Raspberry Vinaigrette

I’ve been so busy with school and work I’ve barely been cooking, let alone making anything worth posting about.  The most I’ve done on the weekends is bake bread, make applesauce, apple butter, and pumpkin puree.  I did pickle some hot peppers and have a bunch of little hot pepper plants growing like weeds under my grow light.  My rosemary is finally growing thanks to a friend’s organic fertilizer (thanks Claude!) and both lemon trees are doing well, although one of them is no longer a resident of my apartment.  I am trying to sprout some apple seeds currently and would totally plant a pumpkin seed when I puree the last 3 pumpkins I have if I wasn’t terrified of it taking over my livingroom.

On non-food related news, I have a real livingroom now!  Claude and Dallas were generous and wonderful enough to give me their entertainment unit and were at my place for about 2 hours on Monday evening helping me move everything around.  My computer desk is now in my bedroom and then tv, ps3 and ps2 are all in the livingroom on the entertainment unit.  I can now look for a coffee table and end tables!  So excited! 

Back to food…I have been searching for months for a salad dressing I love that I can make at home.  I finally found it this weekend.  I made a homemade raspberry vinaigrette for our thanksgiving supper and I adore it.  I’ve never liked storebought raspberry vinaigrettes before so it was surprising.  It’s simple to make and I have all the ingredients at home, amazingly.  It keeps well in the fridge, and just needs a shake or whisk to put it back together for serving. 

Raspberry Vinaigrette

2 tbsp homemade raspberry sauce (basically try to make raspberry jam but don’t add enough sugar or pectin for it to set, lol)

1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar

1 tbsp White Vinegar

1/8 cup Olive Oil

1/8 cup Canola Oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Wisk the raspberry sauce and vinegars together.  Slowly drizzle in the oils, whisking constantly.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Stores well in the fridge, just shake or whisk before serving.

Thinking ahead to Winter Part 1 – Freezing

This is the first year ever where I’ve had my own apartment and really want to start canning and preserving things for winter.  The easy stuff is making sure I have fruit prepared and in the freezer for winter green smoothies and baking. I’m going to be doing a 2 part series on preparing foods for winter.  This is the first post and will be all about freezing food for later use.  I mostly freeze my own berries, I usually buy pre-frozen veggies.

I found a place just north of the city that has u-pick raspberries that will be ready in a few weeks.  These people purchased the land last fall and found out that there’s 5 acres of raspberry bushes!  They’re also selling plants, but I don’t have anywhere to grow a raspberry bush so unfortunately can’t take advantage of that, but at least I can go pick my own raspberries.  Raspberries don’t travel well and go bad very quickly after they’re picked so it’s impossible to buy a large quantity from the grocery store, especially if you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for them.  My plan for the raspberries is one ice cream pail frozen and a batch of raspberry jam.  I looooove raspberry jam, but store-bought is never sour enough for me.

The other frozen goods I’m planning on are strawberries, blueberries and I still have rhubarb from last year.  I’m now thinking that I should maybe go pick my own corn and freeze a bunch of that…that’d be good too, I love sweet corn and add it to pretty much everything!

Frozen stuff is easy to prepare.  First you wash everything and make sure you got rid of any bugs/dirt if you picked them or got them directly from a farmer.  If you’re doing strawberries, you then remove the green tops and cut them into halves or quarters, depending on the size of the berries.  Once they’re cut, and for every other berry, the next step is to line a large sheet pan with parchment paper or saran wrap and spread out the berries in one layer.  If you have more then one layer worth, make sure you put another layer of parchment paper or saran wrap in between the layers.  The point of freezing them in one layer is so that they don’t freeze into one huge chunk of berry, making it easier later on to take out the amount you need while cooking.  Place sheet pan in the freezer and let freeze till solid.  Once they’re frozen, store in ziploc bags or 4L Ice cream pails.  My preference is Ice Cream Pails.

I usually try to have at least one ice cream pail of raspberries, and two ice cream pails each of blueberries and strawberries.  Strawberries and blueberries are integral ingredients in my green monsters.  If I can find nice peaches I would probably do some of those as well, but they require blanching which I’m not terribly familiar with but can probably get my mom to help.