Thursday, August 25, 2011

Making Sunflowers

I have a helper today...we are making sunflowers..or maybe it's the fact that it is 11:45 a.m..lunch is at 12:00. He does things like this to get my attention.  One of his other "attention getters" was chewing on thread..when I caught him one day and a needle was hanging from his mouth and he had already swallowed the thread, it was time to move the thread and bobbins to a drawer.  And, another thing he does is stand at the door frame and jump as high as he can and slide his claws down the door frame.  But after lunch, I don't see him again until 4:00 p.m.
Hope you have a happy crafting day-the shows are closer than we think...for me, time is just flying by.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Spiced Crabapples

Saturday I made Spiced Crabapples...there are probably enough on the tree to make 15-16 quarts...but I only did three...lots of sugar to add. I planted this tree for the birds, but so far they are not intrested in eating bitter fruit...they prefer the fig tree.
The recipe is on  just enter spiced crabapples.  The end result do not want the apples to pop...that is pretty much impossible as you can see.   We will try these in a few months after they have had time to absorb all the spices.  The recipe is very simple, quick and easy. The recipe calls for mace...I have never used it nor did I know where it came from   Check it's the outer cover of the nut called nutmeg...which I I am thinking these pickled crabapples should be pretty good.   The only problem with  canning crab apples is...they lose the pretty color. Does anyone know how to preserve the color?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bountiful Harvest of Butternut Squash

This is the first year we planted butternut squash and we must have done something right...there are 19 here and that's not counting what we have eaten.  Three vines produced all these and a dozen more that we ate or gave away.  They can be interchanged with pumpkin...I think B. squash are sweeter. A simple way to prepare them is: cut in half and scoop out the seeds...I tried roasting the seeds with not a lot of success...just did not like them.  After you have cut in half, place them cut side down in a microwave safe bowl..I use corning ware, with about 1/2 inch of water...cover and cook until tender..this will vary depending on the size...after about 4 minutes turn the squash over and continue cooking.  When they have cooled enough to handle, scoop out the squash...I use the large end of a melon ball scoop ... put in a small bowl. This is my can be varied using spices that you like.  I put about a cup of brown sugar in a bowl...then add nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves (a little goes a  long way) and in air tight container like Tupperware.  Add desired amount to squash, stir lightly...butter can also be added. We like this as much as sweet potatoes, which is what I kept the topping for before  making the B. squash this way.  Next time I make stuffed butternut squash I will post that recipe.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Crab Apples...

My crab apple has quite a few apples this year.  I can't decide what to do with them. I thought about making wine, but the starter kit is quite pricey.  What have you made with crab apples? I would love to hear your suggestions. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

One of my favorite things...

I bought this knife at a craft show...paid $25 for it.  It is made by a man from North Carolina..this one is cherry wood ..and he has a couple other different wood that he uses.  He was cutting angel food cake and tomatoes and it was unbelievable how it cut without tearing the cake and tomato.  I thought to myself that he is using those two things because he knows the knife will perform with 100%success.  Well, I just did not give up that $25 on the spot...I had to think about it for an hour or so.  Then I decided to go back and get it....and I am so glad I did.  This knife is cuts almost anything, except meat. I like buying the bread that the bakery in the store makes...but when they slice it, it does not stay fresh as long. Now I can buy the loaf and do my own slicing. It even cuts frozen cakes and breads. I used it on the eggplant below with no tearing.  It just amazes me.  This was $25 well spent.

Freezing Eggplant

 We planted 2 eggplant plants in the Spring...we have never had so many..we gave them away...ate quite a few and yesterday I decided to freeze them. I found the directions on line and there were 2 options..steaming and boiling in water...I chose boiling in water.  I cut the two ends off and peeled them.....sliced into 1/2 inch slices and dropped in boiling water...boiled 4 minutes...remove and put in a bowl of ice water.
 Removed from ice water and placed on a towel to absorb some of the moisture then in a freezer bag.
Here they are just out of the ice water.  I don't expect these to be frying quality because of the moisture.  Did you know that you can add eggplant in a tomato based spaghetti...and you will never know they are in there.
Click on the above link for the vitamins in eggplant.  There are many more in the garden so I will probably be doing this again....the process is quick and easy.

Aug 16, 2011  I picked 8 small eggplants this morning. I processed these a little different.  I sliced them about 1/3" thick and dropped in boiling water for 4 minutes, removed them from the water and dropped in ice water. After chilling I laid them on paper towels to absorb some of the water ...I then stacked them on top of each other with a layer of wax paper between.  These are for frying.  I do not know what the end result will be but I thought it was worth a try instead of just throwing them on the compost pile.