Mom, Wife, Chef, Gardener, Dog Wrangler, Mom, Writer, Friend, Daughter, Sister, Mom, Creative Problem Solver, DIY Chick...figuring out life one day at a time.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mom/Ant: More winter food projects

My poor husband just had three days off after three weeks of work. It was like a mini vacation. You would think he wouldn't even go into the kitchen after that much work, but being the food obsessed people we are, he very nicely decided to help me on some of my food projects during his time off. So yesterday we got down and dirty in the kitchen, (in a cooking way, not the even more fun way) and got several big projects out of the way.
Project 1: use the giant zucchini his mother gave us.
Okay, so this isn't getting me out of the innuendo hole I am digging myself, but really, all we did was shred it and make zucchini bread. Really! The zucchini yielded six cups of zucchini and so there is now 6 loaves of zucchini bread, one we are eating and five more wrapped tightly and in the deep freeze. Here are five of them:
The counter full of zucchini bread.
Project 2: Plums!
Our neighbor has a beautiful Italian Plum tree the sits on the border between our two properties. They don't like them or use them so last year they let us have half the tree. We were looking forward to them this year as well, only to go outside last week and find the tree already stripped. Someone else got to them first and I was devastated. Luckily we found a lovely vendor at the farmer's market who had cases of them for sale. We bought a case for very little money and then had a large case of plums to work with. This project had several parts.
Part one: baby food. I simmered a pan full of the fresh plums with a tiny bit of apply juice then pureed them through the food mill and put the puree in ice cube trays to freeze.
Part two: plum torte. This is my favorite way to use these. This torte is very like a coffee cake, and the plums sink to the bottom to form a jammy layer that is very delicious. (recipe at bottom of post)

Not the prettiest cake but so delicious.
Part three: freeze the rest. Nine gallon bags of washed and halved plums are now in the freezer. I am probably going to use some of them soon for jam. A friend promised me a recipe for a french vanilla plum jam that I am eager to try.

Project 3: Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
Now I know this is usually a spring thing, but I found some beautiful strawberries on sale and we luckily have four very well established rhubarb plants growing in a corner of our yard. They were a very pleasant surprise the first spring we lived here. We had mowed the rhubarb down earlier in the summer when they had gotten too old and overgrown, but they came back and so I had a second crop of rhubarb to play with this year. I didn't get fancy, just used the basic recipe in the pectin box. It turned out delicious and I used half pint jars so it is perfect for gifting.

ten jars of ruby red jam.
It was a lot of work but it felt great to get all these projects done. I love putting stuff up for the winter.

Plum Torte
Total Time
1½ hours
11 Italian plums, halved and pitted 
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) butter, softened
cups sugar, divided
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
2 eggs
tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. strained fresh lemon juice
Zest of one lemon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and 1 cup sugar. Add flour, baking soda, salt, lemon zest and eggs; blend well.
  3. Spread batter over bottom of pan and arrange plums, cut sides up, on top. Mix remaining sugar with cinnamon and sprinkle over plums. Sprinkle with lemon juice.
  4. Bake for 1 hour or until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes before running a knife around the cake and carefully removing the springform sides.
  5. Serve warm with whipped cream or at room temperature.

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