Candied Peppers: 9-17-12

Today i’m making candied peppers, courtesy of my friends Jon and Vanessa.  After having a great meal (that Jon prepared) with them on Saturday, they gave me a gallon bag of banana peppers.  Some of them i grilled last night, stuffed with sharp cheddar and cream cheese.  They were a hit!  So today i’m going to candy the rest.  i’ve never done this before, so i tweeked other recipes that i’d heard of to make a special UnHinged version of the popular treat.  Recipe:

2 cups of vinegar

6 cups of sugar

1/2 tsp celery salt

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 Tbsp minced garlic

1 tsp jalapeno powder

The brine has a yellow tint from the turmeric.  So this needs to simmer until all the sugar is dissolved.   While that’s heating up, chop the peppers into slices a bit thicker than you want them to end up because they’ll probably shrink a tad when canned.  Mine are sliced about a third of an inch.  i always wear gloves when dealing with peppers because of my last indecent when my fingers burned for 12 hours.  Garden peppers are hotter, so beware!

Next transfer all the sliced peppers into the brine and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Then remove the peppers and bring the brine to a rolling boil for another 5 minutes.  Careful here, because of the sugar content.  It may try to burn and carmelized sugar stuck to the bottom of a pot is a pain in the patooty to get off.  Anyways, so while the brine is coming to a boil, pack the peck of pickled peppers into jars.  For these, i’m using half pint jars.  Then top them off with the brine and process them in a water bath.

The result is a thick syrupy-sweet/hottish pepper munchie that can be used in a wide variety of ways.  Apparently they’re really good, as my official taste-testers claim.  i’ll try it on different things and post the results.  i actually picked all the jappies and pablanos from my garden, then went down the street to my friend, Lissa’s.  She traded me a bunch of peppers from her garden too (organically grown) for veggies from mine.  But even after all those peppers, because they shrink down, i have only 4 half pints.  So bear that in mind when preserving your own pepper bounty in a candied fashion.

 

Diplomats are just as essential to starting a war as soldiers are for finishing it… You take diplomacy out of war, and the thing would fall flat in a week. ~Will Rogers

 

 

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Fall Gardening Continued: 9-13-12

There hasn’t been much to post this week, as it’s been pretty average.  Light gardening, baking canning…  i got more of my garden mulched, and planted more okra.  i’m still in transition from spring/summer garden to fall garden.  Today i’ll be planting more beets and onions.  The conversion is always a bit odd, because some warm-weather plants stick it out longer, so the fall gardener must make room for the cool-weather plants, as the summer ones die.  i still have to wait to plant more onions and celery when the rest of the amaranth dies from the cold.  The chilly nights are making it fade fast.

Some of the okra planted in april is still hanging in there.  But as i mentioned before, the kitties like to climb it, and end up pulling it over so it’s growing horizontally.  But as you can see, though they aren’t  big healthy okra plants, they are still producing.  Weird…

i’ll probably be pulling up soon though to make room for more productive things.  And there’s many seeds that i planted in mid to late August that either didn’t germinate, or got baked by the heat as seedlings.  So i’m resowing those plants as well.

i’ve been sprouting hard red wheat this week and got it dehydrated.  You can see the little white sprouts that make this wheat so nutritious.  Kyla ground it up for me through the food mill (a hand cranked, time-consuming contraption).  So i’m able to make more of my favorite bread, the Sprouted Wheat Bread. Yummy.  i’ve gotten to the point that bread baking in the oven is somewhat nauseating. i don’t eat any of the breads baked often at the homestead, like the cheesy garlic onion bread, or the jalapeno bread.  i don’t even like the smell of them baking because i make so much of it for the market.  But the sprouted wheat bread still makes me hungry.

In politics I am growing indifferent – I would like it, if I could now return to my planting and books at home~ Ulysses S. Grant

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Time for Fun! : 9-6-12

i didn’t post anything yesterday because Kyla and i were too busy having fun!  It was her birthday, as as tradition dictates, she starts it off with a huge chocolate chip pancake.  She made whipped cream for it while i made her pancake.  She’s awesome at making whipped cream!  Then we had a day of fun; we saw Brave in 3D, played with animals at the pet store, went shopping, played games…  Everyone needs a break some time.

 

 

 

 

But it’s back to work today.  i finally finished getting all the seeds saved from overripe veggies in the garden taken care of.  i got some more carrot bread made and amaranth chips for tomorrow.  Now i’m about to make tortillas.  The lunches and catered breakfasts for tomorrow are finished, except for the final touches in the morning.  And i got all of my cukes finished being turned into Zesty Pickles today.  And success!  All of the jars sealed in one go!

 When it gets a bit cooler this evening i’m planting more cukes where some didn’t germinate.  Also, i have so get some okra seeds in the ground.  As i was going through the seeds to save, i found some (still in the pod) that hadn’t dried, but are actually sprouting.  So those need to be planted immediately.

