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Turkey Creek Lane · rural

rural

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Our vegetables have spread from the counter to the table. It has been so rainy, we are trying to cure our onions inside.

Tomato cake?

Whoever heard of tomato cake?

We have given away cucumbers and onions and potatoes and tomatoes to just about everyone we know. I’ve made sauce. I’m not fond of canned tomatoes. Then, I found a recipe from who-knows-where, stuffed into a cookbook for tomato cake. I had only to read that it included an ENTIRE cup of dark brown sugar to know it was a recipe with potential.

 With cream cheese frosting, it was wonderful.

dsc00481.jpg The first step toward peeling tomatoes is to put them into boiling water until the skin cracks.

dsc00482.jpg Next plunge the tomatoes into ice water and pull the skin off.

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I’m stirring in the tomatoes, raisins, dates and walnuts. It is not looking very good.

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The cake is done and cooling before being frosted. I used a silicon baking pan for the first time and didn’t use enough support taking the cake out so it cracked. But, I can tell from the smell and what I can see I am going to like it.

FRESH FROM THE GARDEN TOMATO CAKE

Ingredients

1 cup brown sugar, dark
1/2 cup vegetable shortening

2 large eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups ripe, peeled and chopped up tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup raisins

Directions

Mix cream sugar and shortening.

Add eggs.

Add sifted dry ingredients, mixing well.

Stir in tomatoes, nuts, dates, and raisins.

Put into greased and floured 9x inch baking pan.

Bake in preheated 350’F oven for 35 minutes or until cake tests
done.

Frost with cream cheese frosting.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

Ingredients

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Directions: In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.

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Tomato cake ready to be served.

As promised, here are my SUPER, SECRET ingredients to always perfect, moist and tasty roast chicken with crisp and golden skin:

dsc00499.jpg I’ve been stuffing my roast chicken with an apple and onion for over 20 years and always had perfect results.

For a flavorful and moist roast chicken, stuff it with an a cut up apple and halved or quartered onion. Don’t bother to core or peel the apple. Butter your chicken. Sprinkle with rosemary, paprika, salt, pepper and maybe a little lemon (or not). Bake at 325 to 350 degrees and baste often.

Your chicken is done when the legs move freely and the juices are clear.

 UPDATE: Healingmagichands, http://healingmagichands.wordpress.com/ , wrote to say that she puts sprigs of rosemary inside the chicken cavity along with lemons and onions. She says putting fruit & onions inside her chicken  gives her a crispy crust with very moist and flavorful meat.

I like the taste of rosemary with chicken so much that I use it to butter the outside of my roast chicken. (And always with roast potatoes.) But, I bet my chicken WOULD be even better with a sprig of rosemary in the cavity.

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Our peach tree is heavy with fruit. DH planted it 7 years ago.

We had peaches!

Bad frosts and windstorms had taken our peaches before they reached marble size in previous years.  But, this year we had peaches turning golden, pink and red.  I dreamed of peach jams, cobblers, pies and crisps.  

I started checking the fruit daily, feeling peaches to see if they had softened. As the summer days lengthened, our tree, heavily laden with fruit, became as gorgeous and fragrant as any flower. 

I swear, I could smell the peaches ripening. Evidently so can Japanese Beetles.

 Yesterday disaster struck.

dsc00209.jpg Japanese Beetles devouring a “ripe” peach. 

Some peaches were ripe

BUT, every “ripe” peach was swarming with  and being devoured by Japanese beetles. Only the ripe peaches, mind you. The hard peaches, they left alone

DH and I grabbed ladders and sacks and began picking. We picked every peach we could. After soaking them to get rid of any insects I set them out on my counter as recommended here: http://tonytantillo.com/fruits/peaches.html

Some food experts recommend putting peaches into a paper bag to ripen. Others swear that the only way to have good ripe peaches is to only pick them at the moment of peak ripeness.

Mine were ready to eat after only a couple of days on the counter.

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Soaking the peaches to get rid of any remaining insects.

How to tell if peaches are ripe:

Attached to the tree: Peaches are best picked when the fruit separates easily from the twigs. If it is hard to pull off the tree, it isn’t ripe!

Color: Green is definitely unripe, but you can’t use red color as an indicator of how ripe a peach is. Different peach varieties have differing amounts of red blush in their natural coloring. Pick them when the ground color changes from green to yellow, orange, red (or a combination). The skin of yellow-fleshed varieties ripens to an orange tint, while the skin of white-fleshed varieties changes from greenish- to yellow-white.

Softness: Unless you like your peaches very firm, pick your peaches with just a little “give” when gently pressed. Peaches at this stage are great for eating, freezing, and baking. Peaches won’t ripen very much after picking!  

Odor: The peaches should smell sweet and ripe

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My raspberry pie is dotted with butter and ready for the top crust.

It was a bit tart.

The next time I make this I will add more sugar. But still, two people ate the whole pie in two days.

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Mrs. Weaver’s Produce Stand

I live in Amish country…entrepreneurial Amish country. My neighbors sell eggs, vegetables, fruit, quilts, vitamins, bread, home baked food, dried noodles, handmade furniture and flowers from their homes.

Saturday, Mrs. Weaver had one pint of red raspberries. I had already gathered two cups of black raspberries from the wild bushes in our woods. With the red raspberries from the vegetable stand I had enough berries for pie.

dsc00163.jpg Red & Black Raspberry Pie

4 cups fresh berries

1 cup or more sugar (you will need more)

¼ cup flour

2 teaspoons tapioca

1 tablespoon lemon juice

pinch of salt

2 tablespoons butter

Mix all of the ingredients except for the berries & butter.

Sprinkle sugar and flour mixture over berries and stir gently. Let stand for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Turn the fruit into a pie shell. Dot with butter. Cover the pie with top crust. Prick holes and design in crust. Bake the pie at 450 for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350. Bake an additional 35 to 40 minutes or until the pie is golden brown.

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Does anyone know what kind of bird this is? He has been coming to our birdfeeder for over  a week. And, we cannot identify him.

 Any help would be appreciated.

 Here is a zoomed close-up:

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UPDATE: Janet responded to my question within two minutes. My “new bird species” is a male Rose Breasted Grosbeak.

This little guy has become the ruler of our birdfeeder.  He has been back every day and considers all of the seeds, his. A little while ago he aggressively chased away a female cardinal and a sparrow. They had to sneak down below and to settle for crumbs that fell to the ground.

A video of DH trying to get Summer to give him kisses. Skipper gets jealous.

Pictures below of Summer and Skipper without winter hair.

My grandaughter, Autumn, was trying to give Summer a carrot. Only she dropped it on the ground. Summer is trying to get Autumn’s attention…she’s nickering and talking, “Hey, the carrot’s on the ground. And, I’m still here and hungry.”

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