Jul 28, 2008

The Mystery Squash

I was so inspired by some blogs featuring Giant Pumpkins last year, that I had decided this year to try and grow my own Jack-o-lantern. Not a Giant one mind you, as that is a bit too ambitious for my tastes, but a nice pumpkin-y sized pumpkin.

Well, I did plant the seeds....twice.

And the seeds they did finally emerge from the soil.

However the vines from those seeds are pretty pathetic.

The vines from my Mystery Compost Curcurbit are absolutely gorgeous though! Plus, in the past few days we have been watching a tiny female blob take shape.

July 25th 2008

Wonders never cease it seems, because as of this morning, I am pretty sure she is a Pumpkin ...woooohoooo....and I am also pretty sure she was pollinated sometime in the wee morning hours this morning!!

July 28th 2008

So it looks like we will be following in the footsteps of many of my favorite bloggers and charting my pumpkin Progress from now until October , when if all goes well I will have my own glorious Pumpkin to enjoy during my favorite holiday time of year.So let's all keep our fingers crossed for this little gal.

More pictures to come as the days pass.

Jul 27, 2008

Soy To The World!!

I am so proud.

I just harvested my first ever crop of Edamame. This is the soy bean in its green stage. The word Edamame means "Beans on Branches," and it grows in clusters on bushy branches. They are a remarkably easy vegetable to grow.I planted them in extra-large pots , planting the seeds about an inch and a half deep, and spaced about 6 inches apart. I watered them in, and then watered when needed. Piece of Cake. They are a pretty compact plant, and the flowers are tiny...but they get covered in pods. Once the pods were nice and plump, but still green. I picked them.

They are also extremely easy to prepare as a side dish or vegetable dish once they are grown. Edamame are best eaten steamed or boiled in lightly salted water and popped out of the shell straight into your mouth... Yum.

You can also let the beans completely mature, and then shell them and use them like other dried beans. The nice thing about using them as a dry bean is they don't require any pre-soaking, as a matter of fact, pre-soaking would be a bad thing for them as they spoil quickly that way . So they are quick and easy in the dry stage as well!

Come on People ....enjoy the Soy!!

Green Thumb Sunday

Oh, the lovely surprises that the Compost Pile puts forth. This guy was just discovered this week, there was a bunch of debris to the side of my compost pile, and my hubby noticed something tomato-like poking out. Lo and behold....a beautiful rogue tomato plant. He may be a tad bit behind his brethren, but if it comes down to it, I will be making pickled green tomatoes come late Autumn. it wont bother me any since the cucumbers aren't doing so well in the spot I chose for them this season.

Jul 17, 2008

Zucchini Invasion

It appears that I am coming to the point in the growing season, where I am going to have to find homes for my excess zucchini. At this stage of the game, I still have neighbors and family who will let me onto their property, and who welcome the squash with open arms.

In a week or so , that will all change. People will get tired of waking to a porch load of squash, and I just never got the knack of stealth squashing. I don't relish the idea of being run out of my neighborhood by an angry mob carrying pitchforks ,shouting angry slogans ....but that will definitely loom on the horizon if I don't come up with something to do with my zucchini.

So I am open for yummy recipes. If I get enough, I may even dedicate an entire post to your recipes. For now I offer the one my daughter loves the most.

Zucchini Fries

3 Medium Sized Zucchini
2-3 cups Fresh Bread Crumbs
1/2 tsp fresh Ground Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 Eggs
1/4 to 1/2 cup water
1/2 to 1 cup Flour

Preheat oil to 375°

In a pie pan or similar dish, mix together bread crumbs, salt, pepper , garlic powder and Parmesan cheese. Put aside. In a similar dish, beat together eggs and water, put that aside as well.

Wash Zucchini, then remove stem and blossom ends. Cut in half thru the middle, then cut into strips lengthwise, cutting each strip into fries.

Next , put flour into a gallon sized ziplock style bag, add strips of zucchini close bag, then shake to coat. Place flour coated strips , a few at a time into the eggs and turn to coat. Transfer to bread crumb mix and coat well. Shake off excess crumbs and gently place into oil
( I use an electric deep fryer with a basket, and I fill the basket a little shy of the half way mark...if you have a fryer, use yours according to the manufacturers instructions. If you are using a pan, use one with high sides and only put in a few inches of oil, and don't put in too many strips at a time as you don't want the oil to bubble over. Always use caution when working with boiling oil)

These only take a few minutes to be done, so no walking away :).
Once they are golden brown they are done. Remove from oil and drain.

