I’ve definitely had my fair share of salad this summer, so I decided to switch things up a bit and cook some warm food. Zucchini Boats are a great recipe for people who don’t like the taste of zucchini, and they are terribly easy to make. Here’s the recipe:
1.) Remove the skin from a large zucchini, and cut it in half. Remove the seeds from the center.
2.) Fry some ground beef, adding a small amount of butter (for taste, not needed).
3.) Microwave the zucchini until it is fairly soft.
4.) Grate some Mozzarella cheese, and place a small amount on the zucchini.
5.) Mix the ground beef with spaghetti sauce, marinara sauce or pizza sauce.
6.) Fill the center of the zucchini with the ground beef and sauce, then cover with Mozzarella cheese. I’ve used two types of cheese in the photo above.
7.) Place in a toaster over, or stove on medium heat until the cheese melts and just starts to turn brown.
I’m not proud of large sections of this years garden, with one major reason: The plants are being eaten alive. There is no way a plant can grow well if ground hogs and deer are constantly munching on them like some sort of under priced dinner. I thought my new guard dog would help greatly, and she has deterred damage to my lettuce, but she alone can’t protect everything.
To answer this new challenge I’ll be showcasing some of my attempts to battle these critters using any methods I can muster. I’ll start with a concoction of boiled garlic and cayenne peppers, continue through hanging pie pans all through the garden, and I hope to have motion sensors turn on lights to really scare these animals. I’ll share whatever I can learn, so lets begin with my first attempt to deter them from eating the food by making it taste Awful !
This recipe is one I’ve discussed with a co-worker, with a twist. Chad suggested boiling garlic, then straining off the garlic chunks as a spray to deter flea beetles. I figured that if garlic will deter bugs, then surely cayenne peppers would deter everything else.
I boiled a few small chunks of garlic with lots of water and nearly half a bottle of cayenne peppers. It can be quite potent to stir, so I added a small amount of olive oil so none of the chunks would stick to the bottom. After ruining my appetite for garlic for weeks to come, I strained out the chunks and added the now milky colored water to a half gallon of untreated water.
I then did something else I’m not too proud of, but it may just help. I left the gallon of garlic water sit on my kitchen counter for nearly a week as I was too busy to try it out. Last night I decided it was time to use the hot spray, so I took a whiff of the contents of the jug. It had become worse then I imagined, with a combination of garlic, hot pepper and rotten veggie smell producing a stench I’ve never encountered before.
This should really do the trick I thought, as I added half of the gallon jug to my sprayer. I then filled the rest of the sprayer up with tap water dilute it a bit. I sprayed everything from the beans through the peppers and onto the zucchini. While spraying, I noticed how bad the grazers had been treating my beans, as they were all nibbled down to 6 inches tall.
I’m pretty sure this spray will work, as I rubbed my eyes after taking a shower, and my eyes became irritated from the hot peppers residue that made it through the rinse cycle….. This must surely be some potent stuff !
As I was walking up my steps into my backdoor, I glanced down at my now two year old sage plant, and wondered what I could use it for. The plant is just starting it’s second winter, and the leaves are beginning to discolor. I did a search, and found that sage can be used for many things, once it’s dried out. I snipped off some of the larger branches of the plant that were invading my walking space, and placed them in the kitchen to dry. There’s no magic to this process other then to stir the leaves from time to time.
When the leaves are dry enough, they begin to break apart when stirred. At this point, I still wasn’t sure what to do with them, so I searched again, and found that Sage Tea was a common use. The process is simple, heat some water to a boil. ( I used a cup of water in the microwave for a minute or so…), Then add sage leaves and allow them to soak for five minutes.
I placed two spoons full of the dried leaves in a bowl, and poured the water on top, then stirred the leaves every minute or so. The source I read online mentioned that sage had medicinal uses, and the average person should not drink more then two cups per day. I’d suggest you do some searching and determine if the tea will agree with you before tasting it.
When all was complete, I had a small cup of tea, with tiny bits of leaves included. After letting the tea sit for a few minutes, the remaining bits settled to the bottom, and I tried the tea. I have made this tea three times so far, and have yet to draw a conclusion about the taste. I don’t find it gross, but it’s not pleasant either. In fact the best thing I can say about it’s taste is that it’s different, and I’ve made it more then once….
