A Garden Update

The okra is using camoflauge

The okra pod is using camoflague

The okra is finally producing now that the true southern summer is here. The peppers are also getting to the right amount of spiciness now that the days are in the upper 90’s and the nights cool down to the upper 90’s. I am harvesting about 8 pinky length pods a day and more hot peppers than I can shake a stick at. Always pickle okra that is small and tender for the best results.

A good start

A good start

I picked the first batch of butternut squash as well, although they would have been fine on the vine until it gets colder. The squash were a fantastic success and it looks like I will have at least 8 more full sized gourds by the end of September. Next year I plan to plant the butternut in early April with the spinach and arugula.

Crazy as it sounds, it is almost time to plant the fall garden and prep for the winter one.

Still coming

Still coming

We still have tomatoes on the vine, I can not believe how mild this summer has been.

It is almost a tree

It is almost a tree

The basil is so out of control I am going to have to make a third batch of pesto this year.

Posted in Garden, How to | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Summer Vegetable Tart

Fresh tomatoes are devine

Fresh tomatoes are devine.

This recipe comes together quickly and is perfect for brunch or breakfast.

Or dinner.

Add some bacon or chicken livers to the sauteed mushrooms if you want non vegetarian.

Zucchini Tomato Torte

  • 1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup red onion sliced paper thin
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 large zucchini sliced into 1/8″ rounds
  • 2 med tomatoes sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp chopped basil
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Salt/pepper

Beat eggs and buttermilk together until smooth and frothy.Season with salt and pepper. Melt 2 tbsp butter in a frying pan over medium low heat. Saute onion until it turns deep golden brown, stirring constantly. Add mushrooms and saute until it begins to brown, then add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat. In a 9″ pie plate layer half of the zucchini and tomato slices overlapping slightly. Spoon mushroom mixture evenly on top and sprinkle with half the basil. Pour enough egg mixture to almost cover vegetables, waiting a few moments for the batter to work through the vegetable layers. Top with remaining zucchini and tomatoes and then pour the remaining batter over top. Sprinkle basil over and bake at 350 degrees until eggs set and turn brown on the edges, about 40 minutes.

Posted in Breakfast, Food, Garden, Italian, Recipes, vegetarian | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Cherry Bourbon Old Fashioned

A little bit of fizz

A little bit of fizz

Here is a fun twist on the classic old fashioned cocktail that makes use of some of that fantastic cherry liquor for these.

If you did not make the cherries then maybe it is time you did.

Cherry Bourbon Old Fashioned

  • 2 drunken cherries
  • 2-3 dashes angostura bitters
  • 2 oz cherry bourbon liquor
  • 2 oz soda water

Place cherries in a glass with bitters. Muddle well then top with ice. Pour bourbon liquor and stir well. Top with soda water.

Posted in Recipes, Spirits, Things in Jars | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Ratatouille

Looks like a flower petal

Looks like a flower petal

Thanks to a very entertaining film from Pixar, ratatouille has had a reboot from the rustic roasted casserole that nine times out of 10 turned into a gummy inedible mess.

The fancier version is good, but it loses some of the rustic charm and forgets about the most important ingredient.

The tomato sauce.

Well here is my take on ratatouille with an Italian twist. I used fresh tomatoes for the sauce, but canned whole tomatoes work too. Make sure to use really fresh vegetables though and pick eggplant and zucchini that are about two inches thick. Basically the sliced vegetables should be a little taller then the top of a pie plate. You will also need a 9″ pie plate for this.

