Little Orbs of Joy

I often find that if I’m making something that freezes well, why not double or triple the recipe? I often do this with sauces, condiments, caramelized onions and especially this recipe , Lamb & Feta Meatballs. If I make a single recipe I get approximately 16-18 meatballs. Two weeks ago I quadrupled the recipe using 4 pounds of ground lamb and made 60 (enough for 5-6 meals)!!

These little orbs are versatile and full of flavor. Plate them with last weeks recipe for Roasted Sweet Pepper and Tomato Sauce, place them in a pita with tomato and tahini sauce, use them in spaghetti and meatballs, serve them with tzatziki sauce. You can serve them as an appetizer by stabbing them with bamboo skewers with a sauce on the side. You get the idea. They freeze beautifully, so with a little effort, you are ready for a quick delicious option at a moments notice. If you have a food saver you are golden, if not, place frozen meatballs in a quart freezer bag and remove as much air as possible.

LAMB AND FETA MEATBALLS

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound grass-fed ground lamb
  • 4 ounces feta, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated on micro-planer
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs, without crusts, pulsed in a food processor
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Lamb meatballs ready to freeze
Frozen meatballs vacuumed sealed

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. If making a single batch, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (you will use two of these to freeze the meatballs prior to vacuum sealing them if doubling or tripling your recipe).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, place the ground lamb, feta, thyme leaves, garlic, breadcrumbs, ground cinnamon, olive oil, along with salt and pepper and mix thoroughly with your hands. Using a meatball scoop or your hands, shape into golf ball size balls. You should end up with about 18 meatballs, placing them uniformly on baking sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart.
  3. If freezing extra, place sheet in freezer overnight. Once frozen place 10-12 meatballs in a vacuum seal bag or freezer bag and seal. To defrost place bag in sink of cool water for about an hour. If making a single batch place in oven for 15-20 minutes, or until browned. Serve hot.
Ready for future eating!
Delicious!

“Preserving food is an excellent bank account.”

A Self-Sheltering Pantry

Wanted to reblog this post as we enter another phase of self-sheltering. This was my most read blog this year!

Twisted Basics

As we approach week 10 of self-sheltering, I started to contemplate the future in terms of preparedness. I’m hardly a conspiracy theorist, nor am I a doom and gloom kind of person. I am however a planner. My father used to instruct, “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” After being caught off-guard during the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, I wanted to create a pantry that would sustain us if the predictions of a ‘second wave’ come to fruition this fall and upcoming winter. The idea is to have provisions for a 4 month stay-at-home if necessary.

At the beginning of my recent cookbook Twisted Basics: Laugh, Cook, Eat! I have a section called A Well-Stocked Pantry. It was an attempt to combine a balance between fresh and convenience. When approaching non-growing seasons (late fall and winter) and the desire to leave the confines of our homes as little as…

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Notch It Up!

I’m sure many of you have made something for your families that needed something extra, but you’re not quite sure what it is. Well, I may have the answer for you: Roasted Sweet Pepper and Tomato Sauce. This sauce has it all; it’s sweet, yet piquant, savory and adaptable to so many dishes. The secret is in the roasting. Roasting as we know deepens the flavor of all vegetables and this is no exception. Roasting is so helpful that you can make this sauce even with greenhouse peppers and tomatoes. For me, if I’m going to go through the process, why not make enough to put up? This sauce can be canned in a water bath for 15 minutes, or frozen in half-pint jars. If you roast one sheet pan of peppers, and one sheet pan of tomatoes and garlic it will yield about 5-6 half pints.

But the real deal is just how many uses you will have for it! I’m fond of plating a sauce under an entre like lamb meatballs (next week’s recipe) or cauliflower cake. You can spoon it over a piece of toast or an English muffin and top it with a poached egg. Spoon it over scrambled eggs, or hard boiled eggs or on a sandwich instead of mayo. You are only limited by your imagination!

