Friday, April 30, 2010

Final Planting Doing Well

Yesterday was the beginning of the final spring planting extravaganza.The first plot of corn went in. I got to use our new corn/bean planter. Not as easy as it looks. Then the ground cloth at the far end of the tomatoes got rolled back and green, yellow, and lima beans were planted. This year we were smart and only planted bush types (anyone want the left over pole bean seeds). And the days final planting was all the viney stuff. Only two hills of the overly prolific green zucchini that grows to baseball bat size if not watched closely got planted. Then some nice yellow crooknecks, our favorite butternuts, and finally the annual cucumbers (I can taste them and a fresh tomato right now). Then just for fun (well I think it is fun) all of the edges got cleaned of weeds and pushed back to form a trough for drainage.

Last year I ran out of drip irrigation hose so I went on a late season buying spree and bought up all Icould. Well this year almost all the irrigation has been set out and I have quite a bit left over and all brand new. But later in the year as the second plot of corn goes in some of it will get used.

Sorry there are no pictures yet (I had to get an entry in so Beatrice wouldn't hog all the space here) but if you come back later this evening they will be here. AND you can see the mulching that is set for today along with the mowing (our regular Friday routine) .

Sunday Post:::::::
OK OK O K... so here are some of the pics. On the left is the first plot of corn where i may add the other two sisters of squash and pole beans. Have to think it over. On the right is the official viney patch with butternut, yellow crooknecks, and italian zuccinni along with some cucumbers.

Beatrice was a big help with the mulching. She really brightened the job up. I was a little nervous though with reports of Crock's seen in the area..... :-)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cheesy Mac

A couple of months ago, I posted a recipe for meatloaf without this side dish. What was I thinking? Everyone knows that meatloaf and mac & cheese just go together. Mea culpa but I didn't like a couple of recipes tried previously, so didn't include one. But this one is definitely a "keeper" or so Grenville told me tonight when we served it with leftover meatloaf. No, it was not the same meatloaf from a couple of months ago, but freshly made the other night. Leftovers sure tasted better with this dish. Try it! And, if you like yours cheesier (like we do) then be sure to add a bit more cheese.

Baked Macaroni & Cheese
This rendition of the timeless classic comfort food – macaroni and cheese – looks like it has a lot of steps to follow. But, they really simple and after you've made it once, they will be easier to follow or not needed at all. And, you can always make your own variations. This is a good basic recipe adapted from what's fast becoming my favorite all purpose cookbook. (Hint, if you have been paying attention to previous posts, you already know its title.)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 1 ½ quart deep baking dish
  2. Boil 6 C of water and 1 ½ tsp salt in medium saucepan
  3. Grate to have ready: 2 ¼ C grated sharp Cheddar or Colby cheese (extra is cheesier!)
  4. Add 2 C elbow macaroni (8 ounces) and cook until tender. Drain and place in a large bowl
  5. Melt 2 tbsp butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat
  6. Whisk in 2 tbsp all-purpose flour and cook, whisking for 3 minutes
  7. Gradually whisk in 2 C whole or low-fat milk
  8. Stir in:
    ½ diced medium onion
    1 bay leaf
    ½ tsp sweet or smoked paprika
  9. Simmer gently for 15 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and stir in 2/3 of the cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the macaroni. Pour half of the mixture into the baking dish and sprinkle with half of the remaining cheese. Top with the remaining macaroni and then the remaining cheese.
  10. Melt 1 tbsp butter in a small skillet over medium heat, then add ½ C breadcrumbs and toss to coat. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top of macaroni.

    Bake about 30 minutes or until breadcrumbs are lightly browned. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

    Note: The sauce can be made ahead and blended with just cooked macaroni before baking, or the entire casserole can be assembled a day ahead.

    4 to 6 main course servings; 8 to 10 side dish servings (dependent on serving size)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Quiche is Quick for Dinner

It's not just for lunch anymore and besides being fun to say its name, quiche is one of the recipes which gives you the chance to be inventive with its ingredients of vegetables and dairy products. Sure, like with other popular recipes, there's lots of variations with or without assorted vegetables – and with only Cheddar or a mixture of cheeses, like Monterrey Jack or Colby. This is the one made for tonight's dinner and the leftovers will be delicious too!