Otherwise, we’re just doing the normal stuff to get ready for the market.

The United States brags about its political system, but the President says one thing during the election, something else when he takes office, something else at midterm and something else when he leaves. ~Deng Xiaoping (Chinese Politician)

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Heat! 9-4-12

This heat makes my garden look wilty and sick by midday.  Luckily, most of the stuff growing now is more resistant to the heat.  But even these peppers look sad in the afternoon.  As long as they’re well mulched though, the spring back to life by the morning, after the temp drops at night, like the peppers below.

 

What worries me is the fall plants that require cooler weather to germinate and get established.  Those aren’t doing too well in the heat.  Winter squash and kale, which generally grow pretty fast under the right conditions, are staying small now.  Probably to protect themselves from the heat until daytime temperatures fall.

 

This morning i mulched a raised bed of okra.  Okra is still doing great because it likes the heat and can withstand a little drought.  This bed i planted about 2 weeks ago, i think.  It’s Jing Orange Okra and it was difficult to find seeds, so i’m really looking forward to it producing!

After 11 or so it gets too hot to be outside for long, so today i’ll be deboning a chicken, making jerky, baking carrot bread, doing laundry…  i also need to make honeydew melon jam (yes, the vines are still producing melons).  And there’s cukes, okra, and beans to pickle too, as long as i have enough jars.   Just normal stuff around the homestead.

Students now arrive at the university ignorant and cynical about our political heritage, lacking the wherewithal to be either inspired by it or seriously critical of it.~ Allan Bloom

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Tomatoes! 8-30-12

I’m transplanting my tommy-toe tomatoes and reisentraub tomatoes today. Remember when planting tomatoes, in order to have a sturdy established root system, to plant the tomatoes to the bottom leaves.  The entire stem up to the leaves should be under the soil.  i’ve even heard of people burying the entire tomato plant horizontally.

 

i’m going to try a different tactic to trellis them this season.  In the past i’ve used those round metal tomato trellises that go around each plant, and i’ve used wooden stakes and twine.  This time i’m going to try bamboo poles and twisty-ties to keep the tomatoes erect. I’m also mulching around the violet tomatoes i transplanted last week.  Mulching is crucial to any garden, no matter what time of year.  In the summer it protects the roots from heat and keeps the soil from drying out due to evaporation.  In the fall, mulch helps protect the plants from colder night temperatures, in order to extend the summer crops.

i also have to make more beer bread an english muffins today.  i ran out of whole wheat flour yesterday, so only got one loaf of the Whole Wheat Beer Bread made.  i’ll finish the rest of the 6 pack today (one bottle per loaf).  Unfortunately, the Nude Beach Summer Ale i’ve been using is a seasonal beer and is discontinued.  So after this 6-pack, i’ll have to experiment with other beers to find an equally tasty, Beer Bread beer.

A republican stands up in congress and says ‘I GOT A REALLY BAD IDEA!!’ and the democrat stands up after him and says ‘AND I CAN MAKE IT SHI**IER!!’~  Lewis Black

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Baking, Baking, Baking: 8-29-12

This morning i diced up jalapenos from the garden.  Man, they’re hot!  My fingers are still burning.  They’re for my hot jappy cheese bread, because i’m almost sold out at the market.  And this is probably the hottest batch i’ve ever made.  Those red jalapenos are friggin infernal!  i’m going to wear gloves when i chop the jappies for the next batch of bread.

 

Yesterday i made a whole bunch of Peach Salsa.  It took me and Kyla almost all day Monday, blanching and pealing almost 30 pounds of peaches, and dicing them up for the salsa.  So yesterday i diced up the jappies, onions, and tomatoes.  It turns out different every time, because i’m not very specific in the recipes i write down.  But from feedback, every batch is good, but different.

So i have kittens that like to dig in my garden.  i’ve tried lots of things to keep them out, but nothing has worked.  They try to climb my amaranth and okra, and have succeeded in actually pulling some okra plants over, so they’re growing horizontally.  Bizarrely, the horizontal okra is still producing, but my little tender plants that aren’t established don’t stand a chance against the curious kitties.  i tried something new to keep them out:  sticks.  i put sticks in the ground around my new crops of beets (pictured), and tomatoes i just transplanted.  They’re about 6 inches apart and stand out of the ground about 10 inches.  It’s worked!  So far at least…

There’s still more that needs to be planted, but i’m too busy today, working on breads and such for the market this weekend.  i hope people come even though it’s a holiday weekend. Besides the jappy bread, i’m also making beer bread, english muffins, kale chips, amaranth chips, sprouted bread…

In the heat of a political lifetime, Ronald Reagan innocently squirrels away tidbits of misinformation and then, sometimes years later, casually drops them into his public discourse, like gum balls in a quiche.~ Lucy Howard

 

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Using Garden Surplus: 8-23-12

I didn’t feel tool good when i woke up this

dehydrated zukes

morning, and thought a veggie stew would help.  So now there’s a stew in the crockpot with veggies from the garden and some that i actually had to buy.  My potatoes didn’t produce this summer, and i’m not currently growing shrooms, so those i unfortunately had to purchase.  But even though i don’t have any zukes in the garden, i was able to use some that i dehydrated last season, as well as dehydrated celery and peas.  We have fresh tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers, onions, beans, and peas.  And now the house smells amazing!  Already feeling better.

