Monday, August 26, 2013

I am so excited for Fall....Halloween 2013 to do's........

I am so very excited for Fall, Halloween, and Thanksgiving...the pumpkins are almost ready to harvest. I have Halloween trinkets to give to my grandcritters and their families. I have ideas I want to try like these cute little pumpkin people...



I saw the above idea on crafymoods.com

More pumpkin people....zombies I call them

You know there is a lot of stuff out there to try and I found these online with Martha Stewart...I cannot believe she thinks of all this stuff on her own, she has a whole crew of people giving her and her magazine crew ideas...it's cool!!! She has some cute stuff...



Creating your own googly-eyed monsters has never been easier. Just don't get too close -- these guys look hungry.

Tools and Materials

Miniature saw
Small pumpkin (For a petrifying pale complexion, look for a white pumpkin)
Plastic eyeballs
Thumbtack or pin
  1. For the eyes, hold saw at an angle and cut 2 cone-shaped holes into the pumpkin. The diameter of the holes should be slightly smaller than the eyeballs' diameter.
  2. Print mouth template. Lay template on pumpkin, and poke tack through, all along outline, to transfer design. Cut along that outline with saw, and remove excess flesh.
  3. Wedge eyeballs into holes.
Sabre saw (similar to shown), by Kemper;ceramicsupplyinc.com. Ping-Pong eyeballs (similar to shown), partycity.com.



Use a pumpkin incense burner to suggest the cozy scent of pie just out of the oven.


Use a pumpkin incense burner to suggest the cozy scent of pie just out of the oven. Cut off the pumpkin's top and scrape out the innards; carve round vents with an apple corer. Rub cinnamon or pumpkin-pie spices onto the lid, or push cloves into it. With a lighted tea light candle inside, the pumpkin will give off a lovely fragrance for about six hours. This is perfect for Halloween night....trick or treaters will get the sweet smell of pumpkin pie...and then a treat!!!






Squash Trio

Legend has it that the luckless souls who hear the Three Squashes' song of woe shall vanish into the nearest vegetable patch, never to be seen or heard from again. Since narrow squashes are easier to hollow out if you work from both ends, these guys had the tops of their heads cut off.



Carving a Squash1. To hollow out a tall, skinny squash, scoop out the insides from the top and the bottom: Cut off the bottom with a keyhole saw, and use a plaster scraper to scoop out the wide bottom section until walls are 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick.
2. Cut off the top with the keyhole saw, and use an apple corer to remove the insides at that end. Carve features; replace the top for display, if desired.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Indian Corn...My Gardener Guy grows!

I might not be able to tell you everything but I can sure share what I have learned...
One day while in Salt Lake we stopped into a garden store/nursery, I have driven by it a few times thinking one of these days I need to stop and take a look around. Well after a long winter of lots of snow when the garden stores/nurseries started to begin putting out inventory I got the itch to get out of the house and look around...The nursery we went to was Western Garden Center, they have three locations and the downtown Salt Lake location is about 20 miles from me. There were two things I was looking for seeds and fairy garden stuff. I did not find any trinkets for my soon to be fairy garden even if I did I knew I could not buy them with My Gardner Guy with me. But, I found seeds, he never says no to seeds. That's were I found Smoke Signals Indian corn seed....from Seed savers. They have a fantastic website at www.seedsavers.org. Any way My Gardner Guy said yes, and our adventure with growing the Indian corn begun.

 According to the package it saids you can pop it and it is suppose to be delicious. I don't know if it is, I will perhaps try sampling an ear or more later as it finishes drying. I was interested using it for fall decorating the ornamental aspect. I have a few visions of wreaths to centerpieces, the looks of my grandchildren's face as they inspect this pretty colorful corn. The pumpkins are close to harvesting and I have made up a Halloween bag of goodies for each family to enjoy. Following Halloween the dried corns stalks and Indian corn can still decorated theirs homes well into Turkey Day!!!

I plan on telling the grandcritters...a little history. These colorful ears were named after the native Indians of North America. They'd been cultivating it for years when they introduced it to the Europeans who arrived in the Western Hemisphere in the 15th century. But "Indian corn" isn't exclusive to the North American continent. Experts say that it grew in China, India and South America for centuries. And our ancestors didn't decorate with it -- they ate it.

From what I have read it's not sweet like sweet corn, and when it's cooked it has a very starchy texture, much like hominy. Hominy is used to make grits...maybe a few of the grandcritters would like this corn because I have some grandcritters who love their grits. Indian corn can be ground to make flour, or the whole kernel can be reserved for popcorn. Ears with larger kernels are used for flour or cornmeal production, while those with small, pointy kernels are perfect for popcorn.

