Saturday, August 25, 2012

Tomato Sauce in Pictures

I've posted my basic recipe before
But, here a more visual look at today's San Marzanos from Mariquita.

K was home briefly and showed off her onion cutting technique. Sunglasses to help keep her eyes from watering.

Oolong supervised K's work with the thyme, oregano and basil.

K was delivered back to her dad's and I picked up the tomatoes. Lots and lots of tomatoes.

The cats performing a quality control check.

Checking all of the boxes, cans and all.

More cats

Blanching to remove the skins and any cat fur.

Two big pots boiling away pre-juice straining.

Juice strained, herbs, onions and garlic added.

7 pints of juice

21 pints of sauce

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Masumoto Peach Jam

Again this year, my canning buddy Lisa was able to participate in a Masumoto Tree Share. What does that mean?
From their website:
Your tree will be waiting for you - and you will be kept abreast of how your peaches and/or nectarines are doing.
Like most natural arrivals, delivery date (harvest) cannot be predetermined nor scheduled. In the past Elberta and LeGrand harvest delivery dates have ranged from the last Saturday in July to the second Saturday in August. This is very much like giving birth naturally (we don't schedule Cesarean peaches or nectarines on our farm)!
You and your team will come to the Masumoto farm and hand harvest your own peaches and nectarines.
For two consecutive Saturdays your team will come to the farm, select and pick ripe, over ripe and ripening fruit from your tree. Then the peaches and/or nectarines are your babies to enjoy, care for, and use however you desire. This is a real farm, so we can only estimate EACH tree will produce between 350-450 pounds of luscious peaches and/or nectarines.
We suggest you adopt a tree with others - extended family, neighbors, friends or coworkers. A group or an organization can adopt a tree and send a small work crew to come harvest! We will provide ladders and picking boxes - you'll need to provide the personal touch.

I arrived at Lisa's house to the sight of many flats of peaches. Some were for us, while many more were for members of her share group. Although Lisa wanted to can peaches in syrup, as well as jam, my focus was jam. For such perfect peaches, a very simple jam.

Peach Jam
24 cups sliced peaches (not peeled, approximately 12 pounds of fruit)
6 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice
1/2 Tablespoon butter (optional)

Halve and pit the peaches. Combine peaches and sugar in a large bowl and let sit for several hours or refrigerate overnight. 
Transfer the peaches and sugar to a large, non-reactive sauce pan. We used two as it helps the jam to cook faster. Add the lemon juice and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. If the jam is foamy, add butter. After the peaches soften slightly, mash with a potato masher to help speed the process along. Continue simmering, until the jam mounds on a very cold plate, about 45 minutes to an hour.

Ladle into half-pint jars and process for 10 minutes in a hot water bath.
Makes 14 half-pint jars.

More on Sprouts from K

K with Ooolng. Oolong, it turns out, likes to carry eggplants around.

To finish up her week at Sprouts, some more from K:

"On Thursday we got to go to the market and buy lots of yummy produce. My group bought white nectarines because they tasted the best. We tasted a whole bunch. Then we went to Dolores Park and made a bunch of things on bread (note: bruschetta). I put honey and nectarines on bread and nutella and strawberries on other bread. Some people made hummus, some black bean paste and tomatoes on bread. My favorite was the honey and nectarines.

After we went to Namu. They make Korean food there. We learned how to sharpen knives. You use the dressing stone to dress the knife stone. The knife stone has to be wet. Then you rub the knife on the stone at an angle. It does not work on ceramic knives. Then we cut vegetables and made tempura. I made potato, green beans, mushrooms, onions and some sort of leafy vegetable. We dipped them in batter and oil. They were really good. I liked the potatoes the best.

Then we went to a Gelato store. I tried cannoli. It was really good and had pistachios and chocolate chips.

On Friday we first made stuffed vegetables. We made two kinds of sauce: a yogurt sauce and pesto. Then we stuffed the vegetables with grains, herbs vegetables and cheese. I did a zucchini and used mainly cheese.

Then we went back to the Ferry Building for a cook-off kind of like the tv show Chopped. There were 5 groups and we each had to make something special that was gluten-free and vegan (except for one team). I was in "Best Fruit Dessert Team 1." We made a crumble with coconut and cocoa nibs and lots of berries. We used plums, strawberries and blueberries.  One group made a granita with lemon lime Ice cubes. Another made a breadless salmon sandwich, they also did an eggplant one. One made spring rolls. The last group made a zucchini boat with quinoa. Our group won "Best Pairing with Two Ingredients"

The last thing we did was a visit to Tcho chocolate factory. We go to go on a tour and see how they make the chocolate. After, we got to taste it."

Some things I learned were:
  1. How they make chocolate. It starts out as a fruit. And there is actually vanilla in a lot of chocolate!
  2. How to sharpen a knife: the higher angle at which you put the knife on the stone, the more pointed it gets. Western and Eastern knives are different. You sharpen Eastern only on one side, Western on both.
  3.  How to make tempura--with regular flour and rice flour to make it crispy.
  4. How to scoop out vegetables for stuffing it: it is best to use a spoon.
  5. Pesto is more of a skill than a recipe. You don't have to be exact for how much you put in.

It was my favorite camp of the summer."

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

K on Sprouts: Half-Way Through the Week

If you read my last post, you know that K is attending Sprouts Cooking Camp this week. I asked her to chime in with a few words on camp so far.

So, K, what do you think so far?  "It is awesome."
Why?: "Because I get to have a camp where all we have to do is cooking. Though we also clean things up afterwards."
What kind of cooking?: "All kinds. We go to different restaurants and cook."
Like where?: ""Flour & Water and Cafe des Amis. And we do cooking at the Ferry Building where the farmers market is."
What have been your favorite things to make so far?: "The croque monsieur and the cookies: homemade oreos, animals crackers, goldfish, graham crackers and Ritz from the Tartine baker."
Anything else? "It is really fun and I want to do two weeks next year."

Tell me three things you have learned:
1 How to make lasagna, including the noodles with eggs and flour.
2 How to make a bear claw to protect your hand when chopping.
3 How to cut an onion: Put on sunglasses, you peel a little bit, don't cut off the root and cut off the other end. You slice in. All the layers come apart.
She wanted to add one more.
4 You can make things like animal crackers at home and they taste better. I knew that about graham crackers.

More info available daily on the Sprouts blog.