Nothing says summer like fresh, sun-ripened tomatoes from the garden! As many of us start our tomato seeds, we can also start thinking about the endless ways to enjoy these garden gems. One of our favorites is drying, for a sweet and tangy burst of tomato flavor that enlivens your favorite dishes. Some excellent varieties to consider for drying are Principe Borghese, San Marzano, Speckled Roman, Italian Roma, and Supremo. Any and all cherry and grape tomatoes will also make excellent dried morsels!
- Fresh-harvested paste, roma or cherry tomatoes (as many as your oven racks or dehydrator can fit after tomatoes are halved)
- Olive oil
- Red wine vinegar
- Sea salt
- Slice all tomatoes in half, and gently remove seeds.
- Place halved tomatoes in the oven on a sheet pan or on dehydrator racks with the cut side facing up.
- Lightly salt each slice
- Set dehydrator to 150°F (10 to 12 hours), or oven to 250°F (4 to 6 hours). Dehydrating time will depend greatly on the size of your tomato slices. Dried tomato slices should be crisp but still pliable.
- Using tongs, quickly dip tomato slices into red wine vinegar.
- Layer tomato slices into clean canning jars, leaving about ½” of space in each.
- Fill jars with olive oil, completely covering all tomatoes.
- Store tomatoes in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
Use tomatoes and oil in salads, pasta dishes, sandwiches, or eat them straight from the jar!
What are cauliflower tots? The answer to your tater-tot yearnings without all the fat, carbs and starch! So good for you, simple to prepare, and a great way to sneak more vegetables onto your kids’ plates.
2 cups of steamed cauliflower
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Mash steamed cauliflower and mix in all other ingredients.
- Form into tots and place on greased cookie sheet.
- Chill in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes.
Bake for 20 minutes until lightly browned.
Serve with your favorite condiment (chipotle mayonnaise shown in picture).
Red onions have a high sugar content already, so when you slow cook them with honey and apple cider vinegar, they get even sweeter! Make this versatile garnish to enjoy on cheese and crackers, in a grilled cheese sandwich, atop burgers, or over roasted chicken.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons salted butter
3 thinly sliced red onions (we used our new ‘Cabernet’ onion)
3 minced garlic cloves
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
fresh thyme leaves from 3-4 sprigs
salt and pepper to taste
- Heat butter and olive oil over medium to low heat. Add onions and cook for 20 minutes until translucent, stirring regularly so as not to brown the onions.
- Add remaining ingredients, and stir to incorporate.
- Cook down another 20 minutes until sauce thickens, and onions are dark.
Makes about 1 cup of caramelized onions.
We’re loving all the microgreens and baby greens we grow in our Kitchen Garden Kit. While chilled, crisp salads are cool and refreshing in the summer, we like to warm it up in the winter, still using nutritious, baby greens in this colorful, tummy-warming dish.
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
2–3 teaspoons of garlic salt
1 cup of quinoa (cooked by package directions)
3 cups of spinach baby greens or Superfoods baby greens
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of ½ lemon
DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss sweet potato cubes with 2 tbsp. olive oil and the garlic salt. Bake uncovered for about 40 minutes until tender and browned. Mix potatoes with cooked quinoa and baby greens; salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and lemon juice. Serves 2.
We’ve recently discovered herb salts as savory, mouth-watering additions to recipes, and also as an ingenious way to prolong the life of fresh herbs. Salt preserves the herbs, and the herbs infuse the salts, making a flavor combo you can’t resist. Try herb salts on meats, roasted vegetables, popcorn, garlic bread, and even in your cocktails! With the holidays around the corner, you’ll want this new ingredient in your culinary arsenal.
3 cups loosely packed, fresh herbs
½ cup coarse salt
1. Wash and dry herbs thoroughly.
2. Either pulse herbs and salt in a food processor (careful not to create a paste), or finely chop herbs and salt together with a knife.
Store your herb salt in a glass jar in the fridge. Shake periodically over 7 to 10 days while flavors blend. Herb salts will last about 6 months or longer in the refrigerator.
Italian blend: Basil, oregano, parsley, and salt
Summer blend: Dill, parsley, and salt
Thanksgiving blend: Sage, thyme, parsley, and salt
Salsa blend: Cilantro and salt
Bloody Mary blend: Celery leaves and salt
As you can see, the possibilities are endless!
When your garden tomatoes get into high gear and start producing, start saucing! We used heirloom tomatoes in this recipe, creating more color and flavor diversity. We enjoy Black Krim, Brandywine, Aunt Ruby’s German Green, Pineapple, and Oxheart, but any tomato will make delicious sauce.
