With the current temperature at 13 degrees and wind chill of negative 3 at the warmest part of the day, outdoor chores just got a bit more difficult. I really don’t know if I can have enough layers of clothes to keep me warm through this. I have discovered that using glove warmers, smart wool socks, hats, and on and on, help. But I don’t like it. Scott works outside a lot and even when he works inside he’s heating with wood. It’s a good thing he’s a tough guy. Our snow storm last week was really beautiful though. There is nothing like sitting by the fire watching the snow fall while we’re all cozy and warm. It gave me a good excuse to go through seed catalogs and place my orders. I can hardly wait to get planting! The snow did a good job helping to insulate the sides on the high tunnel and with the sun out later on it brought the temperature up to 40 degrees in there. I think work will begin in there next month. Until then, hoping for warmer days!
A time to reflect and relax.
It has been a busy year. This past March we put up a 72 X 30 foot high tunnel and grew all our tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, some kale, eggplant and raspberries in it. Even though they did well I’m hopeful that this spring it will help give us the jump on early crops.In August we decided to order more chicks and decided on 16 Buff Orpingtons. It’s been fun watching them grow and we hope by the end of December they will be pulling their weight around here and providing us with plenty of fresh eggs.Most of the work is done for this year and its time to put our feet up and enjoy some quality down time.
It is easy to love fresh beets. Roasting them seems to enhance their sweet earthy flavor and probably the easiest way to cook beets. I’ve had more people tell me that they don’t like beets. Well, that was until they taste roasted beets. Roasting beets give them a deep, sweet taste. Serve these beets either as a side dish or in a salad.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Wash about 8 small beets well. Slice or chunk them and place in a roasting pan. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil, some kosher salt and pepper and mix well to coat.
Cook about 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out easily. Enjoy!
I should know by now, there isn’t any instant gratification in gardening. Patience for that seed to sprout, the plant to flower, the tiny vegetable to get just a little bit bigger. So we wait, and wait, one more day, maybe another. A watched garden, it seems, is like a watched pot waiting to boil.
We anxiously await our first squash, the first red tomato, “do you have any cucumbers yet”? Days to harvest are marked on the calendar and we joke, “you call that squash???”. The peppers, they are nearly ready, nearly ready, probably NEXT WEEK. We hope. Who knows?
Our kale and chard seem frozen in time. There’s waiting for rain, or sun. It’s been a cold spring. It’s just too darn hot. Are we constantly wishing for a different kind of weather? Ah, Mother Nature, I know you’re in charge.
The gratification will come. Don’t give up on us, that squash may just be ready next week!
3 cups fresh cranberries, cut in half
1 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
4 eggs (farm fresh are best!)
3 cups flour
1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts (optional)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom only of one 9X5X3 loaf pan. Stir together cranberries, sugar, oil, milk, vanilla, orange peel and eggs in large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients and pour into pan. Bake 1 hour 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Loosen sides of loaf from the pan, remove from pan and place on wire rack to cool completely (about 2 hours before slicing). Wrap tightly and store at room temperature up to 4 days or refrigerate up to 10 days. Enjoy!
It’s hard to believe its that time of year again, our annual cranberry harvest. A time where family and friends come together to help us harvest our crop. I hope for a sunny, warm day with a crop that makes my husband proud. I’m thankful for the many hands that make it seem so easy.
What follows is my favorite easy recipe for cranberry sauce.
Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce
4 cups fresh cranberries (no need to cut them)
2 cups sugar
1 cup cold water
Mix together in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the stove and cool. Keep in refrigerator. This makes 2 pints of sauce.
If you’re a fan of butternut squash, you are going to love delicata. I’m a fan of butternut, its probably my favorite, but unless you cook it in a microwave that tough outer skin isn’t easy to work with.
Here’s the good part–delicata doesn’t require peeling. They’re easy to clean, cut and cook with a creamy rich flavor. Roasting it in a metal pan will brown and caramelize it–simply delicious!
Roasted Delicata Squash
Serves 2-4 as a side dish
2 to 4 delicata squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Clean the squash by running it under warm water and scrubbing it with your hands. Cut it in half lengthwise. (easy deal) Scoop out the seeds and discard them, or if you know me, bring them to me and we’ll feed them to the chickens!
Cut each half into 1/2 inch segments and arrange them single layer in a metal baking pan. Coat with the olive oil and salt. The browning occurs when the squash and the pan meet. Roast 10 minutes then carefully flip them over and continue roasting for another 7-10 minutes until both side of the squash are golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes
Cornbread with Fresh Corn
1/2 cup Wesson oil
1 cup self rising cornmeal (I like Hodson Mill all Natural)
1 cup of fresh corn (cooked and cut off cob)
1 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a loaf pan. Beat eggs and oil in large bowl. Add in the remainder of the ingredients and mix lightly. Bake in 400 degree oven 35 minutes. Cool 15 minutes on rack. Remove from pan and enjoy!
Ok, maybe you guessed correctly! They are lemon ball cucumbers. If you know me you know that each year I like to try something new in the garden. One of them just happens to be the lemon ball cukes. They are unusual, looking like bright yellow balls, and no, they don’t have a lemon taste. Some say they are less bitter than the “regular cukes”. Sliced and on a platter, the unusual color gives a nice visual element.
These are an heirloom variety and have been around for a long, long time. Still, they are new to me, and may be new to you also. I find that there are two types of customers at the market-one type looks for, and buys the familiar looking vegetables. The second type-they seek out the “new” and unusual, anxious to try something different.
Stop by Saturdays 9 to 1. Maybe you’ll want to try something unusual too!
Ok, for weeks now I’ve been telling everyone, “the tomatoes aren’t ready yet, maybe next week”. Here it is August 10th and not a single red tomato. Mother Nature has not been kind in the tomato area. I have MANY green tomatoes, Big Boy, heirloom Debarao and some short vine variety. About 35 plants in all. Please be patient, I’m not. I can’t wait.
What I do have is a lot of squash, and a lot of squash recipes for you to try. Stop by the market, pick up some squash, some recipes, and who knows…..maybe next week I’ll have red tomatoes!
Zucchini Pizza Casserole
A tasty, tomatoey casserole Serves 6-8
4 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini
2 eggs (farm fresh are best!)
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese 3-4 oz
2 cups (8oz.) shredded part skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 pound of ground beef (you can also use ground chicken or ground turkey)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1 medium green pepper, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 13 X 9 inch baking dish.
2. Place the zucchini in a strainer; sprinkle with salt and let stand for 10 minutes. Squeeze out moisture.
3. Combine the zucchini with the eggs, parmesan and half of the mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. Press into the prepared 13 X 9 baking dish.
4. Bake, uncovered, 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Meanwhile cook beef, onion, and green pepper over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add tomato sauce, and spoon over zucchini mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining cheeses. Bake 20 minutes longer.