Sorry, We’ve been hacked. Thinks are going to look a little weird for the next week. Google is blocking us.
Sorry, We’ve been hacked. Thinks are going to look a little weird for the next week. Google is blocking us.
I’ve been taking care of Sam’s garden, and this weekend I picked 60+ jalapenos off of one of her plants. The plant started tipping over it was so heavy with fruit. (I’ve got a cooler propping it up right now.
Between that bumper crop plant and a few other plants, I picked 99 jalapenos this weekend. I sliced and removed the seeds during the Razorbacks game, and ended up making the jalapeno salsa and easy jalapeno jelly from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preservation.
Notes on these recipes: the salsa recipe says to boil for 10 minutes. This makes everything in the salsa completely limp. As long as you know that, and still don’t mind, this will be a good hot salsa. It is not going to be a salsa one can eat a bowl full at a time. It will be a good salsa mid-winter when my husband wants to burn my eardrums out with mostly pepper, but slightly-tomato-with-some-cumin acidity.
The jelly recipe required 2, 3oz. bags of pectin. This is the firmest jelly I have ever made, and in licking the pan, the flavor was an awesome sweet hit at the front of the palette, with a slow burn working up for each additional lick. I can’t wait to schmeer this on some rustic bread or a Ritz Cracker with some cream cheese.
I did not add any green food coloring to the jelly. I did double the amount of jalapenos, and possibly, I over-pureed them, creating a butter-colored froth. Adding them to the boiling mixture, everything started to bubble and froth to the point where I had to remove the mixture from the heat or risk burned pepper-sugar vinegar crusting to my burners.
It is no secret that my favorite thing about the South is the weather. This feature goes hand-in-hand with the growing season. Last Tuesday we went to our first crawdad/crayfish/crawfish/mudbug boil, and it was super tasty.
Crawfish can best be described as mini-lobsters. To prepare crawfish, you throw a bunch of live ones into seasoned boiling water for a few minutes. Then the deconstruction begins, separating the head from the tail. There are pincers, but they are too small to open without tools. Ty managed to get one opened and the meat was light like crab meat. After separating the head from the tail, the optional step is to suck the juices out of the head. Nintey-nine percent of the edible part of the crawfish is in the tail. That segment is encased in shrimp-like segments, but they usually have to be cracked open. After eating dozens of crawfish I had a slight bruise/bleed on my thubmb with a freshly cut thumbnail since the fresh skin was exposed.
The latest issue of the Oxford American takes on food in the South. The climate makes the place, and the growing season, available ingredients, and preservation techniques make the food.
My garden has kicked it into gear. I’ve got tiny yellow squash, zucchini, egg plant, peppers, and tomatoes all ready to explode in the next month.
I finally called my father to tell him the asparagus is up (white spear in the 3rd picture). I couldn’t post a picture without telling him first. I set out the tomatoes for a couple of hours to harden off, and my neighbor Sam introduced me to a fellow who is going help us get the soil tested for weird industrial stuff. Maybe I’ll plant on Saturday?
Here are the fun pictures:
Time is running out to make your internet gift purchases. I made up this list for friend who is a burgeoning crafter with crafter relatives.
For the new knitter:
These are pink. Mine are blue. The set allows you to create round or straight knitting needles of multiple lengths and 10 different sizes. Considering that most places charge $7-$10 for each size of needle, it is well worth the savings. These needles are great except for one thing: I’m knitting on the smallest size right now, and the tightness of the stitch sometimes causes me to quarter-turn my work and pop off the end needle. This never happens with the larger sizes.
Good books for learning how to knit/crochet:
I’m a big fan of the Stitch’n'Bitch series.
I know I wasn’t allowed to use the word “bitch” as a young girl, so I apologize for these selections if they seem offensive.
If you read this blog a bunch, you know I bake a lot of bread from this book.
The Authors of that book have a new bread book with healthier and gluten free recipes.
One of my favorite blogs, dooce, is posting cool gifts every other day. She’s separated it out into a few categories.
A green blog, Inhabitat, also has a green gift guide that I always like.
Today I’m going to check out all of the Little Rock Craft Fairs with a few friends. As much as I like crafts, I usually don’t like craft fairs very much, but we’re going to three, and one is bound to be to my liking.
With the beginning of the school year, Conway goes a little crazy. At Hendrix, school starts tomorrow, and I just helped my friend Melissa Gill put half of her show up. The rest will be up tonight! Ecofest is next month and Artsfest is in October.
I just finished my entries for the Conway ArtsFest 2009 Photo Contest. Here they are in super tiny form that you can also vote for if you choose.
Now I have to go figure out how to crochet a gigantic blue elephant head for an ArtsFest meets Conway Association of Pedestrians surprise.
What to do with a damaged head of cabbage? I already made runzas. Sauerkraut sounds interesting, but I don’t have a large piece of crockery. I found a recipe for essentially Korean hot Sauerkraut called Kimchi.
