Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Loving those Sundried Tomato's....I still love My Gardner Guy more!!!

What do you do with tons and tons of favorite way of preserving them is drying them. (See drying tips below or at the end of this post(web address)...)

Did you know...?
Sun drying is an old Mediterranean tradition that has recently become very popular because of the dried tomatoes intense flavor. Many of the sun dried tomatoes on the market today are actually oven dried in California. Tomatoes are reduced to a leathery pouch and then left or packed in olive oil. They are available for sale year round. I like to dry my own, you can find loads of information that will tell you how to sun dry tomatoes, oven dry tomatoes or even use a dehydrator.
Sun dried tomatoes are easily revitalized; 3 ounces of dried tomatoes will plump up to 2 cups if placed in boiling water for 2 minutes. Diced sun dried tomatoes add lots of piz-zazz to soups, stews, casseroles, pizzas, dips and salad dressings. Added to tomato dishes or topped on a baked potato with sour cream and sun dried tomatoes gives you that extra burst of flavor.

Here are few of my favorite sundried tomato recipes...have fun!!



6 large chicken breasts
1 to 2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
8 oz. goat cheese, softened to room temperature

Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

2 T. butter
1 T. finely chopped garlic
1 T. finely chopped yellow onion
1/2 C. dry white wine
1/4 C. freshly squeezed lemon juice
10 T. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 C. finely sliced sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 C. chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. white pepper

Prepare the Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce: Place butter, garlic, and onion in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté until garlic and onion are tender and transparent. Add white wine and lemon juice. Increase heat to medium-high and simmer to reduce by half. Reduce heat to low. Add cold butter one piece at a time. Add sun-dried tomatoes, basil, salt, and pepper and stir to blend ingredients. Set aside.

Prepare the Chicken: Brush chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill chicken 15 - 20 minutes or until cooked through. Divide goat cheese evenly between chicken breasts, placing some on each breast for the last two minutes of cooking. Place cooked chicken on serving platter and spoon Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce over chicken.



1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Dried Tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dried whole basil)


Basil sprig and dried tomato slice (optional garnishes)
pita toast triangles

Position knife blade in food processor bowl. Combine ingredients for the spread in processor bowl and pulse several times or until smoothly blended. Spoon mixture into a cheese crock or small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Let come to room temperature before serving. Garnish, if desired. Serve with pita toast triangles.

Makes 2 cups

Sun Dried Tomato Butter Recipe

1 lb Butter(softened)(unsalted)
4 oz. Sundried Tomatoes (chopped)
1 oz. Fresh Basil (chopped)
1 tsp. Lemon Juice (fresh squeezed)
1 tsp. Red wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients and mold into desired shape, refrigerate.

Sun-dried Tomato-Pesto Burgers


1 pound ground sirloin
1 pound ground chuck
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3-oz. of sun-dried tomato's
1 garlic clove, pressed
Hamburger Buns

Toppings: pesto, sliced goat cheese, and sliced pepperoncini salad peppers


1. Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat. Combine first 4 ingredients gently. Stir chopped sun-dried tomatoes and garlic into meat mixture. Shape mixture into 6 (5-inch) patties.
2. Grill, covered with grill lid, 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until beef is no longer pink in center. Serve on Hamburger Buns. Top each burger with pesto, sliced goat cheese, and sliced pepperoncini salad peppers.

I found this site useful for Tomato drying tips...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Grandma cans everything....its pretty funny what kids think!!!

Yes, I am willing to try many canning's funny what my grandcritters think about the whole thing. This is what happens to critters who get into My Gardner Guys Garden!!!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tasty....Black Bean and Corn Salsa....this is a keeper just like My Gardner Guy!!!

A while back while on a trip to New York I came across Black Bean and Corn salsa....I loved it. I have since looked for one I have liked and have not found that one with the wonderful thick sweet tomato flavor. So when I came upon this recipe I knew this was close to what I was looking for. After finishing the product with a few changes I don't think I could of done any better...Great tasty, black beans we grew last year...home cooked tomato sauce, peppers, onions, corn, things we are already growing in the garden!!!

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

4 cups tomatoes, peeled, chopped and drained
1 1/2 cups onions, chopped
1 cup jalapeno pepper, chopped (I use a mixture of peppers grown in the garden)
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 T. Epazote seasoning (If you cannot fine this spice you can use oregano)
1 T. dried Cilantro
1 t. red chili flakes
1 T. Kosher salt
1/3 cup vinegar
1 (15 ounce) tomato sauce
1/2 of a (15 ounce) dried black beans, sorted, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed, then weighed
1 -2 cups frozen corn or fresh (this is up to you the amount)

The night before, sort and soak your dried black beans in enough water to cover them. Leave in a cool place. The next day drain beans in a colander and put back into a pot adding 4 cups of water and cook for 30 minutes on a simmer. Do not boil as it will cause the beans to split.

To continue prepare 8 pint jars, lids and rings by sterilizing.

Once your beans have cooked the 30 minutes, add 15 ounces of the black beans without cooking liquid. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for an additional 10 minutes until the mixture is boiling. Remove from heat and ladle mixture into the hot jars leaving 1" headspace. The extra headspace is for the expansion and beans absorbing some of the liquid. Put on lids and rings and place into a pressure canner.

Process in canner for 75 minutes at 10 pounds for the pints, 90 minutes if you choose to use quarts.

