Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin!

   A bacon wrapped pork loin rests just off the smoking, hot coals
 on the Weber kettle late Saturday afternoon.  We found a small loin
for a good price at Frick's grocery in Union, MO, just about the right
size for two or three dinners. 

My husband brought in the pork and let it rest a minute
before slicing.  I set the table as best I could
since I have somehow twisted my good knee.

It was nice and juicy inside, flavored with bacon juices.

 My husband whipped up a carrot, potato and onion dish
in our new baking dishes that I found at JoAnne's at 70% off!
We had leftovers Sunday night with enough to have it once again today.

I've somehow twisted my knee so I am hobbling around, it ought to 
be fun at work today. Fortunately it's my left leg so driving will be no problem.
This better clear up in the next couple of days.
I'll have to get on the recumbent bike and give it some exercise tonight. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Sauces and Pickled Peppers

My husband, Tom, was busy making salsa verde
now that our tomatillos are ripe and falling off the vine.

 For those of you that are unfamiliar with tomatillos
they grow on vines, similar to a tomato, but in pretty little husks
that look like hanging lanterns.  We grow them vertically 
on cattle panels, tying them up with twine because they get 
really tall (long?).  Once the paper husks begin to turn brown,
they release from the vine and are ready to process.
They are the light green pieces you typically find in red salsa
but can be made into a green salsa too.

The fruits are sticky to the touch when you remove the husks.
They have a slight citrus taste when eaten fresh,
but it's not like eating an orange or lemon, it's mild but
I would not eat them by themselves.

There are several recipes on line, pick one that sounds good.

We have more on the way.
There is a basket full in the fridge and more on the vine.
This was made for immediate eating so not canned.

The garden is coming through for us this year
but there are still so many green tomatoes.
I hope they ripen up pretty soon so we can get to work.

Rather than taking an entire day to can everything, 
we can here and there, small amounts that don't heat up
the kitchen too badly.  Here is some red sauce.

And pickled peppers from my husband's square foot garden.

Some of the hot peppers cross pollinated with bell peppers
so now he has bell peppers with a zing!  That's a good thing in his book.
I still have zucchini on the way and the new crop of radishes is starting to come up.

That pretty much leaves the pumpkins 
and whatever the "other" squash is that's growing
among the cucumbers and beans.  Right now it's green
but it won't take long before we figure it out.
In the meantime we'll have fun guessing.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Really Bad Recipe!

Mom came to visit for a few days, right in the middle of zucchini season.
So . . . . guess what we had for dinner?
Yep, zucchini.
Zucchini for the main course, zucchini for the side dish
Zucchini here, zucchini there- you get the idea.

Well, I will put this recipe on the Do Not Bother list.
Similar to the Do Not Call list, but for recipes.
On second thought, put it on the Do Not Call list too.
Better safe than sorry.

It was Asian Summer Salad.
It had pasta, raw zucchini, carrot and pepper, onion
and a ginger dressing.  Served cold.
Keep in mind- I did NOT cook it, 
Tom did, and he is a super wonderful cook.
I in no way influenced the taste of this dish.
And there was no taste.
There was just nothing to keep the dressing in/on the noodles.
 Once I covered it with Italian dressing and Parmesan, it was tolerable.
A completely different recipe, mind you, but we could eat it.
 Not too bad for a small side dish.
I didn't like the carrots, they were hard, since they were not cooked.
Raw zucchini was fine.

The grilled zucchini was great. 
(score one!)

I do think my husband is loosing his mind though.
He picked up Peach wine.
Not the sort of Tom-Wine that I would have expected.
I didn't care for it.  This is a good winery, I am just not a fan of peach wine-
I'd take the pie instead.

Speaking of which--
Here is the second reason I think he is losing his mind.

Ring, Ring !  ( my office phone)
Tom says "I'm going to the store, is there anything I should pick up for dinner?"
  I reply, "Why yes, we need dessert, can you pick up something
from the bakery?  Maybe a cheesecake.
If you can't find a cheesecake in the bakery, look in the freezer section."
(I didn't have time to make zucchini bread)

I get home and greet Mom.
Tom is on the porch  talking with his boss-
he's recovered from knee surgery and cleared to do lighter work-- 
not on ladders.  There might be some work coming up that he can do.
 I walk outside and say hello and get some idea of when we might eat.
He had the pasta chilling, I'll prep the zucchini but where is dessert?

