It’s been quiet here in the land of blogging, but busy, busy, busy here in our house. My summer moments have been so fully packed with both boys at home and I’m equally reveling in this time with Levi before Kindergarten starts and counting down the days! We’ve been creative in the kitchen lately and I thought I’d invite you to take a peek at what we’ve been making and eating.
We have kale and baby tomatoes coming in at this time. Just enough to harvest and eat little by little. Our hens have seemingly gone on strike recently, but on this day I was lucky enough to get two eggs out of the ladies to make into a healthy little scramble with the veggies.
They are literally falling off the tree right now and we are in a bit of a hurry to make everything we can with peaches…in smoothies, on top of yogurt and oatmeal, in cobblers. But the boys’ favorite way to enjoy them is straight from the tree for breakfast. Best to let all that juice drip down their pajamas and THEN get dressed.
Today, while Calvin napped, Levi and I made our first batch of Peach Jam. We only ended up canning 3 jars because I ran out of sugar, but that was about all I had time for anyways, so it worked out fine. We followed a simple recipe that a friend recommended. Of course I added less sugar than it called for (6 cups to 10 cups of sliced peaches seemed like a lot to me) and I augmented the spice and added a healthy splash of vanilla. Levi added some artwork to the labels as you can see!
We made our first batch of Elderberry-Echinacea Syrup with our wild harvested elderberries. There is a place in Napa where we can go to pick these tiny little powerhouse berries. This is the first time I added echinacea and spices to the mixture. It tastes amazingly rich and a bit spicy from the ginger and is heavily concentrated, so I just put a tablespoon into a small amount of water for the boys to drink. Surprisingly, there were no complaints! Let’s hope it kicks their immune systems into high gear before the start of school season.
One of the most special things about living in Northern California is our access to fresh, local, organic food. With so many people in our community growing fruits and vegetables in their own backyards, the word “local” is optimized here. Just today, I traded a woman in my mom’s group (whom I only know thus far through our Facebook page) some of our peaches for some of her cucumbers, since ours did not grow well this year. And these kind of crop swaps happen all the time! This week we are trading wine for raw goat’s milk. And at every playdate someone is bringing over extras from their garden to share. It’s such a blessing, especially since not everyone harvests the same thing or has the same success each year.
The last recipe I will leave you with is one I came up with on my own for Asian plum sauce. I had about 10 very ripe plums left over from a swap and I wanted to find a way to save them from the compost pile. So, I cut and pitted them, threw them in a sauce pan with some garlic, ginger, tamari sauce and red pepper flakes. I cooked it down so that it formed a thick sauce and then blended it. DIVINE!!! Tomorrow I plan on serving it on top of baby eggplants and green beans as a side dish for dinner. Can not wait!
Now I just need to find a recipe for those large pattypan squash…hmm. Any thoughts? Hope you are all enjoying time in your gardens and kitchens during this summer season.