Archive for the ‘Garden’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Pickled Onions

I planted onions in our small garden this year for the first time.  I was hoping to get nice large onions that I could chop up and freeze or use fresh in our meals, but that was not to be.  I do not know much about growing onions so it could just be my inexperience, but these these little onions in the picture below, would not get any bigger.  I read online that when the leaves fall to the ground and start turning brown they are ready to be harvested.  So instead of the nice large onions that I expected, I ended up with a couple of hand-fulls of small onions.  Well, that means only one thing.  Pickled onions!

When I googled “pickled onion recipe”, the first article that came up was this one from ezinearticles and it looked easy enough to try.  I mainly got a few ideas from there and then set out to try my own recipe.

I started by cleaning and trimming the onions.  I had to borrow the kids swimming goggles for this part (no really!)  One would think that such small onions would not be quite as strong as their larger cousins, but don’t be fooled, they are potent!

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Once they were cleaned, I boiled about 2 pints of water and added 8 tablespoons of salt to it.  Ezinearticles suggest that you use pickling salts or  something without a flowing agent in it.  I used my regular table salt and the results were fine.  I let the water cool and once it was room temperature, the onions were placed into a large glass bowl, covered with plastic wrap and topped with a ceramic plate to weigh the onions down.   There they stayed for 24 hours.  Then, they got a quick cold water rinse and placed into mason jars.

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Inside each jar I placed a bay leaf and a few coriander seeds, then topped it up with English malt vinegar.  In the process of making these I managed to drop a jar and lost all of my malt vinegar,  I had to us a concoction of red-wine vinegar and white vinegar in one of the jars.

I had watched a Youtube video on how to make a quick pickled onion and they put the onions in the refrigerator for three days and it was apparently done.  I figured that I would try this and put the red-wine pickles in the fridge.  Today, the kids and I tried them and they were very close to what I would call a pickled onion.  The center was still a little “raw” or untouched by the vinegar, but a few more days and it will be done.  It was also very tasty.

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The two malt vinegar jars will stay out of the fridge for about a month before I will open them.  I am looking forward to trying them.

James will be home later and will get to taste the red-wine pickles so I will post again to say what he thought.

PostHeaderIcon Sun dried tomatoes and dressing recipe

I have four tomato plants growing, two are in a tiny little garden and two are planted in pots around the outside of the house.  The kids and I tend to pick and eat the cherry tomatoes as they ripen and the roma tomatoes we keep for salads, sandwiches or other meals.  The tomato plants have been yielding a good supply lately and the kids and I are about as filled up on then as we can be, so it was time to look for ways to preserve or use them before they went bad.  I thought of making a pot of tomato sauce for pizza and pasta, but there were not enough tomatoes for that so I made sun dried tomatoes instead.

This was my first time and I liked the way they came out.  Instead of the basic sun dried tomatoes that requires no additional ingredients brushed them with a little garlic oil and dried basil to give it extra flavor.  I loved the result so much that I had to make a dressing immediately to eat on my salad.  It was wonderful!  I have posted both the sun dried tomato recipe and the dressing below.

Sun dried tomato recipe (no one really dries them in the sun right?)
Tomatoes (Roma work well)
Garlic oil
Dried or fresh herbs (I used basil)

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Start by cutting the tomatoes in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the fleshy part and it should look like the picture below.
I mixed the Oregano and oil together and brushed the tomatoes with the oil a little goes a long way, do not make them soggy, they just need to have a sheen.  Then, placed them in the dehydrator over night.

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Here is the final result.  Since this was my first time I did not want to make a big batch in case they did not work well, but they came out great.  I already have 5-6 halves soaking in garlic oil for my dressing in the above picture.  I make the garlic oil by peeling fresh garlic cloves and placing them in olive oil.  I use both the oil and the cloves as I need them.  The remaining tomatoes I will store in an airtight container to use on my pizza next Friday and I was thinking of making a sun dried tomato and herb loaf and sun dried tomato and basil omelet.

Sun dried tomato dressing:
5-6 sun dried tomatoes soaked in 1/4 cup olive oil for a few hours (the tomatoes and oil both go in the dressing)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (you could start with less if you prefer)
1/4 -1/2 cup water
1 garlic clove
3 fresh basil leaves (use dried herbs if you prefer)

Directions:
Mix the ingredients together in a blender until finely blended.

Verdict:
This was really very good.  I had the dressing on a salad with lettuce, spinach, olives and croutons.  I wish I had feta or farmer’s cheese to put in the salad as well, but we finished that last week so it is time to make cheese soon.

Emily, my 5 year old just wanted croutons and olives and poured the dressing on and ate that as part of her lunch today.

Note:
If you do not have a dehydrator you can make this in your oven, by placing the tomatoes on a cookie sheet or even better on a metal cooling rack on a cookie sheet.  Place the cookie sheet in the oven at 200′F for about 6-12 hours.

PostHeaderIcon Look who is eating my tomatoes!

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This little guy took one of my Roma tomatoes right of the plant and ran up the tree. I have taken every precaution to keep the bunnies out of the garden, but never thought about the squirrels.

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