as well. So this year I added a banana pepper plant to my little line up. I also had a salsa pepper plant. Once the peppers had matured, I decided to make my own mustard and combine the two peppers. The mustard is excellent and so easy to make.     
 Start by taking the seeds out of the peppers.
 Chop them up and put them in a food processor.
 Once processed, they'll look like this.
 And now for the receipe;
20 banana peppers
2 cups of prepared yellow mustard
1/2 cup of honey
2 1/2 cups of sugar
2 cups of apple cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon of salt
3/4 cup of flour
1 cup of water.
After processing the peppers, combine them with the mustard, honey,sugar, apple cider vinegar and the salt. Bring all of these ingredients to a boil and allow it to boil so hard that you cannot stir the boil down.
Stir together the flour and the water in a seperate bowl. Stir to make a paste. Add a few tablespoons of the pepper mixture to the flour mixture and stir until smooth. Combine this with the ingredients in the pot. Boil and stir constantly for 5 minutes.
At this point the mustard is finished. If you would like, the mustard can be canned or just put into jars that you will keep in the refrigerator. I like to can mine and give away as gifts. Canning is quite easy and there are great tutoriols on the internet that you can follow along with. There's nothing nicer than being able to give a gift of something you have grown and canned. You can download some great canning labels here .

 This is one of my favorite cookbooks. I especially love the tomato sauce receipes.

The author is very health conscious and gives excellent nutrition information. I highly recommend this cookbook. You can find an updated version here.
I only had enough tomatoes to make one batch of sauce. This is like liquid gold for me. Nothing better than homemade tomato sauce. Tonight I am going to saute some spinach with mushrooms and combine that with my sauce and then pour over some pasta. I can't wait!
This cookbook is a must for anyone who enjoys cooking. Their pesto receipe is excellent. I'll share it with you;
2 cups of fresh basil
4 cloves of garlic
1 cup of good olive oil
1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup of romano cheese
1 cup of walnuts
salt and pepper to taste
Put all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
It's just that easy and soooooo good. I will spread the pesto on sandwiches. I especially like to make a sandwich with smoked salmon, pesto, the mustard from the above receipe and some fresh spinach, it's a favorite of mine.You can find an updated version of the cookbook here.
I usually have at least 4 basil plants every summer so that I can have fresh pesto all winter. I make up the pesto and freeze it. I also share quite a bit.

My little bounty from my morning of work. My great-grandmother would be so proud. At least I hope so. 
Happy Sunday!  

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