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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Another Great Meal – Get Creative, Don’t let the boredom get you.

Smoked Salmon Pasta w/ Garlic Cream Sauce, beans & cantelope


As we move foward into Fall, our family prepares for hunting and restocking the freezer. My reserves from last year are pretty much out; having had to purchase meat for the first time in a year the other week. We still have some Kokanee and smoked fish, and thankfully my husband returned from his Alaska hunting trip bearing gifts from friends while the moose is being processed and distributed amongst the hunting party. Gifts of Smoked Alaskan Salmon! However, after awhile, it can seem a little “boring” having the same thing to eat over and over (how spoiled are we?!) I bet the real pioneers never thought this way.

Anyway, I thawed a piece of that lovely Alaskan smoked Salmon out. HUGE, too much to eat in one night. The first night I served over greens (not very creative) with onions, bell peppers and tomatoes from the garden. I still had another couple pounds to use the next day, not wanting to waste it, I turned to a tried and true site:
http://www.food.com (formerly http://www.recipezaar.com). On this site you can do an “ingredient search” and then filter for what type of course – in my case a “main dish”. I turned out the above creation for dinner. Again, a fabulous, tasty meal where the main components were wild caught or grown. AND, the meal was not complicated to make; I detest dishes that require too much work in order for it to taste good. Don’t let boredom get to you!

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Posted by on September 29, 2011 in 2011 Vegetable Garden, recipes

 

CORN! Don’t turn it down!

Okay, I don’t grow corn. However, a lot of people around here grow corn and end up with extra to share with others. I brought home a big bucket (you know the type they sell at walmart; the big plastic buckets with rope handles?) full of corn that someone brought to church. My plan: To bring it home and either freeze it or jar it. There was discussion and inquiries on how to best “save” it, so let me share.

The most important part of preserving corn is that you MUST BLANCH it 4-6 mins. before you move on to freeze or jar it. This destroys the enzymes that would otherwise breakdown the sugars and nutrients in the corn niblets. Here is a link you can refer to:
http://www.pickyourown.org/freezingcorn.htm

You can absolutely freeze it on the cob (you see it yourself in the freezer dept. of your grocery store). Or you can cut/shave it off the cob.

Basically you have your kids shuck the corn and then you blanch/boil whole or cut cobs for 4-6 mins then plunge into ice cold water to stop “cooking” as fast as possible then either freeze on the cob, or shave off and bag/jar it.

I chose shave it off and freeze it because for me this is such a “process” in it of itself that I just can’t wrap my head around putting it in the jars, filling with water and processing via pressure can only (although not that hard). I put into foodsaver bags (3 cups per bag for family of 5) and vacuumed sealed shut and stuck in freezer – SUPER EASY. This process took me approximately 1 1/2 hrs to freeze 22 cups of corn (after the kids shucked it which took them about an hour the night before – they goof off).

When I need to eat it I boil water and cut open bag and boil it up for another 6-10 minutes (until done) and butter, salt/pepper to taste and it is sooooo good! and crunchy still.

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2011 in Canning/Preserving

 

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Too many onions?? What to do with Garden Mishaps

I planted lots of onions this year – and it was the first time…..Had a mishap; a couple of months ago a large board fell on top of many onions and knocked over their stems which stunted their growth. And instead of moving the board, I propped it up and it fell again several times over a series on months onto the onions. I was left with many small sized onions. And really, I just ended up letting the boys just harvest them all for the most part; they just love the harvesting part of gardening. So, I’ve got all these little onions that I don’t want to let stale; I’m still just learning on long storage for the larger onions. Right now I’ve got them braided in a bowl on the floor of the pantry with the potatoes.

The point is, how do I use these onions? and not waste them? I am making several large batches of stew; a few different types. Get that slow cooker out and make a double batch of old fashioned beef stew and use these little “pearl onions” in that. I am also planning on making a beef burgandy stew with these little “pearl onions” – ya know some are bigger than pearl size, but I’ll cut ’em in half. I am also going to make a beef, mushroom gravy-ish stew that will use some of the onions too. I will double batch all these recipes and then freeze half for future consumption. They likely won’t last through next month even. EASY TO DO! USE your slow cooker and throw the pearl onions, carrots, peas, potatoes in last (1hr or so before you plan to eat – you don’t want them overcooked).

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2011 in 2011 Vegetable Garden

 

Time to Start Cleaning Up!!

It’s that time of year to start pulling out the spent vegetables. Over the long weekend I decided to pull most of the squash plants (leaving 2 striped zuchinni which were planted a month or so later than the initial plantings). The left over zuchinni plants are rather small and don’t appear to be as vigorous as those planted earlier in the season; but we’ll see what happens. This year, these were all new varieties and I have some mental notes to take away with me.

The biggest plant was the ONE paddy pan squash; it was HUGE (I’d say it spread 6-7ft wide and 4 feet across and it was very heavy). It was still in the producing mode, but at this point I was just not willing to wait anymore; it just took so long to take off. Note: Next year plant 1 plant and give lots of room. Very good squash though, keeps it’s firmness when cooked; doesn’t turn soft/slimy.

Yellow squash (crookneck): Note; only 1 plant needed for my family of 5. Very vigorous, producing plant. So only plant more if you are going to donate. Nobody likes it here, so I think I will pass next year.

Striped Zuchinni: Plant 2 plants, succession plant at 2 wk intervals. Our family really liked these; not a lot of seeds and beautiful to look at. Not too vigorous at producing, so you don’t feel totally overwhelmed, but at times you do get many with a few plants.

Pickling Cucumbers: Only got one to grow – planted late. Will plant more next year to make a few jars of pickles.

Onions: We harvested most ofthem. Will plant lots next year too; great addition to the garden; very useful. Will continue to buy bulbs – would buy starts of others instead of growing myself – although I still have seeds and will use those.

Wax Beans: I am leaving for now and letting “die” out there in order to harvest bean/seeds for next year. This is a first try for me, so we will see how it goes. But, if I didn’t want to mess with collecting seeds; I would pull the first planting of these as they are at the end of their life. The second planting is still producing.

Green Beans: Are heading to their last legs, but still producing enough to feed the family. When they are no longer able to produce a large enough serving to feed the family, I will pull. I almost yanked them, but was talked out of it by my son.

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2011 in 2011 Vegetable Garden

 

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Freeze your peppers

My peppers are coming in. I have too many to eat. One great way to use them is to make stuffed peppers. I notice sometimes that garden peppers are not as large or symetrical as those you find at the store. To use your garden peppers to stuff, cut them lengthwise in half and lay them on their sides (open faced, so to speak) and fill them that way.

But, with the rest of them, I chop them up and put 1-2 cups in foodsaver bags (or ziploc) and freeze for future use in eggs, potatoes, stir fry, chili, stews or marinara. This is the first time I have tried to “save” my peppers for future use. I’ve seen Frozen bags of peppers and onions at the supermarket for stirfry; so I figure I can do the same. I suppose you could even throw them in your autumun/winter salads. During the fall/winter, I make a lot of stir fry, it’s easy and filling and a one pot type meal that has veggies. For the stir fry batches, I will slice them into longer, thinner strips, (you don’t have too) because I prefer them this way in stir fry. This shouldn’t take a lot of freezer space – I can store in the “door” shelves in the outdoor freezer or even find space in the inside freezer.

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2011 in Canning/Preserving

 

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