Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Favorite Things -- Chocolate Makes It All Okay

I just thought I would share an old photo of me and my grandma.  Just before this photo was taken, I apparently had been crying as I still had big tears in my eyes.  I'm not sure why I was crying (it was my birthday party, after all) -- but that first taste of homemade chocolate frosting made everything better.  

Nowadays, I'm in love with Lindt Excellence - Touch of Sea Salt.  I ate the last square of my bar last night (I can make them last a long time) and today I am left with only the memory -- LOL.  Is it bad to feel that way about chocolate?  The flakes of sea salt in this bar are what make it so wonderful.  If you like chocolate, you absolutely must try this!  

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Garden Update Through Photos





Pole Beans

Wild Black Raspberry (just harvested a bunch - I'm thinking raspberry wine...)

Yellow Pear Tomato

Summer Squash

And I had to throw in one photo of the chickens in their mobile coop.  They are getting big, aren't they?

Olivia, Prudence, Egglentine, Gertrude, Mabel, Ruby and Myrtle.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Garlic Scape and Mushroom Quiche

I wanted to make something other than pesto with my garlic scapes this year.  I've also been wanting to brush up on my quiche making skills.  The chickens are still a couple of months away from egg-laying, but I must be prepared (I already have friends lining up to try a quiche made with happy chicken eggs).  So, the natural choice was to try making a garlic scape quiche.

For those that don't know, garlic scapes are the curling tops of garlic plants.  The are milder than the bulb of the garlic and can be used much like other vegetables.  They do make an awesome pesto and I've read that they are really good in stir fry.

Today I chopped up about a dozen scapes (cut off the flower part and just use the green "neck") into small pieces.  I also used a small can of mushroom pieces and some grilled onion I had left over from another meal.  Anyway, saute' them with 1 Tbsp. butter until they are softened a bit then add the mushrooms to join all the flavors for a few minutes.  Remove them from the heat and let cool a while.  
I used a frozen pie shell (deep dish).  If you have time to make your own pie crust - I salute you.  Maybe someday that will be me.  So, I put the frozen pie shell on a cookie sheet, then add the veggies to the bottom.  On top of that I grated parmesan cheese.  I was thinking a little swiss cheese would have been nice too.

I whisked 5 eggs and about 1 cup of half and half together then added salt and pepper.  Some recipes call for nutmeg -- I didn't add it, but the amazing thing about quiche is that you can pretty much make it however you'd like.  I then carefully poured the egg mixture over the veggies and cheese, then put it into my preheated 375 degree oven for 40 minutes.  The timer is actually about to go off....

Wow!  It looks really good!  I can hardly wait to cut into it -- but you gotta let it rest at least 5 minutes.  It keeps cooking after you take it out, so don't worry if it doesn't look quite done.  I imagine there are a thousand varieties of garlic scape quiche that could be made.  Just pick and choose other veggies (or meat if you eat it) and different cheeses and herbs. 

I'd be very curious to hear what your favorite combination of quiche fillings are.  I've got to start stockpiling ideas because my little chicks are growing up quickly.  

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Crop Tour and the Holiday Weekend

Charlie and I enjoy driving around the countryside checking out the various crops and taking in the scenery.  Corn, soybeans, wheat, sugar beets, pickling cucumbers, alfalfa -- the fields stretch on and on.  I enjoy looking at the pretty white farmhouses and the variety of barn styles and colors.  Every once in a while we come across something interesting.  The other day we found 5 or 6 flatbeds with hives of bees, busy with their work.  Charlie stopped the vehicle while I snapped off a few photos from the passenger seat.  Just as we began to leave, we saw the scene below...

I thought it was a lovely thing to do to some ugly pieces of concrete, don't you?  It also appeals to my inner-hippie.
Today I talked Charlie into coming with me to the Farmer's Market (he usually doesn't like getting up that early on a Saturday).  We bought cherries, some meat sticks for Charlie (elk and beef with pepper jack cheese) and a bar of soap - patchouli scented (that inner-hippie is on the loose again).  Oh, and don't forget the caramel toffee frappes from the coffee shop next to the market.  Yum!
After we got home, we moved the chicken coop to a fresh patch of grass and I finished my chicken chores.  By that time, it was getting very hot and humid outside.  I filled my galvanized bucket a few times to haul water around to the fruit trees/plants that I put in the ground last week.  By the time I was done, I was fairly wilted myself.  Since we don't have air conditioning, we ended up turning on the sprinkler and sitting in lawn chairs in the water.  It looked redneck, but it felt exquisite!
Tomorrow we take the long "crop tour" to Grand Rapids to spend an afternoon with my family.  We are going to eat all your typical 4th of July picnic food in the comfort of their air-conditioning.  Then we are going to try to make it back to catch some July 3rd fireworks in the evening with some friends and family from this neck of the woods.
I hope you have a safe and happy Independence Day.