In a bowl, mix the tomatoes, basil, cheese, and garlic. Mix in the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Allow mixture to marinate together for about 15 minutes to allow all of the flavors to mingle.
Slice your baguette into 1/4 slices and arrange on a cookie sheet. Brush lightly with olive oil and place in oven until lightly toasted. Depending on your oven, this should only take about 5 minutes.
The recent rain here in Washington has been a blessing, yet on the flip-side has created a rush to harvest and can as much as we can at our home garden before it’s destroyed by the rain. In addition to the wonderful goodies from Boistfort, I thought I could guide you on a little canning adventure with a pickled green bean recipe. The great part about pickling is that it does not require a pressure canner so practically anyone can do it at home.
First things first, lets discuss sterilization and technique. I strongly suggest visiting the National Center for Home Food Preservation on how to prepare your jars, ensure proper sanitation, acidity levels and cook time. The following topics you should check out before starting are:
In the recipe below, I used both Thai Basil Blossoms (from my home garden) as well as some Basil that was sent out in your Summer CSA as well as the assorted purple, yellow and green beans. Thai Basil is a little more authentic but any basil will taste fantastic. Also, be sure to slice your Thai Chilis horizontally instead of splitting them (as seen in the photo I took) to avoid mistaking a chili for a green been when they are ready to eat. SPICEY surprise? Please keep in mind, the vinegar and salt content of the recipes should not be modified as it may cause spoilage and some growth of unwanted bacterium.
Feel free to adjust the number of Thai Chili depending on the level of heat you can handle. I prefer 4 per jar since our family prefers spicy!
In a large pot, combine salt, vinegar water and bring to a boil.
Wash and trim ends from beans and cut to 4-inch lengths.
Add thai chili, lemongrass, garlic, ginger and basil to the bottom on the jars. Place whole beans upright in jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Trim beans to ensure proper fit, if necessary.
Add hot solution to beans, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.
Cook at the recommended process time for Pickled Beans in a boiling-water canner. (see recipe notes below)
Once done, remove jars from hot water and place on cooling rack. Once cooled, place in a cool, dry area for 4-6 weeks. Then, enjoy!
Table 1. Recommended process time for ThaiPickled Beans in a boiling-water canner.
Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of Pack
0 - 1,000 ft
1,001 - 6,000 ft
Above 6,000 ft
* You should not store your canned goods with the rings on them (keep the sealed lid on of course). Don't stack on top of your canned goods. Store the Jars as dark and cool as possible. That is the key to getting many more years of quality storage.
After being out of town for several days, I’ve found an overabundance of ripe tomatoes in my personal garden. In other words, I better get busy canning or get busy cooking. This week, Heidi at the farm sent me home with a wonderful mix of goodies this week, including that delightfully fragrant basil which was a perfect mix with our family’s tomato harvest. Whether you grow your own tomatoes or have recently bought some at the local market, this recipe is quite delicious and simple; Highlighting the vibrant flavors of summer. In place of the black plum tomatoes listed below, you can swap them out for a Roma tomato or any other small variety. Enjoy!
Peeling your tomatoes - Bring a large pot of water to boil. Have a separate large bowl of ice water nearby. Cut a little X on the bottom of each of your tomatoes (this will help the peeling process along). Add 6-8 tomatoes to the pot at a time and allow to boil for about 15 seconds. With a slotted spoon, remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and place them into the ice water. The skin should slide right off but if it's being a bit stubborn, use the end of a paring knife to help ease it off. Cut each of the tomatoes in half and use your finger to remove the seeds.
In a large saute pan (large enough to fit all of your pasta at the end) add your olive oil and heat on medium. Add your tomatoes, red wine and a pinch of salt. Allow to cook until soft and tender. With a potato masher, smoosh your tomatoes. Stirring occasionally, continue to cook for about 20 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken.
In a separate large pot, add 1 tablespoon of salt to boiling water. Cook your spaghetti until its just SHY of being al dente. Strain the pasta reserving a little bit of the pasta water. Add the cooked spaghetti to your pasta sauce, gently tossing and mixing the noodles. Continue to cook on medium heat for 5 minutes - if your sauce seems a little too thick, add 1 tablespoon of the reserved pasta water at a time.
Remove from heat and add your basil, butter and Parmesan cheese. Gently toss the pasta, blending well allowing the butter to melt and cote the noodles. Serve immediately.