August 28, 2011

let the canning begin!

2011.08_husking corn in the dark
I am determined to fill all of our canning jars in the next month. It is easy to let the peak of the growing season slip by since it doesn't last all that long here. On top of that, I am trying to make this happen while holding down a 40 hour a week job, hosting visitors, hanging out with friends, taking the dog on walks, and enjoying the great outdoors.  Hence the reason I am the crazy lady who husks a whole lot of corn in the dark.

2011.08_canning cream corn

August 26, 2011

baba ghanoush by hand

I'm loving all the eggplant we're getting in our CSA. I've always made baba ghanoush in a food processor, but I just came across this method of making baba ghanoush just with a knife, and it's the best I've ever had!

1 large eggplant
1/3 c. tahini
1 T. lemon juice
handful of fresh chopped parsley 
salt and pepper
2-5 garlic cloves
olive oil
dash of cayenne

I roasted the eggplant (cut in halves) in the oven (450F) until soft. After it cooled for a bit, I chopped it up and mixed in the rest of the ingredients.

P.S. I think using coarse kosher salt really adds to things like this or on tomato slices; as long as it can dissolve and not be crunchy, it makes the saltiness come in bursts.

August 24, 2011

potato skillet

2011.08_potato skillet
We had this simple yet satisfying medley of CSA and garden veggies for dinner tonight.  It consisted of home fried potatoes, zucchini, peppers, and garlic cooked up in a skillet and then topped with green onion, cheddar cheese, and fresh tomatoes.

August 23, 2011


You know the story about using all parts of the buffalo...well, we did that with our watermelon:
2011.08_dehydrated watermelon
First: dehydrated watermelon slices. This is pretty energy intensive and impractical since watermelon is 92% water, but the dried watermelon slices make very sweet fruit leathers.
2011.08_pickled watermelon rinds
Next, I pickled the watermelon rind. I just cut off the dark green skin and soaked in salt water (1/4 cup salt per quart of water) overnight. They taste like salty cucumbers--really good! I used the recipes from Dave's Garden and pick your own dot org.

2011.08_roasted watermelon seeds
Finally, we roasted the seeds that I picked out.

P.S. Best watermelon recipe I've ever had.

bringing in the tomatoes

2011.08_garden tomato harvest
We've started bringing in the tomatoes. For the record, the Amana Orange have been doing the best, although they have been cracking. Still delicious though! I'm a little disappointed in our four Roma plants--how do you get them to ripen all at once? I'm not sure if they are determinate or indeterminate...

lunch on the summit

2011.08_mount bierstadt
I did my first fourteener this weekend! Which is surprising because I have lived in Colorado for three years now and if you know anything about Coloradans, they love to talk about doing fourteeners.  You can see said fourteener (Mount Bierstadt) in the sunshiney picture above.  Don't believe the picture though, we got hailed on twice.

For lunch at the summit, me and my co-adventurers ate english muffins with cheddar cheese, red pepper jelly, and basil!

2011.08_hiking lunch

August 20, 2011

chila: the original gluten free pancake

A friend had us over for dinner last night. She is bravely transitioning into a life free of gluten (wheat, barley, rye, etc) and since we like a good challenge, we offered to make a gluten-free flat bread.

But it actually turned out to be a crazy easy endeavor - thank you internet!  No, we did not recreate naan with all kinds of alternative flours (rice flours, potato flour, xanthan gum, tapioca starch, and so on) because there already exists a traditional Indian pancake called chila (or cheela or cheelay) that is very simply made of chickpea flour (aka garbanzo flour or gram flour)!  Here is the recipe that we used.

August 17, 2011

garden defender

2011.08_praying mantis
I've seen several grasshoppers on our chard as well as potato beetles on our tomato plants. I remember hearing somewhere that praying mantids are good for eating garden pests such as these, so when I saw a mantis on a bike rack, I gently transported it to our garden to hopefully eat some of those baddies.
2011.08_praying mantis

hail storm

2011.08_hail damage
There was a big hail storm yesterday. At first I was worried about our tomatoes. It turned out that all the large tomatoes were fine, but a bunch of the still-green pear and cherry tomatoes got knocked off their vines. We'll have to pickle them or something. The real damage was to the chard, as you can see above. This compelled me to harvest much of the chard: a total of 5 lbs.
2011.08_chard in a pot
This much chard fills up our 16 quart pot. I'm getting pretty good at quickly blanching and freezing large amounts of chard:
  1. Rinse a large handful in a large bowl or bucket.
  2. Chop with knife.
  3. Put in pot with a few inches of water.
  4. Steam until soft, stirring often.
  5. Rinse in cold water.
  6. Put in freezer bags (in sheets for breaking later)

August 7, 2011

the hard truth

Seen at the Boulder County Fair... I enjoy the brutal honesty of this poster.

bread and butter pickles

Another year of pickles. We used the recipe for bread and butter pickles from the Ball Blue Book of preserving. Last time, there were too many onion pieces in the way, so we did fewer, larger, pieces of onions.

6 pounds of chard!

We planted chard in our garden because we read it could keep producing all summer long unlike spinach or kale. It has definitely met our expectations--it just keeps coming back--and it looks so good. We just harvested 6 pounds of it, blanched and froze it.

But one problem...I got a terribly itchy throat after the process. This happened last time we processed a lot of chard too. This time, I realized I must have ate a piece of chard leaf raw. The itchy throat seems to be due to the oxalic acid on the leaves (also in beets, spinach, lambsquarter, wood sorrel (oxalis), and other greens in different amounts, but I've only gotten the reaction from chard). So watch out! I tried gargling an antacid (tums) to counter the oxalic acid and that seemed to help.

August 2, 2011

old news: cocoa beans

2011.07_cocoa bean fermented
No, no, I'm not saying that cocoa beans are boring.  I am saying that it has taken me awhile to post about my cocoa bean adventures.

About two weeks ago, Eric and I roasted, shelled, and ground a handful of cocoa beans with our friends who brought the fermented beans back from their travels in Costa Rica.  I loved tasting and smelling the different phases in the process!  Since we lacked official chocalatier equipment, we wound up with fine chocolate crumbles rather than a smooth chocolate bar, but nonetheless it was super tasty and nutty!

backpacking in collegiate peaks wilderness

2011.07_backpacking collegiate peaks wilderness
Backpacking is amazing!  This past weekend we went backpacking in Collegiate Peaks Wilderness.  Unlike a day hike or a hectic vacation, backpacking lets you really escape your regular internal dialogue.  Plus you will likely find yourself immersed in stunning scenery without another soul to be seen.