Category Archives: Recipes

Recipes for Green Tomatoes

I was fortunate to have ripened tomatoes this year from an Early Girl tomato plant and a yellow pear tomato plant. Their fruits made their way into salads, sauces and soon a soup. But with a less-than-sun-filled summer, many people’s tomatoes weren’t as fortunate, and people in Kitsap are wondering what to do with all those green tomatoes.

The Rainy Day Gardening blog has instructions for ripening green tomatoes indoors.

The Diggin Food blog had some green tomato recipe suggestions from green tomato chutney to a green tomato sausage pie as well as links to other recipe resources.

And, of course, the Sun’s longtime food columnist Ann Vogel had some suggestions, which she wrote about in a 2006 column that I’ve reposted below (thank you Ann!). If you have green tomato recipes, please share them! I’ll pass them along to Ann as well as post them here.

Here’s that column:

Beat Jack Frost to those green tomatoes

What to do with those end-of-season green tomatoes?  A friend of reporter Chris Henry told her to try ripening hers by hanging the vines upside down.  Her garage now looks like a dying plant mausoleum and after five days, one of the tomatoes is starting to look a little pink.

Before frost hits, pluck those green tomatoes and turn them into a meal or dessert.

James Beard’s Green Tomato Pie

Use mature size tomatoes that are a week or so from turning red and ripening.

4 cups peeled, sliced green tomatoes
1 tablespoon lemon juice or cider vinegar
1 1/4 [one and one-fourth] cups sugar, white or brown
4 to 6 tablespoons flour
1/4 [one-quarter] teaspoon salt
a pinch of either ground nutmeg or ginger to taste (optional)
2 tablespoons butter
Pastry for double crust 9-inch pie

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Place sliced tomatoes in a mixing bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice or vinegar. In separate bowl, combine sugar, flour, salt and optional nutmeg or ginger. Fold flour mixture into tomato slices.

Roll half of pastry into about a 12-inch circle, big enough to fit a 9-inch pie plate with a little overhang. Line a pie plate with the pastry, trim the edge, and crimp. Turn the tomato mixture onto the pastry and dot the top with butter.

Moisten the rim of the pastry with a drop or two or water. Roll remaining half of pastry and place on top of pie. Trim excess and crimp the rim, pressing the edges to seal. Cut steam vents in the top and bake 15 minutes at 450 degrees, then reduce heat to 350 and bake 25 to 30 minutes longer. Cool on a rack.

Note: To prepare tomatoes, scald them in boiling water about 1 minute to loosen skins, then peel and core them. Slice about 1/4 inch thick.

Some people like this pie with a teaspoon of cinnamon added to it. You can substitute commercially prepared pie crust for the homemade crust.

Green Tomato Cake

2 1/4 [two and one-quarter] cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil or melted shortening
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 [one-half] teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup pecans or walnuts
1 cup raisins
2 1/2 cups diced green tomatoes
coconut (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In mixing bowl, beat sugar, vegetable oil or shortening, eggs and vanilla until smooth and creamy.  Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg; slowly beat into egg mixture. Blend well. Stir in pecans, raisins and tomatoes.  Pour into greased 9×13-inch pan. Top with coconut if desired. Bake for one hour, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Serves 12.

How Do You Preserve Desert King Figs?

Margaret Mathisson recently e-mailed asking if anyone here had suggestions for helping her preserve her bumper crop of Desert King figs. I’d recently run across a few blogs with suggestions for preserving figs and offered them to her, but those recipes talked about other more flavorful brown varieties, such as Mission figs which can be sweeter and have caramel notes. Desert King, though less flavorful, is a hardier fig variety that apparently grows well in the Pacific Northwest, as I learned from a Chris Smith column.

Have any of you had experience with them? Can you help Margaret out with some suggestions? If you comment, I’ll make sure she gets the recipe.

Chris Smith, by the way, suggested sticking quartered fruits in a dehydrator for use later, though he also included in his column a savory recipe for using them up right away.

Here are a couple recipes I found in case any of you are interested or have suggestions for safely altering them to fit with Desert Kings:

Fig Jam from The Nesting Project

Fig, Lemon, Thyme Confitures from Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen

And just for the heck of it, here’s a link to Saveur’s fig recipe page, which has a few preserve recipes and a lot of appetizer and desert recipes for fresh figs. (By the way, I’m writing this before I’ve cooked dinner and the photos are, frankly, a rather cruel taunt to my rumbling tummy.)

