Category Archives: Garden

Tidbits

DSC_4986 (1600x1060)Homer has been an outside kitty lately because of his ongoing battle with Toby.  He does come in everyday to spend time but gets ousted if he acts up.  I think he may be mellowing a bit – the cuddle on the sofa with Bitsy was rare enough that I thought a photo was warranted.DSC_9402 (1600x1060)I picked all the remaining jalapenos so Mrs J could take the pot away and dump the old potting soil.  I sliced and froze these.DSC_9390 (1600x1060)A couple of tacos with guac and sour cream and a few of the last peppers.  I think these were ground beef cooked in a mole made from dried ancho peppers.  More of that sauce is on top, covering the lettuce, tomatoes, and cheddar.DSC01113 (1600x1200)Here are those pups from the other day that were smiling for the camera.  Mrs J says they are terrier poodle crosses.DSC01086 (1600x1200)They are really rocking their little doggie sweaters.DSC01106 (1600x1200)I think she said they were eight weeks old and would be released for adoption pretty soon.  I bet they go fast.DSC_9429 (1600x1060)Here’s a sammich I made the other day.  I had a chunk of hot coppa in the freezer that I thawed and sliced thin.  It also has traditional ham, a slice of roast pork, provolone, and various veggies in a vinaigrette made with dijon and balsamic vinegar.DSC_9416 (1600x1060)This looks like spaghetti and meatballs but the meat is just sliced link Italian sausage.  The sauce was from this year’s tomatoes and has a lot of Parmesan in it.  Good stuff.DSC_9431 (1600x1060)It’s been ages since I made bread in my machine.  This loaf really puffed up when it baked, I thought it might raise the lid before it quit growing.  The soup is a basic chicken noodle made with wide egg noodles and various veggies.  I always add too many noodles to the pot.

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Tidbits

DSC00724 (1600x1200)I was startled the other day when my smart phone went nuts with a loud warbling alarm that I was sure I hadn’t set.  I scrambled over to it and found that it was relaying a tornado warning from the National Weather Service.  We dodged the tornado but did get some big wind, we had some trees damaged and lost power when several power poles up the road a ways were knocked down.20141013_162909[1] (1600x1060)The electric company crews were quickly on scene and had the power back in just a few hours.  Good thing the damage was localized and not widespread – they must of had 10 utility vehicles out for these few poles.DSC00783 (1600x1060)Here’s a kitty for you, part of a new litter at St Francis.  Kitteh has four siblings:DSC00774 (1600x1200) Mrs J says kitteh momma is a real gem!DSC_9273 (1600x1060)These are Cubano style sammys, pastrami instead of ham, provolone, roast pork, yellow mustard and pickles.  It was done up in a small grill press.DSC_4909 (1600x1060)Here’s Homer!  He’s sad because the garden is getting a little long in the tooth.DSC_9269 (1600x1060)A basic burger on a poppy seed roll.  I still have a jalapeno growing on the patio but Mrs J has her sights set on it and I won’t be able to hold her off much longer.  You just can’t beat a fresh jalapeno.  The sides are from the store deli counter, a German potato salad and a slaw they had labeled as a summer salad.  I recognized it a a dish we tried to replicate a while back.  It’s good.DSC00737 (1600x1060)Here’s another kitteh.  He’s not one from the litter above.  Mrs J says they have a lot of cats and kittens at the shelter and they are running out of room.  (hint hint)

Sammich Pr0n – Sloppy Joe with Cheese

DSC_9261 (1600x1060)Nothing beats sloppy joes for easy eating.  Mrs J said to pick the peppers from the patio containers because she was cleaning up and wanted to get rid of the way past their prime plantings.  I roasted and chopped a few of the Anaheims and a couple of poblanos and added them to onions and a can of tomato bits and added all that to browned ground beef.  It looked enough like the chili we have been eating all week that I stayed away from chili seasonings and went with Sweet Baby Ray’s bbq sauce and catsup. The cheese is about the last of the shredded cheddar and jack, I started with a big bag and used it all week long.

