Sneaky Tomato Balsamic Sauce

WIN_20150815_162216“Mom! Mmmooommm! I don’t LIKE ____” (Insert offending vegetable here)

If you have had your fill of this tiresome conversation, try Sneaky Tomato Balsamic Sauce. The small people in your life will – completely unknowingly – devour tomatoes, onions, zucchini, and yams while enjoying spaghetti, pizza, or whatever else you work this mild, sweet sauce into. Try it warm with French bread for dipping, or as a healthy accompaniment with soft pretzels. Sneaky Tomato Balsamic Sauce is versatile… use your imagination, and have fun!

Ingredients (Makes 6 pints)

20 cups chopped tomatoes

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

1 1/2 cups chopped zucchini

1 cup chopped yam

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup dried oregano

2 tablespoons salt

Balsamic vinegar (2 tablespoons per pint)

WIN_20150815_155155Directions

Step 1) Combine tomatoes, onion, zucchini, and yam in a large pot. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, then reduce to simmer. Simmer uncovered, stirring frequently, until the volume of the mixture reduces by half.

Step 2) Stir in brown sugar, oregano, and salt.

Step 3) Place 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (at least 5% acidity… read the label!) in each of six sterilized, pint size jars. Fill jars with tomato mixture, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

Step 4) Run a knife or canning tool along the inside of each jar to eliminate air bubbles. Place lids and bands on each jar, and process in a boiling water bath for 40 minutes. Be sure to review safe canning guidelines!

Back by Popular Demand! How to Make Your Own Granola Bars

How to Save a Million Dollars a Year

How to Make Your Own Granola Bars!

Granola Bars

OK, making my own granola bars did not save me a million dollars last year.  It may have only been half a million dollars.  Or maybe just enough for an occasional, guilt free (mostly) massage at a fabulous spa.  But more to the point, store bought granola bars are expensive.  They don’t seem that way, as you’re pushing your cart down the cereal isle… $3 or so seems harmless enough, right?  The problem is, many of those $3 boxes only contain 5 bars.  Even that might seem reasonable if everyone was happy with one bar.  I, however, have been blessed with boys.  Growing boys.  Have you seen growing boys raid a kitchen after school?  It’s an awe inspiring, slightly terrifying sight to behold.

My darling boys could obliterate a whole shelf of granola bars in only the time it would take them to tear through all of that wasteful packaging.  If I continued buying granola bars from the supermarket, I was going to need to supplement my income by renting out my boys for farm labor.  They didn’t seem too keen on the idea, so Option B required me to create an easy, low cost granola bar that would pass muster with the kids.  Three different versions became fast favorites.  I hope you enjoy them!  Don’t forget to post your comments below!

No-Bake Granola Bars, Part I:  Apple Cinnamon
I make a lot of jellies and jams (recipes coming soon!).  Occasionally, a batch of jelly or jam won’t turn out quite right – it’s either overcooked so that it’s too thick to spread, or undercooked so that it resembles syrup.  Because I’m too frugal to just throw them away, my “jars of mistakes” have been taking up shelf space, waiting to be put to good use.  Well, it’s Good Use Time!  You can use any apple jelly for this recipe, whether a store-bought version or a homemade version, even if it’s underwhelming on its own.
Combine dry goods and set aside:Dry Ingredients
3 cups of whole oats
1 cup of high fiber cereal
3/4 cup of diced, dried apples
1 heaping teaspoon of cinnamonButter and Jelly
Combine in a large pot and boil for two minutes:
¼ cup butter (or vegan substitute)
1 cup apple jelly

Remove from heat, stir in dry ingredients. Line a 9” x 13” cookie sheet (preferably one with low sides) with parchment paper. Pour mixture onto center of parchment paper; let cool for a few moments until safe to touch. With wet hands (prevents sticking), press mixture to evenly cover parchment paper.  picture055

Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm. Lift parchment paper and set on large cutting board. Cut mixture into 16 granola bars. Line each bar with parchment and refrigerate or freeze for storage.

Enjoy!

No-Bake Granola Bars, Part II: Wild Blueberry

Two summers ago, my family spent a week on the Maine Coast (beautiful… highly recommend!).  Kitchen goofball that I am, I managed to squeeze my canning pot, canning utensils, and a case of half pint canning jars into the back of the family minivan.  I was on a quest to purvey enough of the fabled wild Maine blueberries to make 12 jars of jam, and I succeeded… sort of.

