Sunday, October 6, 2013

From the Farm Part 2: Jalapeños

Well, it's time for Part 2 of "From the Farm!" 

     Along with about 2 dozen apples and a dozen pears, we also became home to a little over a dozen jalapeños. While some of you wonderful readers may LOVE eating jalapeños all of the time, I couldn't quite imagine enough foods to eat jalapeños in before they went bad. 
     After a bit of research and formulation of ideas, I came up with a plan to at least preserve the jalapeños until it was time to make Fall/Winter chili. I will tell you about that first, but keep reading until the end, because there is also a quick and easy dip recipe at the end! 

You Will Need: (for preserving) 
* about 12 jalapeños
*1-2 teaspoons olive oil
*salt and pepper to taste

NOW- HERE IS YOUR WARNING!!!! When you work with jalapeños, I would highly advise wearing latex gloves (or any gloves for that matter). The minute you touch a lot of jalapeños with bare hands, your hands may react, but even worse will be when you accidentally touch your eyes or lick your fingers. WEAR GLOVES. 

     OK, now that that's over with, here we go. Begin by seeding your all of your jalapeños except for 1. Keep that one to the side until later. 

     Place the seeded and de-stemmed jalapeños in a pot of boiling water for about 10-15 minutes. It's crazy how even the steam from the boiling water caused some coughing effects! 
     The red peppers are jalapeños as well. That's what a mature and fully ripened jalapeño looks like! Now, from here I took all of the jalapeños and put them in my food processor. To that you'll want to add the olive oil, a tablespoon of the water the peppers were boiled in, and your salt and pepper for seasoning. 
     From here, I pulsed the food processor until I had a pretty decent puree. I didn't go too far, because the little flecks of red interspersed with the green looked lovely. 
     The puree was then transferred for my genius idea!! Wait for it..... ICE CUBE TRAY. Over the summer I read several magazines that had fun ideas of things to freeze in ice cube trays. Now, this comes with another warning. My suggestion would be to designate this tray for fun freezing adventures post jalapeños. Unless spicy water is something you're into... I am personally not EVER making regular ice cubs with this one again. 
    Voila! I have portioned amounts of jalapeño puree that can be pulled from the freezer and dropped into a crock pot of chili during the cold months! 

    Now comes the recipe you read to the end for! I cannot take credit for this recipe, but I can send a BIG thank you to my wonderful friend Becky for letting me watch while she made it! 

*2 blocks feta cheese
*3 seeded jalapeños (leave the seeds if you really like heat) 
*1-2 tablespoons olive oil

     The beauty in this dip is how easy it is. Plus who doesn't like spicy AND cheesy?!?! Dump all of the ingredients into a food processor and let it go until you have a creamy, pureed, slightly neon green dip. I swear I want to hug Becky an extra 3 times when she walks through the door with this dip. It works great with pita, or tortilla chips, or just your fingers. 
     Well, that's it for today's "From the Farm" edition. It's a wonderful Sunday night, there are Turkey burgers grilling, and I'm gearing up for another week with my classroom of goofballs. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, as I did, and relaxed! As always, if you attempt one of my adventures please let me know how it goes! Or feel free to ask questions! 


Saturday, October 5, 2013

From the Farm Part 1: Apples and Pears!

     This is the beginning of what I've decided to call my "From the Farm" series. You see friends, the Kentucky Farm Fairy came to visit a week or two ago. You may ask, who or what is the Kentucky Farm Fairy?? Well, he looks an awful lot like my father in law.
     My father in law has a great farm in Kentucky, complete with two hilarious dogs, and a barn with a pottery room! (side note: the pottery room makes me wish Kentucky was a whole lot closer...) Recently, when he came to visit, there was an abundance of produce in tow. 
     My kitchen table was covered in such a variety of produce and it sent my creative juices in a tizzy! You'll see a lovely bowl in the picture that was handmade and now belongs to us! We're going to start off the series with the two dozen apples and dozen pears you see above. There was no way to eat them fast enough, so I ran through all of my options in my head. A lovely idea popped up and I ran with it. 
     Applesauce. I'd never tried it before, and I had this funny idea. I'm not crazy about really sweet applesauce, or adding lots of sugar into many things. After tasting a pear (and briefly going to heaven) I had the clever idea of using pears in my applesauce as a sweetener. So, let's great straight to work.

You Will Need:
*18-20 peeled, cored, and sliced apples
*4-5 pears
*1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
*1/2 teaspoon ginger
*1/2 cup water

(As an additional note, if I'd had Pumpkin Spices, I absolutely would have used those!!! However, for some reason it's difficult to find a shelf that HAS pumpkin spices in September...)

     Begin by getting your apples ready. I would highly suggest you invest in one of these phenomenal gadgets. Or, invest in a friend who happens to have one as well....thanks Sarah! 
     It's the quickest, easiest way to get your apples ready. It's super exciting to use, (Perhaps you're reading into this and realizing I'm easily amused...) and the apples come out looking like silly curls! 
     Back to the recipe...Once you have gotten all of the apples ready, dump them in the crock pot. Yup. That's right. My crock pot is at it again. Seriously, it rarely gets put away! 
     You'll see that I cut my pears up into the crock pot as well. From here it's a few simple steps and you're done. Add in your 1/2 cup of water and spices. 
     Now, turn your crock pot on high and walk away from it for about 3-4 hours. When you come back the apples will be SO SOFT. All it took was a few minutes with a potato masher. I happened to want my apple sauce a little smoother, so I whisked it a bit as well. 
     From here, all you have to do is put it in jars. Do it quickly- because if you don't, it will get eaten up before you can even put it away. Also, if you weren't sure, you can freeze some of your applesauce as well. That way you have the exciting choice of eating more after you think it's all gone! Seriously, I must have eaten a whole cup of it warm, it was so delicious!! 
     I think from here on out, I will only be eating home made applesauce. It was the best applesauce I've EVER tasted. In all seriousness though, if I'd known it was this easy to make applesauce in a crock pot I'd have been making it all the time. 
     AND, if for some reason you have an apple or two left over....try this! Take those same spirally apples, stick 'em in a pan, sprinkle some cinnamon on, and bake for about 20 minutes at 350. De-lish

Momma insisted you see this view as well. So there are her fingers!

     Well folks, this is the end of Part 1 of "From the Farm." You can look forward to: Hungarian Frying Peppers, Jalapeños, and Beets! Stay happy and enjoy the fall, friends!