Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Pumpkin Soup with Wild Mushrooms

 A nice hearty purely vegetable soup made with a mushroom stock

Ingredients- pumpkin from last season stored in the basement
 1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
1 TBS olive oil
2 cups yellow onions, sliced
1 cup leeks, white and light green parts
1 TBS garlic, minced
2 pounds fresh pumpkin, to measure 5 cups peeled and cubed
1 TBS honey
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp fresh sage, minced (or 1 tsp dried)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 quart mushroom stock- recipe follows- can use chicken stock
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup cream
salt and pepper
dry sherry -optional
garnish with fresh mushrooms and chives if you want to

pumpkin soup mise en place


Place the dried porcini mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with 1 cup warm water. Submerge them completely and let stand for 1 hour.  Remove mushrooms, strain liquid and reserve. Chop the mushrooms
In a medium saucepan heat the olive oil.
Add the onions, leeks and garlic and saute until soft and lightly brown
Add the chopped porcini and saute another 2 minutes.
Add the pumpkin, honey, sage, cloves, lemon juice, stock and the porcini-soaking liquid.
Simmer for 30 minutes or until pumpkin is soft.

add the pumpkin

Transfer to a food processor and puree, in batches.
Return the puree to the saucepan 
Add the milk and cream.
Season with salt and pepper.
Bring back just to a simmer
Add sherry just before serving if desired
Garnish with sautéed mushrooms and chives if desired

ready to serve

Mushroom stock:
This was fun to make mushroom stock from scratch.  It is full of flavor.  You don't need to have perfectly fresh mushrooms but you do need a lot of them.  This made 5 quarts of mushroom stock.  I used 1 quart for the pumpkin soup and froze 4 quarts for later:



1/4 pound unsalted butter
5-6 pounds fresh mushrooms, chopped
6 cups onions, chopped
1/4 cup garlic, chopped
1 oz dried porcini or other "wild" mushrooms, soaked, strained and chopped
3 cups carrots, chopped
3 large bay leaves
2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tsp whole black peppercorns
3 cups canned diced tomatoes in juice
3 cups dry white wine
6 quarts water

mushroom stock mise en place
In a stockpot - 12 quart stockpot if you have one  melt the butter and saute the mushrooms in small batches until they are well browned, almost crisp.  Set aside
Add a bit more butter to the stockpot and saute the onions, garlic, dried mushrooms and carrots until lightly browned
Add the herbs, peppercorns, tomatoes, wine and water and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer partially covered for 1 hour.
Strain pushing down on the solids and chill.
Store in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for 3 months.
sauté mushrooms at about a pound at a time

makes a whole lot of stock
inspired by and modified from John Ash's book "From the Earth to the Table"

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

LAVENDER, tea, jelly, syrup and ice cream

Part 2 Update:
My Seattle girls and I made a batch of lavender jelly from their garden lavender.  The color was so beautiful.  The tea was a dark purple but then when the pectin was added the color changed to this rich red.  We used raw sugar instead of white.  But I honestly don't know why the color was so different:
lavender jelly
Gabriela adding the sugar

Seattle lavender 

Let's make some jelly!
Lavender jelly is absolutely fabulous over smoked cheese or any cheese that is strong.  It's mild flavor balances out the intense flavor of the cheese.  Try this combination next time instead of figs and goat cheese:
lavender jelly and syrup

Pick the absolute best lavender buds you can find.  Fresh is best but dried will do too

Steep in water for tea
For lavender tea:
Bring to a boil 6 cups of water.  Turn off the heat and add 2 cups of fresh lavender flowers (buds) and let steep for 15 minutes or longer.  
Strain.  Now you've got lavender tea.

Lavender Jelly


3 1/4 cups lavender tea
4 cups white sugar- must have white sugar for a clear jelly
1 box of powdered fruit pectin
2 Tbs white wine vinegar or lemon juice


Measure the lavender tea into a sauce pan.  
Bring to a boil and mix in pectin and vinegar (lemon juice)
Cook 1 minute at a rolling boil.
Add in the sugar, whisking to melt.
Bring to a boil again, whisking and continue for 2 minutes.
Let settle 5 minutes and skim off any foam on top.
Ready to jar for refrigerator or can.

If canning, process for 15 minutes ( plus 10 for Denver)

Lavender syrup

measure the remaining lavender tea
Add an equal measurement of sugar and bring to a boil in a saucepan. 
Your syrup is ready

ideas for syrup:
add to lemonade instead of sugar
use to sweeten tea
make ice cubes to use later

Kate and Ella
See if you can find some really sweet girls to help you make and enjoy a lavender day!

