There is something very special about fresh pasta in the fall or winter. We always roast a fresh pumpkin for fall pie and this dish is the perfect use of leftover pumpkin. If you are carving a halloween pumpkin use the flesh from the piece you carve out or grab a squash from the garden. While making homemade ravioli is a bit of work this recipes makes about 4 dozen ravioli so you can freeze them for a later date. We recently pulled some out of the freezer and topped them with a jar of Canned Roasted Tomato and Caramelized Onion Sauce for a delicious 30 second Friday night supper.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups fresh pumpkin, roasted and peeled
2 shallots finely diced
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 bay leaf
4 tablespoons minced fresh sage
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Basic Egg Pasta
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon water
3-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg beaten for an egg wash
Heat a pan on low heat and add the butter. When the butter is hot add the shallots and fry till a light golden colour. Cube the pumpkin and add to the pan. Stir regularly to keep it from sticking and burning. When the pumpkin becomes a soft mash add the cream and herbs. Cook on low heat until the puree is thick (about 30-45 min). Stir occasionally to prevent scorching. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.
While the filling cools – place eggs, water, flour, and salt in bowl. Beat for 30 seconds. Mix with a dough hook on medium speed and knead 2 minutes. Hand knead for 1-2 minutes and let dough rest for 20 minutes. Roll out pasta into thin sheets (use a pasta maker or roller on a floured surface). Brush 1 sheet with egg wash and dollop equal mounds of pumpkin puree on it. The size and spacing will vary based on your desired ravioli size. Cover the filling with a second sheet of pasta. We use a pint glass to cut out round ravioli and pinch the edges together. If you are freezing extra ravioli – dust with flour before storing.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook ravioli for about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and top with the sauce of your choice. We love this pasta with a brown butter sauce or simple tomato sauce.
Growing up in the Okanagan, my Grams’ homemade HP sauce was a coveted preserve my family looked forward to every year (that and her homemade fruit leather, but that is another story). In the fall Grams would make as many jars as she could using up the overabundance of prune plums and apples from her yard. The only problem – it needed to sit in the jars for a few months before it was ready to be eaten. Sometime in the winter a couple of jars would arrive at our house and be carefully consumed by our family at a pace that would ensure it would last all year. We knew that as my Grams would say, “like good wine or the rest of us it improves with age”. It was so delicious that even my elementary-school-aged friends would ask for some with their breakfast post-sleepover.
It took a few years of canning experience for me to get up the nerve to ask Grams for her recipe. She promised it would be easy and delicious – and it is both. While we made a few hobbyist additions – fresh ginger and a good malty beer – Grams’ is still the best, and we all know why. We love giving jars of this to our friends – it is great on beef, chicken, sausage, and apparently even almonds. If you see the fall plums and apples overflowing at the farmer’s market snap them up and give this recipe a go. You won’t regret it or buy the bottled stuff ever again. If you aren’t familiar with HP (House of Parliament) Sauce it is a great malty and spicy steak sauce.
4 lbs apple chopped (~10cups)
4 lbs prune plums pitted and halved (~10cups)
1 bottle malty beer
2 large onions chopped
3 pints vingegar
4 tsp. fresh ginger
2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 cup salt
3 -1/2 cups sugar
Boil fruit, onions and beer to a boil. Boil until the fruit is completely broken down. Press through a sieve or food mill to remove any chunks. Add 2 pints of malt vinegar, sugar and spices. Simmer until the desired thickness – this can take an hour or more. Add the last pint of vinegar as the mixture cooks down. Be patient with the cooking down time if you crank the heat and it scorches the flavour wont be right. Ladle the mixture in to sterilized jars and process in a hot water bath for 10min.
Grams’ warning: It will take a couple of days for the smell of the vinegar and spices to dissipate from the house. But it’s worth it! ENJOY!
