September is almost over, and I’m so behind on all my “canning” activities. I’m planning on catching up this weekend, but at least my salsa is already taken care of.
This season we planted tomatillos from seed – almost all of our plants survived, so we ended up transplanting all six plants into our garden. I finally harvested all of the fruit, but again, my fear of canning kicked in and I decided to freeze a base that I could defrost in the future to use as a “fresh” salsa.
I started off by roasting all of the ingredients (jalapenos, garlic, white onions and tomatillos at 400F) in the oven until the tomatillos released all of their juices. Once it had cooled, I ran it through my food processor and packed the ingredients into freezer bags. When I’m ready to use the salsa, I’ll defrost it, add in some fresh cilantro and squeeze in some lime juice – instant green salsa, with no preservatives and only yummy goodness added!
This year, we planted a few poblano pepper plants in our garden again. They are one of my favourite peppers because they have such a strong flavour with just a hint of spiciness. As a summertime staple in our house, I love finding new ways to use them. One of my favorite recipes is in a stuffed form like I did with my “Good-for-you Chilli Relleno“.
Today was a work-from-home day – whenever that happens, I love to take advantage of it by making something that can simmer on the stove all day long. Today, I decided to make a stew out of poblano peppers and pinto beans. I was still trying to decide what to serve along with the stew, when my mom popped up on GTalk to tell me that she had made a fantastic corn bread today – her timing was impeccable, because right away, I knew that was what I was going to make along with my stew (thanks for the recipe Mom!).
I wanted the stew to be chunky so I cut the onions, poblanos and jalapenos into thick strips. I love taking some extra time to prep ingredients – I feel that it makes such an impact on the final dish.
I allowed the peppers and onions to release their juices so all the flavours came together with the spices.
We also have beautiful cilantro growing in our garden – nothing beats running to the garden to grab some herbs to spruce up a dish.
This corn bread recipe was a hit – I stayed pretty true to the original recipe which came from Robin Hood Home Baking - next time, I’ll try some variations to include whole wheat flour and perhaps even try to turn it into a vegan recipe.
I must warn you, this was a spicy meal – keep the tissue box close at hand, because it will clear your sinuses!
For the stew:
- 1 tsp cumin
- 3 poblano peppers
- 1 large white onion
- 1/4 cup frozen or canned corn (or up to 1 cup – I had some leftover from making the cornbread and just wanted to use it up)
- 2 jalapeños
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp Mexican chili powder
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 4 tbsp tomatillo salsa (optional – I had some already made in the refrigerator)
- 1-2 cups dry pinto beans, soaked
- salt to taste
- 1 avocado
- 1 lime, juiced
- fresh cilantro, chopped
- Prep the onions, poblanos and jalapeños by cutting them into thick slices. Mince the garlic.
- Heat a bit of oil in a large pot, and add in the cumin – once it is fragrant, add the onions. Allow the onions to soften slightly and then add both of the peppers, corn and garlic.
- Once the vegetables have softened, add the chili powder – then mix in the tomato paste and tomatillo salsa (if using) until all of the vegetables are well coated.
- Add the beans to the mix, stir and add enough water to cover 2 inches above the ingredients. Add the salt.
- Bring to a boil and simmer on medium-low for as long as it takes for the beans to cook through completely – if you’re not using a pressure cooker, expect at least a few hours. Another option would be to make the stew to this point the night before and leave it in your slow cooker overnight.
- Mash the avocado with the lime juice and mix into the stew once the beans are fully cooked – allow it to simmer for a bit longer and then add the cilantro before serving.
For the cornbread:
- 2 “eggs” using ground flax (2 tbsp ground flax + 6 tbsp water)
- 1 cup buttermilk (I used 1 cup of milk + 1 tbsp of vinegar)
- 1/4 cup butter melted
- 1 cup Fresh, canned or thawed frozen corn kernels
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used an extra sharp cheddar)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped sweet red pepper (I used a jalapeño instead)
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Whisk “eggs”, buttermilk and melted butter in a large bowl. Stir in corn, cheese and pepper.
- Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
- Add to liquid ingredients all at once, stirring just until moistened.
- Spread batter in prepared pan.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Test in a few areas as I had some pockets that were still wet even though the centre was completely dry.
It is as if the CSA folks knew my parents are in town and consuming large amounts of cilantro with us – they packed an extra bunch into my delivery today, and it was absolutely beautiful.
I also ordered cauliflower even though I’m not really a fan…I tried to like it again this season, but after having it in a few stir fries, I was reminded of how much I really don’t enjoy this vegetable. That being said, I love having cauliflower in paronthas, and I’m sure my mom would love to make some for me.
Check out the colour of the radishes in the picture below – gorgeous! We planted radishes in the garden this year – hopefully we’ll have better luck than we’ve had in past years. I think we will since my dad was responsible for most of our spring planting during this visit.
Carrots, broccoli and grapefruit completed this week’s delivery. Our neighbours brought over a large bag of grapefruits from their yard this week as well, so I’ll need to get creative with finding ways to use them all!
This week’s delivery included basics – rapini, broccoli, cilantro, onions, carrots and oranges. It is so much fun to watch my mom (who is visiting from Canada right now) ooh and aah over the freshness of the carrots and tenderness of the broccoli. I sometimes forget how spoiled we are to get such amazing produce all year round, and my delivery never disappoints.