This past Sunday, I spent a very chilly 40 minutes at the Schenectady Greenmarket, filling up my (reusable) bag with the last of the summer fruits and vegetables.   I had yesterday off work, and I planned to spend the entire day (if possible) in the kitchen.  My idea of a vacation.

Here’s the rundown:

Seckel (sugar) Pears
Seckel (sugar) Pears

Seckel pears.  Beautiful, tiny, and reportedly “as sweet as a candy bar” (that’s what the guy told me!).  I’ll do a report as soon as a few of them ripen enough to eat.

Winter squash – acorn and butternut.  I know I’m probably the only person who didn’t know this, but winter squash are so named NOT because they are only available in winter, but because the skins are sturdy enough to allow them to hold through winter.  According to my friend (and Cornell Cooperative Extension Director) Chris Logue, if you keep your squash in a cool, dark place like your basement (as long as the temps don’t go below freezing), you can likely keep squash from now until January.  Nice.  Since I don’t have a basement, he suggested a cooler in my garage.

Freshly dug baking potatoes.  They went into last night’s Pot Roast.   Recipe for that soon.  I didn’t take photos last night, but I make it often enough that I should be able to put up a recipe with pix pretty soon.  I think I have finally perfected that pot roast.

cortlandA fresh-baked Morning Glory muffin from Our Daily Bread.  It was pure heaven – filled with carrots, raisins, apples, and coconut.  I jumped on my BlackBerry and found a recipe, bought a quart of Cortland apples at Buhrmaster Farms, and bought the rest of the ingredients on my trip to the grocery store later that day.  Here’s the recipe I found, with a few of my modifications – it makes DELICIOUS muffins, that are really filling and really good for you:

Whole Grain Morning Glory Muffins

  • 1 1/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed natural brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1  Cortland  apple, cored, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dried flaked sweetened coconut, divided

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; break up any brown sugar lumps with your fingers or a wooden spoon.

In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, oil and vanilla, then add to flour mixture and stir just until combined. Add apples, raisins, carrots, walnuts and 1/4 cup of the coconut and stir gently until well combined.

Spoon batter into 12 paper-lined muffin tins, filling each about 2/3 full. Top evenly with remaining 4 teaspoons coconut and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until cooked through.

Tomato Sauce
Tomato Sauce

About 5 pounds of tomatoes – the LAST of the tomatoes.    I was feeling pretty ambitious, and bought a ton (for me, anyway).  A friend mentioned a few weeks ago that she wanted to learn how to can.  Feeling inspired by that goal, but not quite ready to start canning myself, I thought I’d take the first step, and at least learn how to make homemade sauce that would be suitable for some eventual canning.  I found a very loose recipe for sauce online, and threw some great sauce together in about 2 hours.  It sounds ridiculous, I know – I mean, who doesn’t know how to make their own sauce?  Well, me.  I have not one drop of Italian blood, so sauce-making does not come hard-wired into my DNA.  But, I think I managed to create a respectable sauce.  Here’s what I did:

  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • a whole mess of tomatoes, peeled but NOT seeded, then quartered
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp dried Italian herbs
  • Salt and pepper

Briefly sweat the onion and garlic in the olive oil.  Dump the tomatoes in, and let cook over medium-low heat until they break down.  Add in tomato paste and herbs, let cook for another hour or so, breaking up tomato chunks as it cooks.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  That’s it!  Makes enough to serve at one meal, and freeze some for later.

Many delicious items from one trip to the market!  Can’t wait to see what’s cooking next week.

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