 "I got a banana cream pie," he states.
No, really, where is the cheesecake?
"It's a banana cream pie."
No it's not! You're kidding.

Here is my cheesecake!
That's not a cheesecake.  
Note, it  says Banana. Cream. Pie.
Fortunately, Mom does like banana cream pie!
 All in all, most of the dinner was good 
but scratch that Asian salad!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I Was Seeing Red!

I was in a panic.
There was spilled nail polish on my floor-
my wooden floor.
Red Polish!

I've told my granddaughter, Taylor, a gazillion times, 

   Paint Your Nails at the Table
Line the Table with Newspaper!!!!

I rushed to pick it up before more leaked out. 
Just then . . . 

 I FELL for it!

Taylor and her mom had been to the wax museum downtown
and they must have had a magic shop,
or  a gift shop with practical jokes.
It was fake polish!

We all had a good laugh,
especially Taylor!

(Good thing too, because she wouldn't have been laughing
had it been real polish.)

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Sighting and the Save

I was working in the garden and thought I saw something 
out of the corner of my eye. A flash of yellow followed by 
 rustling grasses and a hint of silky brown curls diving beneath the tomatoes.
It was near the area where I saw the baby copperhead so I 
had to be very careful.  Proceed with caution.

Suddenly, from the midst of the tomatoes, 
it popped out and ran as fast as it could.
It caught me off guard so I was powerless to capture it.

 I am not exactly sure what this creature might be 
but I am certain it is searching for a mate.
 How it found my garden I"ll never know.

I did a little on line research. Now I have an idea of what I am dealing with.

It's a Sasquash!!

As if I were stalking a squash bug, I crept up real quiet like
hoping to grab the little monster and make a few bucks
selling the photos to the National Enquirer.
Just as quickly as the the thought crossed my mind,
off it went again!  Across the yard, over the drive,
around the house and down the hill.
I took off after it.  I'm not missing this opportunity.

OH OH!  The Coop!

I ran down to the coop, but it was too late.
The chicks saw it too!

Bwaaak! Bwaak!
There it is, there it is!

Don't worry girls, I'll take care of it.

 It's in the nesting box and it has the EGGS!
And look, is that a feather by its mouth?
I hope it's not too late.

I took a count. No one is missing.
Whew! What a relief.
I  took out my trusty LED flashlight and blinded the beast.
I grabbed it and threw it into the food processor, grinding it to bits.
The day was saved.

But what will become of the beast?
Hmmm, I wonder.


We are overrun with zucchini, yellow squash and now tomatoes!!
Now it's time to get into high gear and start processing.  It looks like
we may be canning every night or two for awhile.

Tom is home, recuperating from knee surgery, so he has been
getting everything prepped while I am at work.
 I got to relax and watch last night as he finished up these pints.
 Here is what he has to say-  from Facebook

This has been the coolest summer we've seen in a long, long time. Consequently, the tomatoes have been really slow about ripening. Looks like they're finally starting to be ready for picking and canning.

So, the small batch cannery is opening for another season. If everything goes right we'll be canning a few pints a night. Tomatoes, pickles, squash, peppers, beans...whatever's ready that day.

The whole idea is to stay ahead of the harvest. I don't like spending ten hours in the kitchen and that's what'll happen if we don't keep up.

The first batch of tomato sauce is simmering on the stove. The old Victorio Strainer makes short work of the fruit. We bought this at the parish garage sale a few years ago for $5 and it's become a cornerstone of the season. Great tool! They still make them today, albeit with a bit more plastic. Our is from the '70's. We know the lady that donated it to the church so we got a little history with the tool.

We've bought a few more pieces for it so now it'll process berries, grapes, pumpkins...just about anything we grow.

 He made a fantastic spaghetti sauce the other night,
full of our own basil and tomatoes.

He sliced our zucchini and yellow squash into thin ribbons
coupled with red onions.  We found a recipe for refrigerator
squash pickles on line so we're testing this jar to see how we like it.  
If it tastes as good as it looks, we'll can a few jars.

Lastly, an update on our peaches.
If you remember this photo from the last post,
this is the first year we really had good sized peaches.
 Guess how many I have now!!!!

Well, that is not quite true.  I have three.
Three badly deformed, bug eaten peaches
and, a lot of pits all over the ground.

