Monday, September 5, 2011

Grilled Summer Squash - Easy

Kid Rating:  Not their favorite.
Do Again:  Yes, for me.

I've made this twice within the past few days because, well, I have a lot of these growing in my garden.  And, it's so quick and simple.

Summer squash
salt (I used Kosher)
parmsan cheese (from block)

Slice squash to desired thickness.
Spread a thin coat of butter on both sides.
Grill on medium direct.  Turn every 2 minutes until desired texture is reached.

Sprinkle with salt.
Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.
I only thought of the cheese after putting in on the
raviolis.  Bonus discovery!  Yum!
The cheese really makes the dish splendid.  I was pleasantly surprised how much I liked it.  I guess the kids will have to grow into it.  For now, it's a nice lunch while the kids are in school.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Tomato Soup with Basil

Kid Rating:  3 out of 3 like it
Do Again: Yes

My initial tomato soup post was mostly an experiment.  Here is a clearer recipe, although I still have a few kinks to work out.  The end result is delicious.

I'm excited about this because the tomatoes and basil are from my garden.  (I never really liked tomatoes until I had some from a garden).  They smelled wonderful and were yummy as I nibbled on a few pieces during preparation.  I even thought I may not add sugar because they are so sweet.

I'm also excited because I used my pressure canner for the first time.  I canned my own tomato soup!  Maybe it sounds silly to be happy about that, but there is something satisfying about learning these new skills.  I'm thankful to friends and neighbors who let me tag along to watch, help, and learn during their own canning sessions.

You came here for a recipe, didn't you?

15 tomatoes, various sizes (makes about 7 1/2 cups pureed and strained)
1 medium onion
2-3 cloves of garlic, pressed (or a few dashes of garlic powder)
Basil leaves (I used about 21 fresh) --  dried is good, 3T+
2T sugar
1T butter
1T flour
1t Kosher salt
Special equipment:  food processor, although it's not required. You could use a blender in smaller batches or mash the tomatoes with a potato masher in the pot while they are cooking.

1.  Chop tomatoes, remove stems and blemishes
At this point, you have a variation of procedures.  I put the tomatoes with seeds and skins in a food processor then strained them later after they cooked a bit.  Some people remove the seeds and skins first.  Here is a method for that on this link:   Someday, I'd like to just leave the seeds and skin for the extra fiber.  My family seems to prefer the smoother texture for now.

2.  Puree in a processor if available.  Add the onion and garlic to one of the batches.

3.  Put pureed tomatoes/onion/garlic in pot and heat to boiling, lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Starts off foamy.
Turns a nice red.
4.  Strain if desired.  I have a sieve that allows the pulp to go through but keeps most of the seeds back.  I do it in batches.  Return soup to pot.  (No picture).

5.  Ladle some soup into a smaller bowl/cup.  Add the 1 T of flour to it and stir until smooth.  Return it to the pot.
Adding flour to a small amount of soup.
Add more flour for thicker soup.
6.  Chop basil leaves (layer, roll, and slice).  Add sugar, butter, and salt.  Reheat.

My first pressure-canning experience!  It seems silly
to have only 3 pints for that huge canner, but I was
so proud, like a toddler taking her first steps.
(13 psi, 15 min.)
Family Review:
11 y.o. - Likes it.
10 y.o. - Likes the flavor and aftertaste and would eat it slowly (she has an aversion to smooth textures like soups, pudding, and yogurt).
6 y.o. - Loved it.  He started helping himself to the leftovers in the container.  I asked if he'd like a bowl.  "Yes!"
Hubby - He'll have to wait until we open one of the jars because our 6 y.o. ate his portion, too.  -I'm sure he'd like it  ;)
Me - Loved it, too.

Next time:  Maybe I'd scoop out the seeds before pureeing, then I wouldn't have to strain and could keep the skin pulp.

Question:  Why are the seeds removed anyway?  I Googled the question and only came across that it's a personal preference.  I've read comments that people think they are bitter when bitten into while eating tomato soup. I don't remember ever chewing my tomato soup.  You?  I have chewed chunky salsa, though, with chips, etc. Aren't seeds left in there?  Texture is probably the biggest deciding factor.