Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Another bountiful harvest; a bowl of comfort

Last Saturday Mom and I spent almost the entire day cooking.  On Saturdays I like to look at the cooking shows on PBS.  I used to enjoy looking at the Food Network but these days there is nothing worthwhile. The shows are less about cooking and more about the drama and I absolutely cannot stand looking at Gordon Ramsay whose mouth is so foul that I can't stomach (pardon the pun) his show. If I was a teacher like that, I hope someone would have the courage to fire me for being abusive to my students.  I digressed.

Okay to go on with my story, I was watching a cooking show on PBS and the chef was talking about all the things to do with a bountiful harvest of tomatoes.  She made several dishes but the one that caught my eye was a roasted tomato soup with shrimp.  No sooner was the show done, than I went off to the kitchen to roast some tomatoes (from my garden) and onions for 45 minutes.  Then added that to about 4 cups of chicken broth (I only use my own homemade kind), blended all of this until smooth, added a cup of milk, simmered on the stove until almost boiling and added 8 ozs. of chopped shrimps and cooked for about 2 minutes.  It turned out to be a shrimp bisque and tasted so delicious that I had a cup right away, then another cup about an hour later and then a third cup another hour after than. Added to that, I was blanching some peaches to put into the freezer and decided to make a peach cobbler so I had to taste that too. 

Needless to say, I could not eat any dinner after snacking on shrimp bisque and peach cobbler. But it was so yummy, I couldn't resist. The smell of peaches and nutmeg makes me want to salivate.  These peaches were so sweet and with the addition of nutmeg, you can't blame me for taking a nice big scoop of it! I think food should be enjoyed and I get a lot of pleasure from eating my own cooking and baking which I have to say is quite good - and that's from other people's comments too.  On Saturday we also cooked some beans with salted cod fish, eggplant (also from my garden) parmesan, curried chicken, fried pumpkin (to send for Sunita), and flambeed bananas in pineapple juice. With all those heavenly but very eclectic dishes, it was hard not to want to taste all of them, but I didn't (I was too full from the bisque and cobbler).

By the time Saturday evening was done, Mom and I were tired and I promised myself that on Sunday I was going to bake a chicken and spend the rest of the day doing nothing.  Once rested on Sunday, I baked the chicken and it was such a glorious day, that I decided to pick the rest of the tomatoes from the vines.  I think with that lot, I had harvested close to 50 pounds of tomatoes from 12 vines.  It was quite amazing to have all that.  Then I decided to dig up a few carrots to see how big they were.  They were big!  Then it was a few more and a few more and before I knew it, I had dug up all of them for a rough total of about 15 pounds.  Then I started on the white onions only to realize that the bulbs did not develop past the green onion stage so I had about 5 pound of green onions!  I knew that by next week most of them would have gone bad so Mom and I cleaned and chopped the green parts and I dehydrated most of it.  I saved the white parts to make an onion and potato soup a few days later but later came right after.  I chopped the onions and a couple of potatoes (also from my garden) and made the most delicious potato and onion soup with some of my homemade chicken broth.  I brought some to work yesterday and could hardly wait till lunch!

Last night Robin dug up the potatoes - about 30 pounds.  I'm going to dehydrate some of it along with some carrots, so that in the winter when I am making soup, I can take a handful of each kind of veggie, add it to some broth with a piece of chicken or fish and maybe some barley - and I definitely can't forget the Guyanese thyme - and have a nice bowl of warmth comfort. 

Today is a rainy Fall day so a bowl of comfort will do.  What will it be today?

Oops: I forgot to mention that I experimented with green tomatoes and made achar.  I added tamarind paste to make it sour and some scorpion pepper (measures about 1.5 million on the Scoville pepper scale; Tabasco is about 30,000 and Scotch Bonnet is about 350,000) and it was incredibly delicious and fiery hot.  Now I have another whole jar of green tomato achar to last me over the winter but with it tasting so good, it may only last a few weeks.


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