Monthly Archives: August 2013

Golden Gazpacho Shooters

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Every summer there comes a time when I have “almost” too many tomatoes growing in my garden.  Don’t get me wrong, I will eat fresh picked tomatoes with breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It’s just that by mid summer they seem to ripen all at once.  I have limited freezer space at our home so that’s when I share the bounty with family and friends.  I could not imagine a single summer without home grown tomatoes in my garden.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHeirloom tomatoes and nasturtiums

A few of my tomato plants.  I plant them in sturdy metal tomato cages to keep them growing upright and from falling over.  I also trim the leaves at the base of the tomato plants so all the energy in the plants gets redirected from growing leaves to tomato production.  Did you notice that I cram my plants in a really small space?  No patch of precious real estate ever gets wasted in my garden.  What you see here are early girls, lemon boys and my all time favorite, pineapple tomatoes.  I also planted nasturtiums at the base of the tomato plants.  The nasturtium flowers are edible and have a wonderful peppery flavor.  The bright colored petals are great for garnish or in salads.

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Whenever I head out the side yard to my little garden, my buddy Gromit is sure to follow.  He’s such a comical creature.  While out, he goes on what I call “cat patrol”.  First, he runs straight to the front gate to make sure that there are no uninvited guests in the area and then he follows the perimeter of the fence to ensure that the yard is cat free.  He thinks he’s such a tough guy.  It must be that spike collar of his…  I feel sorry for any unsuspecting cat that happens to be in our yard when he flies out the back door.

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A bucket full of fresh picked garden goodies.  The lemon cucumbers, yellow peppers and tomatoes will be going into my Golden Gazpacho soup.  The remaining heirloom tomatoes and peppers will be oven roasted and tossed in the freezer to be used at a later date when the tomatoes and peppers are no longer in season.  If you happen to have a bunch of heirloom tomatoes that are yellow or orange in color, be sure to set some aside to make some golden gazpacho.  If you love tomatoes and never had gazpacho before, you are in for a real treat.  Gazpacho is an easy to prepare chilled tomato soup that is Spanish in origin.  It’s wonderfully light, refreshing and delicious.  It’s like sunshine in a shot glass!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds vine ripened yellow or orange tomatoes (peeled and seeded)
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 2- 3 lemon cucumbers
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (or to taste)
  • big pinch of cumin (or to taste)
  • Garnish with tomatoes and basil

Rinse and remove skin and seeds from the tomatoes.  Cut into quarters.  Peel and chop the onion.  Slice lengthwise and remove the stem and all the seeds from the yellow pepper.  Wash, lightly peel and quarter the lemon cucumbers.  Peel garlic clove.  Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender.  Blend until smooth.  Chill well before serving.  Pour into bowls or into shot glasses for elegant mini appetizers.  Garnish with cherry tomatoes and/or basil.  Makes about 6 cups gazpacho.

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Oregon Elk Stew

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOregon Elk Stew

A few months ago I was invited to do a guest post for one of the best food bloggers that I know.  His name is Raymund and his blog is named Ang Sarap.  He’s a Filipino food blogger who is passionate about food.  What I love about Ang Sarap is that you never know what Raymund is going to dish up.  One day, it may be a traditional Filipino recipe and the next day he might serve up a platter of spicy Buffalo wings.  His food photography, versatility, and ability to cook is simply amazing!

The dish I chose to share with Raymund at Ang Sarap is my Oregon Elk Stew.  Elk meat is very low fat and high in protein.  It’s similar in flavor to beef and tastes milder than venison.  My Oregon Elk Stew is prepared with bright orange carrots, onions, celery, and zucchini and then slow cooked on the stove top with red wine and fresh picked herbs from my garden.  It’s best served with a scoop of mashed potatoes on the side and with a slice of your favorite crusty bread. 

Many thanks to Raymund for allowing me to be do a guest post on his site!  Those who have not met Raymund, please stop by, say hello, and most of all, subscribe to Ang Sarap.  You’ll be glad that you did!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  •  1 ½ pounds elk stew meat (beef may be substituted)
  •  2 large carrots (chopped)
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 2 stalks celery (chopped)
  • 1 zucchini (chopped)
  • ½ quart beef stock or as needed
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 Tbs fresh thyme
  • 1 Tbs fresh oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  •  2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 – 2 Tbs flour
  • 1 – 2 Tbs canola oil
  • Dash of Kitchen Bouquet (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Begin by cutting the elk meat into uniform sized cubes.  In a medium sized bowl, coat the elk meat with flour, salt and pepper.  Place a thick bottomed pot with a tight fitting lid (I used a Dutch oven) on the stove and heat to medium high heat.  Add canola oil and the elk meat.  Brown the elk on all sides, be careful not to burn.  Add beef stock and red wine to the pot and use a spoon to deglaze the bottom of the pan.  Add onion, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and oregano.  Turn heat down to low and cover.  Cook for an hour and a half or until the meat is fork tender.  Add carrots and celery and cook covered for an additional 30 minutes. If needed, thicken stew with a flour and water mixture. About 15 minutes before serving add zucchini.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Add a dash of Kitchen Bouquet for a richer colored stew (optional). Remove bay leaf and serve with mashed potatoes.  Makes 4 servings.

U-pick Apricots at D & L Acres and an Apricot Smoothie

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Apricot Smoothie

I must be on a roll… I can’t believe that I just enjoyed two consecutive days off.  On my first day off, I did pretty much nothing.  Two afternoon naps, dinner out at one of our favorite restaurants and then I went to bed early and slept for another twelve hours.  I never sleep that much.  8 hours max.  There was no doubt, I really needed the sleep.

Today I woke up cheery and refreshed.  I felt like my normal self again.  What was even better is that today was U-Pick apricot day at D & L Acres.   D & L Acres is one of the only U-Pick apricot orchards here in Southern Oregon.  D & L is open for business from mid July to early August and I have to tell you, their apricots are absolutely fantastic!  I was so excited as I grabbed my camera, my bucket, and headed out to the orchard.  I knew that I was in for a real treat!

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A view of the front orchard.  This orchard has been picked through…  In the back orchard, that was another story.

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In the back orchard, the trees were totally loaded with apricots.  So loaded, that some of the branches were broken on the trees because of the heavy fruit.  This year was a good year.  Tons of bright orange apricots, sweet and juicy!

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These apricots were so ripe that if you just touched them, they would fall off the tree.  I knew that once I got these apricots home, they would not last long.  I had to process them immediately.

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A bucketful of fresh picked apricots.

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And a handful of apricots!  Orange color with a pink blush.  These are called Tilton apricots.  They are perfect for canning, freezing or drying.  They also have a heart like shape similar to a peach.  They’re also great blended up in a smoothie.

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As soon as I got home, I whipped out my new blender.  I knew exactly what I was going to do with them.  Sweet creamy smoothies for Bruce and I.  Oh, and I have to tell you that they sure were delicious!

Thank you Janie and Brian for the apricots!  If you are looking for apricots in the Southern Oregon area, be sure to look up D & L Acres.  D & L Acres is located at 5225 Fern Valley Road in Medford, Oregon.  Call for apricot availability before heading out.  The apricot season is short, and in my opinion, the apricots at D & L acres are awesome.  Their phone number is (541) 535 – 2901.  Be sure to tell them that I sent you!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 3 – 4 large pitted apricots
  • 3/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 1 tsp honey or sugar
  • 1 or 2 ice cubes

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth.  Serve immediately.  Makes one serving.

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