Monday, July 26, 2010

Harvest Monday, July 26

It's Harvest Monday again! I've had a pretty busy week, and not all of it was in the garden. But, since this is a harvest Monday post, I'll just stick to the garden stuff. The tomatoes have decided it's time to produce. I've been able to give away quite a few, in addition to canning some. There's more out on the vines that need to be picked now, so I'll can more later, when I stay home for a few days! There have been a steady stream of squash, but not so much that I am sick of them. I concocted a new squash recipe that we inhaled. I'm still working on the instructions for that one, so I'll expand on that in another post. Here's just a few of the things I picked:

The last of the plums came off the tree this week. They're so yummy, but we didn't have many on the tree to begin with, so I was sorry to see them go. I was able to can a few more batches.

This week's total was 23.99 lbs., bringing the month's total to just over 90 lbs. Woohoo!

Plums: 4 lbs
Tomatoes: 12.75 lbs
Squash: 3.75 lbs
Basil: 1.5 lbs
Chard: .75 lbs
Kale: 1.12 lbs
3 radishes: .12 lbs

Would you like to see what other gardeners are harvesting in their gardens? Go to Daphne's Dandelions and join in on the fun. Thanks, Daphne, for hosting this. I really enjoy it!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday Ribs with Kale and Tomatoes

Dinner tonight was slow cooked ribs. They were really, really, good. Geoff put a dry rub on them after he marinaded them for a few hours. Then he barbecued them for an hour or so. Oh, they were good. Then I realized I'd better fix something to go with them, because, while ribs are tasty, they need some sort of veggie. So I cut up some tomatoes, and made..... kale chips. Ever had them? Actually, an hour before we ate them, I'd never even heard of them. My father-in-law told me about them, so I ran out (actually, I walked rather slowly) to the garden and picked myself a handful of kale and got to work.

Kale Chips

1 pound kale, rinsed, dried, cut from stem
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon barbecue seasoning

In bowl, gently mix kale with oil and bbq seasoning. Put on parchment lined cookie sheet, bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes. Check after about 10 minutes, every 5 minutes thereafter. You want the kale to be crispy but not a burned crispy.

*I think next time I'll put a wire rack sprayed with Pam on top of the cookie sheet, and put the kale on that. The parchment got wet from the oil and the moisture from the kale.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Jolly Green Giant and........ Aliens!

Big things happened here while I was gone. Unbeknown to me, it seems that The Jolly Green Giant has an onion patch next door. My neighbor brought these to me yesterday. Look at the size of these things! I weighed the one on the right, and it was over 2 lbs! Now I'm thinking of something special to do with these. Maybe Bloomin' Onions?? About 5 or 6 batches of lasagna?

And, as if a giant next door isn't enough, I think aliens landed in my garden while I was gone. A little hard to believe, I know, but I have proof. They seem to have left some sort of dry, fuzzy, fungussy sort of thing. It's growing in most of my beds.

And it's also growing in the walkways that have chips on them.

What's up with this?? Whatever it is, I don't like it, and
when I find it, I pull it up, very, very carefully. Then it turns my fingers a dark brownish color. Ewww! I want the aliens to come take it all back.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Harvest Monday, July 17

I'm putting this one up early because I'm going to be away from my garden, and computer, for a few days. I'm leaving. I'm leaving town. Actually, I'm leaving the whole state! My oldest son and I are going to visit relatives, and cut trees, and stack brush, and wander around the most beautiful country ever. I'll take pictures for you. Anyway, here's the lowdown on my harvest this week:

Plums! I picked more plums than we could eat. They are great canned, and my favorite way to eat them is cold over applesauce. I only had time for two batches, but hopefully I can get more done after I come back.

Basil..... boy, did I pick the basil! Lots and lots of basil. I made a double batch of pesto, and put it in the freezer. If it keeps producing like this, I will need to get one of those 55 gallon drum of olive oil from Sam's!

And tomatoes. This was the week for tomatoes. We had tomatoes just washed and cut up, we had tomatoes in sandwiches, we had tomatoes in omelets, and then I canned tomatoes. Please pretend there's a nice picture of jars of tomatoes on the counter. I thought I took a picture of them, but I guess I didn't. So now it's late, and I'm getting up early, and I don't want to take a picture. Please understand!

Week's total:

Plums, 13 lbs
Tomatoes, 24.75 lbs
Squash, 2 lbs
Basil, 2 lbs.
Peppers, 2 oz.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Canning Plums

I have some new followers! Welcome and thanks for reading my blog! Annie's Granny, Frugal Gardener, Manda, and Vrtlaricaana.

The plums are ripe on our plum tree, and although there's not near as much as in the past, there's still more than we can eat fresh. So, I'm canning them, to have later in the year. On top of our applesauce. Sort of turns into plumsauce. Sort of. It's really good. Anyway, this is what I've figured out over the past few years. I started out with about 12 pounds of fruit, and ended up with 14 pints, and a few plums leftover. Oh, by the way, I think these are Santa Rosa plums. I'm pretty sure, but not positive. They're really tasty!