For those of you who aren’t blessed with a giant fig tree and want to try some recipes out, I have seen several varieties for sale at Central Market recently, though they’re about to go out of season.

Candied Bacon, Bacconalias and More Bacon

I thought the bacon hype would die down, but I was very wrong. In the past couple weeks, there has been much bacon talk in my world.

Two weekends ago, I decided that the secret to a good sausage gravy is bacon grease, and a little bit of cooked bacon. Yep, heart attack in progress. I’m still refining the recipe a bit, and will share it when I’m happy with it.

Apparently in tune with bacon on the brain, the folks at Seattle’s Cook Local posted this picture on twitter: Chocolate chip cookies with candied bacon. Think what you will, but this sounds pretty good to me. They promised a recipe, but suggested using regular chocolate chip cookie dough and mixing in candied bacon. They offered me these instructions to candy bacon on Twitter: take two strips, and in a ziploc bag with brown sugar, shake, then bake at 350-degrees for 15 minutes. Cool and chop.

And adding to the bacon front, today I saw this upcoming event mentioned in Seattle Magazine: Baconopolis from 6-8 p.m. Feb. 25. Cost is $30 and includes boutique bacon tastings and bacon-enhanced dishes and desserts with Seattle celebrity chef Tom Douglas. To buy tickets contact Christie at 206.448.2001 or email her at:

When I went to look up more information on the event, I also found a bacon bun recipe from Tom Douglas. Read it here.

I think all this means that Kitsap needs to have its own bacon festival, a Kitsap Bacconalia, if you will.

Easy, Boozy, Homemade Balls O’ Goodness

Rum, bourbon and hazelnut liquer balls.
Rum, bourbon and hazelnut liquer balls.

This summer we had another in a long line of great interns. But one of the things that set Mandy Simpson apart was that she plied us with treats while she was here. (Note to all future interns: baking is a bonus skill.) She made us strawberry pie, and some going-away goodies called bourbon balls.

They were an instant hit, and I knew this summer that I’d be making them for Christmas. I mean, how can you go wrong combining holidays and chocolate-y, little, boozy balls?

The recipe came by way of Mandy’s mom in the form of a copied newspaper clipping from a Judy Cunningham of Roanoke, Virginia. So thank you all to Mandy, her mom and Mrs. Cunningham, wherever you are now.

I made them and some adaptations for a recent cookie exchange and will be giving some soon as Christmas gifts.

Here it is:

Continue reading

Did You Remember the T-Day Desserts?

Yeah, there’s the turkey or the ham, but the thing I look forward to every year is that belt-notch dropper, dinner topper dessert.

For me, it has to be some sort of pie, and as we head into tomorrow, I thought I’d share a few.

It also happens to be what I’m focusing on this year, since cooking dinner has been taken off my plate as we head out to family gatherings instead of hosting. I’ll make a few apple and a couple of from-scratch pumpkin pies. Dough and all. (Well, at least that’s what I’m assuming at 4 p.m. Wednesday. We’ll see if I’m frantically running out to Safeway at midnight tonight.)

I’ll tweak the recipe I used last year. I’ll likely try something out of the Pie and Pastry Bible, but heard a great Skillet Apple Pie recipe on NPR yestarday.

Food Life readers offered up some great recipes for the recipe contest, and I wanted to highlight a couple desserts that sounded like they’d be relatively quick (one is incredibly quick) and delicious.

The first one comes from Colleen Smidt and uses flour and whipping cream and sugar mix that adds an extra layer of richness to the apple pie.

Apple Cream Pie

1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream (liquid)
4 tablespoon Flour (heaping)
3/4 Cup Sugar (organic tastes best)
Cinnamon to taste ( I like a lot but that is just me)
4 to 5 Golden Delicious Apples (do NOT substitute any other apple variety)
1 Deep Dish Pie Shell (I use pre-made frozen)

Mix everything, except apples, together in a big mixing bowl and set aside for 1 hour. Ingredients will have a slight reaction and some rising will occur. This is ok.

Peel and core apples. Cut length wise into quarters. Slice length wise into thin slices between approximately 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Fill pie shell with apple slices to determine correct amount to be used. I make sure it is full and has a nice mound. Once the apple slices are mixed with the liquid a significant amount of settling will occur.

