Kitchen

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Tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden have become part of our kitchen decor.

Horse manure!

DH brags about the power of his horse manure compost as if he invented it and got a nobel prize for the invention. “George Washington swore the secret to good farming was horse manure,” says DH.

“You just wait,” he said last summer, “George Washington knew his stuff, you’ll see.”

We added dried manure to our compost pile of grass clippings and shredded leaves last fall. This spring DH tilled it into our garden. Then we used more grass clippings and shredded leaves for mulch on top.

I was hoping the mulch would prevent unwanted plants from popping up, resulting in a no till, weedless garden. That didn’t happen. We had weeds. But, DH was so right about horse manure producing garden miracles. Our one cucumber plant has produced 60 cucumbers…so far.

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Our onions shortly before they were pulled up and cured.

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The first watermelons we found. There are at least 15 on that plant now.

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An 11 pound zuchini that came from a volunteer plant on our compost pile. We didn’t find it until it had grown to this size.

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A basket full of Yukon Gold potatoes. I had no idea potatoes could be so good.

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Browning the meatballs and simmering the tomato basil sauce.

Dinner tonight featured home grown tomatoes and basil.

MY MEATBALLS

Soak in milk, water or stock;

1 slice of bread, 1 inch thick

 Beat:

2 eggs

Add eggs to:

1 1/2 lb. ground meat/I used ribeye

Saute until golden brown:

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

Add to the meat. Wring the liquid from the bread. Add the bread to the meat and then add:

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. paprika

1/2 chopped clove garlic

3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp. oregano/I’ve used Italian Herbs

Mix and form into balls. Brown lightly in:

2 tablespoons butter

 Cover your frying pan and simmer on low until the meatballs for 1/2 or until the meatballs are firm and no longer pink in the middle.

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Cooking down the sauce.

SPAGHETTI SAUCE WITH FRESH TOMATOES AND BASIL
6 peeled, seeded and cut up tomatoes
2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
 garlic, minced to taste or pinch of garlic powder
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 tablespoons fresh basil (more or less to taste)

DIRECTIONS
In a large skillet or saucepan combine the tomatoes,  tomato
sauce, garlic, sugar and basil. (Other herbs may be added. I really like basil and prefer just that with tomatoes.) Stir all together and simmer over low heat until thickened. More sugar and a tablespoon of butter may be added if the sauce is too acidic. Flour (1 to 2 tablespoons) may be added if you prefer a thicker sauce. Stir frequently to prevent burning.

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Homemade spaghetti sauce with fresh tomatoes and basil over meatballs & spaghetti. It was sooooooo good!

HOW TO PEEL TOMATOES

Put the tomatoes, a few at a time in a large pot of boiling water for no more than 1 minute (30 – 45 seconds is usually enough)

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then….

Plunge them into a waiting bowl of ice water.

 

 

This makes the skins slide right off of the tomatoes!  If you leave the skins in, they become tough and chewy in the sauce…not very pleasant.

 

 

 

 

After you have peeled the skins off the tomatoes, cut the tomatoes in half. 

Now you need to remove the seeds and excess water. Wash your hands then squeeze each tomato and use your finger or a spoon to scoop and shake out most of the seeds. You don’t need to get fanatical about it; removing just most will do.

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Toss the squeezed tomatoes into a colander or drainer, while you work on others. This helps more of the water to drain off. You’ll end up with a thicker spaghetti sauce in less cooking time!

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 According to my husband this was the best peach pie, ever.

I made changes in the recipe because the peaches were so juicy. I also wanted my top crust to stay crispy. So, I mixed 2 tablespoons of flour with 1/4 cup of sugar. I put the sugar/flour mixture over the filling before dotting with butter and adding the top crust. (Don’t worry the top mixture of sugar and flour will cook into the pie. And, it will keep your top crust from becoming soggy.)

PEACH PIE FILLING:

 5 to 6 cups of peaches

1/2 to 2/3 cup white or brown sugar (I used 2/3 cup of white)

1/8 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Dot with 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter

DIRECTIONS: Bake the pie in a preheated 450 degree oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. The middle should be bubbling.

dsc00223.jpg How to peel peaches: dip the fruit in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds. Remove from the water using a slotted spoon and put into a large bowl or pot of cold water and ice. The skins will easily slide off.

Healingmagichands of  http://healingmagichands.wordpress.com/, kindly added it is important to make sure the peaches are ripe before peeling. Otherwise the peels may not slip off.

Thanks for your help, Healingmagichands!

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Peaches ripening in a sunny window.

After a couple of days in a sunny window the peaches, saved from the beetles, were ripe and ready. I had enough to make a peach cobbler and a peach pie, plus some for the freezer. 

I love peach pies, crisps and cobblers, BUT with freshly ripened organic ones, this dessert is one of my favorites. Especially topped with vanilla ice cream.

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SOUTHERN PEACH COBBLER FOR TWO

(Can be doubled)

FILLING:

2 cups peaches

1/2 tsp. lemon juice

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tsp. cornstarch

TOPPING:

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons flour

2 tsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. baking powder

Pinch of salt

Pinch of cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg

1 tablespoon butter cut into pieces

2 tablespoons whipping cream

dsc00227.jpg DIRECTIONS:

Grease small casserole dish with butter. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel & cut up peaches. Mix peaches and lemon juice. Mix cornstarch, brown sugar and cinnamon with peaches and put peaches into greased casserole dish.

 In another bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt. cinnamon and nutmeg. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add the cream and toss with flour mixture just until the dough is combined.

 Turn the dough out onto a flour surface and knead a few times to smooth it. Then roll it out into the shape of the casserole dish. Place the dough over the filling and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. of sugar. Bake until the top is golden and the juices are bubbling. 25 to 30 minutes.

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 The cobbler is ready to eat.

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Salad preparation…the basil, onion and cucumber are from my garden.

Tonight DH found a cucumber. The first of the season from our garden. I had a head of lettuce, broccoli and tomatoes from Mrs. Weaver’s vegetable stand. Plus the herbs in our garden are thriving.

What better way to enjoy summer’s bounty than with a garden salad tossed in a classic French vinaigrette?

Tonight’s salad was outstanding. Really.

DRESSING W/GARDEN HERBS

2 tablespoons Balsamic, red wine or white wine vinegar or lemon juice

To taste Salt and freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil

1 to 2 tablespoons Minced shallots or green onions or onions

1/2 to 3/4 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic or 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

A pinch or 2 of sugar

1 or more tablespoons Chopped fresh herbs from your garden ( I used basil and oregano)

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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.

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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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Grandma (that’s me) and Autumn in the kitchen. 

Autumn is making dessert. Mmmmmmm….Pillsbury dough cookies!

We’re also having salmon, baked potatoes, steamed and buttered broccoli & fried tomatoes.

This is my favorite way to make salmon because you do not have thaw the salmon. It is fast, and easy. It is also really, really good.

Herbed Salmon for two 

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

2 tablespoons lemon juice (I have also used lime or pineapple juice mixed with lemon)

2 to 4 frozen salmon steaks

1 teaspoon onion salt

¼ lemon pepper

¼ to ½ teaspoon thyme, basil or marjoram (I use thyme)

Paprika

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In oven, melt butter in lemon juice in baking pan. Place frozen fish in pan; turn to coat other side with lemon butter. Sprinkle onion salt, lemon pepper and thyme on fish. Bake until fish flakes easily with fork, about 25 minutes. Sprinkle paprika on fish.