Some recipes recommend using a 9-inch glass pie pan, but I use a 9-½ deep dish glass pan that lets me add extra veggies and cheese. Of course, you will have to stretch the crust a bit more to fit the larger dish, especially when using a frozen crust. And, you can always make your own crust instead of using a premade, refrigerated one. There's always a couple of Pillsbury® refrigerated crusts in our freezer and they come in handy.

Cheddar-Vegetable Quiche
9 to 9-½ (deep dish) glass pie dish
1 refrigerated pie crust, thawed
1 -2 tbsp butter
1 C fresh broccoli florets or 2 C broccoli frozen cuts (thawed & drained)
½ C sliced green onions
½ C fresh mushrooms (drain canned ones if using)
2 C shredded Cheddar cheese or other cheese of your choice
1 ½ tbsp of flour
1 ½ C milk or half milk and half & half or light cream
3 eggs
1 tbsp fresh herbs (marjoram, oregano, parsley) or ½ tsp dried herbs
½ salt
¼ tsp black pepper (to taste)
  1. Heat oven to 375°. Bake pie crust as directed on package.
    Note: Prebaking the unfilled crust is recommended and some recipes recommend fully baking crusts before filling. Strange as it seems, baked shells do not burn when baked a second time after filling, though the edge does darken. Some recipes advise you cover the crust edge with strips of foil during the last 15-20 minutes of baking to avoid excessive browning. I avoid doing so and prefer a crust that's a little browned.
  2. Melt butter in pan over medium-high heat. Add broccoli and other vegetables and cook until crisp-tender.
  3. Combine cheese and flour in bowl and toss to coat cheese with flour.
  4. Sprinkle half of cheese in bottom of baked shell. Spread broccoli mixture over cheese, then add rest of cheese.
  5. Whisk eggs, milk, spices until well blended; pour over vegetables and cheese.
  6. Bake 40-45 minutes until filling is browned and set or knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool before cutting.

Special Thanks to friends Barbara & John (you know who you are) for the cheeses. Wish you could have joined us for dinner!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sweet, Sour and Delicious Cake

Ever go through the fridge and find things you "forgot" you had bought or you have doubles. It happens to me too (more often than I care to admit). 

Yesterday, I found a second container of sour cream, which had to be used soon. In the pantry there were leftover bags of semi-sweet morsels from baking holiday chocolate chips. So wouldn't it be GREAT to find an easy recipe which used BOTH these items?  I did in the All New Joy of Cooking. This hefty (1100+ pages) volume doesn't have photos, but it has lots of recipes and is one of my essential recipe books

Try this cake - it's got lots going for it: easy recipe, not too many ingredients (all of which you probably already have on hand) and it's delicious, just ask Grenville - the official F&P food taster.

Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 9x5-inch loaf pan or line the bottom with wax or parchment paper.

  2. Melt 5 tbsp unsalted butter; then pour into a large mixing bowl and cool.

  3. Add and stir together until smooth:
    ¾ C sugar
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 C sour cream
    1 large egg

  4. Add in pinches to break up any lumps and whisk in:
    ¾ tsp baking soda
    ¾ tsp baking powder

  5. Stir in just until combined:
    1 ½ C all-purpose flour

  6. Stir in 2/3 C semisweet chocolate chips (regular or miniature)
Scrape batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake 45-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes (if needed, slide thin knife around cake to detach it). Invert cake, peel off paper liner, if used, and cool right side up. Optional: serve with powdered sugar.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Planting Mania

That is what we are in the middle of right now. So far we have planted lettuce, spinach, leeks, onions, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, peas, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. For herbs Beatrice has planted coriander, basil, parsley in with some parsley, rosemary, and oregano that made it from last year. Needless to say we have more than a little dirt under our finger nails, sore backs and are usually heading for bed early. And that is why there have been no posts lately.... So here is a look at the crops (imagine something green growing).
We also have the first of our summer renters. The sparrows always seem to get here first but eventually the Purple Martins take over later in the month when they run out of room elsewhere.
Now all we need is the predicted rain over the weekend. Nice on and off showers that will have time to perc into the ground. This year we are trying black landscape fabric on the tomato field as a weed barrier. It should let the rain water in but just in case we have set up the drip irrigation system.
Next planting will be Tuesday and Wednesday. We will get the first plot of corn in, and all of the squash, cucumbers, and zucchini (only one!!!!!).