Enjoy them any way you would enjoy traditional Fries!!

More recipes to come ...

Jul 13, 2008

Green Thumb Sunday

Did you spot the Bumble Bee??

It is so nice watching the bees do their thing!!It has become one of my more favorite past times this summer.

Yesterday, while I was out surveying my land...all 1/6 th of an acre of it, I watched two enormous bumbling Bumble Bees trying to enjoy the pollen on my Tomatillos . The plants were swaying gently in the absolutely Divine breeze that was wafting thru my back yard, and the bees were having one hell of a time trying to land. I could have watched them for hours.
Bees, they are the Kings and Queens of my life!!

Jul 7, 2008

Holy Horseradish Batman!!

So here is my stunning horseradish....and along side of my horseradish is my equally stunning, one and only, son. My horseradish this year is huge. Which for perspective sake is why my son, under protest, is in the shot. Now he is no giant himself, but he is in no way diminutive. So that gives you an idea about the height on this vegetable, as you can see it comes up to his waist.

Horseradish happens to be one of my favorite things from the garden so I am thrilled with it's size. I love it ground up along with ham and mashed potatoes. It is also a great in ketchup, not just as cocktail sauce for shrimp, but for anything you that you would use ketchup. I especially love to use it when it is fresh. I am not knocking store bought grated radish, but as with many veggies, fresh horseradish is best.

That being said, I would like to offer a cautionary tale regarding freshly ground horseradish for all you newcomers to the experience. It goes a little something like this...........

About 15 years ago I grew and then dug my very first crop of Horseradish. I then carried my dirty yet lovely roots tenderly into my kitchen where all the items that I needed to successfully preserve my precious harvest were carefully laid out. I lovingly washed my roots, peeled them down to their snow white flesh, and cut them into manageable chunks. After a quick ride in the food processor the ground radish was ready for it's vinegar and a trip to the refrigerator. Man was I excited.Eagerly I removed the lid from my machine, excited to finally view the freshly grated roots I adore. How gorgeous I thought.....and before the smarted half of my brain could kick into gear, I stuck my head over the bowl and took a great deep breath......





And thought I was going to die.....




My eyes blurred, the wind was knocked out of me, I couldn't draw a breath for the life of me. I became a spluttering fool, running my face under the cold faucet at full force. Which of course my kids found to be highly entertaining.

Luckily for me the effects only lasted a few minutes so I was never in any real danger. Once the vinegar was mixed in, the fumes subsided, and boy was I ever happy!

All in all I was left with my pride wounded...but a fantastic batch of horseradish.

So my word of wisdom to all who will grind their own Horseradish in the days, weeks, or years to come. Remember my tale, and just step back form the bowl. Thats right...step back from the bowl.

There will be no Horseradish Huffing on my watch......

*If you have any type of breathing problems like asthma, you should take precaution when working with fresh horseradish*

Jul 6, 2008

Going Green...a little bit at a time...

Well yesterday you got to see the dark underbelly of my garden.....
AKA- My Compost Pile !!!

Today I would like to show you my tiny effort in being responsible for my life here.
My Rain Barrel.

I know, I know...there are many Rain Barrels a sight prettier than this one. But in my eyes, he is a beaut! What was once a poor decision for a garbage can....(hubby didn't realise we have a size restriction, and once you write on 'em in Permanent marker the stores don't take 'em back)....is now my wonderful water saver!!

I am now hoping to find a mate for this guy to put in my front yard....hopefully a real barrel from the winery in the next town over. I mean, heck, it couldn't hurt to ask if they are going to be discarding any.... crossing my fingers, but not holding my breath.

Green Thumb Sunday

Look what decided the compost pile was THE place to bring up a family.

Let's Welcome the Cucurbitaceae Family to the neighbourhood!! We don't know yet what to expect from this lovely little viner, but I imagine it will be great!!

So I guess the old adage is true...the three most important things to consider when looking to put down roots are Location, Location, Location!!