I overcooked the jam.

There was wailing and gnashing of teeth.  There may have been a few words uttered that would, ah, make a Sunday School teacher blush.  But… Crowded Earth Kitchen wastes NOTHING!  Despite having no earthly idea how I would salvage those blueberries, I packed my 12 jars of crystallized blueberry “rock” into the van and brought them home.

You may use any blueberry jam for this recipe (I salvaged mine by soaking the jars in scalding hot water).  You might even get wild and crazy and try using another variety of jam.  If you create your own version, please let me know how it turns out!

Combine dry goods and set aside:

3 1/2 cups of whole oats

1 cup of high fiber cereal

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

Combine in a large pot and boil for two minutes:

¼ cup butter (or vegan substitute)

1 cup blueberry jam

Blueberry Bars Remove from heat, stir in dry ingredients. Line a 9” x 13” cookie sheet (preferably one with low sides) with parchment paper. Pour mixture onto center of parchment paper; let cool for a few moments until safe to touch. With wet hands (prevents sticking), press mixture to evenly cover parchment paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm. Lift parchment paper and set on large cutting board. Cut mixture into 16 granola bars. Line each bar with parchment and refrigerate or freeze for storage. Enjoy!

No-Bake Granola Bars, Version III: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip 

Combine dry goods and set aside:

3 cups of whole oats

¾ cup of high fiber cereal (any variety will suffice)

1 cup of chopped pretzels (if you like salt) or crispie rice cereal (if you don’t)

Combine in a large pot and boil for two minutes:

¼ cup butter (or vegan substitute)

½ cup natural peanut butter

¼ cup brown sugar

½ cup honey (or maple syrup as a vegan substitute)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars  Remove from heat, stir in dry ingredients. Line a 9” x 13” cookie sheet (preferably one with low sides) with parchment paper. Pour mixture onto center of parchment paper; let cool for a few moments until safe to touch. With wet hands (prevents sticking), press mixture to evenly cover parchment paper.

Then, press mini chocolate chips into the top of the granola bars (I used two tablespoons; use more if you don’t mind the sugar, or don’t use them at all). Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm. Lift parchment paper and set on large cutting board. Cut mixture into 16 granola bars. Line each bar with parchment and refrigerate or freeze for storage. Enjoy!

Pickled Mini Tomatoes

WIN_20150812_110518If you have a bumper crop of miniature tomatoes such as cherry tomatoes or pear tomatoes, give this recipe a whirl. Salty, tangy, and laced with rosemary, this recipe is delicious served with French bread or as a Bloody Mary garnish. Pretty jars of Pickled Mini Tomatoes make great gifts, too!

WIN_20150812_105501Ingredients (Makes 3 pints)

3 cups assorted cherry tomatoes and/or pear tomatoes (any color)

3 small cucumbers, about 3-4 inches long, sliced thin

4 cloves garlic, sliced thin

WIN_20150812_1055072 cups white vinegar

2/3 cup water

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon whole peppercorns

Directions

Step 1) Combine tomatoes, cucumbers, and garlic in a large bowl. Divide evenly between three sterilized, pint size jars.

Step 2) Combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt, rosemary, and peppercorns in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, and boil gently for 10 minutes.

WIN_20150812_110046Step 3) Using a wide mouth funnel, pour brine into jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Run a knife or canning tool along the inside of each jar to remove air bubbles. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Be sure to review Crowded Earth Kitchen’s safe canning guidelines!

Not interested in canning? No problem! Simply place your tomato mixture in any jar or container appropriate for the refrigerator. Pour brine over tomatoes and refrigerate for at least a week! As long as you keep the tomatoes covered with brine, they will last a month in the refrigerator.

Spiced Peaches

WIN_20150811_143138In the depths of winter, a warmed jar of Spiced Peaches can be just the thing to infuse a little brightness into your day! I enjoy these peaches for breakfast with oatmeal, or for an evening dessert baked into a cobbler. Peaches are in season NOW, so let’s get started!

Be sure to review Crowded Earth Kitchen’s safe canning guidelines before sealing your jars!