My plums cut in half real easy, so that's what I do first. (after I wash them) Cut them in 1/4's, cutting the pit out.

This might seem like lots of work, considering how small the plums are, but it really isn't bad. Pretty soon, you get this:

Oh, don't let that last picture fool you. I'm doing a cold pack, so I won't be cooking them. This pot was just the handiest thing I had in the kitchen at the time. Anyway, I want to show you a trick I learned from my friend Cindy. Instead of making a syrup, pour sugar directly into the jar. I'm using a light to medium syrup, so I put in 1/4 cup sugar, in the bottom of each jar. You could certainly put in less. Or more! Depending on how sweet or tart your plums are, and if you like to sweeten things up or not.

Pour a small amount of hot water into each jar. Stir to dissolve. *In this picture, I am pouring hot water from my tea pot. It doesn't have to be boiling water, although it certainly can be. The water can be hot tap water, which will dissolve the sugar just fine. Just FYI, it doesn't work if you skip putting the hot water in right now. It also doesn't work if you don't stir it around to dissolve the sugar. Even though you will be boiling everything later. I know, it seems like it would, but it doesn't. I know someone who has tried that. But that's all I'm saying!

Fill each jar with plums, leaving about 1/2" of space on the top. If there's a little too much liquid, just tip the jar over the sink to get some out. I filled some of my jars too much. Be sure to pack the plums in pretty tight, they tend to get smaller when they are in the canner.

Here they are, ready to be wiped clean,and their lids and rings put on.

Ahhh, the greatest thing since sliced bread! I usually can everything outside, on my big crab cooker thingy. It's attached to a 5 gallon propane tank, and let me tell you, that thing gets hot fast! Sounds like a freight train. I put the jars in, fill it with the garden hose, and then light it up. It's a beautiful thing!!

Let it come to a boil, and then turn it down. Plums need 20 minutes for pints, so I set my trusty timer, and came back out to turn it off. I usually let it set in the water for a few minutes, but you don't have to. Here they are out of the water, ready to be taken out.

Ta Da! Here they are, rinsed and rings off, ready for their labels. I tried to print them out before I took this picture, but the printer wasn't working right. So there you have it. Pretty simple, huh? Most of the times I can, all of the jars seal. For some reason, this first batch had 2 out of the 7 didn't. But the second batch all sealed. Now there are 12 waiting labels, and 2 in the frig. Hopefully I'll do a few more batches before the weekend gets here!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Grilled French Bread with Garlic Parsley Butter

Geoff wanted to barbecue a few tri tips today. He also decided to grill some french bread, and who was I to complain?? Course, we can't have just plain french bread, so he made up this butter to spread over the bread before he grilled it. We just happened to have some garlic and onion from the garden. He whipped that in the food processor and stirred it into the butter.

I have the flat leafed parsley growing in the herb section of my garden, and he chopped up a few handfuls of that to add in. He didn't want it as fine as the food processor would do, so he chopped it with the knife. This is a pretty fine chop, because he wanted lots of little pieces, not really any big ones.

Next step: toss it into the garlic/onion/butter mix, and stir it all up together.

He tasted it, decided it needed some salt and pepper, tasted it again, and declared it done. Then I tasted it. Not because I wanted to tell him what to do, but because with that much garlic, it's best that everybody is smelling the same! Oh, just look at this, my friends! Is that not a little bowl full of love? We will definitely not have to worry about vampires now. This stuff has some punch, folks!

Grilled French Bread with Garlic Parsley Butter

1 loaf French bread, cut in half lengthwise
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) butter, room temperature
2 garlic bulbs, minced
1 small onion, minced
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves
salt and pepper to taste

Mix garlic, onion, parsley and butter in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread butter on bread. Let sit 10 minutes. Put on grill at medium to low heat. Watch closely. Turn at 2-3 minutes, grill another 2-3 minutes.

Harvest Monday, July 12th

It's Harvest Monday again! Thanks, Daphne for putting this thing on. This was a pretty hot week, so the tomatoes are going strong. I've got three varieties that have started producing; 4th of July (early), Big Mama (paste/roma type) and Red Lightning. The 4th of July plants have really started to turn, and I got quite a few of those. I've gotten about a half dozen of the Big Mamas, and I've picked 5-6 of the Red Lightnings. That last one I am hoping will be a nice one for great eating and interesting looks. So far, there's no big monster ones, but who knows, maybe they'll get bigger as the summer progresses. Here's a close up of the Red Lightning:

The summer squash have started producing. I've given a few away, although I don't feel inundated by squash yet. I planted four sets of 3-4 plants each, so the possibility is definitely there! I figure when that is getting close, I'm going to try stuffed, batter fried blossoms. I'll keep you updated on that. Anyway, here's a picture of some of the stuff I picked Sunday. I hadn't picked in a few days, and it's only a portion of the tomatoes.