Lavender ice cream

follow this post http://messyroomstudio.blogspot.com/2011/07/garden-harvest-red-white-and-lavender.html
 from 6 years ago.  It's one of my favorites.

this week's harvest

Friday, August 11, 2017

Ricotta and lemon thyme and lavender tart, recipe for ricotta cheese

I made this tart two weeks ago when I had ricotta cheese left over from making a batch of goat milk cheddar.  Well I still have ricotta and thought I'd try a different version.  This recipe is inspired by and modified from John Ash's cookbook "From the Earth to the Table".  This time I lined the crust with a paste of roasted tomatoes.  The crust itself is a slightly sweet cornbread based pastry made with cup 4 cup flour so it's also Gluten Free.  Give it a try with or without gluten.  Try the tart filling with any herbs you like:

crust ingredients

crust mise en place
Ingredients for cornmeal crust:

butter, 1/2 cup softened
sugar, 2 TBS
cornmeal, 1 cup
eggs, 2- at room temperature
salt, 1 tsp
all purpose flour, 1 1/2 cups - I use Cup 4 Cup whenever possible for a gluten-free choice


In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and sugar and beat until smooth
Add cornmeal, eggs, and salt
Beat until well combined
Add flour and mix until dough forms a ball.  The mixture should be soft and moist
Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour

Preheat oven to 350 deg. 
Butter a 9" tart pan with a removable bottom
On a floured work surface roll out the dough to fit the pan.  Transfer to the tart pan.
Press the dough into then pan, trimming any excess
Prick the dough with the tines of a fork
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until just lightly browned.

Any leftover dough can be rolled out and cut into biscuits

happens to the best of us

just pretend it's play dough

Meanwhile gather the ingredients for your filling.  I had fresh tomatoes ( Pineapple and Cherokee Purple) from the garden.....lemon thyme, a pinch of coconut thyme blossoms, and lavender buds.  The ricotta was from the last batch of cheddar cheese.

Ricotta Cheese:
Ricotta is usually made from the whey from a hard cheese process.  Assuming you don't have a lactating goat and you don't have any fresh whey on hand let's make the best of it.


whole milk, 1 gallon, NOT ultra pasteurized
cream, 1 cup, not ultra pasteurized 
apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup
salt - sea or kosher - no iodine- 1-2 tsp
honey - optional - for sweet cheese


Instant read thermometer


Bring milk and cream to 190 deg
Add vinegar and continue to stir 
Turn off heat
You will see the curds (solids) begin to separate from the whey (liquid) 
Line the strainer with the cheesecloth and place over a vessel large enough to collect all the whey
Lift cheese with cloth and hang to let remaining whey drip out. If you want it dryer give it a squeeze while it's still in the cheesecloth
After about an hour transfer the curds to a bowl and salt to taste

Will keep about a week in the fridge or you can freeze
I don't know how much this will produce.  When I use 2 gallons of goat milk I get about a pound or 3 cups.

Now we're ready to make the filling:   This will take a while because you need to reduce the sauce and cool it before adding the eggs.  I take a nap while the sauce is cooling.  Or you can use an ice water bain Marie to speed up the process- or both

Recipe for filling:


Butter, unsalted, 1 TBS
Shallots, 4 TBS minced  ( can use scallions - white and green parts)
Heavy cream, 2/3 cup
Wine, white, dry,  1/2 cup
Sea Salt, 1/2 tsp
Pepper, freshly ground, 1/4 tsp
Ricotta cheese, fresh, 3/4 lb
Eggs, 3
Herbs, fresh 1 1/2 TBS, I used lemon thyme, lavender and a pinch of the flowers from coconut thyme


In a medium sauté pan melt butter and add shallots until soft but not brown
Add cream, wine, salt and pepper
Bring to a simmer and reduce to half

The kitchen will smell marvelous!!!!


In the food processor add ricotta, eggs and herbs.
Add room temp or cooler reduction sauce and beat until smooth
Pour into crust with or without roasted tomato paste lining
Bake at 350 deg for 35-40 minutes or until filling is set and lightly brown.

Serve warm or at room temperature.
tart filling ingredients
tart filling mise in place

Roasted tomatoes:
These have wonderful flavor
Cut fresh tomatoes in half and place face down on baking sheet
Roast at 375 deg until brown (at least an hour).  This is what mine looked like after an hour:
roasted tomatoes
Remove the skins and smooth or rough chop in a small blender.
Use the browned bits too
Use a pastry brush and slightly cover the cooled crust
fresh chopped herbs

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

We be jammin - Peach

We don't know what to call ourselves yet:
Ninja goat wranglers?
the kitchen bee?
Girl power in the kitchen?
Our group got together yesterday to make peach jam.  The peaches from the Palisades are in perfection and we wanted to make jam.
LuLu had to stay home but she really tried to convince her to take me with her to Caramel Apple Farm by balancing on the edge of her food bowl

peach jam and canned peaches
We started with 36 pounds of peaches, 18 pounds of sugar, a dozen lemons, 3 boxes of pectin and  lots of pint size jars
mise en place


3 pounds of peaches
3 cups of sugar
1 lemon
1 packet of liquid fruit pectin


Peel peaches by dropping them in boiling water 1 minute and then into ice water  to release the skins
Chop up into the size you want in your jam
Place in pot and add sugar.
Mix to mingle
Bring to boil and cook for 15-20 minutes
Add the zest and juice of one lemon
Add one packet of liquid fruit pectin
Cook on close to boil another 5 minutes
Fill jars leaving 1/4" headspace.
Place lids and rims and process in water bath for 15 minutes ( an extra 10 minutes in Colorado)
refrigerate and eat fresh without processing

