Category Archives: Garden
While we were at the store yesterday looking for cake ingredients we went ahead and bought some ground beef for a couple of quick burgers. Hard to beat burgers grilled over a flame. There was a fair amount of beef leftover so we bounced a few ideas around. Mrs J mentioned sloppy joes and that sounded pretty good. I went to the patio to grab some sweet peppers to go into the dish and brought in a few. As I was breaking them down I thought it a waste to let those cute little peppers go unstuffed.Before long I had them filled with a mix of taco seasoned beef and nacho cheese sauce and topped with shredded cheddar and Monterey jack. They went into a 350 oven for about 15 to 20 minutes.We had settled on a Nacho centered meal by this time what with the ground beef seasonings and cheeses already to hand. We needed another dish to round out the menu, Mrs J suggested making more of the black bean and corn salsa:We have cherry tomatoes ripe again so they went in, as did 3 ears of sweet corn with the kernels shaved off the cob. There are several varieties of peppers chopped up in there, a few green onions, a can of rinsed black beans, salt, black pepper, and a dash of lime juice in with a rice vinegar dressing. It’s pretty good.Everything came together nicely on a platter. I piled the chips on a toaster oven tray and sprinkled them with a good handful of the shredded cheeses and then popped it into the toaster oven under the broiler to melt the cheeses. The whole pile slid right onto the platter and then I really piled on the extras: the taco seasoned beef, some of that corn salsa, sliced jalapenos, nacho cheese sauce, sour cream, guacamole, New Mexico green chili salsa, more green onions, and a good grind of dried chili seasonings.
We had a couple of pepper bushes survive our neglect and produce some fruit so I took a few hours this morning to deal with them. After removing the stems and seeds the food processor with a slicer blade made short work of them:We’ve always used zipper bags to freeze our produce but decided to try the vacuum seal gadget this time. I think it’s a pretty good choice of methods but the truth of it will be when we pull a bag from the freezer to use in a recipe.I kept a few out for lunch:
This year, the margherita pizza celebrates its 125th birthday. One of the world’s favourite foods was reputedly invented at a pizzeria nowadays known as Brandi (00 39 081 416 928;brandi.it) at Salita Sant Anna Di Palazzo 1-2 in the city’s Chiaia neighbourhood. In 1889, its pizzaiolo, Raffaele Esposito, and his wife, Maria Giovanna Brandi, were summoned to the nearby Capodimonte palace and asked to invent a pizza for the then-queen, Margherita.
(Via)I’m sure this crust is much too thick for a purist. I started the dough yesterday with 2 cups of bread flour and then added water to equal 65% of the weight of those 2 cups. I used a handy electronic kitchen scale to weigh the flour but I don’t remember now what that came to. Anyway, multiplied that by .65 to get the weight of the water I wanted. Add a scant 1/4 tsp of yeast and a teaspoon of sugar to the liquid, plus a tablespoon of olive oil and stir into the flour. The dough was very wet so I only kneaded it a little and then plopped it into an oiled bowl and covered with plastic and a damp towel. It was left overnight to rise.I punched the dough down this morning and returned it to the bowl to continue proofing. Why the fuss with weighing the water and flour?
Hydration affects the process of bread building and the nature of the final result. Generally speaking, the more water in the dough, the more open the final bread’s crumb. Bread can also be classified according to three categories based on hydration: stiff, standard or rustic.
I rolled the dough out on a floured board and transferred it to my rimmed pan for baking, brushed the top with garlic oil, and distributed the toppings. This one got the traditional Margherita treatment with mozzarella and Roma tomatoes and went into a 500 oven until the crust and toppings got a nice color. Add the basil after the pie comes out of the oven or it will burn to a crisp.I like ground red pepper on my slices, along with fresh grated black pepper and salt. Drizzle more of the garlic oil over it and enjoy!
Rain was threatening the other day and the hummers were really stoking up. I played around with placing strobes on the ground around the feeders to try to stop the motion of the bird’s wings. I took a few shots but it started to rain so I gathered the strobes up and quit before I could thoroughly try different settings. I posted this at high resolution, click on it and it’ll get really big. I counted about 30 hummers in this shot.Made a pot of chili just for this picture. Turned out to be pretty good chili, I simmered some dried chilis to make a mole and added that to a chorizo/ground beef mixture with a chopped onion and a ton of garlic. I held off putting beans in, adding them later.I think there are beans in the chili on this hotdog we had later in the day. It has minced jalapeno and red serrano peppers with onions and shredded cheeses.Ginger had lots of fun with his new toy. I think every cat in the house took a turn with it, and Katie spent a few minutes chewing it.Mrs J put together a salad, I added the olives and the pickled garlic. It has a vinaigrette dressing of rice vinegar and olive oil with the usual herbs and a bit of Dijon.The habanero bush on the patio was starting to look like the peppers were thick enough on it to break the branches down so I went ahead and gathered all the ripe ones. I have most of these drying to be ground for pizzas and the like. I learned last year not to breath the dust from the processing.We opened the front door and found this stick insect clinging to the glass of the storm door. No idea why he was there, the location pretty much defeats the blending in strategy in avoiding predators. We see these now and again but almost always when they are away from their normal habitat. Makes me wish for a decent macro lens for my camera.
