October 24, 2014
Setting out to profile something as big as the Mahonia genus in a single blog post is pretty much impossible. But, by focusing on its virtues rather than bemoaning its various prickly traits, we can probably convince you to fall in love with this often despised plant.
Oh, and yes, there is at least one Mahonia that won’t poke you, but we’ll get to that a little later…
To begin, a bit about the genus’ greatness: (more…)
October 17, 2014
Before the last of your basil goes kaput under autumn’s chill and waning light, harvest the last of your crop to make a preservable batch of our favorite dairy-free basil rosemary pesto.
This rich, herbal paste is simple to whip up — and a little goes a long way to add flavor to roasted chicken or vegetables like cauliflower and tomatoes. If you love traditional basil-only pesto, try this one for the added depth of flavor — almost a smoky richness — that the rosemary imparts. It’s rich and creamy – no cheese required!Dairy-free Basil Rosemary Pesto Print
Makes about 2, 1 cup servings
3 cups packed, washed fresh basil leaves, stems removed
2 T. washed rosemary leaves, stems removed
3 large garlic cloves, peeled & ends trimmed
1 cup toasted pine nuts, cooled to room temperature (warm nuts may turn basil — and your pesto — black, so let’m cool!)
1/2-3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
few grinds fresh pepper
Add garlic, rosemary, basil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cooled pine nuts to food processor. Pulse until everything is finely chopped. More chopping = a finer, creamier pesto
With processor running, add oil in a steady stream, stopping processor & scraping down sides as needed. Add only enough oil to create your preferred consistency — less oil for a thicker paste, more oil for a runnier sauce. Taste occasionally before adding more oil, which can dilute the herbal-garlicky flavor.
Add a few grinds of fresh, black pepper. Stir. Adjust salt to taste.
Your tasty pesto is ready to use immediately in recipes like the rich, delicious vegan pasta dish shown here. Believe it or not, that’s a completely grain-free pasta noodle. You know you want it….
Want the recipe? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll work on sharing it with you soon. Or, try our tips for storing your pesto to use later. (more…)
October 10, 2014
It’s beyond easy to preserve cherry tomatoes. In fact, these may be the easiest edibles we put by to enjoy in wintery meals. No excuses for not doing this one!
These little bites of summer are the first tomatoes to begin ripening in early summer and the last to stop bearing fruit in fall the Pacific Northwest. And, when a generous variety — like these sugary-sweet Sungold — starts bearing, it’s easy to find yourself harvesting a pint or more from one plant each day from July until frost. So, even if you’re cutting tomatoes into every dish you make in late summer and early autumn, odds are you’re still finding your counters overrun with a glut of tomatoes.
When slicers are juicy and ripe, the cherries just don’t seem as exciting anymore, so we preserve them right off the vine every day from about August through, well, October (this year). That might sound like a lot of work, but it requires just a few moments to complete these simple steps: (more…)
October 03, 2014
During a recent camping trip, I saw my first Asian Longhorn Beetle. Or at least I thought I did.
We had driven through Idaho’s Clearwater National Forest on Highway 12, and along the way we passed stand after stand of dying conifers, swaths of past forest fires, and miles of smolder floating over the river and through otherwise green forest.
The cycle of beetle-then-burn is well known among forest lovers. The beetles infest and damage the trees, leaving stands of tinder-ready snags ripe for ignition in the heat of summer when lightening strikes or irresponsible humans introduce burning materials. Or, it goes the other way ’round: fire happens, followed by insects. It’s a vicious cycle, and one beetle that gets much of media spotlight for decimating trees: the Non-native Asian Longhorn Beetle. (more…)
September 26, 2014
The year has just passed into autumn, which means fall garden color is bound to be on your mind. As I watch the rain hammer down for the first time in months, I can’t miss the yellow, red and orange overtaking erstwhile green foliage. These dominate the autumn palette. But, even pastels have a place in the fall garden. And, they don’t need to make your garden look like you’re ready to host an Easter egg hunt instead of a harvest party. These tones blend beautifully with the burnt and fiery hues taking main-stage as trees and shrubs get ready for their long, bare-branched winter’s nap.
Consider these reliable pinks for your fall garden color:(more…)
September 19, 2014
Every year I preserve tomatoes into frozen chunks, dehydrated pucks, and ready-to-serve marinara. This year I tried my hand at making tomato water, which can be used in cocktails or as a salty tomato essence seasoning for many other dishes. Everything I read about making tomato water included the direction to “dispose of strained pulp,” which sounded like a big waste to me. So, I decided to see if the pulp would dehydrate into another preserved tomato food I’ve always wanted to try: tomato powder.
Every recipe I’ve read for making tomato powder suggest pulverizing dehydrated tomatoes, but I found it’s easy to whip up both tomato water and a tasty tomato seasoning salt out a single four pound harvest of tasty red orbs. Nothing wasted!
Here’s how: (more…)