Sweet peppers ready to be roasted
Halved tomatoes and garlic ready for roasting.

ROASTED SWEET PEPPER AND TOMATO SAUCE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 sweet peppers, your choice of color, but include one red, halved vertically and seeded
  • 2 tomatoes, cored and cut in half horizontally
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 head of garlic, tops trimmed just enough to expose cloves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
Roasted peppers
Roasted tomatoes

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Line a large sheet pan with aluminum foil (if you are preparing a batch of quantity, line two baking sheets; using one for peppers and one for tomatoes). Place peppers, tomatoes and garlic on sheet pan.
  3. Baste vegetables with olive oil, then add your salt and pepper. Place in oven and set your timer for 20 minutes. Rotate trays from top to bottom and roast an additional 20 minutes. Remove the tomatoes and roast the peppers for approximately 20 minutes more. You want the peppers charred in various places. If doing a single batch place everything on one sheet pan and roast for 35 minutes.
  4. Let cool slightly, then with a paring knife, carefully pull off the skins of tomatoes, then repeat with the peppers. Discard skins. Squeeze the garlic out of its papery skins.
  5. In a blender or food processor, place your tomatoes, peppers, garlic, red wine vinegar, maple syrup and some additional salt and pepper. Blend or pulse for about 1 minute. Add an additional 3 tablespoons of olive oil and process again until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning adding more vinegar, salt and pepper if needed.
  6. Pour into half pint jars and can or freeze.

Yield: 1 half pint

Roasted red pepper and tomato sauce just blended.

“An ounce of sauce covers a multitude of sins.” —Anthony Bourdain

Hunkering Down

Most of the leaves are off the trees, and the view from my window is brown and gray. We are preparing to self-quarantine for the winter. Our larder and freezers are full of food prepared during our growing season. For all practical purposes we are ready to be home. The wood is stacked and the farm put away for the season.

Winter is actually a much needed quiet time on the farm, regardless of the pandemic. Val and I have stacks of books at the ready. The days are centered around food, discussion, reading, writing and cribbage. It is a simple life that suits us. There are times when the only sounds are the ticking of clocks, the wind across the lake and the crackling of the wood stove. This quiet is the counterbalance to the pandemic and the political tension all around us. With open hands, rather than fists, we will heal our tattered hearts and listen.

The following recipe makes more Indian butter sauce than you will need for one head of cauliflower, but it freezes beautifully and can be at the ready the next time you want to make it. If you want a little more bulk, steam some jasmine rice and serve it along side. It soaks up that wonderful sauce; and you might not have leftovers. You also will want all your spices measured out before you make the sauce, so you can sprinkle them in all at once. Don’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients, it comes together rather quickly; and you will find it on your regular rotation.

Steamed cauliflower sections with Indian butter sauce ready for roasting.

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH INDIAN BUTTER SAUCE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut in quarters leaving as much of the green leaves as possible
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 large or 3 small shallots, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 2 large garlic cloves, grated on Microplane or minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 28 ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes and their juices
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • Cooked jasmine rice (if using)
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
Roasted cauliflower with Indian butter sauce

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large pot over high heat, place a steamer basket, 2 cups water, and your quartered cauliflower. Cover, bring to a boil and steam for 10 minutes. Remove the cauliflower with tongs and gently let it drain on a clean kitchen towel. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Next, make you butter sauce. In a medium heavy sauce pan over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter, add the shallots and a pinch of salt; cook until golden brown, about 5-8 minutes.
  3. Stir in the garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, cumin, paprika, garam masala, and lime juice. Sauté for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the heavy cream, and tomatoes with their juices. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take off heat and using a stick blender, blend until smooth. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, and lime zest.
  5. On a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper, place your drained cauliflower quarters evenly on it. Baste each quarter generously with sauce and roast for about 25 minutes.
  6. Place cauliflower on attractive platter and sprinkle with chopped fresh cilantro.