I bought a jar of pickled garlic to round out an online order a while back and liked it well enough to try to duplicate it. I found a recipe for French pickled garlic that was reiterated over scores of web sites so I just picked this one at random to link to here. The jar I bought had a definite yellow tinge to it so I added turmeric to my version. It worked just fine. I have some of mine here with a Cubano sammich prepared in my grill press/panini maker.Mrs J made a little cat toy filled with catnip and polyfill. Ginger was playing with it until I decided to try for an action photo whereupon he ran off and hid under the couch.I found this young hummer going for the red honeysuckle this morning. Most of his pals are hanging out on feeder row:Made a meatloaf yesterday with ground beef and chorizo plus some chopped peppers, onions, eggs and bread crumbs, etc. I was thinking meatloaf sammiches from the get-go.The gravy is from the drippings with Worcestershire, dark soy sauce, and catsup added. I liked the Kaiser rolls well enough to use them with a basic cheeseburger.I made a sauce for it with sauteed mushrooms and garlic in butter and oil. Swiss cheese rounds it out. Grilled sweet corn has become a favorite this summer. Butter and salt and pepper work just fine, sometimes I use Old Bay seasoning instead of the salt and pepper.This one is a simple cold cut sub with ham and cheese and plenty of veggies with a vinaigrette dressing.
One of these days I’ll cook a real deal meal and surprise everyone!
My jalapeno jelly was good enough last year to warrant another go at it so I looked around for recipes and found this one. I have several pepper varieties so I adapted the recipe for the ones I wanted to use.The recipe called for a total of three cups of chopped peppers so I stuck with that. My recipe used one green bell, three red Anaheims, five or six ripe jalapenos, six or seven red serranos, and two habs. The habs I didn’t run through the blender, I just boiled them with the rest and then pulled them out before jarring. Yeah, I chickened out. I had more peppers chopped than the recipe wanted and I ended with seven half pints to process.Every jar sealed, I did find one jar with a chip in the rim when I ran the damp paper towel around it just prior to putting the lids on so I hurried to swap jars out, I usually sterilize more jars than I think I’ll need just to be on the safe side. I had a small taste of the hot jelly left over and there is a nice tang to it. I think I could have used those two habaneros without it turning out too hot.I left a few chunks of pepper for the texture rather than smoothing it all out in the blender. I think it’s jelling pretty well. This is the first time I’ve used liquid pectin. I’ll open a jar soon to try it. I’m optimistic!
Cherry tomatoes! More than we can eat so I’ve got most of these dehydrating. Kept enough of them back for a nice pizza Margherita.This one is a thin-ish crust, painted with garlic infused olive oil and sauced with sauteed cherry tomatoes with more garlic and fresh herbs. It gave us a chance to use some of the latest batch of homemade mozzarella.Fresh oregano and thyme in with the sauce and fresh basil added after it came out of the oven. A pretty good pie!Yellow melon for dessert. These are super sweet and I think they are the best melons ever. I really should get back over there for another one.Random wildlife! This young whitetail still has prominent spots. They slowly fade over the summer. Momma isn’t far away.I’ll wrap with a couple of sammiches. Here’s pulled garlic pork on a bolillo roll with slaw and a drizzle of a locally bottled bbq sauce. I grabbed a bottle last time through the store because I knew I was running low and it’s a lot like the stuff I make myself.Last is another classic Reuben with our own corned beef and sauerkraut. This one has provolone and thousand island dressing.
This came together at the last minute. I wanted to stuff more of my Anaheim peppers because there are quite a few of them and the last time I used them the result was good. I had a pork roast that was pulled from the oven late yesterday so I pulled some of that apart and cooked it in bacon fat left over from the lunch BLTs, adding garlic and various chili powders and beef stock left from another project. I cut the kernels off a couple of cobs of sweet corn off thinking it a nice colorful filler for the peppers. It did go in there eventually but as a part of a black bean salsa. While the pork cooked down I drained the beans and chopped some green onions and red and green jalapenos. That was all tossed with chopped tomatoes in rice vinegar with cumin, salt, and pepper.
So… I could have gone with the pork and cheeses as a filler for the peppers and have the salsa as a side, or used the pork and cheeses with the salsa as filler in the peppers, but that wouldn’t have looked like much alone on a plate. I knew I had corn tortillas so I opted for the menu as you see it. The filling is the salsa with cream and cotija cheeses, with Monterey jack on top. The tacos have the pork, cotija, lettuce, onions, chopped peppers, and tomatoes with a drizzle of taco sauce from a jar.
I bet TaMara is pulling her hair out reading this “recipe”. LOL!
Our cherry tomatoes are doing great. I’ll have to start freezing or drying some soon. I didn’t make a dent in them with this pasta dish:This is an easy dish and it tastes great but we can’t eat it every day. Unlike the BLTs:Mrs J has named these her all time favorite sammiches. This one is a BELT, it’s topped with an egg.
Our Vitex nearly didn’t survive the winter, it did die back to the root but it is coming back. They are late bloomers and are just now producing something to catch the eye of a hummingbird.This is a Ruby Throated Hummingbird – the gorget really catches the light when the angle is right.The little peppers are coming along, plenty of red ones, a few orange, not seeing any yellow one so far. Of course they all start out green. The dill in the background is pretty with the yellow flowers looking like bursting fireworks. This is the first time we have had luck growing dill. Aphids and caterpillars usually make short work of it. I’ll try to collect the seeds for baking rye bread.