Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Jars of Sunshine

It's morning here on the farm. Summer is in full swing with rows of sunflowers lifting their heads and singing their happy aria. While the sun is not so hot these last few days, I have been doing my best to capture sunshine in a bottle, or should I say jar.

I've been canning fruits in preparation for the dark months ahead. They are coming. There is a real fullness right now that makes me a little lazy. With so much abundance, I feel as though I'm surrounded by a thick, cushy cloud of contentment. I am doing my best these days to take note of that content
ment. I want to be really familiar with it. I keep visiting this place in my mind, running over its ground attempting to know its every curve and nuance. I want to know it so that I can go there whenever I need to. And I know I will need to.

Today, take a wonderful moment and rest in it.

Too often we are so busy that we forget to stop and collect our peace. But practicing your peace makes it so you can render your "piece" more effectively to the whole. Being you is so much more enjoyable--for everyone-- when you know peace. So gather your peace and store it up. When rainy days come you can pop open a jar of sunshine for yourself or a weary soul.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Swiss Chard Pie

Tourte de Blettes a La Nicoise
by Richard Olney


  • Provencal Pastry Dough
  • 2 lb Swiss Chard, parboiled, squeezed dry, chopped
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 freshly grated parmesan
  • 1/4+ teaspoon salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Prepare the Provencal Pastry Dough and chill for about an hour (this adds two hours to your prep as the dough must rest and hour before chilling).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl combine chard, eggs, cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Using your hands, mix thoroughly.

Lightly oil 10 inch round baking dish. Roll out 1/2 your dough on a lightly floured  surface. Drape over the edge of your pan and press into the bottom evenly allowing edges to hang over slightly. 

Mound chard filling in the center and push out to the edges. Roll out remaining dough and transfer to the top of the pie. 

At the point you can do one of two things:
  • trim the edges before pinching the top and bottom together.
  • OR, if you like crust, roll the edges and pinch for a nice crispy edge.
Crimp your edges of the pie.  Use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut four or five steam vents in the pie top.  Brush the surface of the rim lightly with oil.

Put in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Cook's Note:
You can always try to get creative with pie edges.  Look around your kitchen for something that will leave  an interesting design.  Look at your trivets, spoon edges, etc.

Parboiling is the process of dropping something into boiling water.  you allow it to cook until it just begins to soften and remove BEFORE it is fully cooked.  Essentially you are beginning the cooking process and finishing it elsewhere.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pears Canned in Light Syrup

For every quart you are canning, you will need:
  • 2 1/2 pounds of excellent pears
  • 2 tbl. lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
Put the sugar and water in a pot and bring the mixture slowly to the boiling point. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Keep your pot of syrup on a low heat and cover. This keeps it from evaporating.

Peel and quarter your pears, removing any seeds with a melon baller or a spoon. Put them in sterilized canning jars.  Immediately pour the lemon juice over them to avoid discoloration. Fill the jars with hot syrup leaving 1/2 inch of headroom and process for 30 minutes in a boiling water bath.

You can use this over desserts, on salads, or by themselves.
These are very lightly sweetened.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Provencal Pastry Dough

This dough is typical of provincial, or southern France.  it is versatile and can be used for all sorts of tarts.  Its texture is due largely to the addition of olive oil. A wonderful French dough to commit to memory.


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • large pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 luke warm water
  • additional flour for rolling
Place flour and salt in a bowl and mix well with a fork. Add wet ingredients and mix with a fork.  Knead the dough in the bowl using your knuckles until the dough is soft and consistent (this means it is all the same smooth texture).
Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and leave at room temp before rolling out.

Cook's Note
Pay close attention to the temp of water your recipes ask for, especially when making various doughs.  This has a profound effect on the results.

Most doughs must rest for a bit.  Read your recipe and work your other prep time around the wait.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Don't throw away the past
  You might need it some rainy day
      Dreams can come true again
                     When ev'rything old is new again.
                                                                                  -Hugh Jackson