Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Glorious Rain!!

We got some rain and even more importantly, a relief from the 100 degree temperatures!  They will be back tomorrow though and for the next week at least.  Although you can't tell from the picture, it was as dark as if it we 9 p.m. and not 7 in the morning.

The garden is looking good and starting to produce.  I'll get some pictures of that tomorrow.

Friday, June 24, 2011

This Week in the Garden

Really not a lot going on except for watering.  With 100+ degree weather forecast for all of next week, that's what my main focus will be on.  I have gotten a few yellow squash and chard, but not much else.  I do have two tomatoes teasing with a tinge of orange.  It looks pretty good out there.  we also trimmed several trees and burned the limbs along with some we had cut earlier in the year.  It had rained the night before and was as still as could be when we burned.  Figured we had better beat any burn ban that might be imposed.  Not greatly productive, but in this heat, who wants to be?

Lookin' good

Not even a 1/3 of what we burned.

Now that's a fire, too bad I didn't have any marshmallows :-(

My little pyro...

...who is also a monkey.

Swiss Chard and Whole Wheat Linguine

My Swiss chard was calling to be picked, so this afternoon, I answered.  I have never grown or even eaten chard before, but I decided it would be my experiment this year.  So far, so good.  Here is the recipe I used for my first meal with chard.  I sort of combined two recipes and then added my own flair.

Swiss Chard with Whole Wheat Linguine

3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion-any color
1 tbsp minced garlic
3/4 cup (187 mL bottle) dry white wine
2 bunches (17 cups, yes 17) chard, stemmed and rough chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

Cook linguine according to directions.  Drain

While water for linguine is coming to a boil, begin your sauce.  Melt butter and oil together in a large skillet over med-high heat.  Add onions and garlic and cook for approximately 1 minute.  Add the wine and cook for 5 minutes.  Add chard in two bunches and cook until wilted.  Remove from heat.  Add lemon, cream, and cheese.  Season to taste.  Pour over prepared linguine.

Simple as that.  It was really good and I will definitely make it again.  Now I just need to find some more ideas for chard!

**I like to cook with wine.  Sometimes I even use it the food!

Calling to me, "It's hot out here!"

"Ahhh. much better!"

If you don't use much wine other than what a recipe calls for, get the four packs.  Each bottle is about 3/4 cup.

Stems removed

Finished product!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lambs Quarter

Do you know what lambs quarter is?  It is not a cut of meat.  Far from it.  It is a weed.  It is not a noxious weed, although it can grow very prolifically.  As a matter of fact it is quite a nice weed.  Not only can it help you tell the health of your garden soil, although now I can't seem to find where I got that info, but it is really tasty and healthy.  Just google it and you'll find tons of info.  Here is what I recently did with some from my yard

Lambs Quarter in My Garden
Lambs Quarter Enchiladas (Emeril Lagasse's Spinach enchilada recipe)

4 Poblano chile peppers, about 1 pound
4 pounds fresh lambs quarter, stems removed and well rinsed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 4 tablespoons
1 cup chopped yellow onions
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 teaspoons chili powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus 1/4 cup
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup cubed queso fresco or queso blanco
1 cup cubed Pepper Jack, plus 1 cup grated
1 cup grated cotija (believe it or not, I found it at Walmart) or Parmesan
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
12 corn tortillas
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Roast the peppers by placing them on an open gas flame, turning them frequently with tongs until all sides are charred black, about 7 to 10 minutes. (Alternately, the peppers can be roasted under a broiler, or on top of a gas or charcoal grill.) Place the blackened peppers in a plastic or paper bag, and let rest until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Peel the peppers, split in half lengthwise, and discard the seeds and the stems. Roughly chop and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In 3 batches, add the spinach and blanch for 15 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and shock in an ice bath. Remove and squeeze out the excess. Chop and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until very soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, for 45 seconds. Add 1/4 cup of the flour and cook, stirring with a heavy wooden spoon, to make a light roux, 2 minutes. Gradually add the half-and-half, and cook, stirring, until thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the spinach and stir to incorporate. Remove from the heat and fold in half of the chopped chiles. Adjust the seasoning, to taste. Fold in the cubed queso fresco and both Pepper Jacks, and set aside.

In a bowl, combine the grated Pepper Jack and cotija. Set aside.

In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium temperature. One at a time, add the tortillas to the hot oil and cook, turning, until soft and pliable, 15 seconds per side, adding more oil as needed. Remove from the pan and place on a work surface. Place about 1/2 cup of the spinach mixture into the center of each tortilla and roll up into a cylinder. Place, seam side down, in a single layer across the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch casserole dish.

In a saucepan, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour and cook, stirring constantly with a heavy wooden spoon, to make a light roux. Slowly add the chicken stock and cook, stirring, until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cream and cook, stirring, until thick, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining poblano peppers and cook for 1 minute. Pour over the filled enchiladas and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover evenly with the grated cheeses. Return to the oven and bake until the cheeses are melted and bubbly and the enchiladas are completely warmed through, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

These were really good, if a little spicier than I like.  They are well worth the time and if you don't want to use lamb's quarter, use the spinach.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Only Been a Month!

What a month it has been. Things are growing and growing. The garden has been weeded, gladiolas are blooming, peppers are poppin' and the sunflowers are getting tall.

We have several tomato plants that have come up volunteer from last year and a bean plant as well. I will just let them go for now. We also found we had squash plants growing in the chicken pen (maybe some cantaloupe as well. They aren't messing with the plants but they do seem to be free of squash bugs. Can't say the same for the plants in the garden. If this works out well, I may just plant squash in the chicken pen on purpose next time! Of course then they would probably tear it to shreds.

Here are a few pics.

By the way, it's hot!!!

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