Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dried Lemon Peel

This should be titled: How To Ruin Your Fingers
Who knew that peeling lemons
could be so painful?
I bought a bag of organic lemons and
oranges last week and, as anyone who buys organic knows,
they go bad very quickly.
So, I had to find recipes to use them up.

First I peeled the lemons and placed the peel on
a plastic wrap covered dehydrator sheet.

Then I made a salt/sugar syrup and canned the peeled lemons
with cinnamon and cloves.

Lemon peel after 8 hours in the dehydrator.
Nice crisp lemon peel.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Quickie Giveaway - September

This is a quickie giveaway!

You have until Midnight

on Sept. 30th to leave a comment

and be entered to win.


What's the prize?

First - a note pad with a chicken painting by a local artist.
And second - 2 - 1/4 pints of my very own canning.
1 of Pure Gold Marmalade - my own recipe
a combination of peaches, mango, passion fruit and oranges.


Enter now!

Dried Yellow Tomatoes

This is a picture of 8 pounds of tomatoes.

Place tomatoes on a baking sheet and
roast at 325 degrees until softened, about 40 min.

Place roasted tomatoes on
a plastic wrap covered dehydrator sheet.

Dry tomatoes for 12 - 14 hours,
until tomatoes are crisp,
but still bendable.

8 pounds of tomatoes.

And again
8 pounds of tomatoes
in 1 quart Ziploc bag.

In a Hurry Pancakes

I was called into work yesterday.

Made $300 dollars in an hour, BUT it totally messed up my day!

Then when I went home, I had to get ready for my regular shift....

I visited my girls (for exactly 3 minutes + the 20 min. drive to get there),

went home, dropped Lavender's newly laid egg on the tile kitchen floor (!!!),

and then dropped 1/2 cup of sugar on the floor.


If I had dropped a little flour and milk on the floor

I would have had the makings of pancakes.

So here is a recipe for


In A Hurry Pancakes

1 cup flour

2 Tablespoons baking powder

2 Tablespoons sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 large eggs or 3 bantam eggs

(or use as many eggs as you want

I've added as many as 6-

If you've got 'em use 'em)

1 cup milk

2 Tablespoons veg. oil

Combine ingredients, beat until smooth.

Bake on a hot griddle.


These are very light and fluffy.

I like to eat them with jam or honey.

If you have leftover pancakes -

Spread butter thinly on the top of each pancake,

stack pancakes on top of each other,

wrap in tinfoil or plastic wrap,

store in the refrigerator.

To re-heat:

Unwrap pancakes, place on a plate

and microwave for 30-60 seconds.
The picture is of 3 I re-warmed for breakfast.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Italian Plum Conserve

Italian plums are delicious, but they are only in season for a short period of time.
So go buy some right now!
Or use your own plums.
My 2 (yes, 2 - lazy trees!) plum trees produced a total of 4 ripe plums.
So........I had to buy a few plums.

Take 2 pounds/ 5 cups pitted plums.
Chop them if you want to, but I left mine in halves.
They looked too beautiful to chop up.
Add 1 whole orange and 1 whole lemon, ground up finely in a food processor.
3 cups sugar.
1 cup raisins or dried currants.
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepot.
Bring slowly to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.
Optional: Soak your raisins/currants in 1/2 cup rum or juice.
I used a combination of rum and raspberry/guava juice (one of my mistake jellies)

Cook rapidly almost to the gelling point, about 15 minutes.
As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking.

Ladle hot conserve into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
Remove air bubbles.
Adjust two-piece caps.
Process 15 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Roasted Golden Beets

One of the best flavors of Fall.
I'm not a big fan of red beets, simply because I
don't favor the pink teeth and urine look.
But golden beets are amazing!
Their seeds don't germinate very well, so they are
a little tricky to grow, however they are
well worth the effort.

Sliced, and roasted in a covered dish with 1 cup of water at 350 degrees.

Once cooked, the beet's skins slip off easily.
I eat them without any accoutrement,
but they are delicious with a little butter and salt.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Cast Your Vote

I bought 14lbs of pears today.
However, I can't decide how to preserve them, there are too many options!
Help me decide!
Cast your vote in the poll to the right.
I only have a few days until they will be too ripe, so vote today!

Friday's Harvest & De Nile

More Veggies!
I'm loving this endless summer.
The temp. is 80-85F during the day
and 50F at night.
It's better weather than we had in the actual summer.
I know it will all have to end some time soon, but
until then I can live in denial.
For example:
On Tuesday I thought,
"It's so weird - the trees are all losing their leaves.
What's up with that?"
Oh, duh!
It's called Fall.
Summer will last FOREVER!
I like De Nile.

I gave these to my mom.
She's making Virgina Chunks, a sweet pickle.
They're Ok, but I'll more of a dill person.
More tomatoes.
I'm running out of space and recipes.
Nice problem to have.

The little one on the left is the
best pepper I have ever eaten.
They are called Zavory or Yummy,
but I can't remember which is which.
The little pepper has a hot bite to it
and then it is tropical sweet with
overtones of mango and pineapple.
So good!

