Black King Pasta Sauce

One of the types of tomatoes we planted this year is a variety called Black King tomatoes.  They ripen to a deep purple color and have a unique and complex taste.  We decided to use a bunch of them to make some pasta sauce.  Excepting the basil leaves (which we got at the most recent food swap) everything in the sauce is from our garden.

Black King Pasta Sauce

5-6 black king tomatoes

1 green bell pepper

1/2 of one red cayenne pepper

2-3 green onion lengths

a few leaves fresh basil

Chop everything coarsely and put in a large pot.  Heat over medium heat and semi crush the tomatoes.  I used a potato masher but you could also just use the back of a spoon.  How much you crush it is the difference between chunky and thinner sauce.  Cooking it longer will make a thinner sauce too.  I made the sauce a few days in advance and stored it in a recycled store pasta sauce jar in the fridge.

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We poured it over whole wheat pasta and topped with parmesan cheese.  It was good.  It convinced the hero that he wanted to grow black king tomatoes again next year.

Do you grow any unique tomato varieties?

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Veggie Spring Rolls

I was inspired to make spring rolls with edible flowers in them.  I wanted the brightly colored petals to show through the thin rice paper wrapping and look really cool.  But I have no patience and no edible flowers in bloom now.  So I made spring rolls anyways.

Spring Rolls

package of spring roll wrappers (these are made from rice paper and even though they seem intimidating, they are really easy to work with)

carrots

green onions

bell pepper

cucumber

cilantro flowers (or another edible flower if you have it!)

sriracha hot sauce

ground peanuts (unsalted)

warm water

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Slice the vegetables into thin sticks.  I think it’s a julienne cut.

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Next, you’re going to take a shallow dish (I used a frying pan) and fill about half way with warm water.  You want your dish to be large enough for the spring roll wrappers.  Take one of the spring roll wrappers and immerse it into the water.  it will take about 30 seconds and the texture with change significantly.  It will become much more flexible, almost like fabric.

When this has happened, remove the wrapper and place on top of one of your hands.  The wrapper will stick to itself, but you can gently unstick it if needed.  Place your flower(s) on the wrapper first so they will be seen best from the outside.  Then put the vegetables in a line in the middle of your palm (and the wrapper), sprinkle some ground peanuts and put a little hot sauce.  Now you’re ready to wrap it.  Fold in one side, then the other, then the bottom, then roll the whole thing up from the bottom.  This is much easier to keep in your hand and not on a plate, but I put it on a plate for the photos.

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That’s it, all done.  Serve with more sriracha hot sauce for dipping.  You can use any number of things for filling.  Shredded meat, shrimp, noodles, leafy vegetables, really any vegetables, various herbs, sprouts.  Use your imagination.

Spicy Pulled Pork in Slow Cooker

I decided to experiment with slow cooking a pork loin for the hero’s first father’s day.  It turned out really well.  In the morning I mixed up a bunch of stuff in the blender and used it plus some water as the liquid in the slow cooker.  I put carrots down at the bottom and put the pork loin (after I had trimmed of the surface fat) on top.  The I poured the liquid on, sprinkled some paprika on, and set it to cook on the low setting for about 8 hours.  It was really good.  Here’s the recipe for the liquid.

Spicy Pulled Pork

2 scotch bonnet peppers

1 orange bell pepper

1 clove garlic

1 green cayenne pepper (from our garden)

3 onion greens (from our garden)

3 sprigs of cilantro (also from our garden)

Splash of chicken broth to get it going in the blender

Blend all these things together.  I took off the dry stems of the peppers and then just blended them whole.  I had to put the chicken broth in to have some liquid in my blender before the produce got liquified.

Then I put carrots from the farmer’s market on the bottom of the slow cooker, trimmed the surface fat off the pork loin and put it in the slow cooker.  I poured the blended liquid on and then added water until the pork was mainly covered.  Then I realized I had forgotten to add paprika so I sprinkled some on top and closed the lid.  I left it on the low setting for 8 hours and did everything else for 8 hours but cook.  I love my slow cooker!

We had the pork and carrots for dinner and it was so good.  The meat was spicy and tender.  It just fell apart when we picked it up out of the slow cooker.  The carrots were even better, it went together so well that if I made this again I would add carrot to the pureed liquid.  It would go great with a citrus beer or maybe just lime juice.

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Salsa Verde: Completely Homegrown

I like the idea about dishes made completely from items from my garden.  I have dreams of a variety of things, but the main thing is salsa.  The hero and I love salsa and spicy food in general.  Thus the ghost pepper plant.  In fact, the main reason I wanted to start gardening was to grow my own salsa.  I wanted tomatoes, green onions, hot peppers, and cilantro.  And that’s where my garden started.  It has since grown (pun intended) to include many more types of plants.

Anyways, I made my first completely homegrown salsa today.  I couldn’t quite wait for the red tomatoes that I normally use, so I decided to try it with green tomatoes.  I’ve never done anything with green tomatoes, I don’t even think I’ve ever even eaten fried green tomatoes  So I wasn’t totally sure how it would turn out, but they are surprisingly tasty.

So I picked three green tomatoes, two sprigs of cilantro, one big onion green, and one still green cayenne pepper (I also added one I had picked a few days ago).

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To make the salsa I basically chopped everything up and mixed it together.  Easy, delicious, and healthy.

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We ate it on Melba toast and it tasted very fresh.  The minion even had some with the hot peppers removed.  She seemed to like it, but it was a little hard for her to pick up.  The green tomatoes didn’t have as much liquid as the red tomatoes that I’m used to, so the salsa was lacking that a bit.  My dad suggested pureeing a bit of the green tomato to add the liquid.  Give it a try, and let us know how your green tomato salsa turns out.