Now for some tips...  If you're growing Indian corn for ornamental use, be sure to wait until the husks are no longer green to pick them, then let the ears dry for about a week. We laid ours out on the dining room table, rotating them a few times. I pulled most of the husk up and tied them with string. I can remove the string later but I wanted the husked to dry a little more in a straighter position. Once they a dried, you can store them at room temperature for four to six months. Some people like to coat Indian corn with lacquer to give it a shiny appearance while others prefer the plant's natural look. And if you want to have another Indian corn harvest next year, at the end of the season, pick the largest, healthiest seeds from each cob and store them in metal, animal-proof containers. One year I sat some pieces of Indian corn outside hanging from the our scare crow Mr. Ralph. Mr Ralph sits on our front porch near the front store most of October and November. I gave Mr. Ralph a basket of corn to hold and the squirrels had fun with the Indian corn!!!




Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I just learned something about zucchinis...

Today on one of my post I got a comment on a recipe. She, a follower (and friend from the farmville game) refer to a soup she often makes that seem similar to the recipe I posted. But I was confuse about the name of the vegetable she was taking about. So I went to do some searching...I love the internet. Below is what I learned. Cool....I say!!! I am smarter today!!!
Courgette is the British, and particularly the New Zealand, name for zucchinis. People in the UK may refer to it as marrows. Zucchinis come in many shapes and a few different colors. People are likely most familiar with those that are long green oblongs, resembling a cucumber, but round or yellow ones can be found in many stores. It is perhaps the best known and most popular of the summer squashes.
Though marrows technically belong in the fruit family, they are almost invariably considered vegetables. They may be steamed, fried, grated into pasta sauce, or blanched and served as part of a vegetable plate. They’re also sliced into stews and soups, and have a mild taste. On a few occasions, courgettes are treated as a dessert and used in zucchini bread.

My favorite recipe for zucchini is making a relish...I have family and a list of friends who always asked me to bring them a jar...see recipe below....



You know how my Gardner Guy loves Hamburgers, he loves good Hot Dogs also....when we got married I made him some relish, we had taken a day trip to Brigham City to eat at Maddox's steakhouse and to visit their produce stands. This is where I loaded up on the ingredients to make a batch of relish I knew he would love. Since then he took to the garden and continues to bring me more things to cook!!!

Zucchini Relish
12 cups grated zucchini (sometimes  I have added yellow crook neck squash)
4 cups grated or chopped onion
3 red peppers finely diced/chopped
3 green pepper diced/chopped (can use a mixture of colored peppers)
1 bag of Soybeans or Lima beans (frozen kind)
5 Tablespoons of kloser salt/pickling salt
Mix and add enough water to cover all ingredients & let sit in fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight
Rinse and drain well

Make the Syrup
2 1/4 cups vinegar
1 tsp. dried mustard
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. turmeric
2 TBS cornstarch (mix in blender with vinegar)
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 TBS celery seed
6 cups sugar
Combine syrup mixture with your zucchini mixture and cook for 30 minutes on a medium high heat...fill sterilized jars and seal. I like to then place them in a hot water bath for 20 minutes.
For my family and friends I made 60 1/2 pints for Christmas 2011 gifts...
It is that good and worth sharing!!!

I like to add color

A lima bean or soybean looks pretty in this relish

This is a huge recipe so use a very large pot

Almost done...

My oh my how pretty!!!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Those pretty little tomato's make a wonderful treat!!!

Fresh Bruschetta with tomatoes and basil recipe...



This simple appetizer is a breeze to throw together and it's tasty to the pallet...if you really want a treat toast your bread; first rub it with a little olive oil and crushed garlic...at times I have even melted a nice white cheese on the top.I like to use the tiny cherry, pear or grape tomatoes for this recipe. It's even better looking when you mix colors of yellow orange and red together. A few years ago I attended a evening event were bruschetta was served as an appetizer. I was hooked, soon My Gardner Guy had a sample then it became a summer must have.

I am always interested in the history and origin of food...Bruschetta (Italian pronunciation: [bru-sket-ta]  is an antipasto from Italy whose origin dates to at least the 15th century. It consists of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with olive oil, salt and pepper. Variations may include toppings of tomato, vegetables, beans, cured meat, or cheese; the most popular recipe outside of Italy involves basil, fresh tomatogarlic and onion or mozzarella. Bruschetta is usually served as a snack or appetizer. In some countries, a topping of chopped tomato, olive oil and herbs is sold as bruschetta.

