Monday, August 30, 2010

Fruit Flies-Catch & Release

This is totally gross, but I know I am not the only one this has happened to. Com on....admit have had fruit flies in your house too! Haven't you? Well, even if you haven't you may one day. So this post isn't necessarily about a recipe for cooking, but it is a recipe for catching those nasty fruit flies that invaded my ever so important kitchen. Those annoying flies came about because of all the summer garden tomatoes I told you about, that have piled up, and that I am now trying to can for future use. There are a number of different traps that you can try, but I'll let you know what has worked for me and what hasn't. These are all "pennyless" and green ways to get rid of those little pests.
First and foremost, obviously get rid of the fruit that is causing those nasty flies to do the nasty and make more nasty fruit flies. Second, thoroughly clean the entire kitchen; wiping down countertops with vinegar, and make sure there is no exposed fruit anywhere else.
Third, when I say clean entire kitchen I mean ENTIRE kitchen, no dirty dish rags or towels laying around, wipe down outside of refrigerator from top to bottom and the dish washer and the trash can; make sure the trash can is also empty or covered.
Fourth, my favorite, time to set the traps!

One trap that I tried was filling the sink with soapy water. This attracted some of the flies, but not all would land in it. Two landed in it and drowned.
Another trap tried is putting a piece of an apple in a plastic bag that you can zip up. This attracts the flies, but not all would venture into the bag, and it was hard to zip up the bag fast enough to catch them and then release them outside.
The trap that worked the best for me was placing a few grapes that were beginning to rot (or any other piece of fruit would work) in the bottom of a plastic cup . The key is patience, which I don't always have, especially when it comes to bugs in the house! I found the place where these flies were congregating and placed the cup there. I also had the idea to cover the bottom of the cup with honey and then placing the grapes on top of the honey. After an entire day the flies started getting brave and went to the bottom of the cup; some got stuck in the honey and drowned which made it easy. Once the flies got inside the lip of the cup I quickly slammed a plastic plate on top of the cup and went outside to release them. I surprisingly even got a house fly with this trap! Make sure to replace the fruit every day or so. This process is repeated over and over until there are no more; it can take up to 10 days. I know 10 days! But it's worth it to get those things out of the house, and so I can use my kitchen, the "pennyless" way of course, in peace!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Summertime Gazpacho

My husband and I recently finished "The 3-Day Cleanse" by the founders of "BluePrintCleanse"; ever heard of it? More on this in the meal the founders recommended to prepare your body for the cleanse is Gazpacho. I grew up eating this during the summer as a child, but had kind of forgotten about this healthy, inexpensive, and don't forget tasty, cold soup. There are so many variations of Gazpacho so here is my "pennyless" version. It's ideal for the summertime and using up those summer tomatoes, and other vegetables as well!

-1 cucumber , peeled, seeded, and diced
-1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
-1 jalapeno (optional)
-3 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
-1-2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (regular vinegar can be substituted just use less)
-2 cloves of garlic
-3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
-2 teaspoons of Sea salt
-1 avocado peeled and diced
-Freshly ground black pepper
Place 1/2 cup and cucumber and 1/2 cup of green bell pepper in a bowl to the side. Place all remaining ingredients, minus the avocado, in a food processor and pulse until smooth. This may take a few minutes. Pour in large bowl and mix in diced cucumber and green bell pepper. Garnish with avocado, a drizzle of olive oil and more ground black pepper. Serve cold or at room temperature.

You can certainly add whatever vegetables you want to this cold soup and pulse those until smooth. Zucchini, squash, and eggplant would be delicious, especially after sauteing in a bit of olive oil.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Summer Tomatoes

A dear, dear friend to me has fresh, garden tomatoes growing out of her ears, like some of you probably, and needs some recipes so they don't go to waste. So here is one of my recipes I shared with her, now I want to share it with you.

Simple Tomato Sauce

-28 oz can of whole peeled/crushed/diced/halved cherry tomatoes* (if your using homegrown fresh summer tomatoes squeeze to get all the seeds out in a small bowl; preserve as much juice as possible)
-3 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
-3-4 tbsp of fresh chopped basil (use much less if dried, but there's really no substitute for the flavor with fresh basil)
-1 diced sweet onion
-Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
-1 clove of garlic
-Fresh, grated Parmesan cheese
-Sea salt
-Fresh ground black pepper

Add olive oil to a hot, deep skillet. Add onion until soft or caramelized**. Add garlic until it just sizzles. Add red pepper flakes next if desired. Then add your tomatoes-if using whole peeled; crush up with a potato masher until you get the consistency you desire. Otherwise pour the can or fresh tomatoes in and reduce to a simmer & cover for about 10-15 minutes. Boil your choice of pasta until al dente, drain & do not rinse-you want to keep the starchiness of your pasta so the tomato sauce will stick and soak into the noodles. Pour pasta into the skillet and mix until pasta is covered. Add basil, salt and pepper and Parmesan cheese (it's cheaper in the long run to buy a wedge of cheese and grate over meals as needed. It keeps forever, and you can freeze the rind to add to soups in the future, which gives massive flavor).

I'll be posting more ways to use up those summer tomatoes soon, but if any of you have any other recipes please share.....I'm getting hungry and my tomatoes just keep staring me down!

*If using cherry tomatoes there is no need to cook these. Simply cut in half, toss in hot pasta immediately and the tomatoes will cook by the heat of the pasta. Then add pasta with the tomatoes to the skillet with the oil. Drizzle more olive oil here if desired.

**Here is also where you can add other veggies; finely diced carrots, broccoli, etc. This makes the sauce more meaty; it's healthier and lasts longer. The veggies would be best when you make a thicker sauce using the whole peeled or crushed tomatoes.