Cat on a Hot Pepper Bush

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Stuffed Peppers

DSC_9123 (1600x1060)So then, what to stuff these babies with was the question.  There are many more recipes out there than I had peppers for so I stuck close to the basic recipe of tomatoes + meat + rice, after toying with one that featured an egg baked on the top.  Maybe sometime…DSC_9133 (1600x1060)

I made two versions today, one with sauteed grape tomatoes and pancetta and the other with crumbled Italian sausage and roasted grape tomatoes.  Don’t ask which is which in the photo, though if pressed I would say the pancetta variant is in the foreground.  Both recipes combined the meat plus tomato with brown rice and shredded mozzarella.  They baked at 400 for about 25 minutes, more shredded mozzarella added to the top during the last few minutes.DSC_9135 (1600x1060)I didn’t parboil the peppers, hoping they would turn out soft enough.  I think they were just right.  I cut the first pepper right down the middle but that resulted in a pair of pepper platters rather than two bowls so I ended up cutting about a third off of the remaining peppers and using the two thirds left for filling and baking.  I opened a jar of my famous Awesome Sauce to pour into the bottom of the casserole.  It was pretty thick and was looking to dry out and burn so I splashed a little water in there when the cheese topping went on.  Both versions were tasty.  Mrs J couldn’t pick a favorite, liking them both equally.

Tidbits

DSC_9071 (1600x1060)We took another stab at fried pies using the cherry filling-in-a-tube.  They work a lot better using Mrs J’s recipe for the crust instead of the pre rolled pie crusts we tried a while back.  There will be more pie:DSC_9125 (1600x1060)These are the tubes of fillings I mentioned:  From L to R,  Banana, Lemon, and Chocolate.  They’ll make a ton of fried pies.DSC_9118 (1600x1060)We thought chicken chili with white beans looked good when we saw a picture the other day.  A search through recipes online led me to this one by the Neelys on the Food network.  I looked for poblano peppers at the store this morning but they didn’t have any, I subbed a couple of my own Anaheims and a small can of chopped green chilies.  Turned out pretty good.  We used a can of Great Northerns and two cans of cannellini beans.DSC_9123 (1600x1060)Speaking of peppers, Mrs J brought in several nice green peppers from the garden this morning.  These are Giant Marconi peppers, I think, not the green bells that they look like.  I used the last batch with celery and onions to make a big batch of the Cajun Trinity, sealing it in several vacuum bags for the freezer.  We’re big fans of gumbo.  I’m not sure what these will be used for, I think I may stuff and bake a few…DSC00379 (1600x1200)Here’s a puppy!  The bone is nearly as big as he is.  I know nothing about this one.DSC_9114 (1600x1060)I dug a beef brisket out a few weeks ago and brined it per Alton Brown’s corned beef recipe.  I took it out and smoked it for several hours and then finished in the oven.  I sliced and sealed it into plastic bags in one pound portions, all save this bit I used to make pastrami hash yesterday.DSC_9093 (1600x1060)Mmm… tacos!  These are pork with guacamole, sour cream, pickled jalapenos, shredded lettuce, cheese, and a mole made from dried peppers that were simmered and then pureed with garlic and oregano.DSC00555 (1600x1200)I’ll close this out with a kitty lounging in one of Mrs J’s cat beds.  She buys a lot of the materials needed for these but there are more and more donations of fabrics and fillers now that word is out that she can turn them into nice things for the shelter pets.  I think the pad under the puppy with the bone is one of her creations, too.

Roasted Grape Tomatoes

We have a couple of grape tomato bushes out back and they have been churning out tomatoes by the score.  I went out this morning and picked a half bucketful and there were that many on the ground.  I went looking for a roasting recipe and Martha Stewart came through for me.DSC_9082 (1600x1060)I used more olive oil than required, probably, and had a lot of fresh thyme.  These took longer than a hour and I bumped the temp up to 400 or so before I got much in the way of  a color change.  I stirred them once and returned them to the oven.DSC_9088 (1600x1060)We ate some of them with angel hair pasta for lunch.  My basil has gone to seed but I did find a few bright green new leaves that looked tender.  The portion of the tomatoes I used for the dish had a tablespoon or two of butter stirred in.  Pretty good stuff, not sure what to do with the rest of the tomatoes, I picked enough to fill that pan three times, the last batch is in the oven as I write this.