Ratatouille

  • 1 lb eggplant cut into 1/8″ slices end pieces discarded
  • 1 lb zucchini cut into 1/8″ slices end pieces discarded
  • 1 small red onion sliced paper thin then sliced in half
  • 1 large red bell pepper sliced into thin rings then sliced in half
  • 12-14 Roma tomatoes skinned and blended smooth or 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes drained and blended smooth
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste mixed with 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp fresh chopped thyme
  • 6 basil leaves cut into thin ribbons

Place garlic in a square of tin foil, drizzle with olive oil and fold into a pouch. Roast at 365 degrees until golden and soft, about 25 minutes. Mash garlic to a paste. In a 3 quart stock pan bring tomato paste to a boil then turn heat down to a low simmer and add blended tomatoes, garlic paste, wine and thyme. Simmer until sauce is thick, stirring often, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and spread half sauce into the bottom of the pie plate. working with 1 vegetable at a time make a ring around the edge of the pie plate starting with eggplant, then zucchini, then onion and then bell pepper. Press the rows into each other and up so they stand upright and push the sauce up into each layer a bit. Continue to alternate rings of vegetables until the pie plate is full, adding more sauce to the center as it gets used up. Top with any remaining sauce and sprinkle basil all over. Cover top with a sheet of parchment paper and roast at 360 degrees until edges of vegetables begin to brown, about 30 minutes. Do not overcook it or the eggplant will be gummy and mushy instead of crisp. Let sit for ten minutes before serving.

For any one who has not seen this movie, go see it.

What, you thought I was going to do the scene with the ratatouille. For shame.

 

Posted in Dinner, Food, Recipes, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

Corn Salad with Feta and Candied Bacon

Look a taco salad does not require a giant deep fried shell filled with everything but salad ingredients

Look a taco salad does not require a giant deep fried shell filled with everything but salad ingredients

Here is another use for candied bacon.

Serve this on top of a bed of greens, or on top of a pile of stewed black beans on top of a bed of greens on top of tortilla chips. Or use it as a salsa or topping for steak, chicken or fish.

Or eat it with a spoon.

Corn Salad with Candied Bacon and Feta

  • 2 ears corn steamed
  • 1 large red bell pepper diced small
  • 1 small red onion diced fine
  • 4-6 roma tomatoes diced fine
  • 1 jalapeno diced fine
  • 4 slices candied bacon crumbled
  • 4 oz feta
  • Juice 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt/pepper

Slice kernels from corn cobs. Mix everything together and taste for seasoning. Refrigerate 2 hours then taste again. Adjust seasoning accordingly and serve however you want.

Posted in Food, Garden, Mexican, Recipes | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Peanut Butter Pancakes

Elvis would approve

Elvis would approve

We like to think Elvis was doing this a long time ago in a galaxy far far more awesome.

Peanut Butter Pancakes

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • maple syrup
  • banana slices
  • candied bacon

In a small bowl, whisk peanut butter and other wet ingredients until smooth. In a larger bowl, mix dry ingredients. Make a well in the center and add wet ingredients. Stir to incorporate. Cook on a griddle or a hot frying pan. Cook in batches, pouring about a quarter cup of batter on at a time. When you start to see bubbles flip. Cook until golden, about two minutes on each side. Divide between two and four plates. Top each stack with desired amount of maple syrup, banana slices and candied bacon.

Speaking of Elvis: They called him the King for a reason.

Posted in Breakfast, Dessert, Food, Recipes | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Sunday Suppers: Tomato Time Part One

Tomatoes are only truly delicious for a short time of the year. These meals make the most of juicy tomatoes straight from the garden.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Roasted Tomatoes and Squash

Brighter than the sun, almost

Brighter than the sun, almost

Tomato Bacon Quiche

Mmmmm Bacon

Mmmmm Bacon

Tomato and Squash Bake

That is a slice of heaven or wherever you hang your hat spiritually

That is a slice of heaven or wherever you hang your hat spiritually

Tomato Pie

Another really healthy vegetarian offering

Another really healthy vegetarian offering

Polenta Topped with Roasted Chicken, Tomatoes and Peppers

Forget store bought air freshners, roast a couple tomatoes and peppers and the house will smell great

Forget store bought air freshners, roast a couple tomatoes and peppers and the house will smell great

Tomatoes baked in Eggs

Like an egg pie

Like an egg pie

 

Posted in Chicken, Dinner, Food, Garden | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments