Autumn

Tomatoes-topview
Preserving tomatoes regardless of quantity
How to preserve tomatoes regardless of quantity – TheMessyBaker.com Clearly, my tomatoes aren't getting enough love. When my back was turned, they  produced and produced and produced — to the point they toppled over and smothered the Swiss chard. Lying on the ground, they continued the fight. Not only did they produce more fruit, they romped all over the basil and trampled what was going to be fennel. Injuries to either party be damned. See the red tomato in the middle? It split its side in an effort to work its way to my kitchen door. In my defense the zucchini was rather distracting — all 302 pounds of it. Plus I am a bit busy working on my book. When I finally ventured out to the jungle garden, I was met by eager orange, red and yellow tomatoes. They practically leapt into my arms. The poor watermelon just lay there and whimpered. Shush now. All in good time. All in good time. How to perserve tomatoes regardless of quantity – TheMessyBaker.com
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Spirited Fruit (and Sangria)
Spirited fruit preserves - TheMessyBaker.com I am not to be trusted. I head to the Farmers' Market with a clearly written list and rock solid resolve. And what do I return with? Way more items than intended and a feeling of panic. Where will I store all these plums? When will I have time to make pear jam? Should I freeze, can or hide the peaches? Of course, things fall apart when I toss tomatoes designated for preserving into a salad or gobble a handful of blueberries because they are too perfect for anything else but in-the-moment indulgence. You cannot imagine my relief -- your maybe you can-- when I stumbled up  a couple of preserving methods that are as flexible on quantity as I am about my shopping list. The methods are outlined in the ever-so-handy Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (Robert Rose ©2012).
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Golden Beet and Yellow Tomato Soup
Golden Beet and Yellow Tomato Soup - The Messy Baker There's a great moment in the pilot episode of Firefly. Against a backdrop of falling bombs, exploding grenades and rounds of gun fire, Bendis, a very young and very terrified solider fears he's going to die. His superior, played by the ever-so dishy Nathan Fillion, responds with bravado. "We can't die, Bendis," he says. "You know why? Because we are so very pretty. We're just too pretty for God to let us die." If only life were like television.   Spilled Soup - A glimpse at how The Messy Baker got her name Serves me right for getting all fancy pants with soup. Turns out nothing, not even my Golden Beet and Yellow Tomato Soup is too pretty to be spared. Either that, or I should watch where I'm stepping during a back porch photo shoot. Anyway, the other day the garden patch advanced. How do you respond when an armload of golden beets, more yellow tomatoes than one can eat without incurring cankers and a purple carrot force their way into your kitchen, stare you straight in the eye and double dog dare you to do something about it?
Potato Latkes, stacked -- TheMessyBaker.com
Recipe: Potato Latkes
Potato Latkes, draining - TheMessyBaker.com I was going to make you guess what's in the photo above, but the post's headline gives it away. Darn you, Google, and your search engine demands. If you hover your cursor over the image, you will know, these golden fritters are potato latkes. I made a big batch after the recent potato-fueled food fight. I'd like to tell you this was culinary revenge, a well-thought out, two-pronged political move to advocate potato farmers while sticking it to the makers of Fake Food in a Canister. But to be honest, it was simply a quick way to satisfy my stomach. Thinking about potatoes all day left me  hungry -- for  potatoes. So, with little more than four medium spuds and an onion on hand, I cooked the only thing I could think of that used these ingredients. Latkes -- and lots of them -- was the result.
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Oven-Dried Tomatoes
Oven-dried tomatoes - TheMessyBaker.com Brain, meet Fingers. Fingers, meet Brain. I hope you two become best of friends. Pronto. Because if you don't start working together really soon, I will be forced to give up this blog and move to a remote region of the world where there is no Internet access and only tinned soup for supper. What did I do this time? Despite finding the recipe in the index, reading the instructions and looking at the photo, my fingers typed "oven-roasted" tomatoes when Grow Great Grub clearly gives readers the low down on "oven-dried" tomatoes. I'm tempted to quietly correct this error and distract you with ice cream. But having asked you to vote and promising to post the results, I think you'd notice. Especially since the one recipe whose title I botched turned out to be the winner. So, for those of you who were looking forward to oven-roasted tomatoes, here's a refresher on how to roast vegetables. For the tomato version, I'd add chopped fresh basil, some crushed garlic, a pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper. When done, top with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. And for those who intuitively knew what I meant, here is the recipe for oven-dried tomatoes. They're different, but just as good. And last longer.
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Marcy Goldman’s Apple-Raspberry Patchwork Crostata

We have a tradition in our house. One of us usually kicks off the new year with a kitchen disaster. Last year, I discovered dried beans can, in fact, go stale. This year? I botched the pastry. Crostata no less. What else? I learned the hard...

Concord-Grape-Sorbet
Concord Grape Sorbet

The comments are rolling in in response to the cookbook give away. Your fabulous ideas make me want to rent a delightful, impractically located venue and throw a great big bash. (If you missed the post, Rose Murray's wonderful A Taste of Canada is up...

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream with Maple Syrup - The Messy Baker
Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

A while ago, Cari from Dinnervibe suggested I make a Halloween-themed ice cream. As you know, it doesn't take much to persuade me to whip out my Cuisinart, so even though the weather is turning cold, I accepted her ice cream challenge. Perhaps I'm in a...

Concord Grapes
Concord Grape Galette

Pastry is fickle. One day you're rolling dough like it's a bolt of white velvet and pull a golden, bubbling dessert from the oven. The results are so fine you briefly consider embroidering "Pie Guru" on your apron. Only you don't know how to sew,...

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Green Tomato Marmalade

Despite the amber hue of the resulting preserves, this is green tomato marmalade. And no, I didn't use the teeny-tiny yellow tomatoes on the left. They're just there for show. Instead, I used small to mid-sized green tomatoes like the ones below. I figured since I...

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