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Category Archives: Garden

Fig Jam

We gathered more ripe figs and decided to make jam after seeing how easy it was.  First step is to rinse them, then cut off the stems and slice them up.  I quartered these but I’ll be chopping them a little smaller in the future.Our batch weighed in at 2-1/4 pounds, the recipe we were looking at was for 3 pounds so we adjusted the proportions to suit.  We figured 1-1/2 cups of sugar for our jam – we used 3/4 c Splenda and 3/4 c granulated sugar.  We went ahead and used the one lemon for the zest and juice.The figs make their own juice so no need to add any.  These have been simmering for a little while.   Cover them and simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.  The jam still looked too lumpy even after a go with a potato masher so I buzzed them with a stick blender.The jam got thicker and darker, we filled 2 half pints and this much of a third jar.  I kept it for the fridge.  You can see that, even still warm, it’s pretty thick.Thick and tasty!  This is on a hunk of the fig bread we made the other day.These are just out of a boiling water bath.  Recipe says give them 10 minutes at a full boil.  The lids sealed with that satisfying snap after a minute or two out.

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Tidbits

This poor thing was brought in with two broken legs, the one appears to be less of a problem than the other, going strictly by the casts.  I have no other info but he is in good hands at St Francis.Made some mayo from scratch.  The other day I roasted a bunch of garlic cloves in olive oil and used a 1/4 c of that oil in this.  The recipe for the basic mayo is easy – put an egg with 1/4 c oil in the bowl of a processor, add a pinch of salt and 1/4 tsp of dry mustard and give it a spin.  Start drizzling in more oil until you’ve used about a cup, total, or until it gets to the consistency you are going for.  I added canola oil for the drizzle.  This turned out very garlicky.I used it on this sammich – very good!  I assembled it after the photo, and went sans lettuce.  That’s more of my maple pepper bacon.  Yum!Now here comes Bitsy, slowly, a step at a time.  Head on a swivel, looking for threats.  She finally made it all of the way in.  Yay!This was Taco Tuesday for us.  I’m torn between piling on the goodies or going sparingly with them for a better picture.  These white corn tortillas are smeared with refried beans, layered with smoked pork, cheddar, shredded cabbage, and pico de gallo.This looks like a short loaf of banana bread but it’s actually made with figs.  We had a fairly good batch we weren’t quite sure what to do with.I quartered them and stuck them in the dehydrator overnight – too long, alas.  They were barely pliable and too tough.  We dropped them into a stout blender and whirled them with water to break them up.  The result looked much like bananas that had been pureed so they went into a banana bread recipe.This is one of those soups that come from what I think of as a “bottomless” soup pot – I keep adding to it as we eat out of it.  Those diced potatoes were not in there yesterday and I added more carrots.  The beef will get scarce after a few iterations, but right now there’s still plenty.I’ll wind this up with another shelter kitteh.  This one looks like our own Ginger Boy.

Cats and Dogs Living Together

Tomatoes with Green Chilies

We are down to one tomato bush, it had a dozen or so ripe tomatoes when I looked yesterday, and there were enough poblanos to make it worth roasting them for a nice rotel copycat recipe.   I chopped several small sweet onions, the roasted green chilies, and a couple of jalapenos and added them to the tomatoes to simmer for a while.  I had enough for six pints.  This stuff is great for chili or mixing in with cheese for a nice dip.  There are a bazillion recipes for soups that include it – just plug rotel and soup into your search engine, rev it up, and pop the clutch.

Tidbits

Mrs J says these are the last of the tomatoes by which she means these are the last she is going to pick.  They have pulled out of their doldrums and have really come on.  Might have been the heat.I skinned them all, crushed them, added green peppers and onions, and boiled them down just a little…ending up with 15-1/2 quarts total in quart and pint jars.  Took the best part of a day – peeling the skins was the hardest part.  It didn’t take all that long to cook them, nothing like as long as it takes to cook the juice down when making soup.  It did take three pressure cooker loads to finish them, with the ramp up to pressure and the cool-down included it took over an hour per load.I hoisted down the big enameled cast iron pot from its usual spot atop one of the cabinets for cabbage and sausages.  (And carrots, potatoes, and onions.)Made enough for lunch the next day.  The sausages were particularly good – some were ordered up from Louisiana through the Cajun Grocer, and there were a couple left over from the package that I broke open for breakfast the other day.Sous vide is the killer app for steaks.  These were cooked to 138 degrees for half the day and were as tender as you would expect.Chili dogs!  Yay!  I keep cans of chili in the cupboard for those days when I’m just about covered up with other chores (canning tomatoes).I’ll wind up this one with Gabe keeping watch over the back yard.  There is often something to bark at and he doesn’t want to miss out.  Homer is keeping him company though his vigil.

