Sep 30, 2013

Plethora of Produce, Part One

It's that time of year when all your produce comes in at once... Even if you don't have a garden, your local farmer's market should be swamped with goodies right now.  What should you do with it?  Well, I've got a few ideas.  =)

When I had a bunch of tomatoes this weekend, I made tomato sauce.  (Easier than you think!)

I started with these babies:

Aren't those some gorgeous love apples?  I happen to think so. (That middle one is a zebra variety.)

After a quick wash, I cut them in half, like so:

Then I squeezed out the seeds and pulp and roughly chopped them, leaving out the smallest section of core possible. Aside: Do you have one of these rimmed cutting boards?  I have a small one for produce, and it catches all the juice.  I have a larger one for meat, and it also catches all the juice. =)  They are fantastic.

See the tiny amount of core I leave?  You don't want to waste any tomato goodness, do you?  Then I put all of these tomatoes in a pot with their skins on.  (I'm all about easy cooking.)

Add a giant tablespoon of salt to get the water out of these love apples. Then, start to cook them down to a mush.  =)

 You can see the water that comes out very quickly.

It soon turns to tomato heaven.  :)  Once it cooks down, you can add flavors of your choice.  Simple is best for me, so I added a little basil, garlic, and red pepper infused olive oil at the end.  A quick pulse of the immersion blender for smoothness and...

Voila! Yummy goodness.

You can also freeze tomatoes whole or in slices, and then give them a quick zip under warm water to remove the skins later.  You could make salsa and freeze some.  You can also make this sauce and freeze it.  However, I intend to eat it this week. =)  Part two, with more produce saving ideas, will follow soon!

Sep 23, 2013

The Curious Case of the Benadryl Itch Stick

First, I have to say: Mosquitos love me.  I mean they really love me.  If there is one in a mile radius of me, it finds me.

And then it bites me.

And then I swell up and itch.

And then I reach for the Benadryl Itch Stick.  (And that thing works, man, with none of the drowsiness of Benadryl.)

Here's the latest problem I had, though, just as a cautionary tale to you folks.  I was outside on the deck with a friend late one night, and I got about 5 bites, even though I was covered in mosquito repellent, and even though it was close to midnight.  The next day I was outside, in broad daylight, and managed to get 11 bites.  (I hate mosquitos) So, I was very itchy.  I grabbed the itch stick and applied it liberally to all bites.  Itches be gone, I have no time for regular Benadryl and the mandatory nap that ensues!

Then suddenly, I felt so sleepy... *insert snoring here.  After a 2 hour nap, where I slept like the dead, I realized I may have had too many bites for the benadryl itch stick to handle without making me drowsy.  Whoops.

Now you  might be wondering why I am telling you this story.  Or you might have found it mildly humorous like I did.

Aside: (Luckily I didn't have to be anywhere.  It was Labor Day weekend, and I had told a friend I would be sitting by the pool, after said friend had said his weekend consisted of working.  I do believe I got what was coming to me.)

The point is, folks, for the next two days, I could not set foot outside.  One more bite would have pushed me over the edge.  But, luckily, I another project to take on indoors.  I had failed to water some soybeans in the garden, so I had some seeds to save!
Don't they look so sad?  I failed them miserably.  One of the great things about some failures, though is that they turn into small successes: I'll have seeds for next year! =)  So, I took the trouble of opening up all the dried seed pods.

Like so!  Soybeans for everyone!!!  (If I can just remember to water.) =)  Happy Monday, everyone!

Sep 2, 2013

Garrett Juice and Carmel Sauce

My favorite organic fertilizer is Garrett Juice.  It looks like this:

(I know you might be wondering, "What does this have to do with carmel sauce?" That remains tbd.) It can be found here, and maybe even at your local garden supply store.  It is completely organic, and is safe to use at any stage in planting from seed to harvest.  (With other non-organic fertilizers, you have to wait until plants are a certain age.  This one is so safe, you can use it at any time!!)  Take a look at these ingredients:

All completely pronounceable and definable.  In fact, if you are so inclined you can google this and make your own.  It takes a tiny bit mixed with water to give all of your plants a little extra nutrition.  In the weird world I live in, (aka my brain) mixing this up reminded me of making carmel sauce.  Here's what it looks like when you mix it with water...

For some strange reason, although it smells nothing like carmel sauce, it reminded me of the carmel I made not that long ago for salted carmel pretzel brownies.  Something about the bubbling and the carmel color, I don't know.  I've never claimed to make a lot of sense.

Anyone else see the resemblance?  Anyone? Bueller???  I know, readers, it's ridiculous how everything in my life relates back to food.  =) Please note, you should try the fertilizer, and you should also make those brownies.  They are delicious.  And maybe, just MAYBE, your plants will think Garrett Juice is just as delicious.  =)

(Here's the easy carmel sauce recipe I use too, should you be so inclined to make your own.)