Sunday, August 26, 2012

My First Canning!

Sterlizing the jars and lids -- note the lid isn't sealed on the canner. It's a 16 quart Presto canner I bought at Walmart that will do 10 pint jars or 7 quart jars. Importantly, it's small enough it's OK to use on my glass top stove -- the "Gold Standard" All-American Canners which are awesome are also so heavy they don't recommend using them on glass tops. The All-Americans, in addition to being U.S. made, don't use a gasket like Presto (an occasional replacement item), and they use a dial to control the pressure instead of weights like the Presto (something I'm sure I'll be tearing the kitchen apart one day trying to figure out what I did with them...).

The Beans, picked fresh this morning:

If I had chickens, they'd be loving the ends & culls in the background:

We be cutting...the "Santoku" style knife is nice!

Soaking in warm water and vinegar to wash them off. I then rinsed a handful at a time, putting them in the salad spinner colander to drain.

Ready to go in...

And finished:
They're floating, but that should be OK from what I've read. Maybe I could have packed it a bit tighter?

Like what I'm finding with a lot of stuff in the kitchen, it's not a lot of "work" or even that "time consuming" so much as it needs forethought and planning. I'll have to time the next time I do this, so I could be doing other things while the processing is going on.

Friday, August 24, 2012

More Lindsey Stirling...

Pretty awesome what you can do not only with a violin, but with relatively affordable video cameras & some training these days:

Mac 'n Cheese

Don't make it too often, but it's getting to be pretty easy now that I'm in the swing of making a lot more of my meals.

Also first time I've made it since I bought several of these toaster-oven sized stoneware dishes (got them in ovals too.) Hope there's not too much lead in the Chinese glazing :D

That's good enough for two, or I really should stretch it three, meals. Plus that's only half the mix; the other half I froze (we'll see how that turns out) to bake on a future day -- I think all I need to do is defrost, breadcrumb it, and bake.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Think I need new plates...

At least for the photos :D

And I swear to God I checked the blue one to make sure it wasn't the one I had chipped on I blind?

Ham Steak from Campbell's Farm in Griswold. High 5 minutes, flip, high 7 minutes. Let it rest for 5 minutes afterwards.

Garden veggies were grilled 20 minutes on Medium, with oil, oregano, parsley, and garlic salt.

Little bit of Peach & Pineapple Salsa as a condiment.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tragedy... when you grab the bacon from the fridge to fry it up to add to the tater salad you're making, and realize it's "Use By" date as 2-1/2 months ago.

Thought long and hard on that one since it looked fine, and what can go wrong with properly made bacon? Oh well, didn't use it :(

Taters, tomatoes (Mortgage Lifter I believe), cabbage from my garden. Coleslaw doesn't taste as good as week, but maybe I need to let it cure and cool for a while in the fridge. I also should've diced up the apples and cabbage smaller, and diced up the celery in the potato salad more.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

That's a nice basket

And I had...take-out for dinner. By the time I finished picking the garden I wanted more then a salad but didn't feel like cooking (and I had no "convenience foods" in the freezer to just heat up :( )

Rebuilding the Onion Bed...

...well, it'll be the carrot bed this fall :)

Tilled it once...

Shoveled it...

Tilled Twice...

Put in some grass clippings I picked up at the dump on Friday...

Worked them in with the gravelly soil underneath and some topsoil from the side piles...

Another layer of grass clippings...

Used half the load :)

I'll let it settle down for a couple days and plant carrots sometimes this week. It'll be back to onions in the spring. Next spring I should also get a small soil screen and shovel it through to remove more of the stones from the soil.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Night full of gastronomic firsts!

Pork steak from Campbell's Farm in Griswold.

First yellow tomatoes I've grown & eaten (that I can remember). Grew them when Mom mentioned she liked then and her father used to grow them. I like 'em -- much milder flavor then the reds.

First coleslaw I've made, from the first cabbage I've successfully harvested.

Pork Steak:
I'm thinking 8 minutes high, flip, 8 minutes medium. This was overcooked, need to play with the time in the future.

One head of cabbage chopped up.
Can of pineapple slices, diced up. Added juice to the mix.
Two apples, one shredded, one diced.
Three carrots, shredded.
One lemon, juiced.
Cains mayonaise, olive oil, red vinegar -- don't really know the amounts or proportions, I just eyeballed it. Whisked together then mixed into the slaw.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Awesome Steak!

Porter House T-bone from the Hunter's Brookside Farm in town (via Brooklyn Beef & Fish)

High heat, five minutes per side, five minute rest -- the first bite almost melted in my mouth. Wish I had plates I could heat up like they do in the steakhouses to keep it warm during the meal, of course I'd have to clear off a real table to eat at instead of my computer desk while watching Star Trek Next Generation on Netflix :D

It was the best one I've ever cooked, and one of the best I've ever had -- last time I had one in the same class was to Ruth's Chris.

All the veggies except the carrots were from my garden; the taters I dug up coming home from the data center this evening -- not five minutes from the dirt to grill.

Veggies were coated in olive oil, dash of pepper, dash of Chinese Five Spice and grilled for 20 minutes.

I've gotten used to eating a palm-sized piece of meat usually -- and my eyes proved bigger then my stomach even with the great of those pieces and one half of a tater went to the fridge (along with the rest of the T-bone!).

Monday, August 6, 2012

A good last day of the forty first year...

Dropped off Cindy at the airport earlier, squeezed in most of a day at work, and then worked in the garden for three hours this evening.

Though please note -- if you have a fancy car that has headlights which turn themselves on, and you park it in the shade by the garden, and listen to the radio for two might have trouble starting it afterwards :D

Not a good onion harvest this year -- I didn't do a good job keeping them weeded (plus I don't know how much the relatively dry weather impacted them):

Got the inner garden cleaned up, and planted fall crops today:
-- Lettuce (several kinds)
-- Chard (two kinds)
-- Cabbage
-- Broccoli
-- Peas I have to figure out what to do with cabbage:

What I envision having:

(From Photos by Garth)

What I end up with:

Trying some fishing line, with a hook-n-spring so I can take it down to theory it'll scare off deer who hit the "invisible" line. It's not a hard fence, but we'll see if it deters them from my beans.

I managed to defend these late-season Daylillies successfully against the deer this year (only have one doe and two fawns and they haven't been putting much pressure on me this year compared to some previous deer families I've had!!!)