Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pecans, Our Latest Harvest

The pecans have been falling from the trees, and every few days I go out and collect some. The squirrels have also been busy, and our two dogs love to crunch on a few as well. With five mature trees, there's really plenty enough for us all!

For the last few years we didn't have a harvest due to drought and wind storms, but this has been a good year. The nuts are good-sized due to plenty of rain.

I wish you all could taste these nuts in all their rich, full, smoky sweetness. As anyone with access to old trees knows, there is much more flavor in the nuts they produce compared to ones you may buy at the grocery or even fancy nut houses. The reason is that commercial pecans have been bred for size, and in that pursuit some of the flavor has been lost.

When the weather turns cold, I'll sit and shell them, then freeze most for later use. But right now aren't the bright green husks beautiful?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lynn's Vegetarian Stuffed Pepper Casserole

Two food posts in a row-- must be harvest time! Our peppers have been wonderful this year!

My Treasury Teammate and friend Kristen of Gockfrocks tweeted this question today: anyone else with good dinner ideas? what are you making tonight? My tweet back was Vegetarian Stuffed Pepper Casserole, one of my husband's very favorite dishes- homey, comforting and delicious! (the casserole, not my husband) This is a very flexible dish, so you can substitute ingredients and amounts to your taste. So, here it is Kristen:

Vegetarian Stuffed Pepper Casserole

6 to 8 peppers, quartered, enough to cover bottom of a 9x13 baking dish
2 cups brown or white rice, cooked
2 medium to large onions, chopped
2 tablespoons oil
1 large can (26 oz) tomato soup
1 to 1 1/2 cup soy crumbles
2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce or to taste
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, divided (or more to taste)
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated cheddar cheese (optional)

Seed and quarter peppers and layer in the bottom of baking dish. Add 1 tablespoon water, cover and steam in the microwave for 5 minutes.

In pan saute onion in oil until it starts to turn golden brown. Mix in cooked rice, soy crumbles, 1/2 can of tomato soup, 1 teaspoon Tabasco, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon salt and turn off heat.

Spread mixture evenly over steamed peppers, set aside.

Add a little water to the remaining tomato soup in the can to thin just a bit. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon Tabasco, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon paprika. Adjust spices according to your taste. Stir and pour evenly over casserole.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with cheddar cheese, return to oven for 2-3 minutes until cheese has melted. Serve & enjoy!

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Day in the Kitchen

I spent a lot of yesterday in the kitchen, peeling a giant bowl of apples from our own organically grown Arkansas Black harvest. This variety is tart and sweet! The most requested apple treat at my house is homemade applesauce. We like it chunky and thick, and mostly put it on our cereal in the morning.

So after hours of peeling, coring, slicing and cooking, here's the result. A big stock pot full!