Saturday, August 23, 2014

Recipe: Easy Homemade Vegetable Tomato Juice (like V8 Juice, but better)

Easy Homemade V8 Juice (Vegetable Tomato Juice) - FarmgirlFare.com
Bye bye, V8 juice! This healthy, homemade V4 version will blow you away (recipe here).

Wow, it's hot out there. Two weeks in the 90s, blazing sun, and not a drop of rain. I think today it's supposed to hit 99 degrees (Joe won't let me look at the forecast) and stay there into next week. Despite twice daily watering, pretty much everything in my kitchen garden is looking haggard and unhappy. I'm drenched in sweat, and the fields are crunchy and parched. How can it be so dry and humid at the same time?

The sheep spend their days camped out in the shade, and the chickens are laying around panting. This may just be a typical late August in Missouri, but I can't help dreaming of cool breezes and a nice big thunderstorm. I'm sure they'll be here one of these days.

In the meantime, a chilled glass of this easy homemade vegetable tomato juice is a refreshing way to drink your garden veggies and keep up your stamina while working out in the heat.

This flavorful, rejuvenating juice is like Campbell's V8 juice but much better, and it's been one of the most popular recipes on Farmgirl Fare since I originally posted it back in 2008. Did you know V8 juice is mostly made from water and tomato paste, plus a frightening amount of salt?

Technically my gardener's delight version is only V4, though you could certainly add more vegetables, such as beets, spinach, carrots, or sweet peppers, if you like. Either way, the homemade version will blow that V8 away.

To make it, all you do is chop everything up and toss it into a pot, simmer until soupy, then put it through a food mill. It's a great way to use up overripe, imperfect, or just plain ugly tomatoes, which you can sometimes find for a deal at farmers' markets—or languishing in your own garden.

This juice will keep for at least a week in the fridge, or you can preserve it in glass jars (canning instructions are included in the recipe) to enjoy the taste of vine-ripened tomatoes on a deep winter day, when the heat and sweat of summer are nothing but a distant memory.

Stay cool if you can.

P.S. Quick and Easy Gazpacho (totally refreshing, chilled tomato vegetable soup) and Simple No-Cook Fresh Tomato Pasta Sauce with Basil, Capers, and Kalmata Olives (escape to the Italian countryside!)

Friday, August 08, 2014

Summer Recipe: Savory Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Pesto Pie with an Easy Cheesy Biscuit Crust

Savory tomato, mozzarella, and basil pesto pie with an easy cheesy biscuit crust - FarmgirlFare.com
Scared of pie dough? This easy biscuit crust is perfect for beginners (recipe here).

It's become an annual tradition to give this longtime favorite recipe from the Farmgirl Fare recipe archives a little summer shout out. My San Marzano tomatoes are finally starting to ripen and the basil plants are growing like mad; I can't wait to make one of these scrumptious pies. Enjoy!

Do tomatoes and basil say summer to you? Do you love pesto and savory pies and melted mozzarella cheese? Then you'll want to celebrate the bounty of summer with this Savory Tomato and Basil Pesto Pie.

This is one of my most popular recipes, and men seem to especially like it. The other day my friend Susan in Vermont said, "I'm making your tomato pesto pie for dinner tonight. I made it last week, and my husband fell in love with me all over again." You'll find more rave reviews below.

When my pal Finny, who has been known to live by the motto All pie, all the time, first made it back in 2006, she added a layer of insurance for her meat loving husband—cooked and crumbled Italian sausage. How brilliant is that?

If you want to try adding some, too, you'll find my easy recipe for homemade Italian sausage here (no casings required!), and there are helpful step-by-step photos of Finny's version of this pie here, which she makes every year with Brandywine and Better Boy tomatoes from her garden (warning: Finny uses bad words).

If you're scared of pastry crust, you're going to love this recipe. The  biscuit dough is practically foolproof, and the pie itself is easy to make but looks impressive and tastes delicious.

Don't believe me? Below is a sampling of rave reviews from the comments section. Thanks so much to all of you who take the time to come back and report on my recipes. And thanks for pinning them on Pinterest too!

Read the Savory Tomato Pesto Pie reviews below. . .