Pad Thai Cucumber Salad

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I used cucumber,  carrots, radishes, green peppers. You can use whatever you have available.  Zucchini and onion would be nice.

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Pad Thai Cucumber Salad

Cut cucumber and assorted vegetable into “noodles” using a mandoline

Whatever won’t mandolin well, like green peppers, dice fine.

Just slather on dressing and serve.

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Ingredients
1 large cucumber, mandolin
1  large carrot, mandolin
1/4 green bell pepper, chopped fine
4 radishes, chopped fine

Dressing
Juice of 1/2 lime and the zest
3 tbsp Soy sauce
1 tbsp Sriracha sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 clove of garlic, pressed
2 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped fine

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A pic of my herb bed cilantro. I LOVE that stuff.

Summer Squash Ratatouille

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I’m trying again. Trying to grow eggplant.

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I have yet to be successful so I have to improvise if I have one of my favorite dishes, ratatouille. This is a throw together with no real measuring. Just layer with plenty of garlic and basil.

I always freeze enough summer squash for months of this dish, so that is what I use.

I freeze the blanched slices of summer squash about 3/4 to 1 inch thick. I’m also using frozen basil here.

I start off by spraying a low rimmed casserole dish with olive oil and then layer onions, green peppers, basil, sea salt and garlic. I top that with my frozen pieces of summer squash and mozzarella cheese.

Another spray of olive oil.

Layer more onion, basil, garlic, salt and green peppers.
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Top that with a layer of tomato.
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Then a bread crumb parmesan topping on top of that. I added a bit of fresh parsley to the bread crumbs too.
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Press the topping down over the layers and spray with oil again. Cover with aluminum foil tightly. Bake in a 350 degree oven about one hour 15 minutes. Uncover and place back in the oven long enough for the bread crumbs to brown.

Pretty easy just layers of onion, green peppers, garlic, basil, summer squash, tomato, salt and olive oil spray with a parmesan bread crumb topping.

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I like to serve it on top of spaghetti with garlic toast.

Anyway keep your fingers crossed that I will be successful growing eggplant this year.

In the meantime here are some pics of a few things growing well so far.
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Radish

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Strawberries

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Chives and baby kale

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Lettuce, cabbage, and onion.

A lot of things aren’t peeping out of the ground yet.

Oh please little eggplants…grow!

I am sharing this with Tell em Tuesday #11
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Sausage Lentil and Kale Soup

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Baby kale covered up right now so I’m trying something new. A soup more in line with fall, but it tasted great with a grilled cheese this spring.

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This was adapted from one of Rachel Ray’s recipes.

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Sausage Lentil and Kale Soup

1/2 pound breakfast sausage
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 stem fresh rosemary
1 carrot, finely chopped
5 spring onions sliced, tops included
1 potato, peeled and cut into small dice
3 tablespoons tomato ketchup
1 bunch baby spring kale
Dash nutmeg
6 cups water
3 teaspoons powdered chicken bouillon
1 1/4 cups dry lentils , cleaned and rinsed well
Garlic salt to taste

Simply brown and drain grease from your breakfast sausage.  Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about one hour. Remove bay leaf and rosemary stem before serving.

Scalded Greens

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It is that time of year again. Harvesting greens and onion.

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I have heard this called roadkill greens or wilted greens.

I always called it scalded greens.

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Scalded Greens

Big bowl mixed leaf lettuce and baby kale mixed
Lots of green spring onion, tops included, chopped
For dressing
3 tablespoons bacon grease
4 tablespoons vinegar
5 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water

Simply heat all dressing ingredients. Pour dressing,  while warm, over the large bowl of greens and onion. Mix well. The greens will wilt. Serve immediately.

Sharing with Let’s get Real Friday #89
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Lemon Balm Meringue Bars

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If you are trying to watch your sugar intake you might want to turn your head. You have been warned.

Lemon Balm is a pretty invasive herb. Like mint, it will crowd a herb patch in every way possible.

I have problems keeping it at bay but I never want to be without it.

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After harvesting, washing and spinning lemon balm dry in my salad spinner, I keep it in a Tupperware container upside down in the refrigerator.

Place paper towels on top before you snap on the lid and then turn it over. Any wetness that might be left after a good spin should absorb into the towels. If you spin well there may not be a lot of residue.

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You can make wonderful vinaigrette, cakes, breads and these bars.

Lemon Balm Meringue Bars

Preheat to 350 degrees.