Ingredients:
  • Bread like french bread
  • 4 cups of seeded cherry, pear or grape tomatoes, minced
  • 3 TBSP of basil, minced
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced ( a few extra for rubbing on bread)
  • 1 small/medium purpe ohion
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 TBSP Olive oil (a little extra for the bread)
Directions:
  1. Finely chop half the garlic. Mix tomatoes, basil, chopped garlic, onion, salt and olive oil in a  bowl.
  2. Grill or toast both sides of the bread.
  3. Rub one side of the bread with the halved garlic, drizzle with olive oil, then spoon the tomato mixture on it. Serve immediately.
I have a canning bruschetta recipe we also enjoy when we can't get the fresh grown treats during the winter months...

http://mygardnerguy.blogspot.com/2010/07/bruschetta-toppinggoing-to-love-this.html



Sunday, August 18, 2013

Something else besides Zucchini Bread....



Beside making bread with zucchini try making a creamy soup, sometimes creamy soups made from roasted and puréed vegetables are called bisques. I have learned to make a few different ones with all the vegetables we have at times. Yesterday I decided for our Sunday meal I would use up the few zucchini's we had, serve with fresh bread and bruschetta, corn on the cob and a cucumber salad.

The one thing about this meal is every thing could be prepared the day before, except for cooking the corn. This allows me to have a lazy Sunday. Knowing that My Gardner Guy has a huge sweet tooth I made a few loaves of banana bread and some unbaked cookies. By Sunday evening I pretty much bet the treats will all be gobbled up!!!

 

Zucchini Bisque

5 cups zucchini
1 small onion, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves minced 
1/2 cube butter
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup half & half
salt & white pepper to taste
1 dash nutmeg

Simmer everything except the cream until squash & onion are tender. Blend until smooth, add cream.
Garnish this delicious soup with a little cheese, croutons, bacon, chives, parsley or even cilantro leaves ....

Those treats I made well there almost gone!!!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

My Gardner Guy's corn...

Besides growing a lots of produce and many pumpkins My Gardner Guy loves his corn. When he was growing up his family would grow corn and sell it. This family tradition was shared with his Grandparents, his Parents,  a few Uncles and one Aunt. It was indeed a family affair. Every year around the 24 of July he would stand on the side of the road known as 200 east near Glovers Lane under a make shift  vegetable stand which in his words was just a tarp put up for shade. This would go on for about 3-4 weeks the selling price ranged  between .60 cents to $1.00 a dozen. His favorite corn seed to plant is serendipity!!!

Coming from Las Vegas most of my corn was bought in the store...I stilled loved it and enjoyed having corn on the dinner table during the corn season. I have since gain a appreciation for fresh corn from the garden to the table. We can enjoy a lot more of it...breakfast, lunch and dinner...LOL. This year we have given quite a few neighbors some corn to enjoy...


Corn Aug. 2013
1st pickings
Looks like we have corn on the menu for a few weeks...

Red Salsa

Over the past few years I have been testing different salsa recipes and when it came to the red salsa I had not found what I liked or loved until now....the difference I have found is I like using the lime juice instead of the vinegar that most canning recipes call for. So here it is I love it!!!!

Red Salsa with lime
  • 10 quarts of plum tomatoes or in my case any tomatoes I am growing (I prefer seeding them) 
  • Pickling salt
  • 6 large onions
  • 6-8 heads garlic
  • 1 lb jalapeno pepper
  • 6 large mild bell peppers
  • 2 1/2 cups minced cilantro
  • 1 (5 1/2 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (per 500 ml jar or pint jar)
Directions

  1. Deseed and dice your tomatoes (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qI0d2qliO7) this will show you what deseeding a tomato is). 

  2. Dicing the tomatoes fine or deseeding or not does not matter...you can  chop them coarsely but which ever way you choose sprinkle with pickling salt in layers as you go - I try to use about 5 tablespoons.

  3. Put them in a strainer and set in a cool place (but NOT the fridge!) to drain for several hours.

  4. Prepare your canning jars, lids, sterilize.

  5. Peel and chop onions (I like then fine)

  6. Peel and deseed the peppers, and chop them (again I like them finely chopped).

  7. Peel and mince the garlic and mince cilantro

  8. Mix all the ingredients except the lime juice in a large pot, make sure tomato paste is mixed in well and lump-free.

  9. Bring the salsa to a boil.

  10. Pack salsa into warm sterilized jars

  11. Add 2 tbsp lime juice to each jar

  12. Apply  heated lids and bands, screw down to fingertip tight.

  13. Return the bottles to the boiling water bath and process them for 20 minutes.

  14. Remove, allow to cool, and check seals

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