If you have never canned peaches you should. They are one of our favorite preserves – amazing on yogurt, ice cream or as a cheater peach crumble base. We prefer a light syrup so the sweetness of the perfectly ripe peach shines through. While traditional fruit preserves use sugar for sweetness we prefer the flavour that honey adds to the mix. This can make the peaches a little more golden in colour but they look great. One of the things we love about canned fruit is you can be adventurous with flavours. Before you fill your jars throw in a few spicy sidekicks to give the peaches a deeper range of flavours. Some of our favorites are listed below.
10 lb peaches peeled and sliced
3 cups honey
8 cups water
Drop washed peaches in a pot of hot water for ~30 seconds and then submerge in an ice bath. The skins will slip right off. Slice the peaches in halves or slices depending on your preference. Fill jars with peaches and cover fill jars with hot liquid to 1/2″ from the top. Process in a hot water bath for 10min.
We have tried quite a few additions to our peaches and have three favorites:
1. Sliver of Vanilla Bean and 3-4 Cardamom pods.
2. Sliver of Vanilla Bean and Star Anise. This looks so pretty in the jar.
3. Tsp of lavender and 3-4 cardamom pods.
This week’s ‘You should like this’ is our latest canning obsession (other than tomatoes). Weck jars. These German designed canning jars have a gorgeous all glass, retro look and come in various sizes and some fabulous shapes. The base of the jar and the lid shape are perfect for stacking. While these are too expensive to replace all our canning jars at once we are slowly building our collection – a few every year!
They work just like a regular canning jars. You simply fill the jars, apply the lid and two metal clips and drop them in the canner as per usual. If they are sealed you will be able to lift them up by the lid. For full instructions visit the weck website. While these jars are great for processed canning they are the best jar for fridge preserves (like our Bread and Butter Pickles) because they stack so efficiently in the fridge.
If you need an excuse to get canning these are it! Your preserves will never look better on the dining table!
This is the final recipe from our labour day fiesta of tomato canning. The inspiration for this recipe came from the fabulous crew at Klippers Organics. As far as we are concerned this recipe is the Rolls Royce of tomato sauce. This method is much more time intensive but worth the effort. The combination of roasted tomatoes, caramelized onions and fresh basil is hard to beat. The following will size approximately three 1L jars.
8 pounds of roasted and peeled tomatoes
2 large onions finely diced
Bottled lemon juice.
1/2 cup full bodied red wine
3-4 tbsp olive oil
2 cups fresh basil
Wash the tomatoes and lay them on a baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at 350F until they wrinkle and/or split. We did ours on the BBQ to save the heat in the kitchen and a dish from the sink. This worked great – just throw them on the grill until they split (20-30min).
While the tomatoes are roasting, heat the oil in a deep pot on medium. Add the onions and fry until golden and caramelized. We like to add a few teaspoons of sugar to help the process and sweeten the sauce. When the onions are nicely caramelized add red wine to deglaze the pan and collect up all that delicious flavour.
When tomatoes are done, peel them and purée with basil in blender. Add tomatoes to onions and heat on medium-high till it comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add a tbsp. of lemon juice and a pinches of salt to each jar. Fill jars with tomato sauce leaving 1″ airspace.
Wipe rims, apply lids and process in canner for 40 min. This sauce is so delicious you won’t be sad if a jar doesn’t seal. We were only able to get a few jars done this way so we will be saving ours for our next batch of fresh pasta.
As part of our labour day fiesta of tomato canning we took on our first batch of canned sauces. This method is every so slightly more time intensive than the first one. Taking a few minutes to heat the tomatoes keeps the solids and liquids from separating (not a problem if it does this is purely for aesthetics). The following will size approximately three 1L jars.
8 pounds of blanched tomatoes
Bottled lemon juice.
