Friday, August 26, 2011

Update on The Garden

So, the garden is going great guns!  As you may recall, I overplanted the first 4 x 6 foot box the Darling Husband built for me.  So, he built me another. I am so lucky to have him!  Then he had underground sprinkling run out to it, so I wouldn't have to drag the hose out there anymore.  Seriously. How did I get so lucky to find him!?  The garden has grown and grown and now the tomatoes are comin' in like gangbusters.

Here is last weekend's harvest:

I have four different kinds of tomatoes in my garden: Better Boys, Early Girls, Sweet 100's, and grape tomatoes.  The Sweet 100's are my favorite.  They are the little round ones on the left and they are like eating CANDY!  Most of the time they don't make it into the house because I eat them while I am picking other things.  The grape tomatoes are really good too. 

We had one hilarous garden mishap as well.  When I went out to check the zucchini, there was one that was hiding underneath the huge zucchini plant leaves.  It got a little large.  Here is Tiny Dancer posing with Youngest Boy and her zucchini "baby."

I think that zucchini could be used to ward off intruders!  It is sooo heavy.  Instead, I am going to grate it and freeze it to use for zucchini bread in the winter.

I finally had enough tomatoes to make tomato sauce.  I used a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Country Gourmet Cookbook, by Sherrill & Gil Roth.  I was worried that it might be out of print, but I checked and found it is still available.  Here it is on Amazon, both new and used and also in paperback.

This is their recipe for Tomato Sauce from Fresh Tomatoes:

6 pounds ripe tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced, fresh basil leaves

This is my version of the instructions:
Wash, core, and seed the tomatoes.  Cut into chunks.  Heat the olive oil in a heavy saucepan.  (I use the trusty Dutch Oven - man, do I love that thing!)  Saute onion and garlic until onion is soft and just turning golden.  Do not burn!  Put the onions, garlic, and some of the tomatoes into the bowl of a food processor and puree.  Return to pan on stove.  Puree the rest of the tomatoes and add to the pan.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Simmer, uncovered, until sauce is think, about 1 to 1/12 hours.  Near the end add the minced, fresh basil.  I think I added more than 2 tablespoons 'cause I love basil.

I served the sauce over fresh spinach ravioli with grated parm and a green salad.  The Darling Husband and I were actually home ALONE for dinner. The food was delicious and the company was excellent. :)

Happy eating!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Finally an F.O.

For those of you who may not know, an F.O. is a Finished Object, and it is definitely a cause for a mini-celebration for someone like me who is not the most speedy knitter in the world.  You may recall I posted a 1/2 F.O. post back in January.  (Click here to see the post!)  Well, I finally finished the other half and the legwarmers for Tiny Dancer are complete!
She is wearing them right now at Nutcracker practice and they are very cute and very soft.  I got the pattern from one of my favorite blogs, The Purl Bee, and I ordered the yarn from them as well.  I loved the yarn - so nice to knit with - and would like to use it for another project.  The legwarmers were really easy to knit, just really looooong, so they did take a while. 

Now I am working on a baby sweater that my sister started.  My sister gave up knitting about 10 years ago, and she gave me all of her yarn, needles, and half-finished projects.  Slowly but surely I have either ripped out the half-done projects and reused the yarn or I have finished the projects.  I think is the last one of hers that I am going to finish.  It is a really cute color, but I am worried that the finished sweater is going to look a bit '80s... (cuz that's when she started it!) The baby she was knitting it for is now a grown-up with babies of her own! Hopefully I will find a retro baby who will love it. :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Yummy, yummy, yummy

I found this recipe on a really cool website.  It is called They Draw & Cook, and it is as fun to look at as it is to cook from.  This recipe is called Chicken with 30 Cloves of Garlic.  It is made with chicken thighs and garlic, two of my personal faves, so I had to try it.  It was so easy, and so delicious!  We had kind of a cool, rainy weekend and so it seemed perfect. It smelled fabulous while it was cooking. 

Start by peeling 30 cloves of garlic.  Make sure your significant other also eats this dish, and you will have NO problems!

Scatter half of the garlic cloves in a 9 x 13 pan.  Then top with 8 - 10 skinless chicken thighs.  Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 3 tablespoons of white wine, some fresh chopped parsley, some dried basil and oregano, and the rest of the peeled garlic.

Then, cover tightly with foil and bake for three hours at 250 degrees.  DO NOT PEEK!  I promise it will be done.

We were so hungry when it came out of the oven, I forgot to take a picture of it.  The chicken is moist and delicious and then we spread the garlic cloves on crusty french bread.  OMG.  Yum!

I used the left over chicken to make Chicken a la King, which I poured over pastry shells.  I smashed up some of the garlic and added it to the sauce with the mushrooms and red peppers.  So good!  This chicken would also be perfect in a Chicken Potpie.  I will be cooking chicken thighs like this many times this winter and then shredding the leftover chicken to use in all of those yummy comforting chicken dishes we love in the cold weather months.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It's a Jungle Out There

First of all, August is going WAY TOO FAST.  July kind of just rolled by, slowly, peacefully, joyfully, like a lazy river.  August is flying by, quickly, madly, anxiously, like a running rapids.  What the heck?  It has been a great summer.  It seems like ages ago that I drove out east with the Oldest Son in June, eons ago that the family all congregated on the beach for 4th of July weekend, light years ago that we all played on Burt Lake up north in the second week of July.  Now, time is moving at light speed.  It is already August 9 and I don't know what happened to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8.  I am freaking out!  Tomorrow, I have an all day meeting at school.  8:30 to 3:00.  Inside.  Under flourescent lights.  I don't think I am ready.  It is supposed to be an absolutely gorgeous day tomorrow (of course, it couldn't have rained like it did on Saturday and Sunday...).  I will probably have to run outside every hour just to stick my face in the sun so I don't get inside-poisoning! ha ha  Okay, so I am being a little dramatic, but I just don't feel like starting yet!

The weather has been super hot and muggy around here.  The plants on my deck have gone insane.  It looks like a jungle.

Obviously the pots with the sweet potato vines and petunias are annuals and will be done late fall, but the others are my houseplants that I moved outside for the summer.  They are loving this weather.  That fern in the second picture has tripled in size - it is man-eating!  I don't know where I will put them this winter, but I will find room.  They will remind me that summer will come again.