Mix apples and liquid together in the bowl. Pour into the pie shell. Sprinkle additional cinnamon sparingly on top for taste and color.

Bake 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Let pie cool and serve room temp or chilled. This is a great pie to make up the day before and travels really well once it is chilled.

The next recipe came from Shellie Cohagan, and would be a pretty good bet for something to whip up on Thursday since it’s quick and oven-free.

No Bake Punkin’ Cheesecake Pie
20 min prep
Serves 6 -8
8 inches prepared graham cracker crusts
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese , softened
2 1/2 cups whipped topping, divided
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (3 1/2 ounce) package vanilla instant pudding mix
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups 100% pumpkin puree (not the pie mix)
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

  1. In a medium-mixing bowl combine cream cheese, 1 cups of the whipped topping, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth.
  2. Spread evenly over crust.
  3. In a large mixing bowl combine: pudding, milk, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and 1 more cups of whipped topping.
  4. Stir until thoroughly combined.
  5. Spoon mixture over cream cheese layer.
  6. Top with remaining 1/2 cup of whip topping. Shellie puts it in a pastry bag and decorates the top with the whip cream.
  7. Chill at least 1 hour before serving.

Thanksgiving Recipe Contest Winner for Sweet Potato Souffle

Congratulations to Julie McCormick of Port Townsend, who won The Food Life’s little recipe contest. for her sweet potato souffle. I’ll highlight a couple more of the dessert-related recipes you shared later today and on Friday.

Here’s what Julie had to say about her recipe:

“I have been serving this with roast turkey for about 40 years, although it was originally intended to accompany a stuffed baked ham dish in the Great Dinners From Life (magazine) cookbook.

“I first made it when my then-husband and I belonged to a progressive dinner group in Ellensburg. The group of faculty wives who planned the menus picked a lot of meals from that book, which is probably very hard to find these days. I use a lot of its recipes and made a lot of things I’d never heard of before because of it. That book and Julia Child, who went on TV about that time, turned me into a bit of a foodie.

“Everyone who eats this dish loves it. It is not really sweet, but spicy, and it’s good with turkey gravy.

“It is not expected to puff up like a true souffle, so don’t be worried when it doesn’t.”

3 one-pound, two-ounce cans sweet potatoes (or the closest size you can find) or four pounds sweet potatoes, cooked
1/2 cup butter, melted
6 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon freshly graded lemon rind (I’ve always used dried rind from the spice section)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350.

Drain sweet potatoes (or peel fresh ones). Mash potatoes, then beat, using low speed of electric mixer to make them as lump-free as possible. Beat in melted butter. Separate eggs and add yolks to sweet potato mixture. Beat until well blended. The longer you beat, the smoother the final result. Add sugar, milk, lemon rind, ginger and salt.

Beat egg whites separately until stiff but not dry and fold into potato mixture. Turn into buttered two-quart souffle dish or casserole. Bake for one hour. Serve immediately.

A Last Taste of Summer: Caprese Salad

This summer, I had the joy of watching the little seeds and starts I plopped into my little edible garden stretch and blossom. As a new vegetable gardener, I expected that not everything would go as planned. A “cabbage” grew up to be a giant Brussels sprout that took over a corner of the garden, shading out a few things planted a little to closely. Some purple radishes never really plumped past a skinny root, carrot seeds never quite figured out that summer had come. I had squash blossoms aplenty, but little in the way of actual squash.

But oh, the tomatoes. A couple plants snaked their way through the garden, bloomed and were produced prolifically. Also on the garden’s plus side were basil, sage and lettuce that added fresh flourishes to summer meals.

And with some of the little that remains, I recently made my favorite summer meal.

Caprese salad is a somewhat new-found taste. Though I may have had it before, the first time I remember it clearly  was eating it at a North Kitsap fire station. I’d been invited to a meal there, and among the other great dishes was caprese salad. (Side note: I learned from being a crime and public safety reporter was that firefighters make some darn fine meals, so if you ever see a chance for such a meal, jump at it.) Though wary at first, from the first bite I was in love. The combination of basil, tomatoes, olive oil and Balsamic vinegar was a simply beautiful bit of summer in my mouth.