Crust
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup butter

Stir flour and sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press evenly into an 8 inch square baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Meanwhile put together the topping.

Topping
1 1/8 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup whole lemon balm leaves
2 T all purpose flour
1/2 t baking powder
3 T lemon juice
4 eggs (one separated
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

In a food processor process sugar and lemon balm leaves until leaves are ground fine. The sugar will be pretty green colored. Hold back 1/8 of this sugar for the meringue.  Transfer the remaining cup of sugar to a bowl and whisk in flour and baking powder. Add lemon juice and 3 eggs and one yolk, reserving the one white for the meringue in a separate bowl, blend well.

As soon as the crust is baked, pour this topping over the crust and return to the oven. Bake an additional 20 minutes until the top feels barely firm.

Meanwhile with an electric mixer whip the reserved egg white with 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tarter.
Gradually add the reserved lemon balm sugar as you whip into stiff peaks.

Pull the bars from the oven and ice with the meringue. At this time turn the oven to broil. Broil the meringue to light brown, watching closely as it only takes a few minutes.

Cool on a wire rack and then cut into bars. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator.

I am sharing this with Home Matters Linky Party # 33
and Mix it up Monday

Yum

Rhubarb Jam

Spring is certainly here. A crab apple in bloom.

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Our first harvest of the season is rhubarb. I made jam today.

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This plant is so large and beautiful.

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Of course you don’t use the leaves because they are poisonous. Stalks only.

This recipe only makes a small batch. I plan to make two small batches this season. Another later in the season.

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With only two of us we don’t need more than that. With the plum, blackberry, crabapple, and grape we hope to harvest we should be covered up in jam. The Lord willing.

Of course there will be plenty of rhubarb for pies, cakes, cookies and breads.

We harvest rhubarb from early spring until the first week in July.

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I got this recipe from Just a Pinch and it turned out perfectly. It is just as the name states, “easy” . I have only used the unflavored gelatin but the flavored could also be nice.

Easy Rhubarb Jam
7 c rhubarb (chopped in 1/2 inch pieces)
1 small jell-o (any flavor) or 1 packet unflavored knox gelatin
5 c sugar
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 c water

Directions Step-By-Step 1 Cook rhubarb and water until tender,add sugar and lemon juice and stir together well. Cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes or until you reach a boil that can not be stirred down. Add Jello and stir until dissolved. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Fill sterilized hot jars to 1/4 inch from rim of jars. Remove bubbles, wipe jar rims with hot damp cloth. Seal in jars to fingertip tight. Put in boiling bath canner with lid on for 15 minutes. Remove lid from canner, let sit 5 minutes. Remove jars from canner to a towel lined counter to sit and cool for 24 hours before storing. 2 **** if you need a little water, don’t be afraid to add it while cooking down the rhubarb… but go sparingly as the rhubarb creates liquid..

Giant Marconi Peppers

This is the first year we have grown these peppers. You can see from the picture how large they are. The bell pepper beside the Marconi is very large in itself.

I plan on throwing together a spanish rice and chicken stuffing for them this evening. I will try to post what I come up with later.

2010 Garden

The year 2010 has not been a year for Virginia gardens. Spring started off beautiful and green.

But alass the drought has made our crops scarce.
I did manage to put up green beans, and we are getting a few tomato and peppers.

The corn is not looking promising and it just makes one realize how blessed we are that we can run to a store for what we need. Makes me really appreciate our ancestors and the hard times they must have lived through “living off the land”.

On a up note we did have some great vacation time this year.


I just hope 2011 is a better year for Virginia gardens.

Homegrown Thanksgiving

I always do my deserts the night before Thanksgiving, so I don’t have as much to do on the big day.


Blackberry Jam Swirl Cheesecake


Pumpkin Pie

I was thinking about how much of our ingredients we grew this year.

The pumpkin for pie, blackberries for cheesecake, green beans, potatoes for mashed potatoes, the chard for wilted greens, the corn for corn salad, all the onion, green pepper, and herbs that will be used.

We didn’t grow the brussel sprouts, yams, flour and yeast ( although I could have used my starter but don’t plan to) or any of the meat, eggs or milk.

My food bill for this Thanksgiving was still out of this world, counting all drinks and the few above items.

Next year I need to try and grow the brussel sprouts and yams. I also might look into some chickens for eggs. I don’t wish to be tied to a milk cow however..lol.

A homegrown Thanksgiving takes a lot more than one can imagine offhand. I appreciate the pilgrims a lot more…