Category Archives: Garden
Wow, six days since the last post! I am so lazy! We have been busy in the kind of laid back style that meets our definition of lazy. We installed a new yard hydrant near the back barn to replace one that wasn’t sited just right and was getting increasingly difficult to open and close. The old hydrant was in the back, next to the mulch, we are bringing it closer to the front of the barn. It was wetter than ideal but we managed to get the ditch dug and the hydrant hooked up and tested out. We were tardy getting a hummingbird feeder up although it hasn’t been exactly overrun since we got it going – we saw one the other day. The “Eskimo” Viburnum is just now hitting its peak with tons of compound white blossoms, reminiscent of Hydrangias. We’ve been working the grill pretty hard. This sammich is from country style ribs that smoked for a few hours. They got a dry rub and a taste of a BBQ sauce, then were chopped and reheated in a skillet atop the stove to get a nice little crisp going on the edges. The potato salad is another batch of the loaded potato salad that has become our fave picnic style side dish.This is an older female cat, 5 yo, an owner surrender. Mrs J says she is starting to come around from the trauma of separation. We have no info on why the previous owner dropped her off, could be any number of legitimate reasons, and it’s good that she wasn’t just turned out on her own. We see that a lot.
I have a start on the herb garden. From the bottom: Basil, chives, parsley and another to feed to the caterpillars, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. In the back are two determinate variety tomatoes, iirc they are “Mountain Fresh”, one has been broken over and may need replacement although there is still a leaf left intact with the rest of the stem. In the foreground are various peppers: Sweet, hot, and ornamental. I have sweet bananas, serranos, cayenne, and a sweet Italian red pepper, “Carmen”, that looks similar to the banana peppers in the little photo. I started some fernleaf dill but it’s looking puny today. Katie and Jack are keeping a lookout for squirrels and those geese that have found where Mrs J leaves the corn for the deer.I do the veggies and herbs, Mrs J keeps up the flowers. She has the biggest job. Our 2002 ATV started acting up, right in the beginning the season, so we opted for this shiny, new 2014 model. I told the dealer guy to show me one that is as close to the old one as he had, and he came very close. He was tickled at the low mileage on the old one – we don’t do trail rides, just haul stuff around the place, run to the mailbox, and visit the neighbors on occasion.We’ve been eating sammiches or dropping by the local Chinese buffet. We hit the buffet yesterday at the perfect time, I think, everything was freshly cooked and waiting for the lunch crowd, which we beat.I rarely put up a photo of a large dog, Mrs J works inside with kittens and puppies, but she took this one of a stray that a local police officer brought in. He said he would rather St Francis had it that the folks at the county humane shelter down the road. Mrs J says they are required by law to post photos of strays, she posted the photo to the shelter’s Facebook page to be shared around, hoping the owner will see it and step up.
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.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.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.Here are those pups from the other day that were smiling for the camera. Mrs J says they are terrier poodle crosses.They are really rocking their little doggie sweaters.I think she said they were eight weeks old and would be released for adoption pretty soon. I bet they go fast.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.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.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.
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.