Great Pumpkin Patch Pie

Grenville planted pumpkins at the Frog & PenguINN farm last season. The great pumpkin patch produced beautiful orange orbs and we anxiously anticipated the prospect of freshly baked pies and other treats, except for one minor glitch - the pumpkins were ready for harvest in late summer and not in mid-autumn. Since using an oven in late summer is not a good idea (trust me on this) that meant that the aroma of freshly baked pie would have to wait. So, Grenville canned the fresh pumpkin and today, I baked our first pumpkin pie from last season's F&P harvest. Figuring out the conversion of using fresh vs. canned pumpkin wasn't too hard thanks to The All New Joy of Cooking which was the only one of our assorted cookbooks that recognized people may want to use fresh vs. canned pumpkin.

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

Position rack in center of over and preheat to 375°F . Building up a high fluted rim, prepare a 9-inch pie pan, preferably glass (and if you don't want to make your own pie crust, here's a F&P, shortcut - buy Pillsbury® frozen pie crusts (2 per package) just don't forget to take it out of the freezer at least a day before it's needed).

Whisk 2 large eggs in a bowl and then whisk in thoroughly:

2 C freshly cooked pumpkin or canned pumpkin puree
1 ½ C evaporated milk or ¾ C milk and ¾ heavy cream)
½ C sugar
1/3 C firmly packed light or brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp freshly grated or ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves or allspice
½ tsp salt

F&P Note: This recipe and others suggest you warm the pie crust in the oven until it is hot to the touch. I skipped this step - and the pie was fine!

Pour the pumpkin mixture into the crust and bake 40-45 minutes until the center of the filling is set, but quivers, like a bowl full of jelly (whoops that's another story) when the pan is nudged. Cool completely on a rack then refrigerate. Serve cold at room temperature or slightly warmed. Optional: top with whipped cream, but let us know when you will coming to visit, so we can bake another pie cause this one was delicious after dinner tonight!
No, we didn't eat the WHOLE pie tonight, but brought it to a neighbor's as the dessert du jour. Thankfully, there are leftovers for tommorrow night!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Local Subway over run by hungry mobs!!!!!

Our local Subway was over run by mobs of hungry folks yesterday. They offered a buy one get one free ( BOGO) to celebrate Tax day and as the saying goes, "If you offer a BOGO they will come". Lines stretched miles as the starved waited and the bread makers worked overtime to keep up. At many points in the day the bread ran out, but the thought of FREE kept the mob civil.
Beatrice and I waited for over an hour to get our free sub, and when we finally got there had to settle for plain white bread.... Rumor has it that they out sold McBarfies and Hardly's by the thousands, but that is just a rumor.
Luckily the mob was peaceful as the County Rural Assault Team and the National Guard were on full alert. For entertainment they held field maneuvers in the parking lot and offered free pepper spraying to anyone who wanted to try it. Not many takers on this except the glue heads from the model plane club. For their finale they held a mock battle between the two forces. It was called off early when the NG tank went out of control and ran over the Rural Assault vehicle crushing to flat.
Today we get to walk off all that bad (but free) stuff we ate as it is Grass Cutting Day at the F&P. Pollen level is only at very high although Sunday is said to be EXTREME!!!! So glad we do very little then.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fowl Naked & Funny

I was trying to come up with ways to make this blog post funny, but what can you say about a chicken that hasn't already been said before? (see below for more Q&A). Now that I have your attention, here is the photo which maybe it isn't quite what you were expecting.

This bird looked much better after a couple of hours in the oven. Roasted chicken has become a favorite at the F&P because it's so easy and leftovers are wonderful for pasta-chicken salad, chicken salad. The original roasted chicken recipe was posted in March under Dinner Most Fowl.

The roasted chicken was even more delicious served with some roasted vegetables of sweet potatoes, beets, and red onions. The recipe for the roasted veggies is easy. Peel and cut sweet potatoes into chunks, do the same with some beets and red onion. Chop up some fresh rosemary and mix in. Add sea salt and toss the mixture with olive oil. Put in a roasting pan or glass oven dish and roast at 350° for about 45 minutes. You can boast the oven temp to 400 and roast for less time. And, if you don't have any beets, you can just add a few more sweet potatoes or even some cut up carrots.
And here are some really fowl one-liners that may tickle your funny bone or is that wish bone?