Tidbits

Gabe waits for his dog mama, she won’t be gone long because she misses her dog boy.We eat some of the tomatoes fresh!  I set a few aside when we are processing for soup or stewed for canning.  I try to get the best ones – no marks or splits or spots.  This sammich started out wanting to be a BELT but I didn’t have the lettuce so it just gets billing as a breakfast sammich.  Brunch, actually, we don’t get up early enough…I used up some odds and ends of pasta for this one.  I still have plenty of parsley, the caterpillars that were eating it have gone away.  Still have a hornworm or two – they seem to be specializing on my hot peppers now that  the patio tomatoes are gone. We love these upside down cakes.  I cut them into single serving squares and freeze them in plastic containers.  They really hit the spot for late night snacks while watching videos.More cookies!  These are my current favorites.  I’ve been leaving out the almonds and adding raisins.  I’ve made these often enough that I can do them without looking at the recipe.Mmm… French toast and garlic pepper sausages.  The sausages are from that processing plant we travel to a few time a year to stock up.  They have the best ham hocks, and they are the closest place I know that has fresh pork bellies.  I buy a couple, cut them in two, and vacuum seal the halves for the big freezer.Mrs J said we have plenty of tomato soup canned.  I think she mentioned 40 quarts.  Well, we better get busy with it!  I used a veggie peeler to shave Parmesan for a garnish.Mmm… smoked pork makes a fine sammich.  The sides are potato salad in the back and bacon, tomato, and basil pasta salad.I’ll wind this one up with a few cute kittehs.

That’s Enough for Two Dozen Grilled Cheese Sammiches

 

Tidbits

This is one of the Texas hurricane rescues, she was brought back in an effort to save her and her litter.  She is heartworm positive with some other maladies and her prognosis is uncertain.  She and her puppies would already have been put down had she stayed.Mmm… red beans and rice.  TaMara mentioned the dish in one of her posts and it reminded me that we haven’t had any lately.  This one was cooked with a ham hock.  I added the andouille late because it will get tough if it simmers a long time.Here’s a kitteh!  Not a hurricane rescue, he is a local kitty boy.Our fig trees/bushes exploded this year.  We put rooted cuttings in the ground spring of ’16 and reaped a scant harvest but this year we should do better.There are a lot of figs coming on and they are getting to a size they couldn’t match last year.This one-eyed kitteh has been adopted since the photo was taken.  I don’t have any more info than that.Cheesesteak!  This was tasty – I did the flat iron steak sous vide, it was in the water bath 6 hours @140 degrees.  For service, it was sliced and added to a pan of caramelized onions and tossed to mix and rewarm then covered with a nice cheese sauce of American and cheddar.Tommy is a tuxedo kitteh born in March this year.  He’s a good kitteh, Brent.

Can I Wear This To High Tea?

I question JeffreyW’s commitment to his hummingbirds…he’s never worn a hummingbird hat (to my knowledge). 😉

Fresh Tomatoes

We’re still turning out nontrivial numbers of tomatoes and the odd pepper or two.  You can deal with them one at a time with a simple sammich.I like these on fresh bread or toast with mayo and plenty of salt and pepper.  The classic summer salad of tomatoes and cucumbers in vinaigrette is good but were are just about wore out eating it.To deal the rest I’ve gone to, mainly, stewing them with onions and peppers.  Mac in stewed tomatoes is a simple pleasure.The classic version of this is made with elbows but I ran out of my favored jumbo, ridged elbows to I subbed these small shells.  I like mine with Parmesan and a light sprinkle of red pepper flakes.The rest of the latest batch went into this chili.  I’ve been using annatto in my chili and I think it adds an interesting flavor.  Masa flour makes a nice thickening agent and adds a nice flavor to the dish, as well.

We’ve more tomatoes on the way…