Serves 4

Beautiful roasted cauliflower, with Indian Butter Sauce
Enjoy!!

“Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of self” —May Sarton

Sweet and Sour

There’s a reason fall is called a transitional season. The wind is howling here today with 50 mph gusts, sending our bird feeders crashing against our deck. It’s in the 30’s with periods of snow, mixing in with the falling leaves, sending everything on a Twister ride. No worries, the forecast for next Sunday is 70 degrees!

We are fortunate that our larder is full. Comfort food means different things to each of us. I love it when we turn the corner from summer vegetables to fall. I enjoy pairing vegetables with whole roasted chickens or roasting them for sheet-pan dinners. I’m a visual person, after all, we eat with our eyes, and I love to have bright colors and contrasts in food. This dish is perfect when red cabbage and apples are at Market. It combines the best of color and contrast; as it’s both sweet and sour. It comes together in under an hour and pairs well with chicken, pork or duck.

Sautéing the onions and cabbage

SWEET AND SOUR RED CABBAGE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium red cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (about 6-8 cups)
  • 3/4 cups apple cider or fresh apple juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped, plus more to garnish
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seed
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 3-4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon local honey

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large pot sauté the onions in butter until lightly browned. Add the cabbage and sauté for an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The cabbage will reduce in volume quite a bit.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients except the honey. Cover, cook on low heat for about 25-30 minutes.
  3. Add honey and adjust with more vinegar or honey if needed.

Serves 4

Colorful and delicious!

“Vegetables to me are….I don’t want to say the most exciting part of cooking, but certainly a very exciting part of cooking, because they continue to change. They come into season and they go through different phases.”

–Thomas Keller

HOME

I know this is technically a food blog, but this poem was inspired by the previous post and I wanted to share it.

HOME

I could not recognize you earlier

yet you stood by, as sentry

waiting to be noticed.

I ran past you in a blur

thinking you were there, or there.

Like a crow, diving toward all things shiny,

shallow and meaningless.

Now stationary and still

I stare for long periods of time

watching leaves falling

within hidden patterns.

My roots slowly pushing through clay soil

discovering new depths unknown

in the shadow and light.

All feelings welcome

neither good or bad, right, or wrong,

simply wanting to be held closely

within me and recognized as home.

Deep Roots

As we prepare to self-quarantine for the winter, I am wondering how many people really enjoy being home? What is the meaning of home for each of us? Is it easier to be home as we age? By the time I turned 30, I had already moved 36 times in my life. I remember never really feeling at ease or content when I was at home. The following 36 years I have moved 3 times. I have lived in a rural climate now for 14 years and I find that my sense of place has changed dramatically since I lived in the urban world.

My writing desk overlooks both marsh and lake. I face a large window that beckons I not only write, but rest in this environment. I stare at our bird feeders and the weather for long periods of time. I learn subtleties, and patterns of nature and the seasons. I find this calming; and who wouldn’t want to feel calmer during these days of upheaval?

It seems to me, when I lived in the city I was much more interested and connected to both entertainment and personal possessions. Being pleasing and accepted by people was of prime importance. It wasn’t until I began searching out periods of solitude and quiet that I began requiring those things to stay balanced. As I stay in one place, my roots grow deeper in the soil, providing a vessel for my own thoughts and perspectives. I feel held. My relationship with my wife is nurtured by this sense of place. We have our rhythms and interests that continue the story of this land. We both love the quiet, growing and cooking food along with sharing that food with others. For some, the meaning of roots is about tradition, for us the meaning of roots is about the land, food and relationships. Our relationships are based on mutual respect and love. They are reciprocal in the most fundamental of ways. We have each others backs. We can ask for help, and often it is given without request. There is laughter, discussion and heart. As Joni Mitchell once said, “All we ever wanted was to come in from the cold.”