5 lbs. fresh heirloom tomatoes
2 medium cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/3 cup sweet peppers, finely chopped (like Italian Marconi)
1/8 cup mild to medium hot peppers, finely chopped (like Hungarian Wax – optional)
2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. dried oregano leaf
1 1/2 tbs. honey, agave, or sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice or red wine vinegar
black pepper to taste
1.Using a paring knife, gently cut out the top of your tomatoes, where the stem was connected to the fruit.
2. Slit an “X” into the bottom of each tomato, and drop them into boiling water in batches. In about 60 to 90 seconds (larger tomatoes may take a bit longer), the skins will begin to wrinkle and split. Remove tomatoes and plunge into ice water, allowing them to soak for another 60 to 90 seconds. Remove from ice water and gently peel skins away from the tomato.
3. Using a blender or food processor, pulse the skinned tomatoes to the consistency that you prefer (chunky or smooth).
4. Pour the tomato sauce and the garlic and peppers in a saucepan. Bring to a low boil, adding remaining ingredients as it heats.
5. Reduce the sauce to almost half, stirring occasionally for about 45 minutes.
6. Allow your sauce to cool, and continue to thicken before using or freezing. Tomato sauce can stay fresh up to a week in the refrigerator or up to several months if frozen.
One of the best vegetables fresh from the garden is green beans. They are also surprisingly versatile in the kitchen. This recipe delivers on crunch and keeps the beans crisp, too!
1/2 pounds fresh green beans
1–2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup canola or olive oil (may use more depending on number of batches)
- Pour flour into a plate, 2 eggs in another plate or bowl (lightly scramble), and breadcrumbs in another plate or bowl.
- Toss beans in flour, shake off excess.
- Dip into egg mixture to fully coat beans.
- Toss beans into breadcrumbs, completely covering.
- Over medium heat, cover bottom of frying pan with oil.
- Add breaded green beans and fry until lightly browned. Turn over after 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to a paper towel to drain. Salt to taste.
- Repeat step 6, wiping pan and using new oil for every batch.
Serve with our garlic aioli!
Candied flowers are delicious, and can last for several months. Use them as edible decorations on desserts, or even savory dishes like quiche.
What you’ll need*:
1 egg white, slightly beaten until just frothy.
1 small paint brush
¼ cup super fine sugar
freshly picked, edible flowers
Using the paint brush, brush egg whites onto flower petals front and back. Sprinkle sugar over all painted parts of the flower. Let dry on wax paper for 12 to 24 hours. Flowers should be hard and brittle to the touch. Store them in an airtight container until ready to use.
* Amounts depend on how many flowers you wish to candy. This is based on making only a few.
Try something new on the grill this weekend! Everyone enjoys the smoky sweetness of grilled peppers, onions, and tomatoes. But if you want to try a new side dish and wow your guests and family, grill cauliflower, carrots, and green beans!
Grilled Cauliflower “Steaks”
Whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Set aside. Remove leaves from the cauliflower head and cut the cauliflower into thick slices. Brush marinade mixture over cauliflower “steaks” and marinate for 10 to 15 minutes. Place on grill over high heat for five minutes on each side. Enjoy their tangy, sweet flavor with a hint of spice as a vegetarian entrée or side dish.
Grilled Italian Carrots
Peel 5 or 6 whole carrots. Whisk 1/4 cup each olive oil and balsamic vinegar together. Stir in 1 or 2 teaspoons of granulated garlic and dried rosemary. Brush mixture over carrots. Grill carrots on high heat 15 min, and then turn off flame and leave in grill, covered, for another 5 to 10 minutes to make sure they are tender. The sweet char created on the carrots makes a flavor reminiscent of sweet potatoes.
Grilled Lemon Pepper Green Beans
Whisk 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning (lemon juice and crushed black pepper), and 1 teaspoon granulated garlic. Toss with trimmed green beans in large bowl. Pour the coated beans into a grill pan (or use aluminum foil with holes poked in the bottom) on the grill on high heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. The slight tartness perfectly complements the rich smokiness from the grill marks.
Cucumber plants can be prolific. So when we’re done putting cucumbers in salads, sandwiches, and vegetables trays, try this quick, refrigerator pickle recipe. They’re ready to eat in less than 24 hours, so make them ahead of your next barbeque or gift them to dad this Father’s Day.
2 large cucumbers
8 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 ½ cups white vinegar
1 ½ cups sugar
½ teaspoon mustard seed
½ teaspoon celery salt
½ teaspoon turmeric
1. Thinly slice cucumbers and onion. Tightly pack pint mason jars with cucumber slices, onions, and two garlic gloves in each jar.
2. In a pot over high heat, bring vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, celery salt, and turmeric to a boil. Allow the liquid to cool.
3. Fill jars with liquid. Seal with lids and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. Will last up to two months in the refrigerator.
This recipe will fill 4 pint mason jars, depending on how tightly you pack the jars.