Autumn Biscuit Pie

Autumn Biscuit Pie fresh from the oven!

This recipe is adapted from Tomato Imperative, which we discussed while making Sweet Tomato Figs. You’ll notice that the ingredients are flexible, allowing you to use this recipe as a backbone for creating something delicious out of whatever goodies your garden is offering up today! Let’s get started!

Ingredients (Serves 4 – 6)

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter, sliced into several pieces
1/2 cup milk
3 – 4 ripe tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 cup other garden vegetables (optional) such as thin sliced root vegetables or freshly cut corn
1 tablespoon fresh herbs, finely chopped (I used mint)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used muenster and gouda; cheddar would also work well)
1/2 cup real mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon horseradish
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning


Step 1) Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Use a pastry cutter or two forks to work butter into the flour mixture until the butter resembles small crumbs. Add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time. Use your hands to work the mixture into a smooth biscuit dough.

Step 2) Press biscuit dough onto the bottom and slightly up the sides of a greased, 8 inch x 10 inch glass baking dish.

Step 3) Layer vegetables, fresh herbs, and half of the cheese over the biscuit dough.

Step 4) Combine mayonnaise, horseradish, and garlic. Gently spread mixture over the vegetables and cheese. It’s ok if ingredients move around a bit. ­čÖé

Step 5) Top with remaining cheese and Italian seasoning. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40 minutes or until both the cheese on the top and the crust on the bottom (this is why we use a glass pan!) is golden brown.

Step 6) Serve immediately. Be well, friends!

Sweet Tomato Figs

IMG_2343A few years back, my fellow gardening friend Denise gifted me with a copy of Tomato Imperative. It is unfortunate that this book is no longer being printed, as it is chock full of old school recipes for enjoying and preserving tomatoes.

Today we are making Sweet Tomato Figs, adapted from Continue reading

Fresh Tomato Soup

IMG_2231Few foods are more satisfying on an autumn afternoon than a bowl of fresh tomato soup with the last of the garden tomatoes. This recipe is simple to prepare, and doubles easily for freezing or canning. Yes, it’s safe for water bath canning, to enjoy throughout the winter! Enjoy.

Ingredients (Makes one large pot; recipe can be easily doubled OR cut in half) Continue reading

Yes, you need Garden Sauce in your pantry!

Garden Sauce is so simple to prepare, it hardly counts as a recipe. You can make a little or a lot; the ingredients below may be easily doubled or tripled. Not only is Garden Sauce easy to prepare, it is versatile as well! Here are just a few Continue reading

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


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.

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┬ámeals. 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)


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!

Green Tomato Cinnamon Bread

WIN_20150724_120008My garden has more green tomatoes than red tomatoes right now, and that’s just fine. Green tomatoes are delicious in many recipes, and this recipe for Green Tomato Cinnamon Bread is one of my very favorites. What I’ve written below is a lower-fat adaptation on a recipe I read years ago┬áon When I first read about baking bread with green tomatoes, I was skeptical. If you’re raising your eyebrows, I understand. Seriously, give this a try. When it becomes one of your favorite recipes, send me a message! ┬á­čÖé

WIN_20150724_095635Ingredients (Makes 2 loaves)

2 cups of pureed, whole green tomatoes (small chunks are OK)

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup vegetable oil

WIN_20150724_1004111/2 cup applesauce (real applesauce, no sugar added)

2 eggs

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 1/2 cups sugar

WIN_20150724_1000401 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3 cups flour


Step 1) Grease two bread pans and “flour” using granulated sugar. This adds a WIN_20150724_101754wonderful flavor to the bread, and actually allows us to use less sugar overall, because some of the sugar is concentrated on the outside of each slice.

Step 2) Mix together pureed tomatoes, almond extract, oil, applesauce, and eggs. Add sugar and stir until well combined.

Step 3) Add remaining dry ingredients, a little at a while, until all ingredients are incorporated. The batter will be pretty stiff, and that’s OK. As the bread bakes, any little chunks of tomatoes will release liquid, and your bread will not be dry.

Step 4) Bake loaves 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.

This bread freezes wonderfully – just cool and wrap in foil. When thawed, it will taste as good as fresh. Slices of this bread are delicious packed in school lunches!