The following recipe has some flexibility to it. I love purchasing (or growing) beets with greens. The greens are beautiful, healthy and add color and interest to this meal salad. If beet greens are not available, arugula or spinach are a good option, but use them raw rather than sautéed. I also enjoy alternative dressing ideas. The basic dressing uses extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar and garlic. Try using extra-virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar and peach or apricot jam. Beets love being pared with stone fruits; or you can use orange juice. Free you imagination to add interest and surprise. If you find yourself out of capers, chop up some olives; and chevre or goat cheese can easily substitute for feta. No pistachios? Try toasted walnuts.

Savory, hearty and delicious

ROASTED BEET SALAD WITH FETA & PISTASCHIOS

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 7 medium-large beets with greens
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped drained capers
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped roasted pistachios
Beets ready to go into oven
Vibrant beet greens

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Whisk oil, vinegar and garlic in small bowl to blend. Season dressing generously with salt and fresh ground black pepper.
  2. Cut tops off beets; reserve greens. Arrange beets in single layer in a baking dish; add 1 cup water. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until beets are tender when pierced with a knife; about 1 hour 15 minutes. Let cool until you can handle them and peel off the skins. I pick them up with paper towels and slip them off.
  3. Cut beets in half and slice thinly. Transfer to large bowl and mix with capers and 1/4 cup dressing. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Cut stems off beet greens and discard. Wash greens, then with some water still clinging to the leaves, transfer to large pot or skillet. Stir over high heat until just wilted but still bright green, about 4 minutes. Drain greens; squeeze out excess moisture. Cool; chop coarsely. Transfer to medium bowl and toss with enough dressing to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Arrange beets in center of platter. Surround with greens; sprinkle with feta and pistachios. Drizzle with any remaining dressing.

Serves 4-6

Yum.

“A tree with strong roots laughs at storms. –Malay proverb

Sounds Of Silence

As we move closer to the presidential election, I find myself feeling overwhelmed by both the pandemic and our turbulent political discourse. I traverse between a feeling of calm to a nameless agitation that grabs me the moment I leave the safety of our home. It seems that the world is becoming more and more dangerous. My heart grieves for the victims of Covid, the poisoning of our planet for profit, the inequality and injustice displayed by people in power. Our problems seem overwhelming. I often wonder what impact one person could possibly have to change the tone of the conversation, much less the world? As an individual how do I live a life that nurture others, the planet and myself? How do I stay authentic to my beliefs in a world that wants to label me?

In the small microcosm of my life, I look for signs of hope. How have I made a difference? Since I moved to the country, my greatest teachers have been nature, the seasons, and the land. If we care for the land, the land offers up the food that both feeds us and provides our livelihood. That clean, wholesome food is taken to the farmers market and sold to people that care about what they feed themselves and their families. It’s a life that is simple, focused and real. We place a seed in the ground and have faith that it will grow. I believe that we often receive what we put into the world; a sort of what goes around, comes around. When I am kind to people, it follows that people are generally kind to me. But what happens when people are unkind, disrespectful, and angry? What happens when there is drought or deluge or crop failure? When a pandemic strikes or unemployment, or changes we didn’t expect or ask for? I believe this is when our faith is really tested, when our priorities and attitudes matter.

It seems to me that faith, the belief in things unseen, is about the things in life that cause us to question, to change, to grow. I don’t believe that the challenges in life are judgements, but opportunities to understand the world and ourselves more fully. How do we cultivate our better selves when we are up against our fears and the rapid pace of change? We are all flawed human beings; there are no saints among us. How do we nurture our inter-connectedness? How do we come to realize what happens to one of us, happens to us all? My greatest challenge is to keep my heart open, to feel pain when someone is hurting, to look at the glass as half full.

As the fall prepares us for winter, may we take the time to reflect and adopt a slower pace. The land rests, and in the same sense so do I. Dormancy is a gift. I can’t assimilate life without periods of quiet. There is time for long morning coffee and deep listening. Clocks tick, fires burn and hearts beat. It is a season where less is more. This resting period is a time to replenish both our physical and emotional beings. In this quiet stillness I hear a small voice say, “Your faith is measured by the wideness of your heart.” One of my favorite poets, Stanley Kunitz said it in a different way: “Live in the layers, not on the litter.” In these layers of life, the peace I sought is found.

