The 2014 Tomato List

It’s time to account the 2014 tomatoes!  I moved them out of the greenhouse to the front sidewalk this weekend and spent yesterday alphabetizing and counting them all.  Here they are:

  • 28 Abe Lincoln 36 (-6 ds, -1 nr, -1 tm)
  • 06 Annie 13 (-6 ds, -1 nr)
  • 17 Arkansas Traveler 27 (-6 ds, -2 nr, -2 sn)
  • 27 Athens 35 (-6 ds, -1 nr, -1 tm)
  • 10 Aunt Gertie’s Gold 19 (-6 ds, -2 nr, -1 tm)
  • Aunt Ruby’s German Green 6  (-6 ds)
  • 29 Azoychka 37 (-6 ds, -1 nr, -1 tm)
  • Banana Legs 5 (-4 ds, -1 sn)
  • 24 Black Bear 31 (-6 ds, -1 nr)
  • 22 Black Cherry 32 (-6 ds, -1 nr, -1 tm, -2 sn)
  • Black from Tula 7 (-6 ds, -1 nr)
  • 07 Black Krim 19 (-6 ds, -4 nr, -2 sn)
  • 02 Black Sea Man 9 (-6 ds, -1 nr)
  • 05 Black Yum Yum 13 (-6 ds, -2 nr)
  • Burning Spear 6 (-6 ds)
  • 06 Captain Lucky 12 (-6 ds)
  • 03 Cherokee Purple 10 (-6 ds, -1 nr)
  • 22 Chocolate Cherry 31 (-6 ds, -1 nr, -2 sn)
  • 06 Dana’s Dusky Rose 15 (-6 ds, -1 nr, -2 sn)
  • 14 Djena Lee’s Golden Girl 21 (-6 ds, -1 nr)
  • 06 Dora 12 (-6 ds)
  • 02 Dr. Wyche’s Yellow 10 (-6 ds, -1 nr, -1 tm)
  • Earl’s Faux 4 (-4 ds)
  • 11 Ernesto 17 (-6 ds)
  • Eva Purple Ball 4 (-4 ds)
  • 21 Franchi Giant Pear 27 (-6 ds)
  • 18 Gary’O Sena 25 (-6 ds, -1 nr)
  • 12 Gift from the Woodlands 19 (-6 ds, -1 nr)
  • 07 Golden Cherokee 10 (-6 ds, -1 nr)
  • Granny Cantrell 5 (-5 ds)
  • 21 Hoy 27 (-6 ds)
  • 16 Indian Stripe 25 (-6 ds, -1 nr, -2 sn)
  • 12 J.D.’s Special C-Tex 19 (-6 ds, -1 nr)
  • 06 Juane Flammee 14 (-6 ds, -2 sn)
  • 13 KBX 20 (-6 ds, -1 nr)
  • 08 Korney’s Cross 16 (-6 ds, -2 sn)
  • 05 Livingston’s Golden Queen 12 (-6 ds, -1 nr)
  • 12 Ludmilla’s Red Plum 19 (-6 ds, -1 nr)
  • 13 Malcom Lincoln 19 (-6 ds)
  • 11 Marianna’s Peace 20 (-6 ds, -1 nr, -2 sn)
  • 16 Mr. Bruno 24 (-6 ds, -2 sn)
  • 18 Not German 14 (-6 ds)
  •  OSU Blue 20 (-14 ds, -2 nr, -1 tm, -1 sn)
  • 13 Perfect Storm 22 (-6 ds, -1 nr, -2 sn)
  • 13 Pruden’s Purple 23 (-6 ds, -2 nr, -2 sn)
  • 04 Prue 10 (-6 ds)
  • 36 Pusa Ruby 44 (-6 ds, -2 sn)
  • 09 Rio Grande 15 (-2 ds, -4 nr, -2 sn)
  • 25 Roma 29 (-4 nr)
  • Rose 6 (-6 ds)
  • 06 San Marzano Redorta 16 (-6 ds, -2 nr, -2 sn)
  • SC2121 6 (-6 ds)
  • 04 Speckled Roman 13 (-6 ds, -1 nr, -2 sn)
  • 21 Spudakee Purple 30 (-6 ds, -1 nr, -2 sn)
  • 17 Sungold 23 (-6 ds)
  • 06 Taxi 12 (-6 ds)
  • 30 Tess’ Landrace 39 (-6 ds, -1 nr, -2 sn)
  • 17 Vorlon 25 (-6 ds, -2 sn)
  • 04 Wes 10 (-6 ds)
  • 16 Woodle Orange 25 (-6 ds, -1 nr, -2 sn)

This is so folks can start to look over the inventory, do some research, and decide which they’d like.  These will be for sale for $2.50 each at the new Palmyra Farmer’s Market (more on that later!) or $2.00 each if you save me carting them around and pick them up here at the house.  I can guarantee you won’t find most of these varieties for sale anywhere locally!  First come, first served — I don’t want the headache of reserving for a gazillion people this year.  Please bring boxes or your own trays to carry them home in as I can’t afford to keep giving away trays.

