August in the Production Kitchen

It’s hot out – 94+ degrees. It’s hot inside, too. Why?

Production kitchen in August

Production in my kitchen

If it’s August, it’s time for production in my kitchen.

My counter tops are covered with various vegetables picked at just the right moment (except for the giant zucchini I missed!).

If you garden, you know that this month is the time when just about every single plant you put in the ground in May or June starts turning out produce at an almost alarming rate!

I pick every day.

I try to keep up but don’t always succeed.

This morning, the first thing I tackled were my Rosa Bianca eggplant, that beautiful purple globe surrounded by the raw ingredients for sauce.

Raw ingredients for eggplant parmesan

Raw eggplant parmigiana

I slice then convection roast eggplant at 475 degrees. NOTE: I don’t peel or de-seed these eggplant because they are so sweet and tasty, especially if picked before they get too big.

The 1/4 inch slices are dotted with a bit of ghee or olive oil and sea salt before they go into the oven.

Eggplant parmesan

Eggplant parmesan fresh from the oven.

Because they are being cooked at such a high temperature and because it’s so hot out, I got the eggplant in the oven before 5AM this morning.

Once the slices are nicely browned I layer them with my homemade tomato sauce and Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.   Then I slide the Eggplant Parmigiana into the oven.

The oven is already hot from convecting the slices so I cover the pan with aluminum foil, turn the temperature down to 375 degrees and bake, covered for 40 minutes.

 

I uncover the pan and bake it another 15 minutes to lightly brown it. Voila – Eggplant Parmesan fresh from the oven.

Next came dicing and putting 16 cups of mixed tomatoes into the largest pot in my kitchen to cook down and let the flavors of Atomic Grape, Consueleto Genovese and Black Vernissage tomatoes to blend together.

Tomatoes simmering into salsa

Tomatoes becoming salsa!

This will take about 20 hours at a very, very low temperature.

Once most of the liquid is boiled off and the flavors are blended, I will add the spice set to turn this brew

into medium salsa.

Then I will cook the salsa for another hour and can it in pint jars. If it comes out right, the salsa will also be used for holiday gifts!

Another gift I like to give at the holidays are small jars of jam – organic and low sugar because I use Pomona Pectin to make it. A full batch of jam using this pectin only takes 1 1/2 cups of sugar; at traditional batch of jam can take up to 6 cups of sugar!

Jam canning jars

Jam canning jars

So, these small jars wait on the counter and blueberries and blackberries wait in the refrigerator for their turn to be made into jam and brandy, respectively.

And my zucchini will be turned into one of the most delicious and healthful pizzas you can make – the crust is zucchini with a dash of coconut flour and the sauce is mine – made last year!

 

Gardening is hard work; putting up the produce from your garden is hard work too. But I love every step of every phase of growing, eating and preserving food that is organic, lovingly raised and gently but persistently canned, frozen or dehydrated for the coming winter.

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11 responses to “August in the Production Kitchen

  1. I’m packing for my move to NYC so no garden or August production for me this year. I will miss those goodies this winter! Next summer I’ll be in a CSA and have the weekly farmers’ market to enjoy but this year I’m jealous of your bounty!

  2. Even with minimal gardening, we still get so many blackberries and elderberries from the forest! It gets to the point when we just leave most of what we ‘could’ get because there are just too many! I intend to wind the blue ribbon at the Harvest Festival for the elderberry jelly this autumn!

  3. That eggplant Parmesan looks so delicious! That’s always been my biggest problem with homegrown fruits and vegetables–using my spare time (ha ha! what is that?) trying to maintain the garden AND doing all the cooking and preserving that should be done on time! Hard work – but so worth it.

    • I am now lucky enough to be retired but I do know exactly what you mean! Starting the seedlings, prepping the beds, planting, caring for the plants, harvesting and preserving….that’s pretty much a full time job in and of itself! When I did work, mid-July to early September, every Saturday and Sunday, I was literally…in production! I loved and hated it because it was hot, the work of prepping tomatoes, stringing beans, de-seeding peppers…just mounted up and my time was so short. Now that I can spread it out across the week, I am reveling in it. I am wishing some down time for you at work…so you can enjoy putting things by.

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