So now i’m using my abundance of pablano peppers for pickled okra.  i’ll probably also put one in each jar of the cukes i’m pickling today.  In fact, they’d be great in the cajun dilly beans i’m canning today too.  i like it to have a bit of a kick, so the pablanos are a perfect compliment.  Plus it just looks cool in the jar.  The remaining peppers will be dehydrated for future use, and i always like to have some frozen for quick use, because they do take longer to rehydrate than thaw.

Other than that, i’m kinda taking it easy today.  i think maybe all the gardening i did yesterday in the heat got to me a bit, so it’s time to recoup and do non-labor-intensive activities.  i can be productive without working my hiney off.  No laughs about my lack of hiney.

The best way to relieve families from time to time is to let them keep some of their own money. ~George Bush (Sr.)

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In an Okra Bed: 8-22-12

Before

It’s been so nice out today (so far) that i’ve spent most of the morning in the garden.  i’ve planted an awesome heirloom variety of beets, and black valentine beans (which actually grow green, the seeds are just black).  And i’m planting more kale; can’t get enough of that through the cold season.  i’ll end up having 3 raised beds and 2 in ground crops of kale.  So far all of it is the blue curled kale, but i’m about to get more seeds from Baker Creek.

After

One of the okra beds that i haven’t paid much attention too needs to be weeded also.  i kinda ignored that crop because random amaranth reseeded itself and overtook the okra.  There hasn’t been much production out of it at all.  At least i had okra planted in 4 different places, so we’ve maintained a steady supply.  But, wow!  it’s kinda difficult getting between the okra and amaranth to remove the unwanted plants.

i’ve been working on an actual Catering Menu for lunch, dinner, appetizers, and buffet.  At this point the only official catering menu i have available is breakfast, even though i cater lunches daily.  The problem i’m running into is pricing, but i’ll figure it out.  And i’ll create a new Organic Catering page on this site after i do.  Besides that, i’ll be making tortillas, English muffins, and canning my awesome Zesty Pickles as well as Okra Pickles.  All of which i do accept silver for (BTW).

“In the US, legal tender laws ONLY apply to debt obligations… there is no law that requires you to spend or accept federal reserve notes. None.”  ~Rob Gray

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Rainy Day: 8-21-12

Not much going on at the homestead today.  i wanted to get some more stuff in the ground and just spend the day in the garden, but it’s raining.  Not complaining, i love this weather and so does the garden.  So, during breaks from the rain i’ve gone out and planted seeds in the 3 raised beds and the one in ground bed out front: cukes, spaghetti squash, okra and blue curled kale.

i did go out in the rain to pull up some of the amaranth that’s starting to fade.  i remove all the leaves from those plants before they die and dehydrate them to use in tortillas throughout the winter.  Last year i stocked up on dehydrated amaranth and it lasted through the spring, when it started growing again.  And it’s that time again.  When the weather begins to get cooler like this, the amaranth starts withering.  So no more amaranth chips soon.  That’s ok, because when it starts fading, the kale starts growing.

Other than that i’m just doing some light cooking, laundry, getting bills paid…  You know, the normal household chores.  Blah, blah, blah

 

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Fall Gardening: 8-20-12

We spent all weekend in the garden, weeding out the grass and the summer fruits and veggies that are done.  Some of them the heat and drought got to, some were taken by pests, and some just only produce for a short period of time.  So it’s time to get cleared out for the fall plants.  The change  in the garden in amazing from season to season. before below, after to the left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So today, even though i’m really sore, i’ve planted artichokes that i started indoors in July.  And put up the same “upside down U” trellises that i used for the cukes in the summer.  These are for the bumper crop of zukes, winter squash, and fall pumpkins.  we also cleared out a few raised beds for a bumper crop of okra and kale.  And een though i don’t know what borage is, i’m planting some along the fence-line where the okra was last summer.  i’m also planting carrots, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli today.  Those are also transplants started in July.

So besides that, i’m going to try making corn tortillas for enchiladas.  We haven’t had corn tortillas, so therefore no enchiladas, in a very long time because i don’t allow corn on the homestead.  there really is no telling whether it’s GMO or not, and there’s a 95% chance any corn or corn product from a store is.

i’m tired, just gunna cook now. Happy homesteading.

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