Please note that this accounting includes tomatoes I’m reserving for myself — I generally reserve about a half dozen of each variety for myself.  I will italicize and strike-thru varieties as they become “out of stock”.  Info within parentheses are my notes.  Running totals on what I have available are the numbers in front of the variety names — this will get sloppier and sloppier as we go along.

I will be typing up a quick description list (hopefully) today so that I don’t have to answer the same questions over and over again.  If you would like more detailed descriptions, Google is your friend.  I highly recommend Tatiana’s Tomatobase as a most excellent resource.  Here is the tomato index.

Happy tomato season!

 

Rooting cuttings

My good friend, Ilene, sent me a bunch of cuttings from her Nanking cherries, gooseberries, and red currants.  I’ve been wanting to plant some since we moved up here but I hadn’t yet been able to bring myself to pony up the big $$ the stores want for them.

Now, if you read all the fancy pants university papers on how to root cuttings, you’ll get a whole bunch of “do this with this type at this time of year on so-n-so aged wood — and make sure you hold your tongue just right and don’t you dare forget to do it during a full moon wearing a tutu made of lucky rabbit feet” sort of thing.  Well, I’m here to tell ya, it’s usually okay if you don’t.  Maybe a few things are really particular but I’ve generally had good luck just taking cuttings from wherever and whenever it’s convenient.  Not all of them make it but, usually, enough of each do live and do fine.

Get yourself a pot (or a cup with holes poked in the bottom) and fill it with potting soil.  Jam a pencil in there, maybe 2/3 or 3/4 of the way down and give it a little wiggle to enlarge the hole a bit.

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Make sure you have some rooting hormone handy.  Some folks make their own but, really, for $4/jar once per year, I’m going the lazy way out.

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Set up a space with all your stuff.  I suggest the top of the deep freeze during dinner prep so everyone can whine that you’re in the way.  It makes it that much more fun.

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Dip the cut end into water to moisten so the rooting hormone will stick.  (By the way, you’re supposed to take off any leaves & buds along the part that will be in dirt.  I rarely remember to do so and, honestly, I don’t like the idea of fresh wounds staying down in the moist soil.  But now ya know so you can do it the “right” way.)

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Jam that cutting down into the rooting hormone and swish it around.  You’ll notice that the powder doesn’t go up as far as you need it.

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So that’s when I hold the cutting over a spare cup and shake the rooting hormone onto the cutting to coat it further up.  Then give it a little tap to knock off the excess.  You only need a little dusting.

 

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Drop it in your hole and give it a little push to make sure it’s in there.  Take a finger and smoosh the dirt in around the sides, down towards the bottom, then top with a little more soil.

 

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I then place each cup/cutting into a bread bag and tie the top.  Each cutting now has its own little “greenhouse”.  (Do not set these in the sun or you’ll cook them!  Until they’re established, mine will stay right here in the house where it’s a nice, even temperature and I can keep an eye on them.)  It’ll take a few weeks for them to root well.  I’ll keep ya updated!

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Thanks again, Ilene!!

Garden Update: Peas

A couple of days ago, I soaked a couple pounds of Sugar Snap peas for 8-10 hours, until they looked plump.  I drained them and covered with a damp cloth.  Two or three times each day, I’d gently rinse and drain them, then recover with the damp cloth.  Yesterday, I noticed that the little “tails” on the butt ends of the peas were starting to swell — that was my sign.  I started planting out last night.  By this morning, most of the remaining peas in my dish had full-fledged root shoots.

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This morning, I finished planting them.  I have double rows — on both sides of the arch trellis and the cucumber fence as well.  It’s roughly 250′+, maybe a bit more.

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The beginnings of my “perennial ring”.  Several days ago, Nancy came over and helped me transplant some walking onions along a portion of the south fence of the main garden.  Of course, now Steve & I have decided that that fence is coming out.  Best laid plans…

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Mass Planting

I mentioned yesterday that I use the dense planting method when starting seeds.  Thought some of you might like to see what that looks like.