Maybe, they got all but the above mentioned three that
were up on the highest branch. 

As my husband said about our garden losses: 
 I like to think that we're just converting vegetables to meat for the fall.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Snake on the Cukes

 I took a little garden walk to see how things were shaping up.
This is one of the first years we have decent sized peaches,
although I still have little to no hope of eating any.
The raccoon have stolen and half eaten several, the 
remains scattered beneath the tree.  Bugs are making their
way to the fruit too but still, it's nice to see at least the start of fruit.

I quickly snapped this shot just as the butterfly was 
landing on the zinnias over at the big garden.  

We use cattle panels to attach any plant that can grow
vertically to save room and keep things orderly.  
I have cucumbers, beans, a volunteer cherry
tomato (that is tending to vine) plus THIS!
Is it a volunteer squash or 
I really don't know at this point but I"ll keep watch.

As I was keeping watch over this long cucumber,
I saw something unusual but didn't capture it on camera.
I must have been one of the pantyhose ties, similar to
the one pictured here, that allows a little wiggle room
as the plants mature.

But the one I saw was curled around the cucumber vines.
It had little dark bow ties running down its back,
and it had eyes.
My pantyhose don't have eyes.

Copperhead baby!

Great.  A baby copperhead is just as bad, 
if not worse, than a copperhead mama or papa.
They don't usually kill you in Missouri although we
just had a recent case where a man died, being bitten
several times. He went into anaphylactic shock.
Mostly, you need to get treatment and will be real sick.

It isn't unusual for us to have copperheads
but they are not typically wound around my cucumber vines.
They like to sun on our retaining wall blocks
so we just move them back into the woods, if possible.
I'll have to be extra careful as I gather my harvest.
I will poke around with a stick first.


On the brighter side, I have my little side garden that
has the beginning of a cuke!  

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Eggsactly What is Going On?

Now I know my chicks love me!
I received pretty little presents from them 
since I've been tending to them while my husband
is recuperating from knee surgery.

When I go down to the coop, I bring treats!!
Green leafy treats, juicy squashy treats, 
sometimes growing in the wild kind of treats
  which they find the yummiest.

Normally I have all brown eggs since we migrated to Buffs.
There is an old Araucana but she is pretty old.
We have two cross breeds though so I think the blue is
coming out on occasion, none of them is a youngster.

Then, out of the blue
(excuse the pun)
they presented me with a tiny brown egg.
Cute and adorable to say the least,
but we'd need about 20 to make a decent omelet!

My husband says I've spoiled them.
He tried to put the chicks up before we went
to our friend's house last night; however, when
they heard someone approaching, they all ran out
to see what treats may be headed their way.
 We had to leave them out and he tracked back 
later to lock up their coop.  We're pretty secure
but you don't like to take chances, especially
with the new fox that has appeared in the yard.

See!  Here they are.
"What did you bring us today?"

( We don't wash our eggs until we are ready to use them
unless they are horribly dirty.)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A PotOMeat and Squashes

I'll be the first to admit that I am not much of a meat eater,
not quite a vegetarian either- 
because there is Bacon- you can't turn down bacon!
That being said, my husband makes the BEST
St Louis pork steaks ever-- tender,
gooey, Malls BBQ sauce covered pork steaks.

They are fall of the bone good,
especially paired with zucchini or yellow squash.
Here we marinated sliced zucchini in Italian dressing,
and put them on the grill after seasoning.

(It is at this point that he left me in charge of the grill
which was soon engulfed in flames as the Italian 
dressing dripped onto the hot coals.  
Never, never leave me in charge of the bbq!)

The yellow squash was mixed with sausage, bacon,
tomatoes, onion and cheese.  Then wrapped in foil and grilled.
The deviled eggs are compliments of our chicks.
Tom has me add Durkee's Famous Sauce that 
gives them a little tang.  I just cut down the mayo
or mustard (or a little of both) and add the Durkee's.
It is sort of between a mayo and a mustard.

Another favorite was baked zucchini, marinaded
in dressing, sprinkled with seasonings and covered
in cheese that melted all over the top!

Paired with a piece of cheesy Texas toast, it was 
a perfect meal!  
(Tom would say it was missing meat)

I've got a fridge full of squash so I better get busy
making some pickled squash, squash muffins, squash bread
and whatever else I can find on line!