You may remember that last year we had some extra garden space and an abundance of fresh everything. We grew tomatoes (over 40 plants…oh my!), onions, carrots, kale, radishes, beets, swiss chard, rhubarb, asparagus, squash, potatoes, salad greens (and i’m sure a bunch of other things I can’t remember. At times we had so much coming out of the gardens that I had to give it away by the bag full. It was a busy summer as we were also working as gardeners, housekeepers and general caretakers for a 500 acre property.
The canning kettle seemed to be bubbling constantly on the stove in our apartment with few windows and no air conditioning. I know…what was I thinking?! Anyways, we survived and ate tremendously well.
While trying to decide what to make for this weeks theme I realized that we are now on our last two jars of canned tomatoes. It was canning to the extreme last year and we stashed away enough tomatoes to literally last a whole year. Plus, our freezer still holds more tomatoes, rhubarb and asparagus.
Last year at this time we ate so so so much asparagus. I put that %^(*&$#$ in everything! So it was a little bittersweet the other day when I stepped out into my patio sized garden and surveyed what’s in stock. For now, we are back in the city. I wake up to the rush of the traffic down a busy main street and drunk couples pass under my window at 2 am arguing the kind of alcohol-infused arguments of youth that are typically forgotten by morning. I know now that this is not the place I will be for long, but rather a resting place to plot out the path to where I truly need to be. My skills in gardening tested and stretched, I am now ready to look forward to the gardens I will have one day that will be my own. And in the meantime, I have created a little getaway on my deck. A splash of annuals, some zucchini getting ready to trail the sides, and bunches of herbs all around. Oh…and of course, more tomatoes.
This year most of my canning will likely come from produce purchased at the local farmer’s market. Peterborough has an absolutely fantastic farmer’s market which triples in size in the summer. So can’t wait to start in on jams, pickles and sauces. (perhaps this time setting up a summer kitchen on the deck).
Spring, when I was travelling from farm to farm, was always a time of year to eat through what remains and savour the little bits of new sprouting from the ground. Fresh herbs and salad greens mixed with last years tomatoes, shriveled up old apples turned into cinnamon licked tarts, crisp steamed stems of asparagus…simple and elegant…a burst of green next to ordinary rice.
So this week (given the continuing limitations of the elimination diet) I crafted up a vegan gluten free pizza using our homemade canned tomato sauce from last year and drizzled with fresh herbs from our deck. The ‘cheese’ for this pizza is actually made from cashews. The crust, an accident it seemed at first, turned out to taste much like a rosemary foccaccia.
For the sauce we used: 2 500 ml jars of tomatoes, basil, garlic, salt, pepper flakes, oregano, thyme and kale. For the toppings we used: mushrooms, peppers, onion and black beans.
Cashew cheese. No, it’s still not cheese cheese. But hey, even Mr. Beardpants thought it tasted pretty good. The texture and consistency of a ricotta. Creamy, nutty (obviously) with a surprising cheese like taste.
To make Cashew Cheese:
soak 1 cup of cashews in several cups of water for a couple hours to overnight.
Place in blender and add 2 tsp of lemon juice, 1/2 tsp of salt, black pepper to taste. Whir until combined. Add 1/4 cup of water and whir until it reaches the desired texture.
I can hardly wait to try this on a piece of toasted bread with some roasted fruit on top!
As for this blog, you may have noticed I am posting rather infrequently…and the space has a bit of a neglected feel. I’m still here and will return to regular posting soon. I’m in the middle of brewing up a new business, a new website and well, likely a little bit of a face lift for the blog. Stay tuned!
For more ‘What She Ate’ deliciousness check out these other participating blogs.
Stars in Jars
If you would like to join us, we post bi-weekly (although it is not mandatory to join up for every post) and we are always looking for new theme ideas. Shoot me a message and I’ll add you to the list.