Many recipes online detail all sorts of ingredients which can only be found at an Asian food store. Since we don’t have one nearby, I was forced to rely on the kimchi recipe from backwoodhome.com.
I sliced the daikon radish (long white) instead of grating it. Everything else was very similar to the recipe. Luckily, the fancy Kroger had rooster brand chili paste.
My husband Ty has this thing about birthdays and giving gifts on consecutive days. Last year I didn’t have much to give him, but this year I’ve had the time and the resources to really find some cool gifts. His birthday is tomorrow, but I’ve been giving him gifts all week.
He still hasn’t received the coolest gift, that one is reserved for tomorrow. He has received all of the handmade/recycled/hand-modified gifts.
First off, if you don’t know Ty, he likes to wear vintage shirts. He looks really good in them. Some of the shirts are super light weight, and perfect for wearing to the horse track, or for the summers in The South. They usually have metal snaps on them. I found a second-hand lime green shirt from Sears in the 1970s, and embroidered the pocket with his initials.
After seeing the Sparkle & Twang exhibit of country & western wear from famous folk on display at the Old Statehouse Museum last year, I was inspired by Nudie Cohn to embroider flowers on western-cut clothing. I developed a list of favorites to quiz my husband about to camouflage the important favorite, “What is your favorite flower?” I admit, it is an odd question to ask a man, and I almost ended up just guessing Bells of Ireland or Mohawk flowers to honor his heritage. He answered me with morning glories, and even told me the story about when he lived in Denver, he’d plant them every year next to the trellis that covered his bedroom window. One year he even planted the ones that only bloom at night.
With a story like that, I knew I had found my answer and went on an internet search for morning glory line art. After finding some, I modified it and transferred the pattern and the mirror pattern to an awesome white, short sleeved country western shirt.
I used Appleton wool to shade the flowers and leaves, fill in the vines, and french knot the stamen.
Tomorrow I will attempt to make him “Grandma Jo’s Wacky Cake”. It is a cake recipe developed to only dirty one pan. Ty’s mother usually just mixes it in a 9×13 glass casserole dish. She showed me how to make it in October for my birthday, and even left me a xeroxed copy of the mimeographed copy of the recipe! Here’s the recipe:
Grandma Jo’s Wacky Cake (Wacky because it has vinegar in it? Wacky because it asks you to “make holes”? Wacky because it is a miracle of modern science!)
3 C flour
2 C sugar
6 T cocoa (heaping)
2 tsp soda
1/4 tsp salt
Sift together in baking dish. (Recipe suggest 8.5×13 pan)
Do not grease.
Make 3 holes:
In one hole put 3/4 C vegetable oil,
in one hole put 2 T vinegar,
in the last hole put 2 tsp vanilla.
Then pour 2 cups warm water over all and mix thoroughly.
Bake at 325F for about 30-35 minutes or until done.
Top with only freshly whipped cream! One can only greet another orbit of the sun with freshly whipped cream, and my husband definitely deserves it. Happy Birthday!
After getting her master’s degree in secondary science education, my sister applied to a number of schools. After receiving a number of offers, she chose the Todd County Middle School in Mission, SD on the Rosebud Reservation. The Reservation is the home of the Sicangu Lakota Oyate Sioux tribe, and my sister has been interested in the Sioux Nation for a number of years.
My parents and I left super early in the morning. I wasn’t sure how things would work, driving through small towns. I’m accustomed to bypassing towns on interstate highways, and not stopping unless the car needs gas or we see a public rest stop. This is where the network of McDonald’s restaurant come into play. For the 5 hour drive, I believe we stopped at 4 or 5 golden arches. At one my mom just got coffee. At the next, bathroom break, sausage muffins, and more coffee. The coffee definitely puts one in a vicious cycle of more bathroom breaks and more coffee.
We met Jen at the school around 11:30 AM and she gave us a tour.
Both my mother and father are retired teachers. My father retired back in 1989, and even though he can be a very shy person, he really warmed up to those kids. Jen gave us a tour of the school, and we met many of her co-workers from all over the United States.
For lunch, Jen suggested the Chute Two restaurant, golf course, and driving range. My father met the owner got us a tour of the clubhouse, overlook patio, and the dance floor.
After lunch, we had a few hours to kill before Jen got out of school. We spent the rest of our time at the Rosebud Casino, of course. My parents love going to casinos, and I believe one of the most important foundations of their marriage lies in the way they gamble. Each has a set amount to gamble, and they never tell each other how much they lose. I brought some birthday money to gamble with, because my mother-in-law would appreciate that. I really had a good time with them. In the end, I lost enough to just watch my mother keep winning.
Jen met us at the casino, and escorted us to Valentine. There, she gave us a tour of her home, and we said hello to her cats. She gave me a Christmas present: tie-dyed tea towels. I had just been admiring my mother’s set.
We enjoyed dinner in Valentine, and then we started back on the 5 hour trip home.