Fresh herbs and spices
Clean and sterilize jars. Add 1 tbsp. of lemon juice and a few pinches of fresh herbs to each jar. To blanch the tomatoes, cut a small x in the bottom of each one and drop in boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove from hot water and drop in an ice water bath. Peel off the skins, cut off stem and quarter. Place tomatoes in blender and give them a quick puree. Heat tomato puree in a saucepan on medium-high heat till it comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Fill jars with tomato sauce leaving 1″ airspace. Seal jars and process for 40 minutes in a hot water bath.
Our last few trips to the farmers market have left us overwhelmed by the abundance of tomatoes! After bringing bags and bags of fresh tomotoes home to enjoy and savour we set to the task of preserving this end of summer flavour to enjoy year round. We love this salsa recipe, it is simple and lets the flavour of the fresh produce shine through. While we had hoped to be canning our own over abundance of tomatoes, mother nature wasn’t on our side, so we turn to the market! If you did get a bumper crop this year this is a great way to make sure none of them go to waste. It is a bit of work to prepare all the ingredients but we love the opportunity to grab a friend, sip some delicious wine and catch up.
8 cups peeled and diced tomatoes
2 cups diced tomatillos
2 cups diced sweet mixed peppers
2 medium torpedo onions finely diced
4-6 hot peppers seeded and diced (our preferred mix is 2 jalapenos, 2 purple cayennes (for smokiness), 2 hungarian hot and 2 cherry bombs)
1 cup fresh corn kernels
1 cup chopped curly parsley
1 cup chopped cilantro
6 cloves of minced garlic
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. chili powder hot sauce
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
juice and zest of 1 lime
Wash and sterilize 6 pint jars. Place lids and rims in hot (but not boiling) water.
Combine all the diced ingredients with parsley and 1/2 cup cilantro in a large bowl. Add as many seeds as you need to reach your level of spiciness we like half of each but we like spice. Mince garlic in a food processor. Add sugar, salt, cumin, chili powder, remaining cilantro, apple cider vinegar and lime juice/zest. Blend. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bright to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until it reaches the desired consistency. We like ours to taste fresh so we we simmer for only 10-15 minutes. Add the corn with 2 minutes left in the processing time to keep it fresh.
Ladle mixture into clean jars and process in hot water canner for 20 minutes. Remove, cool and wait for the fabulous sound of popping jars. If they don’t seal they will last about 3 weeks in the fridge.
When winter hits there are few things better than opening a fresh jar of preserved summer. Canned fruits and jams bring a fresh, sweet flavour that brings you right back to the sunshine of harvest time. This jam combines three of our favorite summer flavours (blueberries, lemon and lavender) into a delicious preserve that tastes great on sourdough toast or stirred into plain yogurt. If you are clever enough (or lazy enough) to keep a stash of frozen pastry dough in the freezer – it has the added benefit of being a fantastic last minute tart filling. The perfect dessert for an impromptu dinner party or wine tasting. The hobbyists like to throw dinner party planning into our already busy schedules (work, kids, blog) and canning is one our tools for ‘doing it all’. One of the things we love about canning is being able to pull something out of the pantry you made months ago (when you weren’t crazy busy at work) to assemble an appie, sauce or dessert on the fly. We love a dish whose prep time largely involves opening a jar of homemade goodness.
8 cups of blueberries
4 cups of sugar
1 lemon zest and juice
1/2 cup lavender buds/flowers
pinch of cinnamon
Clean and sterilize your canning jars (6 pints or 12 half pint jars). If this is your first time canning we highly recommend a visit to one of our canning inspirations Marisa at www.foodinjars.com for the basics and terms.
Smash the blueberries with a potato masher or give them a quick pulse in the food processor. Combine the berries and sugar in a non-reactive pot and bring to a boil. Add the zest and juice of the lemon. Place the lavender buds in a piece of cheese cloth and add to the mixture. Add the cinnamon. Bring the mixture up to a soft boil and let it cook for 15-20 minutes. Add pectin and continue to boil for 5-7 minutes. Don’t worry if the jam seems a bit thin, it will thicken up during processing and cooling. To test the consistency dip a spoon in the jam, if it drips off in sheets you are good to go.