Onions and carrots.
I need to plant more onions next year.
These are Copra onions.
I grew them last year and
they are a looooooong keeping onion.
I gave some to my parents and my mom used up the
last one in July.
It was as fresh as when I pulled them last fall.

Tomatoes again.
That biggie in the left corner is a
Striped German.
It weighs 2 1/2 lbs!

Friday, September 18, 2009

White Tomato Jelly

I made white tomato jelly today.

This was truly an experiment!

White tomatoes from my garden.

The variety is called White Tomesol.
I removed the cores and used the food processor

to blend them into a smooth liquid.

Then I simmered them overnight.

The next morning....this is what it looked like.

I put the liquidy cooked down tomatoes into
a few layers of cheese cloth.

White tomato juice.
Yes! It's really tomato juice!

White tomato guts after the juice was squeezed out.

Then I made an infusion with chile, a garlic clove, oregano and basil.
I poured boiling water over the spice mixture.
After 20 mins. I strained the spices through a cheese cloth.
Then I made the mistake of tasting it.
Whoa! Hot!
After I found my taste buds cowering underneath the fridge, the adventure continued.
I added 4 cups tomato juice to 1/2 cup vinegar in a large stockpot.
Then I added 1 tsp salt.
Next 1 pkg No-sugar-needed pectin.
And one 1/2 cup spice infusion.
Bring to a boil.
Add 2 cups sugar and return to a boil, stirring continuously.
Pour jelly into jars and process for 10 mins in a boiling water bath.
Yum - white tomato jelly with feta, savory and red tomato wedges.

From vine to jar.

This jelly is so tasty!
It is pure tomato flavor with a sweet and spicy tang.

The Tomato Walls and Me

This is me with my giant tomato walls.
Sorry there are a lot of pictures! :P
I'm kinda proud of them.

I picked one of these striped German's and it was 2 1/2 lbs!

Tucking a branch back into the wall.

They are as tall as my house!

The power of chicken poo!

Cucumber wall.

It's tall too!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bloody Wattles or How To Make New Friends

Today, when I visited my girls, Mr. Cocky, the rooster, had taken his harem into the grove.
So, for once, I didn't have to worry about a covert flogging.
He loves to hide in with the hens, sneak up on me from behind, and then do a jump and scratch attack.
*@#$!% Rooster!
I closed the gate on the run, so he couldn't sneak in.
Have I mentioned that he is very sneaky?!?
The Ladies were so happy to see me!
Two days this week I have found Lavender free ranging with Carol's chickens out on the grass.
Who knows what Lavender gets up to with those wild Ladies.
She can be a pretty bad influence on well behaved chickens.
I closed the gate and opened the wire fencing, that separates my girl's run from Carol's chickens run.
I did this for two reasons:
1. So I could clean the run without having to clean around my Ladies.
2. So the girls could interact with a few of Carol's hens that were in the big run.
And the result?
Butter made friends with one of the chunky white girls.
They checked out the dust bath area together and talked chicken.
A skinny red head tried to jump Zela.
Zela and the red chicken fought.
Zela ultimately won and the red girl ran away, but Zela ended up with a bloody wattle.
My poor baby!
She got an extra bunch of cuddles from me and I kissed her boo boo.
Lavender decided she wanted to lay an egg, so she sat in the dog crate....wait! then she ran out...then she ran back in...then she ran into the run....back in to lay an egg...
Pixie ventured out into the big run, ate some food, decided she didn't like how one of the white girls was looking at her, so she jumped the white chicken!
A chicken 3x bigger than her!
Then the white chicken, Mrs. Dirtyback, pecked her and Pixie ran underneath Mrs. Dirtyback.
She got caught underneath her and for a few seconds was hilariously caught with her head sticking underneath Mrs. Dirtyback's rump and her tail wiggling in Mrs. Dirtyback's face.
Once Pixie freed herself, Mrs. Dirtyback pecked her in the comb and I intervened.
My Girls were scooped back up into the small run.
Home Sweet Home.
Sort of.

Garden Then and Now

What a difference a few warm months can make in the garden!
This is a before and after tour.

My veg. garden last spring with newly placed raised beds.

Now: Veggies galore!
Squash and tomato explosion.

Another view of the veg. garden.

Same view.....well, a little different!

View of the veg. garden before it was planted.
After this pic we had another 6 inches
of snow.

Same view.
Squash, tomatoes, ect.

Overall view of garden from the
East to the West.

Same view.
What a change!

Flower garden with raspberries in the back.

Flower garden and raspberries
gone crazy!

Flower garden.

View of garden from my porch.

Garden jungle.

There is a pond somewhere in there.

Flower garden with newly placed raised beds.

Same garden beds.
But where are they?

One of my first efforts with the pond.
I moved it (and re-dug it 6 times).
And it grew to 10x its original size.
Those poor phlox in the foreground were
moved over and over again.
But they are blooming now!

With flowers!