This week I'll be canning some tomatoes and plums. Have you ever canned plums? They're awesome over applesauce. Oh, I have started keeping track of how much I'm getting! Here's the week's totals:

Plums .................8 lbs
Summer squash ..4 lbs 15 oz
Peppers ....................12 oz
Tomatoes .......... 10 lb 7 oz

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Chocolate Frosty

Like most people, we have been really hot here lately. No matter what we are doing, we get hot and sweaty. I've made a few frozen treats that go perfect with hot weather, when we sit under the ceiling fan and do a whole lot of nothing. Chocolate Frosty is one of them. It seriously hits the spot. And let me tell you folks, this stuff is easy to make. Trust me. You'll love it. Oh, and you don't have to tell anybody it's so easy. It'll be our secret.

Chocolate Frosty

1/2 gallon chocolate milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 small tub Cool Whip, thawed (8 oz.)

Whisk together chocolate milk and condensed milk until well mixed. Add in Cool Whip and stir until well mixed. Divide into 2 1 gallon zipper bags, and freeze for 4-6 hours. Take out of freezer and "moosh" bags until frosty is smooth instead of stiff. Pop it back into the freezer and let it freeze solid. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Voices, Heat, and Plain Jane, Homemade Lemonade

First of all, thank you, Robin, for following my blog! Welcome aboard.

I went to see my dad this afternoon. He had a doctor appointment, again, and my sister and I went with him. Yeah, we had loads of fun, then went to the pharmacy. When were leaving the pharmacy, I heard this little voice. Funny thing was, my sister heard it too! You know what it said? ............. Yogurt! Amazing that we both heard it, because the frozen yogurt place was a good two blocks away. My dad, who was waiting in the car for us, was all too happy to go with us, even though he hadn't heard the voices. Lucky he was with us, huh?? Anyway, we had frozen yogurt, went back to my dad's place, got him all comfy cozy, then we left to go home. Unfortunately for me, my car doesn't have air conditioning. It's really hot today, and by the time I got home, I was very hot, very sweaty, and very red in the face. I think a normal woman would quite possibly have died. Good thing I'm not normal! Know what revived me? The ceiling fan and my Plain Jane, Homemade Lemonade! It's amazing stuff. Try it. It's easy, tart, and it has some oomph to it. I suppose if you don't want lemonade with oomph, or are a little bit squeamish when it comes to lemon, you could back off of the juice, but really, I think it's just perfect.

Plain Jane, Homemade Lemonade

1 cup lemon juice
4 cups water, divided
1 cup sugar

Heat 1 cup of water. Stir in sugar to dissolve. Add lemon juice and the remaining 3 cups water. Stir all together. Pour over ice and enjoy.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Harvest Monday, July 5th

It's Harvest Monday at Daphne's place! This week I picked:
summer squash, tomatoes, basil, and ........ my first mild salsa peppers! Wahoo! (Happy dance!)

My glads are coming on nicely. I picked a bouquet this morning to bring into the kitchen next to the sink. These are the only glads I picked this week. I like to leave lots in the flower bed, because it's right outside the bedroom window, and when I get up every morning, I look outside and the first thing I see are flowers!

The hydrangeas are plugging along. Such a funny little flower. They're beautiful in their own special way. I can totally relate to them. These will go on the dining room table.

This is a stump. Well, actually, it's a log. From one of our eucalyptus trees we cut down on Friday. That would count for Harvest Monday, wouldn't it? We went to a potluck yesterday at a friend's house, and this is what we brought. Honest and true! Fits nicely in the fancy-schmancy car, don't you think?

And we also brought a big plate of these frosted zucchini bars. (We're not total hicks!)

Grandma's chocolate zucchini cake came along for the ride, too. I forgot to take a picture of it before, so this is the after picture. It was really good.

And last but certainly not least, Dozer would like to add his piece to this Harvest Monday post. He hadn't been allowed to roam around in the garden all week, until today. While my back was turned, he made his own personal harvest. He was a little bummed when I didn't let him finish it, but I think he's gotten over it now.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Our Weekend Eats---And More!!

Welcome thyme2garden and debiclegg! Thanks for joining my blog!

We sometimes have marathon cooking weekends. It's nice to have some chow put away for those nights I just don't feel like cooking. During the summer, there seems to be more of those than any other time of year. I get sidetracked outside, or visiting friends, or busy looking at the inside of my eyelids, or some other equally important activity. So, this weekend, hubby smoked meat. Boy, did he ever! He started the weekend with a turkey. Leftover from Thanksgiving, when turkey is cheap. (cheep?)

And then two full pork loins. I have discovered one of the fastest, simplest, yummiest dinners on earth. It involves a slice of smoked pork loin. And cheese. And a roll. And a barbecue. But I digress. That's a whole other post.

Here's two pork shoulders, beginning their yummy journey.

Those two pork shoulders will magically turn into pulled pork, after about 9 hours of smoking. Oh, I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful this stuff is!

Here's last night's dinner of smoked turkey, green beans with bacon, and tomatoes from the garden. It was yummy!

And tonight's dinner? Pulled pork, more green beans with pesto, tomatoes and cucumbers.

Yeah, we're eating pretty good. I'm getting full all over again!