How has everyone been? Did you think I fell off the face of the earth? Well, I didn’t, just off the bloggershpere. I took the summer off and enjoyed every day with my family and friends. And I baked. A lot. I just didn’t write about it. My daughter and I went to New York for 7 weeks to see my mom, aunt/uncle, cousins… It was great. My better half came for 3 weeks to join in on the fun. Great food, great times, great weather (only one 2 week heat wave!).
I forgot to put away my sourdough starter so unfortunately it died, but I did start another,with great success, in New York and was able to dry some, bring it back home, and revive it. In fact, we had pizza last night that was made with it. I seem to be having better luck with it now, making sourdough pancakes, breads, crumb cakes, and pie crust! The “secret” seems to be the fact that I am only using spring water now, instead of tap water. The chlorine in tap water seems to kill off the bacteria that is needed to make the starter. Lessen learned.
To my delight, we came home to an abundance of vegetables and herbs. A deep thank you to our friends who watered our garden every day while my husband was with me in NY. He gets the rest of the credit. I only plant it and harvest it! I now have 4 quarts (!!) of pesto in my freezer, as well as oven dried cherry tomatoes, gorgeous Russian red garlic, around 3 pounds of broccoli and lots of red potatoes (with many still in the ground), The majority of the carrots are still waiting to be picked as well as the Brussel sprouts. Isn’t summer fun?
Here are some pictures…
A note on oven dried cherry tomatoes:
To make them I simply place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake them at 250 F for about 3 hours, until they are dried up but still have a little moisture left in them.
There are a few things I do with my oven dried tomatoes. I like them in salads (mixed with fresh tomatoes for contrast), on pizza, or simply tossed with hot pasta and parmesan. It also makes an excellent spread when whirled up in a processor with cream cheese and a touch of sour cream. For a longer shelf life, I pack a mason jar with the dried tomatoes and then fill it up with olive oil. This will last in the fridge for quite a while. The oil that is left over in the jar gets flavored with the tomatoes and is fantastic for dipping bread into or used in salad dressing.