Although food is my passion, there are days when I’m involved in other interests or projects. This is when the simplicity of a sheet pan dinner is exactly what I turn to for a meal that is virtually hands off, yet delicious. They are basically designed around a protein and a vegetable. This one uses everything that I have either in freezer or pantry. Although I have used pumpkin as the vegetable, you could just as easily use sweet potatoes or butternut squash. Don’t forget to save your pumpkin seeds to roast, for an added treat.

A delicious sugar pumpkin, loaded with seeds.
Pumpkin wedges, ready to be tossed with olive oil and maple syrup.

DIJON-ROSEMARY CHICKEN THIGHS WITH MAPLE GLAZED PUMPKIN

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 5 large garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
  • 6 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • 5 shallots, halved lengthwise
  • 1 small sugar pie pumpkin (about 2 lbs.)
  • 2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Ready for the oven
Seasoned perfectly

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large sheet pan with aluminum foil.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, 3 tablespoons of the oil, the vinegar, garlic, and rosemary. Add the chicken, garlic and shallots and toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature while you prepare the pumpkin.
  3. Cut off the top and bottom of the pumpkin, then cut it in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Cut each half into 1-inch wedges. In another large bowl, stir together the maple syrup and the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the pumpkin and toss to combine. Place the pumpkin wedges in a single layer on one end of the prepared pan. Remove the chicken, garlic and shallots from the marinade and place on the other side of the pan. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast until the chicken is opaque (160 degrees F) throughout and the pumpkin is golden brown and soft, about 45-50 minutes. Serve right away. Sprinkle fresh rosemary leaves as a garnish.

Serves 4-6

Beautifully golden and aromatic
ENJOY!!

“Silence isn’t empty, it’s full of answers.”

Kneading Each Other

It’s the little things. Small gestures given freely. Each evening my wife Val makes sure that my coffee is programed for the next morning (she drinks tea). She understands the daily ritual that our coffee hour is our bonding time. She understands how much cream I like in that coffee, and that I only drink two cups. I know how she likes her Manhattan’s, how much vermouth to rye whiskey, with two drops of bitters.

These small things nurture our marriage. I bring this attentiveness into the world when I leave the farm. If farming is the what, then the farmers market is the why. Our relationships there add to the richness in our life. The Covid pandemic has completely changed our experience at the market. Val’s compromised immune system requires that she self isolate on the farm during this pandemic, to stay as safe as possible. When I go to the market on Wednesday’s I am in my own section on a slower day. Customers are not allowed to touch the produce or soap products that we sell. Everyone is required to wear masks. There is hand-sanitizer in multiple locations at our stall. You learn to read the eyes above the masks for clues about each other. Are those eyes playful, warm or anxious? There is an overall feeling of being AWOL from the usual fullness of our exchange. We give virtual “hugs”, which only underscores their absence; somehow elbow bumping just doesn’t do it.

Then Shalini appears at our stall. She comes bearing gifts of garam marsala, black salt, amchoor powder (dry mango) and Tamarind-Date Chutney. She gives me tips about how to make Indian greens and Channa (chickpea salad). She also brings the warmth of her smile. I consider Shalini my spiritual mentor of sorts. She loves Jesus, I’m not religious, yet her sense of humanity, compassion and grace comes through in our conversations. She leads by example. She shares that there are times in order to find common ground with others, she must keep her heart open and simply speak human to human. “We are all human after all. We are all suffering in our own ways. I’ve made a personal decision that if someone needs a hug, they will receive one from me. regardless of the situation we find ourselves in.”