WIN_20150811_130542Ingredients (Makes 6 quart jars)

10 pounds of ripe freestone peaches

2 cups sugar

2 star anise, broken

6 cardamom pods, crushed

WIN_20150811_1306301 vanilla bean, cut into 1 inch pieces and cut open lengthwise

1/2 cup bottled lemon juice

12 cups water

Directions

Step 1) Peel your peaches. The easiest way WIN_20150811_130727to peel ripe peaches is to place them in a pot of boiling water for 45 seconds, then immediately transfer the peaches to a large bowl full of cold water and ice. Let cool for a few seconds, and the peels will slide right off. This only works when peaches are ripe, so if your peaches are hard (underripe), be patient and wait another day or two!

WIN_20150811_130010Step 2) Combine 12 cups water, sugar, lemon juice, and spices in a large stockpot. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently.

Step 3) While mixture comes to a boil, slice peaches. I cut the peaches in quarters, but you can use larger or smaller slices if you wish. Add sliced peaches to the boiling sugar water and boil gently for 5 minutes.

WIN_20150811_131300Step 4) Transfer the peaches to sterilized, quart size jars. Fill jars with the sugar water, leaving at least 1/2 inch of headspace. Use a knife or canning tool to slide around the inside of each jar, removing air bubbles. Top each jar with lids and bands, and place jars in boiling water bath. Process for 20 minutes.

Zucchini Chips

WIN_20150809_181951When zucchini chips are this easy to make, low in fat, high in fiber, and taste so amazing, why would anyone buy bagged potato chips? I have no idea! With zucchini in full season, now is the perfect time to try zucchini chips. Let’s get started!

WIN_20150808_135851 - CopyIngredients (Makes 1 large bowl)

1 large or 2-3 small zucchini

1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt or your favorite salt blend (I like Penzey’s “Mitchell Street Steak Seasoning”)

WIN_20150808_135930 - CopyDirections

Step 1) Wash zucchini and slice into 1/8 inch thick slices. You can use a waffle-edged slicer if you have one (see photo), or just slice with a knife.

Step 2) Place zucchini slices on food dehydrator trays. If you don’t have a food WIN_20150808_140900 - Copydehydrator, consider investing in one! They start at around $20, and offer a GREAT way of preserving summer fruits and vegetables (especially if your freezer space is limited)!

Step 3) Use a pastry brush or napkin to lightly coat zucchini slices with coconut oil (or olive oil). Sprinkle zucchini slices with salt, and dehydrate for 12 hours or until crispy. Store in an airtight container.

Strawberry Ice Cream Topping

WIN_20150809_171917In my corner of the world, summer is slowly giving way to autumn. Leaves are beginning to fall from the trees, apples and pears and creeping into supermarkets in a wide range of seasonally available varieties… and summer berries are making their final appearance for many months. Hurry! Grab a few quarts of strawberries before they’re gone, and preserve them to enjoy throughout the winter. This recipe for Strawberry Ice Cream Topping is simple. When you taste this spooned over a scoop of vanilla ice cream in January, you’ll be glad you took an hour or so right now to plan ahead!

Be sure to read Crowded Earth Kitchen’s safe canning guidelines before you begin! If you have freezer space, you could freeze your ice cream topping in small containers instead.

WIN_20150809_154213Ingredients (Makes 6 pints or 12 half-pints)

12 cups strawberries (cut in half if berries are large)

6 cups sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 pectin cubes or 4 ounces of liquid pectin

Directions

Step 1) Bring strawberries, sugar, cinnamon, and black pepper to a boil in a large pot, stirring frequently.

WIN_20150809_162725Step 2) Add pectin and stir constantly over medium heat for five minutes. Ice cream topping will not “set” like jam, but will thicken to a lovely rich consistency.

Step 3) Ladle mixture into sterilized jars, top with seals and bands, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Frozen Watermelon Sangria

WIN_20150725_123400Gossiping with my little sister over cocktails isn’t something I get to do everyday – she lives almost 700 miles away, probably because I was bossy as a child.  🙂  In all seriousness, rare afternoons with my little sis are fun! On our most recent visit, we enjoyed this Frozen Watermelon Sangria. I think you’ll enjoy it, too!

