Monday, June 22, 2009

Holy Cow

Check out this episode from PBS's Nature on the evolution of our relationship with the udder-ly wonderful cow.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I like my fishies, I like to boogie

Will (Guille) y amigos have done a lot of work over the last two years to amend the sucky quality of our southern Indiana clay soil. I think all that clay can at least partially explain the underwhelming size of our peppers the last two years.

Anyways, I decided I wanted to start helping our plants out a bit by giving them something to eat.

Veggie Plant Food (sans scary chemicals)
1 can/bottle of beer
1/2 c. fish emulsion*
6 oz. water
4 T epsom salts**
2 T Ivory dish soap
Hose end attachment***

Mix it all in the hose end attachment and set for 6 oz./gallon. Don't water the plants with this mixture (there won't be enough)...spray their leaves instead. Use all at once, and repeat every two weeks.

We have a pretty large garden and this made enough to cover everything at least twice. It seems to be working though!

*fish emulsion: I got mine at Bloomington Hardware. You can likely find this at any decent-sized hardware or garden store. This stuff STINKS, BAD.

**epsom salts: I bought this at K-Mart. Any drug store would do too. For those of you with bad bowels out there, epsom salt relieves constipation as well!

***hose end attachment: my oh my did I struggle with understanding how these things work. I ended up buying mine from Lowe's because I was too dense to understand the ones at B-town Hardware. All you have to do is pour your mix into the attachment, attach the end of your hose to it, set the oz/gallon, and spray. Buy one you understand, or have someone at the store explain it to you. Mine was only $10.

Adios mis amigos, hermanos y hermanas

Monday, June 8, 2009

Choppin Broccoli

For all you soy sauce addicts out there, here is your jam. I've been drooling over this recipe for about three months now and have to resort to finding ways to cook it when Will isn't around because he's so sick of it.

There's lots of good broccoli at the farmer's market, so head on down to downtown Saturday mornings.

Tofu and Broccoli Stir-fry

1 block extra-firm tofu

2-3 T. canola oil
Chop into lots of cubes (I usually cut the block 3 ways through the side and 4 ways length-wise). Fry in pan of hot oil on med. heat until all sides are golden.

2-3 stalks broccoli (use the parts of the broccoli you like to eat).
Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Boil broccoli for 2 minutes, until it's bright green. Don't boil too long! Drain.

1 T. cornstarch
1/4 t. red pepper flakes (or ground red pepper)
3 T. soy sauce
2 T. rice vinegar
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 c. water
1/2 c. cashews or peanutes (optional)
Combine. Set aside.

Add broccoli to skillet and toss with tofu for about 2-3 minutes, until crisp. Add sauce and stir to coat. Continue stirring and cooking until sauce thickens. Serve with rice!!

Adios mis amigos, hermanos y hermanas.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Straws and berries

This year the Rose garden is producing strawberries out the wazoo, compared to last year's meager handful.

Other than just eatin' em whole and having them with yogurt at breakfast, here's what we've been doing with them...

Strawberry Pie (courtesy of the Mennonites and Simply In Season)

1 c. sugar
3 T. cornstarch (or more)
Blend in a saucepan

1 c. strawberries (mashed)
1/2 c. orange juice or water (omit if you have an additional cup of strawberries)
Add and cook over med. heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and boils (Note: It's REALLY important to get this sauce nice and thick!). Boil and stir for at least 1 min. or longer. Remove from heat.

2 T. lemon juice.
Stir in and cool.

4-6 c. whole strawberries
9-in. baked pastry shell or graham cracker crust.
When cooked fruit is cool, gently fold in the rest of the berries and pour into crust. Chill for 3 hours.

Shortcake Biscuits Supreme (courtesy of Will's mom).

4 c. cut strawberries
1c. sugar
Stir together, cover, and let sit at room temp. for at least 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

2 c. flour
4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. cream of tartar
1/2 t. salt
2 t. sugar
Sift all ingredients together.

1/2 c. shortening
Cut into sifted ingredients with a knife or pastry blender until crumby.

2/3 c. milk
Add milk all at once and stir until dry ingredients are moistened. Loosely form small handfuls of dough into biscuit shapes and place in a greased baking pan. (dough should be moist and your hands should be messy!). Bake at 450 for 15-20 minutes. Don't brown. Pour strawberries on top and enjoy!

Strawberry Jam (makes about 8 8-oz jars; water bath canning recipe)

8 c. crushed hulled strawberries
6 c. granulated sugar
1. Sterilize jars and lids
2. In a large, deep, stainless steel saucepan, combine berries and sugar. Bring to a boil over med. heat, stirring constantly to dissolve sugar. Boil, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and test gel to make sure it sticks on spoon. Skim off foam.
3. Ladle hot jam into jars with 1/4 in. headspace. Put on lid, but not too tight.
4. Process for 10 minutes in boiling water. Wait 5 min. before removing jar from pot.

Adios mis amigos, hermanos y hermanas.