Tidbits

DSC_4847 (1600x1060)Lots of praying mantises today.  This one had a hold on a hummingbird before Mrs J, hearing a small commotion in the bush, reached in to rescue it.  She said she thought it was hung in a spiderweb at first and only saw the mantis when the bird’s foot didn’t come clear.DSC_4857 (1600x1060)This fellow is in the coleus but isn’t the same one from the other day.  That one had green eyes.  I’m not sure if mantises can change colors, a quick search found answers all over the map.  Some said yes, some no, and a few were firmly in the sometimes camp.DSC_4855 (1600x1060)I’m pretty sure this one is the same one from before.  He is in a green coleus right next to the vari-colored one, both of them in pots Mrs J has set in the shade of a small crabapple tree.DSC_4858 (1600x1060)My habaneros are loving this August heat.  I picked this bush once already and there are as many ripe now as before.  These are more than I will use.  Need any?DSC_8964 (1600x1060)We’re loving the big slicer tomatoes the garden is producing.  They are perfect for BLTs, or BELTs, as is the case here.DSC_4845 (1600x1060)Toby is still not sure I won’t do something to him he won’t like.  Ginger plays with him quite a bit and Toby doesn’t seem to mind, but let Homer come by and there will be trouble.  Toby has taken a serious dislike to that boy and we’ve had to separate them lest fur fly and the dogs become fearful for their own safety.DSC_8971 (1600x1060)I’ll close with a few more sammiches.  I fired up the panini press for this reuben and all the cheese ran out.  The pickle is a bread and butter spear.  Tasty!DSC_8968 (1600x1060)Last is a mushroom Swiss burger.  I sauteed some brown buttons in butter and olive oil, added beef stock with cornstarch for a thickener, and ladled them all over the cheese covered patty.  It’s a classic burger recipe, and for good reason.

Friday Recipe Exchange: What To Do With All Those Tomatoes

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It seems everyone but at my house has a garden full of tomatoes. That’s okay, I know where all the good farm stands are located. What to do with all those tomatoes then becomes the question. Tonight’s recipe exchange will give you a few ideas.

First, let’s get this out of the way, Bixby’s weekly update is hereBixby 8 19 14

Now for the recipes:

JeffreyW takes some of his harvest and Oven Dries Tomatoes, here and here.

You can then use those dried tomatoes in place of sun-dried tomatoes in this Roasted Green Beans, with Tomatoes and Feta, here.

I love soups and while the weather is still hot, Cold Cucumber and Tomato Soup is a perfect way to use some of the garden’s bounty, recipe here.

Tired of tomatoes? This week’s dinner menu of Seared Ginger Tuna with Mint-Papaya-Pineapple Salsa has not a hint of tomato.

What’s on your menu this weekend? Anything good cookin’ in your kitchen?

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For tonight’s featured recipe, I’ve adapted JefferyW’s recipe for his sauteed cherry tomatoes and pasta, pictured above.

Pasta Tossed with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil

  • 10 oz  favorite pasta, cook according to pkg directions, drain (don’t dry) and reserve water
  • 16 oz (or more) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup fresh basil, packed,  reserve a few leaves for garnish
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • Fresh grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese

Skillet

Heat oil in skillet, sauté onions until translucent, add minced garlic, cook for about another minute and then add tomatoes and cook for about 10 minutes, add tomato paste and basil. Stir and let simmer additional 5 minutes, ladle in some pasta water if needed for the desired consistency. Toss with pasta and top with cheese before serving.

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Tidbits

DSC_8890 (1600x1060)Don’t try to do this at home!  We browsed around at the local Amish run store the other day and finally picked up a squeeze tube of pie filling after seeing them there every time we went.  They have several different flavors, we took home the cherry:DSC_8933 (1600x1060)There are little chips of fruit in there but nothing the size of a whole or even half cherry.  There are 2 lbs. of it in the tube, not sure what the volume is but I think it’s plenty for at least one 9″ pie.  We didn’t buy it for that, though, because the squeezable nature of it is perfect for fried pies.  Alas, we discovered that those prepared crusts from the store are just not very good for that.  They tasted good but they were so fragile they were impossible to hold without coming apart.  Looks like it’ll be back to Mrs J’s Famous Fried Pies crust recipe to use up the remainder.Screenshot (5) (1600x1060)Yay me!  Alas, the thrill of turning over another million views is tempered somewhat by a new method for counting that Flickr.com is using.  I’m not sure what the new scheme is but it has drawn much comment from the user community.DSC_8864 (1600x1060)Hard to beat a nice ribeye.  Grilled sweet corn is another one of those things that we’ve been doing that is relatively new for us.  Mostly we just boiled it.  I’ve always buttered and salted mine but I’ve been going with other seasonings lately.  Old Bay is very good on it, tonight I used some of Olde Thomson’s tex-mex blend of seasonings.DSC_4841 (1600x1060)Mrs J spotted this fellow on her Coleus, down in the shade of a crabapple tree.  I scrambled down there with the camera and got a few decent pictures.  Mantises are one of my favorite insects.  They don’t show much fear of the camera but you can make them pay some attention:DSC_4842 (1600x1060)

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