WIN_20150725_122643Ingredients (Makes 2 jumbo servings)

2 baby watermelon (about the size of a large grapefruit)

1 cup of fruity, dry red wine

1/4 cup triple sec

WIN_20150725_1225511/2 lemon (peel included), cut in small chunks

crushed ice

citrus slices for garnish

WIN_20150725_123255Directions

Step 1) Set watermelons on a countertop to see how they naturally balance. Cut a thin slice off of the top (parallel to the countertop) of each watermelon. Carefully scoop out the insides, placing the watermelon flesh in a blender. DON’T GET CARRIED AWAY – if you accidentally puncture the watermelon rind, you can’t use the rind as a serving cup!

Step 2) Add wine, triple sec, and lemon to the blender. Add crushed ice to fill the blender, and blend until the mixture resembles a pink slush. If mixture is too thick, add a bit of water, orange juice, or wine. If mixture is too thin, add more ice.

Step 3) Pour mixture carefully into watermelon shells. Garnish with citrus slices (and an adorable little umbrella if you have them on hand) and serve immediately!

…and little sis, about that Play-Doh I made you eat as a child… sorry about that…  😉

 

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

WIN_20150724_123445If you don’t like zucchini, well, I’m not sure we can be friends. 😉 In all seriousness, zucchini is one of the most versatile vegetables available. It’s also low in calories, surprisingly packed full of vitamins, and a prolific producer in just about any North American garden. This recipe uses grated zucchini. Feel free to use grated patty pan squash, yellow crookneck squash, or any other “zucchini-like” summer squash.

PS – You can grate your extra zucchini now and freeze it in 1 1/2 cup quantities (just measure it into zip-lock freezer bags) to bake this recipe later, if your hammock is calling you out into the sunshine!

WIN_20150724_101403Ingredients (Makes 2 loaves)

1 1/2 cups grated zucchini

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup applesauce

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 large package instant chocolate pudding

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

WIN_20150724_103524Directions

Step 1) Grease and flour two bread pans.

Step 2) Combine grated zucchini, almond extract, applesauce, oil, and eggs. Stir until well combined.

Step 3) Add sugar and pudding mix; stir well.

Step 4) Add dry ingredients, a little at a time, until well incorporated. Fold in the mini chocolate chips last.

Step 5) Divide batter between two bread pans. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Bread is done when a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Like just about any zucchini bread, this bread freezes well!

Spicy Refrigerator Pickles

WIN_20150725_145038Today I found about a dozen small (3 inches or so) cucumbers in my garden… perfect for pickles, but not enough of them to bother with canning. Instead, I quickly made a quart of Refrigerator Pickles. In one week, they’ll be crisp and delicious. Try a jar today!

WIN_20150725_144030Ingredients (Makes 1 quart jar)

Approximately 12 small cucumbers (about 3 inches long)

1 cup water

1 cup white vinegar

3 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon sugar

3 cloves garlic

1 small hot pepper (Jalapeno or other hot chili pepper)

WIN_20150725_144557Directions

Step 1) Wash cucumbers and slice 1/8 inch off of each end. Pack cucumbers in a clean, quart size jar.

Step 2) Crush garlic with the flat side of a knife and add garlic to the jar.

Step 3) Slice hot pepper lengthwise from the bottom, leaving the stem end in tact. Add hot pepper to the jar.

Step 4) In a small saucepan, bring water, vinegar, salt, and sugar to a boil. Remove from heat and carefully pour into jar over cucumbers. Cover and allow to cool before placing jar in the refrigerator.

Enjoy in one week!

Best Ever Canned Salsa

WIN_20150809_154501I look forward to canning salsa every spring and well into summer… often, I can be found daydreaming of this salsa recipe when I am planting seedlings in my garden soon after the snow melts! I can several dozen jars of this salsa every August, to enjoy throughout the winter. It’s delicious with tortilla chips, of course, but also useful for main dish slow cooker meals. One quart of this salsa, combined with a few pounds of spare ribs, chicken pieces, or a beef roast makes a fantastic winter meal after about 8 hours in a slow cooker set to “low.”

The mildness or spiciness of this recipe is entirely up to you. If you want mild salsa, stick with mild bell peppers. For just a bit of heat, add one or two jalapeno peppers with the seeds removed (wear gloves!). To really knock your socks off, add several jalapenos, habaneros, or Thai chilies, seeds and all.

Please make sure you review Crowded Earth Kitchen’s safe canning guidelines before you get started!