So, in honor of the waning days of summer, this is what I made. I drizzled olive oil and dropped 12-year-old Balsamic and shook some coarse salt and freshly ground pepper over it all.

Grilled Nectarines with Blackberry Sauce

Grilled nectarines
Grilled nectarines

The great thing about summertime desserts are that many tend to be simple. Grilled fruit is one of my favorites whether it be slices of grilled pineapple drizzled with coconut milk and macadamia nuts or apples or stone fruit.

Here’s a recipe I tried out a couple weeks ago:

Grilled Nectarines with Blackberry Sauce

1 cup sugar, divided
1 pound fresh blackberries
4 nectarines, cut into 1/2-inch slices
Juice from 1 lemon, divided
Vanilla ice cream

In a medium saucepan, mix blackberries, half the lemon juice and sugar over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook about 10 minutes, making sure all the sugar is dissolved. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve.

Lightly oil the grill and heat to high. Brush nectarine slices with olive oil, drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with sugar. Place on grill and cook until edges start to brown, about two or three minutes on each side.

Serve slices with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and pour sauce over it. Use leftover sauce for ice cream or waffles later.

Corn on the Cob Was Made to be Grilled

Corn on the grill
Corn on the grill

It seems everyone has an opinion on what way is best to grill corn on the cob. Some boil it then grill it to get a little carmelizing charred effect. Some leave husks on. Others take it off, wrap it in foil or put it straight on the grill.

I fall firmly into the leave-husks on category, but with a little variation.

Here’s why:

It’s like nature made the vegetable to be cooked.The husks and silk not only protect those lovely little kernels from the fire, they also seal in the moisture, allowing it to steam in it’s own juices.

Husk off-ers argue that this also shields the corn from picking up any of the great smoky flavors you can get from grilling.

And here’s where the variation comes in: When I prepare the corn for grilling, I peel off all but a couple layers of husk from the corn, which allows some of the smokiness to filter in, but mostly protects the corn. I also trim the silk off the top and try to leave as much handle as I can on the end.

Once the corn is on over a medium-hot grill, I turn it every couple minutes until a charred imprint of the kernels starts to form on the husks. The husks will be burned, but the corn kernels should be safe and golden brown.

I’m not saying it’s the right way or the only way. Basting a naked cob in butter or a glaze can help keep the corn moist while it’s cooking.

One other thing to keep in mind about grilling corn is trying to get the freshest corn you can.

Since it’s grilling weather, I’ll put in a couple more grill-related posts, and I’d love to hear any of your grilling tips and recipes.

Next up for tomorrow is a recipe for a grilled fruit dessert.

Using up zucchini with a sweet treat

Zucchini Bread
Zucchini Bread

Last week, into my home came a zucchini the size of a football. While I love the stuff, my husband hates it. Loathes it, in fact. And just as I was dreaming up creative ways to use it — should I stuff a chicken? core it and bake it like a boat with a cargo of meats and marinara? — out fell one of those food-zine newspaper inserts.

What initially caught my eye was a recipe for watermelon gazpacho with herb oil (which I vow to try despite the disgusted looks I get when I string together “watermelon” and “gazpacho” in a sentence). But as I flipped through it, Ii found their zucchini special and a recipe for that standard zucchini overabundance user upper ubiquitous to potlucks and garden gatherings everywhere.

Everyone has their own zucchini bread recipe, each with slight variations, nuts, other fruits, different portions of this and that.

I’ve made zucchini bread before, but it was a long time ago and it came out way too bitter. But I’ve had some good zucchini bread courtesy of our arts and entertainment reporter, and figured I’d give it another try. The magazine’s recipe looked pretty simple and pulled in plenty of sugar.

I made it twice, turning the second batch into muffins (which I cooked for 25 minutes instead of the load time of 1 hour). It turned out cakey and moist and sugary, so here, tested and approved, it is to share.

What’s your favorite zucchini (or other vegetable) bread recipe?

Zucchini Bread

from Relish

3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 3/4 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini undrained
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325-degres. Spray a 9X5 loaf pan with cooking spray and dust with flour.

Combine oil, sugar, eggs and zucchini in a large bowl. In a seperate bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Gradually add to zucchini mix. Beat 3 minutes with a mixer on medium speed. Scrape batter into a prepared pan.

Bake 1 hour or until inserted knife comes out clean. Serves 10.

The Relish link above has calorie and nutritional information.