Day Twenty-Three ~ Peppers and Tomatillos

As we get nearer to cold weather, my food preservation efforts have stepped into high gear. Stanley walked into the kitchen today and said something like "Wow, it looks like food processing plant in here", and indeed it did. Tomatoes in the crock pot cooking down into sauce, tomatillos and poblanos roasting in the oven, bell peppers being cut and frozen, the first apples of the year being made into sauce.... lots to do. The weather turned cool at just the right time. Two weeks ago I couldn't have stood to be in the kitchen with the burners and stove going all afternoon. Today it was cool enough outside that the extra warmth was pleasant.

Today was the first time ever that I've had the crock pot and the food processor out and running at the same time.

My newest method for making tomato sauce is to pick the ripest tomatoes, cut them up into large chunks in the crock pot until the pot is full, cook them for a day and a half, put them through the food mill, and then bag and freeze them. All together, I have way more tomatoes than what can fit into the crock pot, but they don't ripen all at once. If I keep filling the crock pot over and over and cooking it in small batches it's been easier and it allows me to use up a little at a time as the tomatoes reach full ripeness.

This is what was in the food processor. Roasted tomatillos. I picked these at The Tree Farm yesterday, and today I roasted them in a hot oven and processed them for freezing.

Just a few seconds in the food processor yielded this beautiful chunky green sauce. I froze it in bags without adding anything - that way we can use it as a base and add spices and flavors to it when we cook with it.

I did keep a little out of the freezer for tonight's dinner..... but first let me tell you that breakfast today was first (at 8am) a half of a muskmelon, and then at 10am a bowl of yogurt with freshly made and still warm applesauce, hickory nuts, flax, and maple syrup. The applesauce was just perfect for the cool morning., and it made the house smell wonderful.

OK, dinner. This was a good one.

Willow Creek pork chops with red bell peppers, roasted poblanos, onions, and big hunks o garlic...

Smothered in pureed tomatillos and slow cooked in the oven.

While it was cooking I made two big chapatis using local flour. These are an Indian flatbread made using whole wheat flour, water, salt, and a little oil. You make a simple dough, knead it briefly, roll it out, and then cook it in a cast iron skillet. I know about these from backpacking with my parents - they probably learned about it in the 70's hippy days. They are good, and they provided the perfect tortilla-like accompaniment to the pork.

The finished product. Yum. Tomatillos are a little sour on their own, so surprisingly I didn't miss the lime juice that I would normally add to a dish like this. We ate it with the chapatis and sweet corn on the cob.

For dessert I made an apple crisp. Since sugar is off limits, I had to make something up that used only maple syrup and honey. I cut the apples into small pieces and first mixed them with a little honey, then I topped them off with a crumbly mixture of flour, butter, chopped hickory nuts, maple syrup, and a little salt. I have no idea what proportions I used - when I make a crisp topping I generally just keep adding things until the consistency is right. This was a little different since there was no sugar, but topped with a little whipped cream it was delicious.

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