WIN_20150808_122610Ingredients (Makes 5 quarts or 10 pints)

18 cups chopped tomatoes (I started with 20 large tomatoes and 4 cups of whole cherry tomatoes)

6 cups assorted chopped peppers (I started with 2 jumbo bell peppers, 6 mild banana peppers, and 1 jalapeno)

WIN_20150809_1442146 cups chopped red onion (about 6 large onions)

1/4 cup salt

1/4 cup ground cumin

1/4 cup chili powder (I used medium-hot)

6 cloves garlic, minced

WIN_20150809_1451341 small can tomato paste

2 cups chopped cilantro

Bottled lemon juice (2 tablespoons per pint, 4 tablespoons per quart)

Directions

Step 1) Bring tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic, and tomato paste to a gentle boil in a large stockpot. Add salt, cumin, chili powder, and cilantro. Stir to incorporate seasonings. Remove from heat.

Step 2) Ladle salsa into sterilized jars (see canning instructions) until jars are half full. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to each pint jar, and 4 tablespoons of lemon juice to each quart jar. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP – it is very important to add lemon juice for food safety!

WIN_20150809_145246Step 3) Finish filling jars with salsa, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles by pulling a knife or canning tool along the inside of each jar. Wipe jar rims with a clean, damp cloth. Place seals and bands on each jar, and process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.

Enjoy throughout the winter!

Cheesy Zucchini Roses

WIN_20150809_195925

Cheesy Zucchini Rose served atop pasta and red sauce

Let me guess… by now, you’ve made about six loaves of zucchini bread, hid zucchini on the front porches of all of your neighbors, and your zucchini plants are still producing. What’s a cook to do? Try these Cheesy Zucchini Roses! Served with pasta and red sauce, the flavor combination is similar to lasagna. These zucchini roses freeze well, so stock up!

WIN_20150809_183124Ingredients (Makes 12 Single-Serving Roses)

1 medium zucchini (about 12 inches)

2 cups low fat ricotta cheese

1 egg

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

WIN_20150809_1844311/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Cooked pasta for serving (I used a box of rotini)

Red sauce for serving, such as Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce

WIN_20150809_185959Directions

Step 1) Combine ricotta, mozzarella, egg, mint, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Divide mixture between 12 large foil muffin cups.

Step 2) Use a vegetable peeler to peel long lengths of zucchini. Stack 4 – 6 peels together and roll into a rose shape (easy!).

WIN_20150809_191252Step 3) Set one zucchini rose in the middle of each foil muffin cup, pushing the zucchini about 1/2 inch into the cheese mixture.

Step 4) Sprinkle zucchini roses with parmesan cheese.

Step 5) Bake Cheesy Zucchini Roses on a WIN_20150809_195036large baking sheet in a preheated 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Step 6) If freezing, allow to cool completely before placing Cheesy Zucchini Roses (don’t remove the foil muffin cups) in freezer containers. If serving immediately, loosen edges of foil muffin cups and remove Cheesy Zucchini Roses with a large serving spoon. Place atop pasta and red sauce, or serve as desired.

“Up North” Okra

WIN_20150723_184859I try to grow okra in my Up North garden every summer. Once in a while I get lucky and pick a few sparse cups of this delicious, versatile veggie. Most summers, well… trying to grow okra Up North is a bit like trying to grow rhubarb Down South. Some plants just know when they’re a long way from home!

WIN_20150723_175741Lucky for me, I have a brother-in-law Down South with a garden the size of a small farm. He’s generous in sharing vegetables (and I think he’s more than a little amused by my tiny okra plants). Whenever I am gifted with okra from Down South, I try different cooking techniques. Southern cooking is a mystery to me.

So, what’s an Up North gal to do?

Improvise!

In this recipe, we’re treating okra the same way I would treat eggplant strips or calamari. The result is tender on the inside, lightly crunchy on the outside, pleasantly seasoned, and very low in fat. Topped with a bit of parmesan cheese and red sauce, these little okra bites are fabulous. Try something new today!

WIN_20150723_180620Ingredients (Makes 4 – 6 side dish servings)

4 cups fresh okra, sliced into bite size pieces

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

1 teaspoon salt

WIN_20150723_1810091 teaspoon smoked paprika

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1 cup of red sauce (such as Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce) for dipping

WIN_20150723_181104Directions

Step 1) Coat a baking pan with shallow sides using 2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil.

Step 2) Pour beaten egg over okra pieces and toss with a fork to coat evenly.