Why did the chicken cross to the middle of the road?It wanted to lay it on the line
Why did the horse cross the road?Because the chicken needed a day off
Why did the dinosaur cross the road?
Because chickens hadn't evolved yet

Why didn't the chicken skeleton cross the road?Because it didn't have enough guts
Why did the chicken cross the playground?
To get to the other slide
Why did the turkey cross the road?
To prove it wasn't chicken!
Why did the chicken cross the basketball court?
It heard the referee calling fowls

Compost, water and mulch

Yes siree, that is what today has been. First was getting our new "Roller Composter" working right. This little baby will do 12 cubic feet of compost. Now don't ask me how much that is cause I really don't know. My feet are normal feet not the cubic type. BUT from the size of this baby it should be filled sometime around July 4th.... AND then just 14 days later we will have nice rich yummy compost.... Well that is what the book said (maybe not the yummy part).... and it does look neater that the open bin we were using, but i will miss the swarm of fruit flies hovering all around....

NEXT biggee was turning on the irrigation system and hoping for NO LEAKS!!!!! And sure enough the system was fine. Tested all of the drip irrigation lines and only 3 were clogged so the good ones got set out in the first field that got planted last week and low and behold it all worked...(Drip, drip, drip, its irrigating all through the day and all through the night). I love it when a plan comes together, don't you?????

THEN it was mulch time. Last fall i really stocked up on pine straw. To the point we had to build a separate bin to hold it all and then had to double it in size.... and that was on top of covering all of the fields with pine straw. So now the first field is mulched between rows and hopefully the weeds will stay under control better than last year.

The final fun for today was putting a new cover over the hammock. This year's attempt is recycling the old roll up blinds from the front porch. One rolled out and screwed down in each direction. Unfortunately it started drizzling as the project came to an end. The big test will have to wait until tomorrow when there is sunshine.

Pictures of all this great stuff will be here tomorrow 'cause the rain is here and my camera is out in the car and I'm in my sweats and getting ready to bread our tuna steaks and grill them (inside unfortunately. Beatrice won't come out and hold the umbrella for me).

LAST MINUTE NEWS.... The Purple Martins have returned. Stay tuned for late breaking aviary news....

Friday, April 9, 2010

Let the Growing Begin!!!!!!!

Today we are coming to you 'live' from the County Library. Beatrice is busy shelving books and I am here blogging away.

The soil finally warmed up, dryed out and turned nicely so the only thing to do was PLANT. And that is what happened yesterday. After retilling the first bed and then seting in the rows, the seeds started flying into the ground. Well maybe not flying but a lot got planted. Lettuce, spinach, parsnips, beets, onions, scallions, carrots, and peas (a little late but what the heck). I'm sure the good Lord was smiling because He watered all the new seedlings last night and this morning with a nice gentle rain.

CRITTER NEWS: The first of the Purple Martins arrived Wednesday, so up went the house. Now we have to wait and see who take up residence this year.
Today is "back recovery day". A day to enjoy the flowers on the peach tree (and hope for a good year) and get the seedlings in the Bio-Dome ready to make the big move outside in two weeks.

Somewhere around the 22nd of this month the second round of seeds will get planted so we have a continuous crop of greens through the summer and hopefully into the winter. We will also set out the tomatoes and peppers then, get the first plot of corn in for 4th of July, squash and zucchini (yes only ONE hill this year!!!), and what ever else we can (except for the pumpkins).

The rest of this weekend is for fun. 2nd Friday tonight, Elks sale tomorrow, rearrange storage, eat on the porch. Maybe take a trip to the Zoo on Sunday. Basically just enjoy ourselves. And we hope that you will take some time and enjoy your weekend also.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Summer Pasta Salad

It's still spring on the calendar, but summer heat came to the F&P this week with daytime temps in the mid to high 80s the past two days. That's way too warm to light the stove, so pasta salad was perfect for dinner tonight. This salad was so easy to do early in the day while the kitchen (and the rest of the house) were cool.

Cook and drain pasta - your choice. My recipe included 2 C of corkscrew pasta. Chop assorted veggies such as broccoli, celery, carrots, scallions, peppers, cukes or whatever you have on hand. Mix veggies into pasta. Add canned tuna fish (drain first). Chop green stuffed olives and add. Season with Italian salad dressing and fresh or dried herbs, salt and pepper to taste. Since there was no bottled Italian dressing in the pantry, I mixed assorted dry herbs and onion powder with some olive oil and a tough of lemon juice and used an immersion blender to mix everything before pouring on the pasta and veggies.

