Monday, September 30, 2013

How To Cook Pumpkin

They looked happy at first.
I cooked the pumpkins using two of the three methods.  I didn't go with Donna's method of cooking it whole without venting.  That seemed like a dangerous method for a pumpkin.  They are so dense, it would take a lot of pressure to explode it but if it did explode it would be with a lot more pressure.  Yes, I'm over analyzing.  Welcome to my mind.  Just vent it.

The tall one just got stabbed like I meant it and...

Saturday, September 28, 2013

One Explosion and Two Other Ways to Cook a Pumpkin

My friend Donna Ashton exploded a spaghetti squash this week.

You smiled.  Didn't you?  

Thank the stars above it wasn't mine to clean.  Really, I would have turned the oven up high and burnt it off.  After pulling the battery out of the fire alarm and opening the doors of course.  I'm sure Donna cleaned it the right way.  She's good like that.

The squash blast brought me back to the directions my favorite employee gave me for cooking a pumpkin.  (Nobody has hurt feelings about her being my favorite.  She is everyone's favorite and she put up with me the longest!)  (I liked John a lot too.  He once told me to start taking Xanax.  "You might be a real nice person, you never know!")

In the aftermath of Donna's explosion, let's compare my mother's method of cooking a big squash with Erynn's and Donna's and declare a winner.  Full disclosure: My mother is coming to visit today and Erynn hasn't embraced this new internet thing and is unlikely to see this...

Friday, September 27, 2013

Vegetable Storage Ideas? Anyone? Anyone?

I am tomatoed out.  Can't bring myself to look at another tomato sandwich or salad for at least a couple weeks.  But the tomatoes feel differently, so we'll need to store them somehow for the winter.

The freezer is full and my eardrums are weak from the sound of juicing and blending.  A kinder, more gentler food preservation method calls.

I'm considering some very limited pickling.  Not many things from my youth scream "Move away and never come back!" like peeling hot boiled tomatoes.  Not. Going. There.  But maybe a couple jars of pickled okra over the course of the winter have just enough summer left in them to make a nice accent to some warm bread. 

Dried tomatoes too, add something to the winter pastas that other ingredients just don't.  "Lycopene" you say?  Yes.  And the tastiest way to sauté lycopene with olive oil in the winter is dried tomatoes.

Outside of canning, freezing and drying, I'd really like more food preservation techniques.  The ones with easy directions that don't involve me eating all the food and storing it as fat.  ;) 

If you have a hard time leaving comments here, you can leave them on the Facebook page: Caley's Culinaries.

or the Youtube channel: CaleysKitchenGarden.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

End of September -What to Plant?

Time to plant strawberries!
It is time to plant something.  

If there is snow on the ground in the dead of winter, it is time to plant spinach!

Don't click away yet.  The news gets better: There are a ton of recipes (easy ones, since I don't like to cook) for winter veggies.  
Radish top soup with butter.  Side of crunchy bread!

Right now, it is still September.  Enjoy the great weather and plant those leafy greens!  Oh! Listen to the enthusiasm!  How many Springs have you hatched out of your layered cocoon and had a perfect beach bod?  None?  Then now is the time to plan.  Start digging and planting and spend those dark winter days creating new recipes instead of reading with a bag of chips.

Make it easy.  Here is the...

Monday, September 23, 2013

Growing Money Update - tomato change

Assets from previous investments.
The Money-Growing Plan is liquid, like cash.  Money lesson of today: NEVER keep your assets liquid.  Liquid assets evaporate! Liquid can also change shapes to suit its container.

You see, there has been a change...

Friday, September 20, 2013

Personal Appearance! And Fall Decor

The best thing that happened this week was the sullen Krispy Kreme worker gave us 3 dozen free doughnuts for Talk Like a Pirate Day.  All day people kept telling us how good we looked.  I may have found my second calling.

My hair and eyeliner for sure are starting to look like Jack Sparrow.  I didn't realize Johnny Depp had dreadlocks in the movie until my kids pointed it out.  Thanks guys.  That's an improvement over the rest of the week!

The plants we planted and potted up for the plant show have not grown and some have died.  A predator killed our favorite chicken.  I was hoping she was just eating the plants and that is why they weren't growing and she wasn't coming to get her food.  The kicker is that the plants look like they will be ready on Sunday, when the plant show is over.

So come on out to the Hall County Master Gardeners Expo and buy some of these mums I got from the wholesale grower.  They are really beautiful.  You won't have to do any other decorating for fall. There are also kids activities and I will be giving away the last of our free arugula seeds.

Tomorrow there is a good...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - WHAT is THAT?!

This Wordless Wednesday DOES require some explanation.  These mushrooms are growing behind my hedges.  The photos have not been touched-up.  The visual reflects such a weak perception because these 'shrooms smell BAD.  Here's another...

Monday, September 16, 2013

What's That Green Stuff?

Ewww! What did you eat?
Do you have green  slime on your soil?
Is it creeping you out?
Are your plants looking creeped out too?

The soil in the lettuce container had it too.  As you probably know, the lettuce was consumed and not my me.  But the green stuff wasn't responsible.  The lettuce didn't even care if the green stuff was there because lettuce will grow almost anywhere under almost any conditions, save heat.

Not all plants are so accommodating and so... you need to know what that green stuff is and how to make it leave...

