Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Flying and Fennel....

it's Swallowtail larvae time!! Throughout the years i've tried to let the garden grow, all of it, including insects and in my 'world' it's full circle, i try to stay out of the affairs of the inhabitants and let nature take it's course... today i found 3 Swallowtail larvae happily munching away on my Bronze Fennel.. the new seedlings, not my older well established Bronze Fennel.. and no i did not plant them... they 'appeared' in the garden this year, so i left them, only pulling out or transplanting those that got in the way of my Tomatoes or Leeks.. my theory on gardening is that it's only a weed if in the wrong place... most plants are valuable and if they should decide to grow in a certain spot, then it must be the right place! i'm afraid my garden isn't the wonderous rows of particular veggies or herbs, but i have a pretty diverse group of plants in a fairly small area!

mmmm pickles!!!! Refrigerator pickles to be exact... i already have quite a few jars of bread and butter pickles in my 'larder' so i really don't need to go out of my way to make more, but i had 4 very long cucumbers to use up... so i got out my Messermeister Gourmet Selection Mandoline Slicer which i bought at Judith's Kitchen Tools in Yachats Oregon... was one of my better kitchen gadgets that i've bought over the years!! i added a hot red pepper and seeds to the pickles to give it a kick.. already tried one of the slices with a seed.. WHEEEEE my mouth suddenly had a warm fuzzy kick... yum yum!!

Refrigerator pickles
4 cups sugar
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. tumeric
1 tsp. celery seed
1 tbsp. pickling salt or Kosher salt
1 onion ( i used a sweet onion)
1 or more peppers ( i used 2 of my green peppers and 1 one red hot pepper)
and enough cucumbers to make an ice cream bucket worth (about 8 cups )
mix the sugar, vinegar, tumeric, celery seed and salt... pour over the veggies and stir gently...
put in ice cream bucket or glass jars ( i used one of my gallon jars)
put in refrigerator and let sit for at least 24hrs... will keep in refrigerator for a LONG time... yum yum!!
my next 'job' is to preserve my gallon of blackberries myself and a friend picked yesterday... she has a 'bluff' behind her house, a wire fence at the top, and all the blackberries one could ever need, behind the fence and falling over the fence... fortunately we picked yesterday as it's raining this morning.. YAY!!! supposed to clear and warm up this afternoon... the garden will be happy happy.....

Breads and Sacrificial Lambs...

Bread making was at it's very worst this morning!! UGH.... i'm on the hunt for the 'perfect' gluten free sandwich bread recipe and this morning's attempt was a failure!! i'm not sure if the failure was me (most likely) or the recipe... i think the end result which is in the oven at the moment will be fodder for the peacocks and duck.. i'm sure they will think it's delicious! I used Bob's Red Mill gluten free all purpose baking flour which does make life much easier BUT for my sense of smell and taste buds... no no... all i could smell are beans... anyways all was great except for the scent of beans ..mmmm yummy (not)! i let the bread mix rise in my 2 little pans and oopsy, over the top the mix went.. all over my oven.. let me tell ya, that cleaning my oven this morning was NOT a high priority.. what a disaster and bean flour isn't much fun at all... since i'm saving all my non toilet water for the garden, my chicory and squash got a dumping of lovely gritty bean flour liquid.. i hope they appreciate it and don't wither and die before the end of the day...

i think over all the recipe itself is okay, everything turned out the way it's supposed to so am going to attempt it again, but just using another type of gluten free flour mix... the recipe is from Bob's Red Mill site:

Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread for Conventional Oven

contributed by Carol Fenster, Ph.D.
2-1/2 tsp Yeast, Active Dry
1-1/2 cups Warm Milk (cow, rice, soy or nut)
3 cups Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour
2 Tb Sugar
1 Tb Potato Flour
1 Tb Xanthan Gum
3/4 tsp Lecithin Granules (Plain Soy)
3/4 cup Whole Egg, must measure 3/4 cup*
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Cider Vinegar
1 tsp Guar Gum
3/4 tsp Salt
In a small bowl add yeast to warm milk and let foam for 5 minutes.Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl of heavy-duty stand mixer, combine all ingredients. Add yeast/milk mixture and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl with spatula, if needed.Place dough in a greased 9” x 5” nonstick pan. Smooth dough with spatula. Cover and let rise in warm place (75°-80°) until dough is level with top of pan (approximately 30-40 minutes).Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 60-65 minutes. Do not under-bake. To prevent over-browning, cover with foil after first 15 minutes of baking. To test for doneness, tap loaf with fingernail. A crisp, hard sound indicates a properly baked loaf. Turn out of pan and cool thoroughly on a wire rack before slicing with electric knife or serrated knife.*For lighter colored bread, use one whole egg and enough egg whites to equal 3/4 cup. For an eggless option use 3 Tb Ener-G Egg Replacer mixed with 1/2 cup & 2 Tb water.Makes 1 loaf (12 slices).
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATIONServing size: 1 sliceCalories 190, Calories from Fat 70, Total Fat 7g, Saturated Fat 1.5g, Cholesterol 40mg, Sodium 35mg, Total Carbohydrate 27g, Dietary Fiber 4g, Sugars 3g, Protein 5g.
The Sacrificial Lamb...
i mentioned in an earlier post about a poor Burdock that was Aphid Heaven... the whole plant is covered like what you see in this picture.. what you don't see is the 'community' that is being supported by this plant.. the ants that are milking the aphids, the ladybugs larvae that are eating the aphids, the wasps that coming cruising, looking for a snack or two and the fact that my Brussel Sprouts and Brassicas have hardly been touched this year... thank you Burdock