Category Archives: Garden
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.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.Here’s a kitty for you, part of a new litter at St Francis. Kitteh has four siblings: Mrs J says kitteh momma is a real gem!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.Here’s Homer! He’s sad because the garden is getting a little long in the tooth.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.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)
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.
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…
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.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.
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:These are the tubes of fillings I mentioned: From L to R, Banana, Lemon, and Chocolate. They’ll make a ton of fried pies.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.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…Here’s a puppy! The bone is nearly as big as he is. I know nothing about this one.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.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.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.
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.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.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.
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: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.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.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.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:
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.