Step 3) Sprinkle cornmeal, salt, and paprika over okra. Toss with a fork to coat evenly.

Step 4) Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. Turn okra over with a spatula after 15 minutes.

Step 5) Transfer okra to a serving plate. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese while still hot. Serve with red sauce.

Easy Raspberry Lemon Freezer Pie

WIN_20150723_101500If you only try one new recipe this summer, try this pie. Seriously. Easy Raspberry Lemon Freezer Pie takes about five minutes to prepare and is delicious. We’re even using a store bought graham cracker crust without any guilt or apology. It’s summertime. Who wants to make homemade pie crust when there are much more important things to do like soak up sunshine in a hammock? Not me. 😉

WIN_20150723_120702

WIN_20150723_095311Ingredients (Makes 8 servings)

1 pre-made graham cracker pie crust

1 8 oz can sweetened condensed milk

1 8 oz package light cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup lemon juice

WIN_20150723_1004001/2 cup raspberries, divided

Thin lemon slices for garnish

Directions

Step 1) Using an electric mixer, combine softened cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk. The mixture should be WIN_20150723_100842completely smooth. Add lemon juice and blend for 1 minute.

Step 2) Add 1/4 cup raspberries and blend with the electric mixer on low for about 30 seconds. The raspberries will quickly fall apart and combine nicely with the pie filling.

Step 3) Pour pie filling into the graham cracker crust. Smooth the top with a rubber scraper. Garnish with whole raspberries and lemon slices.

Step 4) Place pie in freezer for several hours until firm. Remove from freezer 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!

Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce

WIN_20150723_182605Recently, I had a midnight visit from the vegetable fairy. OK, the visitor was my sister, but I’m not exaggerating the late hour. The drive from her home in rural Arkansas to my home Up North is many hours; we worry when she drives. Imagine my delight to find my sister on my porch, home safe and holding big buckets of vegetables. Yes, vegetables… tomatoes mostly, along with quite a bit of okra (recipe coming up soon) and a variety of squash. My sister knows me well – even at midnight, I started working on those buckets right away while everything was fresh, fresh, fresh! This recipe for Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce was a middle-of-the-night creation. It’s delicious. Give it a try!

WIN_20150723_011157Ingredients (Makes 2 quarts)

2 quarts cherry tomatoes

2 large carrots

1 large red onion

1 large, whole head of garlic

WIN_20150723_1737091 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons fresh basil, sliced thin

Directions

WIN_20150723_181906Step 1) Wash all vegetables. Pierce cherry tomatoes with the tip of a knife and place in a large crockpot. Add carrots and onion. Cook on “low” with lid slightly open (to allow steam to escape) for 12 hours.

Step 2) Slice the top off of the head of garlic, and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap garlic in foil and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 1 hour. Allow to cool without opening the foil.

Step 3) Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the peel and into the crockpot. Add salt and brown sugar. Puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in basil.

Serve immediately over pasta or vegetables, or ladle into containers and freeze. This recipe freezes well.

Crookneck “Apple” Crisp

WIN_20150723_181358By August, even the most creative cooks can find themselves wondering what on earth to make with all of the summer squash exploding right out of their garden. This recipe puts crookneck squash to flavorful use in a crisp which tastes just like apples. This recipe freezes well, and makes both a delicious dessert and a scrumptious breakfast. Feel free to substitute patty pan squash or zucchini; either will work just fine.

WIN_20150723_171103Ingredients (Serves 4)

2 crookneck squash, approximately 8 inches long

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup sugar

WIN_20150723_1717472 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

For the topping:

1/2 cup whole oats

WIN_20150723_1726591/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/2 tablespoons cold butter

Directions

Step 1) Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Slice squash into 1/2 WIN_20150723_172650inch pieces and place in a large saute pan with a lid.

Step 2) Add lemon juice and water to pan. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes until squash is slightly tender (don’t overcook!).

Step 3) While squash is cooking, combine oats, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, WIN_20150723_173258and cold butter in a small bowl. Cut together with a pastry cutter or two forks until mixture resembles crumbs.

Step 4) Drain squash. Combine cooked squash, sugar, flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and cloves. Mix gently and pour into a greased, 1 quart casserole dish.

Step 5) Top with crumb topping from step 3 and bake (uncovered) in a preheated 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving.