Thursday, July 31, 2014

Fall Decorating

 I am having computer/camera problems.  I can't load photos.  So, until the problem is resolved, I am posting pics from the past.  I am trying to figure out how I am going to decorate for Fall this year and I was scrolling through old photos. This one was from Autumn 2009 when I still had my glorious red maple out back.  I sure miss that tree.

 This was my mantel from that same year.

 I bought this little lady in Salem.

 This was the back garden last year.

 And this was the front porch.

 This was the mantel last year.

 I'm not sure how many years ago this is from.

 It must have been 2010.

 I can't wait until pumpkins hit the markets.  I have two growing in my garden.

 So, a touch of Fall and hopefully my problem will be fixed soon.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cooler Weather

 We have had the most wonderful break from hot and humid summer weather.  We were actually only 51 degrees yesterday morning and it stayed chilly all day.  If summer temps were always like this, I would like summer!  The chill in the air put me in an autumn mood so I built a nice fire last night.  It smelled wonderful with all the doors and windows open.

 I had the fountain running too.
 Teddy was content to listen to the fountain as she lay by her gate guarding her domain.

 My first okra!

 The cool weather has slowed down my tomatoes from ripening. This is a good thing because I was swimming in ripe tomatoes.

 I planted a lot of different varieties of cherry tomatoes this year and they have done very well.

 My eggplants are still small.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Thai Larb

One of my family's favorite dinners is Thai larb.  We went to a dinner party recently where the family hired a Thai chef to prepare the meal.  She made the best larb which I duplicated the next day.
 Place 1-1/2 pounds of cubed raw chicken in the bowl of your food processor.  Add 1/2 C. of coarsely chopped shallots, 2 T. lemongrass (I used paste), 1 small red Thai chili, 2 cloves garlic, 2 tsp. fish sauce, 1/3 C. fresh cilantro, 1 tsp. salt and 3 T. sesame oil.

 Pulse until chicken is the consistency of ground meat and everything is combined.

 In a separate bowl, whisk 1/3 C. fresh lime juice with 2 tsp. fish sauce, 2 T. brown sugar and 1/2 tsp. sriracha.

 Cook the chicken mixture in a heavy fry pan until cooked through.  Add the sauce and cook for an additional minute.

 Serve on lettuce leaves topped with some chopped peanuts and lime wedges.  You spoon some of the meat mixture onto a lettuce leaf, squeeze some lime juice on it, roll the lettuce and eat it.  A great low carb meal.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Blueberry Muffins with a Lime Glaze

It's blueberry season and I wanted to make something special with the blueberries we picked the other day.  These blueberry muffins are the best.
 Start by putting a cup of blueberries in a heavy pot and add 2 tsp. of sugar.  Cook until the berries start breaking down and then mash them with a potato masher.  Set aside to cool.  You can find the step by step recipe here:

I use a large ice cream scoop to transfer the batter to the lined pans.

Drop a teaspoonful of the berry sauce into the middle of each muffin.

Use a skewer to swirl it around in the batter.

Once they are all swirled, pop them in the oven.

Fresh from the oven and smelling really good.

I drizzled them with a lime glaze.

I took these to a dinner party last night.  When I go to a dinner party, I like to give the host something to enjoy for breakfast the next morning.  I sat these on the counter and though another dessert was served after dinner, people dove into the muffins. The first guy that ate one looked at me after he was finished and said...these are the real deal.  Yes, they are. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Savory Vegetable Goat Cheese Crumble

This is a great recipe for using up your garden bounty.  You can serve it as a main dish or as a side.
 Dice some garlic. I used 4 cloves.

 Slice a sweet onion.

 Saute them in a bit of olive oil just until they begin to soften.

 Add chopped vegetables of your choice,  I used red and green peppers, tomatoes and zucchini.  Eggplant is excellent in this dish but my eggplants are not ready to harvest yet.  Season the veggies with S&P.

 Add some fresh herbs.  I used basil, oregano and rosemary.  Use whatever you like.

 Put the veggies in small ramekins. These hold about 1 cup each.  You can see that the vegetables are not cooked the whole way through.  They will continue to cook in the oven.

 In a bowl, mix 1 cup of panko bread crumbs with 1/4 cup of flour, S&P and some parmesan cheese (1/2 cup).

Add 1/2 cup of cubed butter and cut it into the crumbs using a pastry cutter or two forks.
 Sprinkle some crumbled goat cheese over the vegetables.

 Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the goat cheese.

 Bake these at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.  The juice should be bubbling.

 Let them sit to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Amish

Yesterday was a beautiful day so we headed out to Amish country to shop.
Since I mention the Amish so much on my blog, I thought I would tell you a bit about them.

The Amish religion started in Switzerland.

The Amish speak 3 languages.  They speak English in school, Pennsylvania Dutch at home and Hoch Deutsch (high German) during worship.

Men never cut their beards though no mustaches are allowed.  Woman never cut their hair.

You can't convert to Amish.  There are roughly 180,000 Amish in the USA and they are not recruiting.  You are born into the religion and they accept very few converts.

Most Amish children only go to school through 8th grade.  After that, they are expected to work with their family.

Amish are allowed to ride in cars though they are not permitted to drive them.

Amish dolls do not have faces.

The Amish practice bundling.  When a man and woman are courting, they will be wrapped tightly in sacks and laid on a bed so they can develop intimacy without sex. Some have bundling beds which is a bed with a board down the middle to prevent intimacy.  

Because of inbreeding, many Amish have impairments but these are accepted in each community and are not frowned upon. 

As we were driving through Amish country, we saw a sign for Pick ur Own Blueberries and we did just that.  Picking blueberries is a lot of work!

I bought lots of tomatoes for sauce.

And rhubarb!  What a surprise, I thought the season was over.

In my attempt to eat as much corn as possible this summer, I bought another dozen. In Amish country, they give you 13 ears in a dozen.