If I don’t have tomatoes to can, I’ll can something else

   I spent a lot of time in the kitchen this weekend trying to clear out some space in the refrigerator.  It rained all day Saturday, and it was cold (51 degrees F for a high!  In August!  What?!), so I made good use of the oven to keep the house warm.  I roasted a bunch of veggies Saturday morning, and I’ll have them all week.  Everything was local, either from the CSA or my garden or my neighbor’s garden: onions, green beans, potatoes, carrots, beets, bell peppers, and summer squash.  The variety of color was absolutely stunning!

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I also roasted some carrots to make carrot butter again this week, as I’ve almost finished off the batch I made a few weeks ago, and I threw in a couple of beets that I’ll save in order to make my red velvet cupcakes.

I have been wanting to make pepper jelly for a long, long time.  We get a jar of it from my in-laws every year in our holiday goody basket, but I eat enough of it that I decided it was high time to keep my pantry stocked with it.  This weekend the time had finally arrived.  I harvested some green bell peppers from the garden and used the garlic and jalapeno peppers that came with the CSA share last week.  The last jar of jelly I got from my mother-in-law was actually jam, it had the pepper puree in it, so that’s how I made mine.  This jam is so good with a toasted Asiago cheese bagel with plain cream cheese.  Oh, I’m so ready for breakfast now….and I have several jars to get me through many, many breakfasts now!

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I had several peaches that needed to be used (not locally grown, unfortunately) and after scouring several canning books and magazines, I settled on a peach chutney that had peaches, dried cherries, onions, and garlic, in addition to allspice, mustard, ginger, and cloves.  Sounded like a winner to me, so I thought “What the heck?  Let’s give this a try.”  I didn’t actually taste any of the chutney itself, but I licked the spoon after I filled the jars, and I think it is going to be VERY. GOOD.  I can’t wait to get my pork share this fall and try some chutney over a pork chop or something.  Plus, it looks beautiful in the jar:

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For dinner tonight I was going to make Jamaican Jerk Skewers with a whole lot of veggies, mushrooms, and some bison meat, but because it was cold and rainy outside, Hubby didn’t really feel like grilling, and who could blame him?  So once again, I decided to use the over to warm up the house while cooking dinner.  I put the meat, veggies, and marinade in a shallow baking dish and roasted everything at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes.  Then, and I think this is the best idea I have had today, I transferred everything to a large skillet and cooked it all over medium high heat for about 10 minutes until the marinade became thick and caramelized.  We ate the veggies and meat over quinoa, and it was very tasty.  Here’s the marinade recipe, which I WILL be making again.

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Jamaican Jerk Marinade (Adapted from Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook)

4 scallions, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

2 hot peppers (I used jalapeno and black Hungarian), seeded and minced (leave some seeds if you want some extra heat)

2 cloves garlic

3/4 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 t. dried thyme

1/2 t. ground cloves

1/2 t. ground nutmeg

1/2 t. ground allspice

I also threw in 1/4 of a peach because I had a little left over from the peach chutney recipe…you can add it if you like.

Add all of the marinade ingredients to a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process until pureed.   Pour over veggies and meat and refrigerate for about 4 hours, spooning marinade over the vegetables and meat occasionally. 

If you like, cook everything in the oven like I did.  Or…put the veggies and meat on skewers.  Grill skewers over the grill until the meat is cooked to your preference.  Remember: veggies cook quickly so don’t burn ‘em!

 

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