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Identify The Enemy

Before the carnage.
Ahh...the mystery.  There were little holes in the potted vegetable plants.

Clue: They were eating little holes in the leaves of all the plants except the tomato

My flaky room-mate from years ago, the F-L-A-K-Y one, said something in passing that has stayed with me: most problems are self-created.

I didn't put the bugs to graze on my plants, but I am the one who didn't try to kill them.

Yes, I should have sprayed everything with soap and hot pepper water immediately.  I didn't.  School was starting, I felt under the weather and of coarse: things were going too well so I had to screw them up.

THEN! The little munchers made their fatal mistake...

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Here Is THE Potato recipe:

This is so delicious it makes me want to eat potatoes.  

It involves chopping the potatoes which is right up there with chopping stones - another of my least favorite activities.  So I try to make as much as I can when I make it.  I'd like to say it freezes well, but I really don't know because we've never had any left to freeze.

Start by washing the potatoes to your desired cleanliness level.  I have an engineer friend who insists you need to eat some dirt to be healthy.   He's not alone.  People have been eating dirt for centuries.  I've heard it contains good bacteria and some hard-to-get nutrients. A Cornell University researcher hypothesises that eating dirt, especially clay, offsets some bad pathogens and parasites in the  GI.  I've also heard soil can also contain some nasty germs. 

These taters are going to be well-done cooked, so do what you want for washing.  I'm going to scrub mine and cook them.  Then I'll have to take the capsule of probiotics to offset all the sanitizing I did when I washed my hands and cooked the food while drinking pasteurized milk.

Back to the world's tastiest potato recipe...

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

How NOT To Plant Potatoes!

More planning for the future: potatoes.

Fall planting is a great way to plan for Spring when we are talking potatoes.  By the time you dig them in the Spring, you will be ready with your tomato plants or maybe your second succession planting of tomato plants to replace them with.
Here's the hilarious version (mine): Taters Reaching Out To Get You!
I know you haven't watched it because the stats say it's only been watched 25 times, and those were probably me.

Here's a guy who knows something: Fall Potato Planting

Here's what you need to know:...

Monday, September 9, 2013

Procrastination and Ice Cream Plants

When I saw the Klondike bars in the freezer Saturday I knew who bought them and what I had to do.  I could only eat three without getting a tummy ache or brain freeze.  My goal was to recreate the disappointment experienced so often when the other members of the family go to the freezer or pantry for dessert and find the dessert already gone.

The disappointment was not recreated since I was not able to eat them all.  Today somebody mentioned hiding them, which I never thought of.  Brilliant.  In the freezer.  Ingenious!  Behind stuff at the bottom.  Did you know I have a genius level IQ?  It hasn't helped me in life as this scenario demonstrated.

What does this have to do with gardening?

I know you...

Friday, September 6, 2013

Six Containers Growing Money -Update

Post success first to intimidate newbies.
The six vegetable containers are still on the back patio.  I still haven't sprayed them and only the lettuce seems unhappy, or dead, about it.

The squash have flowers, but they are male flowers.  The males flowers always come first.  The useful female, fruit-bearing flowers show up late.

The peppers have bloomed and set fruit.  The tomato has little toms; I'm not sure how many.  The bean has some little beans, but you really have to know what you are looking for to see them.  Something is eating the bean plants.  I have found unexplainable, truncated stems.
Lettuce without its make-up.

Overall, the container veggies have not grown as much as I expected.  However, I have done NO maintenance.  I mean NONE.  I watered them for the second time today.  It's rained regularly so they haven't ever wilted before.
There is a really important thing I haven't done yet that will make a huge difference...

Thursday, September 5, 2013

You Don't Really Have To Read This One

The funniest thought occurred to me today and I knew it would be the perfect beginning to the make-up post apologizing for being incognito for a week.

But I didn't write it down.  That's twice in a week.  It hasn't been a very funny week, so I really needed those two funny thoughts.  Maybe they'll turn up.

My kids made me laugh too, until my cheeks hurt.  It was a strange sensation that I didn't recognise at first.  Best not to post that joke.  I had to sit on one kid to keep him from acting on the idea at the mall.  He cracked a few zingers too, that I didn't write down.  (We are getting to the garden part.)

Do you see a pattern here?  AB AB?  I should have written some things down and then I would have been able to write more, better things.  Just get started.  Any little thing helps.  Life lesson.  I wrote a post today because getting started is the hardest part.  

Which brings me to my sister's garden...

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Are Jalapenos Spicier When Cooked?

There is a mountain of jalapeños and I am taking bids.  And bets.  But most of all recipes.

I decided to test Sarah's assertion that cooking the jalapeños makes them spicier.

Have you heard that story about not cleaning out the seeds with your bare hands?....Don't worry.  You can clean about three jalapeños before your fingers get burned.  I may be a little off.  When I was in labor and didn’t know it, the nurse asked me to rate the pain from 1-10 with 10 being highest.  I said, "Two.  Oh! That hurt.  Three."  So when I say the fourth pepper burned a little, it did.  Of course it burned for hours too, so it adds up.

Pouring vinegar on the burn worked wonders for my son’s jellyfish sting.  It doesn't work for jalapeño burn.  Just saving you some time.

There was a definite answer as to whether the japeno was spicier when cooked...