Monday, September 26, 2011

An award from a fellow blogger

Recently I received an award from fellow blogger and Chicagoan ChgoJohn over at, a wonderful blog that chronicles the recipes and memories of an Italian family. Through John, I have come to appreciate the tradition of ice cream in his family, the sights, sounds and smells of family gatherings that while about the family, have a rich culinary tradition.

According to "Versy" tradition, I have to give thanks and a link back to the person who gave me this award. Thanks one more time John!

Next I am supposed to divulge seven (7) obscure facts about me.
1) I am the ninth of ten children. I still can hear my late mother calling out all the names until she got to the right one. I also hear her say "David Philip!" when I misbehave.
2) I was a bit of an athlete. I played American football until I realized I was too small and too slow, but I did like to run into people.
3) Continuing in that vein, I particpated in the 1992 Division III 3 Meter Springboard Championship (I came in 32nd as a college freshman)
4) I completed an 3 mile open water swim in less than 90 minutes within the last 5 years.
5) I smoked for more than 20 years. Glad I quit, but there are times....nah... not worth it.
6) I hate mint flavor. It's the only flavor I don't like.
7) I was born with a severely club left foot. Corrective surgery at 6 months old obviously turned out great, but I have one foot that is about 1.5" shorter than the other. Makes buying shoes an adventure. (Not really I just fit the bigger foot)

Here is here where I am supposed to nominate 15 other bloggers. I don't think I can do that as I don't really follow that many. I also need to check and see if they have already received  this award.

In no particular order: - Mark has a wonderful blog with oustanding pictures of his meticulous garden.  If you haven't been there - check him out! - Ohiofarmgirl is doing a great job and inspires me. She has cast off the corporate shackles and embraced the good life. Keep my spot warm, I'm headed ypur way when I get it worked out. - Cowgirl is another hero. Her down home skills are deceptive, she makes the subtle look simple. Once you've checked out her blog, you may go build a smoker. I know  I did! - Annie's Granny - friendly, supportive and a prodigious gardener. I don't know where she gets the energy - she can garden circles around me.

Please go visit them and tell'em I sent you!

Until next time, Eat Well & Keep Digging!

The Gastronomic Gardener
Garden blog
Cooking blog
Twitter - @gastrogardener
email: thegastronomicgardener at gmail dot com

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Jalapeno Hot Sauce - or What to do with a Pound of Ripe Jalapenos

Yesterday I picked about 75 ripe jalapeno and cherry bomb peppers. There is no way I'm going to be able to use all those peppers fresh, and since I use hot sauce very regularly, I decided to make my own.

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 – 1.5 lbs (about 60-70) fresh ripe jalapeno peppers, sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup minced onion
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 cups water
2 cups distilled white vinegar

Prepare 1/2 pint canning jars per manufacturer's instructions.

Slice the peppers - wear gloves if desired.

In a non-reactive sauce pan over high heat, combine oil, peppers, garlic, onion and salt; saute for 5 minutes. Add the water and cook for 20 minutes, stirring often. You may wish to do this outdoors! Whew!

Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool to room temperature.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth.

Strain liquid through a sieve into a clean saucepan, discarding solids. It's a pretty color!

Whisk in vinegar.

Return to a boil. Turn off heat.

Ladle hot sauce into a sterilized jars and adjust two piece lids. Process in hot water bath 15 minutes.

Since these are 8oz jars, when ready to use, I'll decant into a squeeze bottle to keep in the fridge.

Alternatively, skip the hot water bath and store in refrigerator up to 4 months.

This will heat things up!

Until next time, Eat Well & Keep Digging!

The Gastronomic Gardener
Garden blog
Cooking blog
Twitter - @gastrogardener
email: thegastronomicgardener at gmail dot com

Monday, September 12, 2011

Meatless Monday - Quick Tomato Sauce and Pappardelle

Recently I put up a few pints of Marinara sauce, and in the past I’ve made rich dark “gravy” thick with meat that sat burbling  for hours on a cold winter day.  I love the rich dark silky sauce and I will never tire of it.  

However, this is the time of being flush with tomatoes. With more than I can eat on salads,  have time to can, or find any victims to take them off my hands.

As opposed to the patient and sophisticated deep bass notes of a long simmered sauce, this sauce is brassy, loud and fresh as nineteen-year-old sailor on his first shore leave after three months at sea. 

Add a handful of pungent basil fresh from the garden, a sprig of oregano and a couple cloves of garlic roughly chopped and you have the makings of a quickly prepared, brightly flavored weeknight meal.
No careful measuring here, this is cooking by the seat of your pants, Pinot Noir in a coffee cup, roll up your sleeves, put Sinatra on the music player. Add a salad and enjoy! 


1lb ripe tomatoes cored and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic crushed then chopped
1 ripe jalapeno minced (optional)
Pinch crushed red pepper (optional)
1 handful fresh basil leaves – about a dozen - shredded or chiffonade
1 sprig fresh oregano
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Big pinch salt
¼ cup gated parmesan divided
½ cup + of cooking water
Salt and pepper to taste
½ lb dried long pasta – I prefer Tagliatelle or Pappardelle


Prepare  pasta according to directions
While water comes to a boil and pasta cooks…

In a large saucepan over medium high heat, add the olive oil and heat until shimmering

Add the chopped tomatoes, (jalapeno and red pepper) and toss to coat with oil,  add big pinch of salt

Cook, stirring often until tomatoes soften – about 3-5 minutes

Add garlic, basil and oregano, stir and turn heat down to medium

Continue cooking and stirring often until sauce starts to thicken, reduce heat to medium low

When pasta is just about cooked remove from cooking water and add to tomato mixture. Add ½ + cup of cooking water (add more or less according to how much liquid you want)  and combine, tossng until pasta is done.

Test for seasoning, adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Put sauced pasta in a bowl, top with parmesan, enjoy!

Until next time, Eat Well & Keep Digging!

The Gastronomic Gardener
Garden blog
Cooking blog
Twitter - @gastrogardener
email: thegastronomicgardener at gmail dot com

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pickled Jalapenos

The Jalapenos have mostly ripened all at once. I can't use them all fresh and I do love pickled Jalapenos, so that's what I did, canning three pints. These should be nice bright spicy accents in a few weeks.
I tend to eat them right out of the jar, but they are good additions to other dishes as well.

Pickling peppers is easy - use equal amounts of vinegar and water, add a bit of salt, some pepper corns, bay leaf, sugar.

Makes 3 pints

2 lbs of jalapenos, sliced about 1/3" thick
3 cups water
3 cups white vinegar
1 tablespoon pickling salt
1.5 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
3 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves

Prepare jars according to manufacturers instructions.

Combine all ingredients except peppers in a big pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.

Pack pepper slices into hot jars leaving 1/4" head space.

Ladle pickling liquid over peppers leaving 1/4" head space, wipe rims, adjust 2 piece caps and process 10 minutes in hot water canner.

After canning, allow flavors to develop a few weeks before using.

Until next time, Eat Well & Keep Digging!

The Gastronomic Gardener
Garden blog
Cooking blog
Twitter - @gastrogardener
email: thegastronomicgardener at gmail dot com
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