Montag, 26. August 2013

Lemon pickled leek and mild peppers

Just a short one: If you like something sweet and sour with an intense flowery taste, this may be something for you: Pickled leek and peppers - a nice side dish. I could eat lots of those easily so there is only a little left. Besides: Don't eat the lemon slices - they are just for flavor.

Preparation:
1 bigger leek, cleaned, white parts cut into equal pieces, just a few centimeters long
3 green mild turkish peppers (some sort of pointed long peppers called peperone or peperoni but not the awful hot stuff), stem part cut off, seeds removed and cut into equal pieces (green bell pepper can be used too, but needs more frying time)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lemon, 1 half cut into slender slices, the other for lemon juice
1 tablespoon currants
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1 1/2 teaspoon brown  sugar
1 tablespoon dark honey
water
salt to taste


Fry vegetables in olive oil until slightly coloured, add the sugar and caramelize a bit, add lemon juice and a sip of water, 1 pinch salt, currants, cover with a lid and let simmer until the vegetables are still a little bit chewy but not that crunchy firm anymore. Reduce the liquid by heating up until only a little is left.
Add honey, pine nuts and the lemon slices to the still hot vegetables and liquid, toss and let the pickles sit in the fridge overnight.

The currants add a certain surprising peppery sweetness, so yes, there has to be currants or there is something lacking (for me). They soak up the liquid, some kind of sirupe, nicely and are very tasty.



Samstag, 24. August 2013

Peach-Caramel-Jam

This year my peach tree did his best which is scarce because we don't live in a warm and sunny climate - rainy, windy and chilly for sure but think climate change....  july was exceptionally hot, good for my peach tree. American scientist decided due to their newest climate model that we will have to face an very early and long and very cold winter (first deep freezing in november and a second deep freezing period in february 2014; we bought a lot of wood already) but hot and dry summers. So this is where we are: Some kind of ice age Siberia still lacking the mammoth... but the wolves have returned is'nt it amazing.. I must confess, I am no good with hot summers because I am used to much more chilly temperatures. It is way easier to put on another jacket or a jumper than melting away without AC. Hot summerdays are nice while visiting a beach but not so nice at the office. There were days I worked at my limit and I fainted a few times, anyhow:


That is how the jam looks like

I planted a vineyard peach tree 8 years ago and wether there will be peaches or none still depends on the weather in early spring. This year's early spring was so cold and freezing the peach tree started to blossom very late and during blossoming time and later on there was no more (deep) freezing weather outside so most of the small fruits survived. During July it was so hot, humid and sunny the peaches developed very quickly. Now we had lots and lots of peaches and the tree did bend down under the heavy load. Each morning I picked a basket full of peaches and took them to my work place so my collegues could dig in. I even shipped some to my mother.
But now the end is near and today I picked the latest. Some peaches (about 2 kg) are still looking good and flawless but some (~1.5 kg) had insect bite marks all over. Wasps truely do love to eat soft-ripe and juicy peaches. They always start to gnaw holes into the peaches and other insects will follow in an instant. I decided to make good use of the damaged goods and prepared some jam. Therefore I just cut away the ugly patches after removing some ladybirds still having their peach or whatever dinner inside.

Jam

For the peach jam you don't need much ingredients:
200 g brown sugar
400 g preserving sugar
1/2 lemon
1.2 kg peaches
1 teaspoon  orange-blossom-water (or a few drops bitter-almond oil)

First I made the caramel
I heated up the light raw sugar in a heavy pan and let the sugar melt while stirring until the color turned to a deep dark brown and it started to smell buttery and toasted.
I added 1.2 kg peaches (peeled, pitted, cut into smaller chunks and tossed with the juice of 1/2 lemon)
and stirred until the caramel became liquid again. I simmered the base for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes I put in the blender and let the blender run for a few seconds to make the jam base smooth with only a few peach chunks left. Afterwards I added the preserving sugar (ratio 1:2) and stirred for about 4 minutes - jam still under a bubbling boil. There was only a little foam to be removed and the orange-blossom-water to be added before I filled and sealed 4 jars.

Donnerstag, 1. August 2013

Heatwave

We are facing a heat wave at the moment. I don't remember any summer as hot as this since the soccer world cup in 2006. In 2006 I had to suffer in an office near a public soccer viewing arena and I remember well how I was glued to my chair, drenched in sweat and reminding on some kind of Zombie. Now it is just the same but not as noisy...
I did not cook much interesting dishes these days. Today it was just cold soba as Sissi showed in with a glass (I used broad Thai rice noodles instead) some deep fried tofu bags stuffed with sushi rice, pickled mixed vegetables and breaded cutlets for my boys. The son came a few days ago and will stay until september so I have a reason to cook (he still likes to eat tons as in his teenager days) anyhow I don't want to cook something during the heat, but I did, I did.... I for myself just don't want to have anything else than salad and water melons. So no really interesting posts or recipes for now.
I am scared of my office. Tomorrow there will be 35 degree Celsius outside - inside much more... The only good thing is there are lots of summer squashs to be harvested and the peach tree is doing his best since ages. And the cherry tomatoes. Lots of cherry tomatoes in my garden.