I immediately stop what I am doing and walk purposefully around the stalls to where she is standing. We embrace, and I am awash in the sweet necessity of human contact. Something intangible is exchanged; the unseen, enters and we are nourished. We simply need each other as human beings. On the other side of this pandemic, I’m looking forward to breaking bread together once again.

I first made this bread recipe over 30 years ago. It floated up in my consciousness after Val and I had harvested and dried dill seed from the farm. It is a no-knead bread with terrific flavor. I used our own dehydrated onions as well, but the real treat is when you toast it. The scent of dill and onions will fill your home. Don’t spare the butter!

NO-KNEAD DILL ONION BREAD

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 cup cottage cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon dill seed
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 farm fresh egg
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of Maldon or other flake salt
Mixed dill/onion dough, ready for the oven
Dill/Onion Bread straight from the oven, coated with butter and salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Soften yeast in warm water; let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Mix cottage cheese, sugar, butter, salt and baking soda together in a large mixing bowl. I use my Kitchen-Aid mixer with paddle attachment. You can mix this at this stage with a wooden spoon or whisk. Add dill seed, dried onion, eggs and yeast mixture. Mix well.
  3. Gradually add flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, on medium speed. If you are doing this manually, you can also mix this with your hands. The dough will be sticky. It dough seems too sticky, add another tablespoon or two of flour.
  4. Cover bowl with a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm place until double in size, about 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a 2 quart round baking dish. Gently spoon dough into prepared dish. Bake in center rack in preheated oven until golden brown, about 30-35 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven; brush with butter and sprinkle with flake salt. Let bread cool 5 minutes before transferring from the baking dish to a cooling rack.

“True life is lived when tiny changes occur.” –Leo Tolstoy

Saving the Warmth

Cooler temperatures are upon us and autumn is in full swing. Boats are coming in off the lake, jeans are replacing shorts, and the farmers market is full of winter squash, peppers and mums. My seven week canning mission is officially done, yet there are still some last minute preparations to do for the cold months ahead.

One of the vendors at market last Wednesday had a section of their stall devoted to peppers, with a large display of poblanos. Their beautiful dark green color and aromatic scent invited me to stock up on them while the getting was good. I quickly bought a dozen. I enjoy roasting them on the grill, then freezing them for future use. I love putting them in stews, enchiladas, chili and my favorite: Poblano Cream Sauce. It’s wonderful over grilled chicken or flank steak, as a topping for eggs or pulled pork, even as a dip. Earlier in the summer I had made garlic scape and cilantro pesto, so I used this in replacement of the garlic and cilantro and it worked great. This sauce has a flavorful heat that tastes rich and warm. I vacuum freeze 4 peppers per bag and they are ready anytime I need a bit of warmth.

POBLANO CREAM SAUCE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 poblano peppers for each batch of sauce (I grill several at a time so I can freeze them for later use)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces sour cream (you could also use Greek yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Kosher salt to taste
Blistering poblano peppers on the grill
Steamed poblanos ready to peel

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat your gas on high for 10 minutes, until good and hot. Turn down burners to medium and place the peppers across the grill, close but not touching. I can usually get 15-20 on depending on size. Close grill and turn them ever 4 minutes, until they are wrinkled and charred on all sides.
  2. Place grilled peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 10-15 minutes to sweat. Remove the plastic wrap and peel away the skin of the peppers. Remove stem, open pepper and scrape the seeds. If you are using immediately, roughly chop 4 peppers. Leave the remaining peppers whole and place 4 peppers per bag for freezing.
  3. While the peppers are sweating, heat a small non-stick skillet over medium heat, then add olive oil, onions and garlic. Sauté for about 6-8 minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent.
  4. Transfer the onions, garlic and chopped peppers to a blender. Add the sour cream, cilantro and salt. Blend until sauce is smooth, 1-2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. This sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Yield: 1 pint

Poblano Sauce
Poblano Sauce over grilled chicken with sautéed cabbage

“Canning is not a hobby, it’s an obsession, an addiction, self expression and a way of life.”

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