After chasing the chickens out of the greenhouse, I noticed a row of green in the garden. The Swiss Shard was still growing, and had not been killed by the frost. I did a search, and found that shard will grow until the temperate dips into the medium twenties. I also found a recipe for sauteed chard with onions, and garlic. I didn’t think it would taste very good, but after reading about the vitamin content, I had to try it.
When it was done cooking, I added some Romano cheese, and tried it. Yum ! Not only was this delicious, it improved my mood as well.
Here’s the simple recipe:
Place a few tea spoons of olive oil in a frying pan.
Cut the shard leaves into inch by inch sections, add to the frying pan with onions and garlic (garlic salt will work as well).
Cook on medium heat till the leaves wilt as shown in the photo.
Add shredded cheese after serving while the greens are still warm.
I’ve decided to take a new approach with regards to my chickens. Up to this point, I’ve kept them in a chicken house, with a fenced in run. Since the garden is well picked over, It seemed appropriate to release them all.
They are now “free range” chickens, and they return to the chicken coop each night, which I then lock up. This protects them from foxes, bears, or any other danger of the night. Each morning I release them, to wander as they wish. I was surprised that they didn’t fly around to celebrate their freedom, but I did notice a few extra eggs the second day. I’ve fenced in the few crops which I hope to munch on later in the season.
After observing the chickens dig and peck for a while, I was off to my sisters farm for some more puppy pictures. She needed some good pictures, as the pups are for sale, and she was placing an ad for them.
After taking pictures, we started cooking up some food, most of which came out of the garden. It’s amazing just how little the whole family has spent on groceries this year, and we’ve been eating better then ever. Sandy got a steak and chopped it up with some veggies. We placed it all in an aluminum foil pouch, added some water, and placed it on a grate over an open fire.
Most garden veggies are great raw, however Kohlrabi is not one of them. I have learned a way to cook it which I really enjoy, diced with garlic and butter. Sandy and Davie have been cooking over an open fire before winter takes the option away, and I’ve learned quite a bit about eating healthy, delicious food from them. Did you know you can heat up a can of beans by simply removing the top of the can and the paper wrapper, then placing the whole can on a grate above a fire ? Simply stir occasionally to keep the beans from sticking.
We also cooked up some late season Zucchini to complete the menu. I don’t think I’ve had so many vitamins from a single meal that was totally delicious.
Tomato Jelly !? Sounds gross, but just like Zucchini pancakes, it’s something you have to try before passing judgment. I was quite reluctant to try it, but since then, I’ve been dieing for more. It actually tastes like Strawberry Jelly, due to the jello involved in its production. The recipe is very simple:
Recipe for Tomato Jelly
Start by blanching tomatoes, which helps remove the skin, then mash them in a bowl.
Add 5 cups mashed tomatoes to a pot, along with 4 cups of sugar.
Cook for 15 minutes on medium heat, then remove.
Add 1 box of Strawberry Jello (6 oz.), Stir well.
Pour into preheated canning jars, apply lid.
Preheated canning jars will help the lid seal, as well as sterilize the jar.
Tomatillos are an odd plant. First off, they are called “Mexican Husk Tomatoes”, although they aren’t tomatoes. The fruit itself it surronded with a papery husk, which splits when the fruit is ready to eat. It has been described as citrus like, although I personally don’t like the taste raw.
There is one very good reason to grow this plant: They are exceptionally blight resistant. I had hundreds of tomato plants affected by the late blight this year, and these Tomatillos seem completely unaffected. I will grow them again next year, as some members of my family members enjoy the peculiar flavor.
Here’s a recipe suggested by a friend. Sounds Yummy !
Barbara Zowada’s Green Chili
Brown in hot oil in a Dutch oven:
3 lbs. boneless Pork cut into 1” cubes
2 large Onions diced
2 cloves Garlic minced
3 cups Chicken Broth
28 ounce can Tomatillos with liquid (or 3 cups dice fresh)
8 ounce can chopped Green Chilies
¼ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 Tablespoon Oregano
1 teaspoon ground Cumin
1 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Water (2 if using fresh tomatillos)
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
Cover and simmer for 4 hours.
Thicken with a slurry of 2-4 Tablespoons of flour in a small amount of water, bring to a boil.