Ladle hot jam into clean jars being sure to leave room in the jars. We bought a canning funnel last year and it was money well spent, making this part a breeze. Wipe the rims and process the jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. If you hear that satisfying popping sound or touch the lids and they don’t bounce back you are good to go. Store up to one year in a cool, dark place. If they don’t seal, make a pie or some tarts with the jam and enjoy a delicious consolation prize.
We love pickles. We love making them and we love eating them. The only downside we can see to making your own pickles is waiting for them to be ready. For this reason we have been dying to try our hand at fridge pickles. The upside is they are ready in 3-4 days (or less if you lack the patience – but they do get better with time), but the downside is they need to be kept in the fridge and will only be fresh for about 3 months. We figured that in small batches the 3 month window to eat any preserve would not be a problem in a hobbyist household. While dill pickles are a staple of our summer canning repertoire (recipe to come soon) a few of us were yearning for a great Bread and Butter bite. We took inspiration from Alton Brown’s recipe, but added a few tweaks to make them our own. The use of a fresh spring onion or torpedo onion thinly sliced on the mandolin made that part of the pickle jar just as delicious as the pickle. The recipe below made four small jars in our new Weck jars (more to come on these canning must have soon) and they were gone in a month. In our house, the small quantity makes them perfect for the few cukes that inevitably ripen ahead of the others.
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
3 cups fresh cucumber sliced about 1/4″ thick (we love mini ones for a tiny pickle)
1 cup water
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. celery seed
1/2 teaspoon pickling spices
Slice onion and cucumber (we used a mandolin and this step was ridiculously fast). Place the onion, cucumber and a sprinkle of mustard seeds in clean air tight jars. Combine the brine ingredients in a non-reactive sauce pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for a 3-4 minutes then slowly fill the jars with the hot liquid. Allow the pickles to cool before storing in the fridge. If you have any liquid left over top of the jars once they cool. Store for 3-4 days before you share with friends. These were great on a bbq hot dog with a nice sharp cheddar and some mustard.
One month later, ours are all gone and we are off to make our next batch!
As a newbie gardener this column promised to talk about our smashing successes and inevitable failures in planting our first vegetable garden. This post is about the latter. Being an eternal optimist when life gives this hobbyist lemons I make limoncello or lemon sorbet. So when we returned from vacation to find 3′ high flowering radish tops and no radish I didn’t see failure but inspiration. We had already incorporated snippets of radish tops on salads and hashes and we loved their earthy flavour. With a hefty 2-3 cup harvest of radish tops in hand we took to the kitchen to make pesto. We love the simplicity of this recipe and the walnut brings a fresh flavour, not to mention a whole bunch of health benefits.
*Traveler’s Remix: While this recipe is delicious on its own, after our vacation our herb garden was in need of some serious pinching back and the addition of some fresh basil and flat leaf parsley gave this mixture a great depth of flavour.
4 garlic cloves
2/3 cup walnuts
2 cups cubed parmesan cheese
2 cups loosely packed radish leaves
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley*
1/2 cup fresh basil*
4 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Pulse garlic in food processor until finely chopped, add nuts and cubed cheese till finely blended. Blend in radish tops one handful at a time until finely chopped. If you need a little liquid you can add a tablespoon of olive oil to help the mixture blend. With the blender running, slowly incorporate the olive oil until smooth.
A quick google search gave us a myriad of reasons for our gardening failure (a potassium/nitrogen ration inbalance, not enough sun, etc) but those are a challenge for next year’s radish crop. For now, we celebrate the discovery of delicious radish top pesto. We tossed ours with onion, diced roasted red peppers and fresh garlic, red pepper and chicken sausage from Oyama Sausage for a quick dinner. Next time you have radishes in your kitchen, don’t throw away the tops make pesto! Enjoy!
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