Monday, August 22, 2011
Sunday is garden feast day
I know Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest but it’s especially hard for me to do that during gardening season. I don’t feel a big Sunday obligation to weed and harvest (that was yesterday; more about that in tomorrow’s post) but I so love to cook that it’s hard for me to stay out of the kitchen, especially when my husband presents me with freshly dug carrots, a beautiful head of cabbage and apples to go with the tomatoes I picked the day before.
I began the day with the apples. I wanted to make chutney to can but still had a few apples left. Those I turned into applesauce, one of the easiest things you can make. Simply chop the apples, almost cover them with water, bring to a boil then turn down to simmer until they are soft. Keep an eye on them in case you need to add more water. When they are soft, I mash them then season with sugar and cinnamon. This simple method yields a chunky applesauce that you know is homemade and if you begin with flavorful apples, it will be much more satisfying than jarred apples sauce from the store. If you prefer it to be smoother, put it into your blender or food processor to finish.
With apple chutney and applesauce complete, I turned to the chicken I purchased from Marksbury Farm Market. Jim and I both took a gardening break on Saturday to watch Lidia’s Italy on public television and saw an easy and appealing preparation for Chicken Catanzaro-Style. I went to work on the stuffing while Jim removed the necessary bones. I do want to point out that when we watched her prepare it, Lidia appeared to use more herbs than the recipe called for. In addition, she used wine for cooking liquid after she had browned the chicken on both sides.
Another of our favorite Saturday cooking shows is America’s Test Kitchen. I had a recipe from them for Roasted Smashed Potatoes so I started on them while Jim made cabbage wedges wrapped in bacon. Next, I began the Maple Roasted Carrots (recipe below). While those three items roasted in the oven and the chicken continued to cook on the stove, I prepared bread, tomatoes and cheese for Baked Caprese Salad.
I love arranging the food on a platter when I have so many pieces to play with! I saved the beautifully green carrot tops for a vegetable bed. (They taste like carrots so make a nice addition to a meal.) With everything on the table I decided I should also put out the Concord grapes I bought at the farmer’s market to round out our meal.
When Jim walked in and saw all the food, he wanted to know who else was coming to dinner. Although I love to have friends and family here, this week it was just the two of us enjoying the Sunday garden feast—an apt reward for the sweat we put into growing most of the food on the table.
Maple Roasted Carrots
(With apologies for my vague instructions—it’s how I often cook!)
Chop off carrot tops. Remove skin. Cut into whatever shape and size you prefer. I made our carrots into sticks about ¾” wide.
Put into pan with nearly ½” water (don’t cover them completely). Cover pan with foil and roast 15 minutes at 450 degrees. Check carrots for doneness. When they are nearly as soft as you want them, drain any remaining water, drizzle with olive oil and maple syrup. Toss. The carrots should be coated but not swimming in the oil and syrup. Sprinkle with salt. Return to oven 10 – 15 minutes until you can easily pierce them with a fork. Serve on a bed of carrot tops.