I got to be queen


First we gathered for lunch - yummy tacos
Autumn and Beka

Then we had yummy brownies to give us energy to can ( or put up with the queen)
Liz and brownies

The girls made tags for the jars

peach art

fruit pectin

real stuff

Then we got to work
Kate, Kaitlin, Denise, Autumn, my subjects for the day

We blanched, peeled, chopped, stirred, eyeballed, boiled and let cool:

Cory was planning on coming but that old job got in the way.  Next time Cory.  We missed you
Its always so good to spend a day with my granddaughters.  Only Kate could come this time.  Next time Ella.

What do you think? Ninja goat wranglers?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Zucchini filled with Feta and roasted tomatoes, with roasted corn vinaigrette

stuffed zucchini over salad with roasted corn vinaigrette
mise en place



2 large zucchini
1 small eggplant, sliced into 1/2" thick rounds
7 Tbs olive oil
1 cup tomatoes
salt and freshly ground pepper
onions, 1 cup minced
garlic, 2 tsp minced
red pepper, 1/2 cup chopped
serrano chile, 1/2 tsp seeded and minced ( or a pinch of red pepper flakes)
parsley, 1/4 cup chopped
mint, 2 Tbs chopped
feta or goat cheese, 1 cup crumbled
pine nuts, 1/4 cup toasted


Preheat oven to 400 deg
Halve the zucchini lengthwise and carefully scoop out the flesh, leaving 1/4 inch thick shell.  Chop and reserve the flesh:

zucchini boats

Lightly brush both sides of the eggplant rounds with 3 Tbs of the olive oil.  In a bowl, lightly toss the tomatoes with 1 Tbs of the olive oil.  Place the tomatoes and eggplant slices in a single layer on a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, and roast for 10 minutes or  until the eggplant is lightly browned and softened.  Roughly chop both tomatoes and eggplant and set aside:
tomatoes and eggplant ready to roast

In a sauté pan heat the remaining 3 Tbs. of olive oil  Add the onions, garlic, and pepper and sauce until soft but not brown.  Add the reserved zucchini flesh and cook 1 minute, stirring.  Combine the eggplant mixture.  Stir in the serrano chili, parsley, mint, feta and pine nuts.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
all stuffing ingredients ready to board the boats

Divide the filling among the zucchini boats, mounding it slightly.  Place in an oiled ovenproof baking dish.  Broil the filled zucchini until the filling is bubbling and lightly browned, approximately 5 minutes:
stuffed but uncooked
To serve arrange  greens on a plate.  Spoon the roasted corn vinaigrette over the greens and around the plate and place filled zucchini on top. 

I made this dish after work one evening but it made for a late dinner.  Allow a little time for this.  It's worth it.
Grab a glass of wine and enjoy!

This recipe is taken from From the Earth to the Table, by John Ash

Monday, August 7, 2017

Corn Part III Corn Salsa

This is a great summer salsa with a small amount of sweetness.  Inspired by and modified from Marisa McClellan's Food in Jars book...a great book about preserving in small batches and year round.

Remember I said I bought 24 ears of corn (8 ears for $1-crazy)?  Sixteen ears went to the stock and 8 into this recipe.  I did grill the corn along with 2 poblano chili peppers

8 ears of fresh corn, shucked with silks removed
5 cups chopped tomatoes - about 3 pounds
1 cup poblano peppers ( usually 2)
1 cup chopped red onion  91 small)
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1/4 cups bottled lime juice (bottled is better for canning- if you make this for quick use or the fridge fresh lime juice is better)
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin ( the fresher the better with cumin)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp coriander seed


Grill or roast the corn and poblano peppers
When the corn is cool enough cut the kernels from the cobs
Peel, seed and chop the poblano chilis
Combine the corn kernels, tomatoes, peppers, onion, vinegar, lime juice, sugar, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt and coriander in a large pot and bring to a boil.
Reduce and simmer for 10 minutes until the liquid has reduced.
Taste and adjust spices.

Ladle the hot salsa into the prepared pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace
Wipe the rims, apply sterilized lids and rings*
Process in boiling water for 15 minutes **

This will produce 5-6 pint jars of salsa.  If you are canning and have some salsa but not enough for the jar to be full enough pop this in the fridge if it makes it that far.
You also might want to make a whole batch and only can 2 pints and keep the rest to use fresh.

*sterilize lids and rings by placing them in a small saucepan cover them with water and bring to a boil for 10 minutes.  Jars should be used straight from the dishwasher or boiled in a deep pot for 10 minutes
**Processing time is 15 minutes at sea level (well I wish I were at sea level but not just for processing time) add 5 minutes to altitudes from 1000-3000 ft- add 10 minutes to altitudes 3001-6000 ft.

tomatoes from the garden

No don't put any zinnias in but they look like they belong

salsa ingredients

Ingredients before the heat is turned on.

Happy Fiesta!!!