Mix well and place in fridge. Take out about a half hour before serving so the oil will warm up. Serve with a tossed salad (optional) and fresh brewed iced tea (mandatory).

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter in Jersey- Final

We have finally made it to the finale of Easter after barely surviving the bacchanalia of gastronomic treats that were served. Personally i found the 15 pounds i had lost (not such a good thing).

BUT i can proudly say that by the end of the day there was not a bunny ear unbitten, a peep un-munched, and no peanut better eggs in site. We were joined by our niece Juliebear and her Bear Friend Joshua which made for a very festive afternoon. All in all a wonderful day (burp)!!!!!

So now as the culinary masterpieces of maximum delicitude settle slowly into the digestive system and the eyes grow heavier i will say Happy Easter to all, and to all a good night (so what i stole it from another holiday....)

Colorful Blooms

Colors of spring abounded in flowers this weekend. These blooms were seen on our Easter travels.

What's in Your Easter Basket?

So WHAT was in your Easter Basket this morning?

Grenville and Beatrice had pancakes and french toast in theirs.

Hope your holiday celebration is colorful and egg-citing.

Easter Morn in Jersey

This will be a short post. Our morning is starting beautiful, but a little cloudy.
We hope that you will find the Peeps you are looking for in the world this Blessed Easter morning.
Grenville & Beatrice

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Ears a Question

Easter is almost here.
And it's time for an important question.

Are you ready for it?

OK, here goes...

Do you eat the ears off the bunny first?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter in Jersey pt.2 The joy of chocolate bunny ears!!!!

It is said that there is nothing finer than to be in Carolina in the morning, but a good set of Bunny Ears is to die for sometimes. Chocolate on the Shore is just chocolate but here they have a place they call "The Commons" a very up scale mall where one of the world famous Godiva Choclate outlets is located. Now we all know that 'Godiva Chocolate is to Die For' but until this year they DID NOT make Easter Bunnies. And with no Easter Bunnies there was no Bunny Ears. So knowing this we dejectedly trudged on by. When what to my wondering eyes should appear but a little chocolate bunny wrapped in gold to his ears.
BUT still being on my diet i summoned all of my willl power and walked away. But next year that bunny better watch out.

My reward was visiting our old friend Tony Soprano (yes that is is real name) for one of his wonderful Jersey Pizza's.
More tomorrow of our eggciting eggventures.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wishing & Hoping

It was a beautiful day to go shopping here in NJ and there was this sale at the place right next door, so we went in to look around and Grenville being the wonderful partner that he is told me I could pick out anything. And, since black goes with everything...what do you think of this sleek number? We found out that less than 100 of these cars had been shipped to the US.

OK it was fun drooling but we found out it gets less than 25 mpg, there's no hybrid model, it can't haul anything, and doesn't come in green and yellow, so we had to pass it up.

Instead, we went to a nearby mall and I bought something that's just as hard to find on the Eastern Shore and with a smaller price tag. The MB was less than $120,000 (just over 119K). The Aveda Rosemary Mint at under $30 is costly compared to other shampoos, but just like the MB so worth the expense.

Hope your April Fool's Day was just as priceless.

Easter In Jersey

It almost sounds like the title for a country song. Where the deer and the antelope don't play, and the gun fire rings out all night. I did notice a bunny hopping down the Bunny Trail with a sack of eggs over his shoulder and a
Colt 45 (no not the state drink) on his hip.

The trip up was nice till interchange 7 on the Turnpike then the usual traffic but nothing to complain about. BUT this is a far cry from driving on the Shore. Today is roaming around and seeing friends we haven't seen in a while. I must say i am missing the smell of Spring on the Shore. Although i just noticed a fellow breakfaster wearing a nicely worn out JD hat. There may be hope for this place.
More as we blog our way through our Easter eggstraviganza.

Made it to Oshkosh!!!!!

Yes, here we are in beautiful Oshkosh Wisconsin.... Home of the world famous Cheese Head Healing Institute.... Over the years these folks have cured many others of wearing cheesey cloths, having cheesey attitudes, and being over all Cheesey.

What better place that here to celebrate