Category Archives: Garden
We’ve had a few killing frosts so soups and stews are going to feature more so than usual. Mmm… it’s a good day for chili! This has chorizo and ground beef with the usual beans and tomato bits with green chilies. I added some semi dried red chilies from a plant the frost killed. I’ll be gathering all of them soon and will dry them for flakes and a few I’ll leave whole for those dishes where they are expected.
Mmm… green beans and ham. The meat is some of the cured pork that we buy whenever we go up to the processor about an hour north of where we live. They bag and freeze chunks that are analogous to bacon ends. I’m not sure what their curing method is, soaking in a brine is my guess, then smoking for a spell.Mrs J is getting serious about wrapping up the patio container garden. I picked most of the peppers. The small sweet peppers are great for pickling – I have been using a simple water/vinegar/sugar pickle. The habs and the Anaheims were frozen whole. I noticed the jalapenos were starting to wrinkle so they got the same pickling as the little grape sized peppers. Still to go are a bunch of cayennes, and the ornamental tri-color peppers that have proved to be hot hot hot. Some other tri-colored peppers have no heat at all.They brought this long haired chihuahua to the shelter the other day. He was found running free by the roadside with his son. No tags or owner. They think he’s about 8 years old. Heartworm positive, he’ll be there a while, his son has been adopted and he is all alone.A neighbor called yesterday evening, telling Mrs J there was a momma cat and her kittens abandoned by the road. She found the mom and three kittens right away. They were hungry. Another sweep through the same area found three more kittens.They all seem to be healthy. We have them all in the back barn for now, all set up with litter boxes and bedding.Bookending the post with beans. These are red beans and rice. Kroger surprised me the other day with Andouille sausage. I bought a ring and used it here. Just about the perfect addition to the classic bean dish. I tossed in a few boneless chicken thighs to keep the sausage company.
My local Kroger store surprised me with lamb patties but I dithered about using them until tonight when I threw this dinner together. The yogurt came from one of those little cups – plain Greek yogurt with dried dill weed added and a little garlic. I’ve been collecting olives, the plate tonight has three kinds: Baby kalamatas, country style cracked green olives, and stuffed manzanillas. The garden is still producing tomatoes but the nights have been cooler so they will be coming to an end. Love them with feta and kosher salt.
From the kitteh playroom at St Francis. Somebody has to do it.This may be the last hummer of the season. We’ll keep a feeder up because birds passing through late may need a little something. I think we saw one in November last year.The last pastrami we made was so good I put another corned beef out in the electric smoker and set it for 175 degrees. It spent the night out there cooking. When I went to retrieve it for steaming I was shocked to see the thermometer stuck into the top vent reading past 300 degrees. Thermostat fail! I hoped to salvage a little and managed to save enough for a couple sammiches. The pups were not a bit disappointed as they got most of it. The manufacturer has a good customer support staff and they are sending me a new module.A bowl of ripe Anaheims. The mature red peppers are a little bit hotter than the green ones but not by much. I may dry these to see how well they work for a pepper sauce for enchiladas and such.
Shrimp fried rice with a few more of those dumplings I bought frozen at the International Grocery. I think these were chicken and veggie. They can be boiled or steamed. Pan frying works but you have to pay more attention to the process. I opted to steam these because I am lazy and a neighbor had dropped in for a chat.
The mini sweet pepper bushes are producing scads of small peppers. A while back I dropped a few into a refrigerator pickle I have going with cherry peppers and they did very well. I started a new pickle with these, equal parts white vinegar and sugar with a half teaspoon of salt per cup of solution.Made a big pot of chicken noodle soup the other day, and baked a loaf of white bread to go with it. Crackers are good and all but wouldn’t you rather dip a nice warm slice of bread into the broth?Here’s a pretty kitteh. Biscuit was sent home with a family but they brought her back after a couple of days. Mrs J says she hasn’t a clue as to why other than they just changed their mind about wanting a cat. Shame, she seems well socialized though is not much of a lap kitty. She likes to play feather on a string and all the other usual games.Here’s a nice cheesesteak sammich with a few of those little peppers. I used a little different method on these. Usually I just cook the meat with just salt and pepper but I used a simple marinade on the thinly sliced strips today: Olive oil, soy sauce, some A-1, black pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. Not a huge difference but it turned out well enough to go ahead with a marinade the next time, too.
The little smashed potatoes worked well with this. Boil the potatoes until they can be smashed easily with a spatula then pop them into hot oil. I had the deep fryer going for another project so I used it but they would fry nicely in a skillet with olive oil. The golden potatoes are good for this. That tomato was from the garden but I don’t know how much longer we’ll have them. We decided to rip out all but one tomato bush because I am done with canning sauces and juices and ketchup and soup. Last year was a near total loss for tomatoes so this year we planted extra fearing a repeat but it may have been the best year ever. I’ve been boiling down 3 5-gallon buckets per week for the last month and more and I deem our supply sufficient.
Playing around with strobes this evening. There are two behind the jars of jelly. I made the green this morning and got it too stiff, fearing a replay of the red jelly that turned out too syrupy. I redid some of the red with a new batch of pectin and managed to get it too thick as well, Sigh. Weather permitting I will get one more chance to get it right with jalapenos. Almost did a batch with red ripe Anaheims but went with the green jalapenos in the end.
I debated what to do with the jalapenos growing in the container garden out front on the patio. I have tons of these pickled or frozen and the jelly option finally won me over. Most of the recipes feature green jalapenos but I think the red ones are better looking. I needed to use them before they softened. I caught these at the firm and juicy stage.I followed this recipe closely, using cane sugar and the “no sugar” pectin hoping to get a nice firm jelly. Too soon yet to say how it will look tomorrow. The little bit I had leftover is still a bit runny, albeit still warm. It can take overnight before jellies set properly so I have hopes that these will firm up. It has a great flavor but more of a bite than Mrs J will abide so I will eat some of these myself and give a few away.I ended up with six half pint jars rather than the five the recipe mentions as the expected yield. That may impact the pectin ratio enough to deny me my hoped for jell-o jiggle.