You will find this recipe to be very versatile and you can add more heated peppers for a spicier flavor, or assorted peppers, more dry spices like cumin to add a smoky flavor, or additional vegetables such as green peppers to add more bulk to the chip. I used a tomato sauce that I cooked down thicker and sweeter flavor, rather than a store bought version that usually has a salty or lemon taste.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tomatillo's I use them for Salsa Verde, Enchilada sauce...but today Green Salsa!!!

Tomatillo Salsa

Makes 6 half-pint jars

3 pounds tomatillos, chopped (weight after husking and washing)
1-1/2 cup chopped onion
5 serrano chiles, minced (not seeded or deveined, unless you want a milder salsa)
1 medium fresno or red jalapeño, minced (not seeded or deveined)
I use a mixture of peppers I have in the garden....
6 cloves garlic, minced
1T ground cumin
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup lime juice

Prepare a boiling-water canner: Fill it half full of water and heat to a simmer. Keep canning jars and lids warm in simmering water.

Combine all salsa ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Pass the simmered salsa through a food mill fitted with the largest disc. Return the milled salsa to pan and bring back to a simmer. Adjust salt and seasoning as needed.

Ladle hot salsa into clean, hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace; remove air bubbles and wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar; apply bands.

Place the filled jars in the canner, and bring to a rolling boil. Process at a full boil, uncovered, for 15 minutes. At the end of processing time, turn off heat and raise the canning rack to the upper level and let jars sit above the water for ~5 minutes to gradually stop boiling. Remove jars to a cooling rack, and leave undisturbed until thoroughly cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

I love Salsa Verde....I use it in my meat for taco's....I love the taste and now stay away from all the other taco seasonings. The following is a stronger tasting salsa verde recipe I use just for cooking.

Green Chile Salsa Verde

18 poblano and Hatch chiles (I use a mixture of what I grow in the garden for
Salsa) about 4 cups
10 cups/4 lbs coarsely chopped, husked tomatillos with juice
2 cups coursely chopped onions
1 1/2 cups fresh lime juice (12 limes)
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup water
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons salt


1. Place the chiles on a hot grill and roast, turning throughout, to blister the skins, about 15 minutes.
2. Discard the membranes and seeds from the chiles. Chop the chiles coursely and combine with the tomatillos in a heavy nonreactive saucepan.
3. Bring the mixture to a simmer and add the onions, lime juice, cilantro, water, and garlic. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, allow to cook down, reducing the extra liquid and become thicker....
4. Add salt. Stir well.
5. Ladle into hot, clean jars. Cap and seal.
6. Process in a boiling water bath canner for 30 minutes.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What to do with all the Cantaloupe!!! Marmalade and Ice Cream...My Gardner Guy likes it!!!

Cantaloupe Marmalade

2 cantaloupes
2 oranges, ground
1 lemon, ground
1 20 oz can crushed pineapple
4 cups sugar

Chop the cantaloupe, and gently crush it with a potato masher. Add remaining ingredients and cook until thick and smooth. Fill hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace and process in a water bath for 10 minutes.

High altitude instructions
1,001 - 3,000 feet : increase processing time by 5 minutes
3,001 - 6,000 feet : increase processing time by 10 minutes
6,001 - 8,000 feet : increase processing time by 15 minutes
8,001 - 10,000 feet : increase processing time by 20 minutes

Ben & Jerry’s Cantaloupe Ice Cream

1 large Cantaloupe, very ripe
1 Lemon, juice of
Ben & Jerry’s Sweet Cream Base*
Cut the cantaloupe in half and clean out the seeds. Scoop the fruit into a mixing bowl, add the lemon juice, and mash until the fruit is purred. Drain the juice into another bowl and reserve. Cover the melon puree and refrigerate. Prepare the sweet cream base and whisk in the fruit juice. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturer’s instructions. After the ice cream stiffens, about 2 minutes before it is done, add the cantaloupe. if more juice has accumulated, do not pour it in because it will water down the ice cream. Continue freezing until the ice cream is ready. Makes 1 generous quart.

*Sweet cream Base:
2 Large Eggs
3/4 Cup Sugar
2 Cup Heavy or whipping cream
1 Cup Milk

Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, then continue to whisk until completely blended, about 1 minute more. Pour in the cream and milk and whisk to blend.
Makes 1 quart

Fruit spreads 101

There are six types of fruit spreads:

1.Jellies are made from fruit juice. Though it adopts the primary fruit’s color, jellies are usually translucent and of a firm consistency. Instead of J-E-L-L-O, think J-E-L-L-Y, with actual fruit nutrients.
2.Jams are made from squished and squashed fruit, resulting in a lumpy, less firm substance than that of jellies. Apparently jam-makers’ moms never chastised their children for playing with their food.
3.Butters are made from a combination of heavy fruit sauces and seasonings. Choose your flavors carefully, there’s a reason pumpkin spice butter gained notoriety over plum garlic butter.
4.Conserves are made from a hodgepodge of different fruits. So yes, a concrete representation of the term tutti frutti (Italian, for all fruit) does exist.
5.Preserves are made from fruit and syrup, like a food pilgrimage down a syrupy waterway across your pancake.
6.Marmalades are made from small pieces of citrus fruits. Imagine if chunks of fruit were time-travelers suspended in a jelly space-time continuum, that’s a mind-bending marmalade.


French Macaron's....they look to good to eat...

A love affair with a French Macaron...    Just the sight of these brightly colored, beautiful light treats is enough to make your mo...