Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Canning Tomatoes

About a year and a half ago my friend and I got the crazy idea to start canning stuff. It was quite an adventure! We were armed with all our canning supplies, lots of berries, a video of this canning goddess who could can with both hands while shooting the video, and a good sense of humor. We had lots of fun, made some delicious jams & syrups, suffered a few minor burns, started a business, and created a life long friendship in that sticky kitchen. We went on to create many more messes in the kitchen as we made soup mixes, pumpkin butter, and more. I was also bit by the canning bug, it was much easier than I imagined. Fast forward to this week, my neighbor went on a cruise for two weeks and left me in charge of his tomato plants. I wish I could say I was a gardener, but so far I have a black thumb. The afternoon storms helped keep his plants alive since I am horrible about remembering to water and I was able to get some yummy tomatoes to can. I searched the Internet for info on canning tomatoes and came across the Growing a Greener World website which had great advice on canning tomatoes. A lot of the soups I make use crushed tomatoes and now I have some delicious sun-ripened tomatoes ready to add to my soup pot. Canning tomatoes was a little messy, but very easy. I can't wait to stock up on tomatoes this summer at the farmer's market and can them to enjoy all winter long.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Spinach & Artichoke Hummus

Okay to be honest I thought I hated hummus. It was a texture thing, most store bought hummus has the texture of wallpaper paste. This year when studying Ancient Greece we made some homemade hummus and what a difference! The flavors and consistency were amazing. When I was at Whole Foods one day they were sampling a spinach and artichoke hummus and it was delicious so I happily bought some. After devouring a few containers of the gourmet hummus, I decided it was time to save some money and to come up with my own recipe.

Spinach & Artichoke Hummus

1 can chick peas, drained
1/3 cup tahini
5 cloves garlic, minced
6 Tbsp. lemon juice
10 dashes garlic hot sauce ( I used Texas Pete)
2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup artichoke hearts
1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

I just tossed this all in my Ninja and blended it up. As you can tell we like garlic in this house, if you are not a huge fan of garlic, feel free to reduce the number of cloves you use. This recipe makes a ton of hummus for way less than you would spend on store bought. I also have leftover spinach to throw in my soup this week and leftover artichoke hearts to roast for sandwiches.