This is a standard size nursery flat of tomatoes mass planted into six-cell packs:

masstoms

 

Separating them is easy as they’re pretty tough little critters.  Just smush the soil and pull them apart, replanting into individual cells.  Easy peasy.  Saves a heck of a lot of potential dead space upfront.

Almost…

So I’ve got these guys that I mass planted…

1

Using the dense planting method, I sow a gazillion seeds very, very thickly in each pot or cell.  Then, once they germinate and grow up a bit, starting to get their first true leaves, I separate them and put them each in their own pots/cells.  There are thousands of seedlings packed in there.  Saves a heck of a lot of space and seed starting media in the beginning.

But you’ll notice that, once I pot these little babies up, there is no way I’ll have enough room under my makeshift light set up.  What’s a girl to do?

This!

2

3

4

5

Got it figured out yet?  Huh?

 

 

First Garden Update of 2014

Quickie notes from the last couple of days before they’re lost in the flurry of early spring:

Wednesday, March 12:

My friend, Nancy, came over and we had a seedathon.  We make a great team and ended up getting a few thousand seeds started.  Started inside for later transplants:

Celery

  • Tango

Celeriac

  • Monstorpolgi

Chives

Eggplant

  • Black Beauty
  • Purple Blush
  • Rosa Bianca
  • Snowy

Garlic Chives

Good King Henry

Ground Cherry

  • Aunt Molly’s
  • Pineapple

Hot Peppers

  • Anaheim
  • Big Jim
  • Chimayo
  • Conquistador
  • Guajillo
  • Hungarian Yellow Wax
  • Jalmundo
  • Lumbre
  • Sandia
  • Sunrise, Sunset, Eclipse mix
  • Ukranian

Parsley

  • Double
  • Giant of Italy

Sweet Peppers

  • Golden Bell
  • Golden Marconi
  • Jimmy Nardello
  • Mystery Bell
  • Red Marconi
  • Sweet Pepper Mix (Chinese Giant, Colossal, Giant Aconcagua, Giant Marconi, Sweet Banana, Sweet Chocolate, Tolli’s Sweet Italian)

Tomatoes

  • Annie
  • Arkansas Traveler
  • Athens
  • Aunt Gertie’s Gold
  • Aunt Ruby’s German Green
  • Azoychka
  • Banana Legs
  • Black Bear
  • Black Cherry (cherry)
  • Black from Tula
  • Black Krim
  • Black Sea Man
  • Black Yum Yum
  • Burning Spear
  • Captain Lucky
  • Cherokee Purple
  • Chocolate Cherry (cherry)
  • Dana’s Dusky Rose
  • Djena’s Golden Girl
  • Dora
  • Dr. Wyche’s Yellow
  • Earl’s Faux
  • Ernesto
  • Eva Purple Ball
  • Franchi Giant Pear
  • Gary’O Sena
  • Gift from the Woodlands
  • Golden Cherokee
  • Granny Cantrell
  • Hoy
  • Indian Stripe
  • JD’s Special C-Tex
  • Juane Flammee (saladette)
  • KBX
  • Korney’s Cross
  • Livingston’s Golden Queen
  • Ludmilla’s Red Plum
  • Malcolm Lincoln
  • Marianna’s Peace
  • Mr. Bruno
  • Not German
  • OSU Blue
  • Perfect Storm
  • Pruden’s Purple
  • Prue
  • Pusa Ruby (cherry/saladette)
  • Rose
  • San Marzano Redorta
  • SC2121
  • Speckled Roman
  • Spudakee Purple
  • Sungold (cherry)
  • Taxi
  • Tess’ Landrace (currant)
  • Vorlon
  • Wes
  • Woodle Orange

 

Friday, March 14:

Direct seeded spinach in one of the main garden’s raised beds.  Several varieties from which to begin selections for my spinach landrace.

  • Olympia
  • Reflect
  • Space
  • Tyvee

Began transplanting walking onions to the main garden.  My plan is to ring the perimeter of the main garden with various perennials that I can mostly ignore — and my hope is that they will grow thick and help keep the grass from invading the edges.

 

Recipes

I’m letting the the SlowMoFood website go this year.  Rather than lose the recipes I’d posted over there, I’m going to copy them here.  (Forgive any formatting errors from this quick & dirty transfer.)   Ready?

Drunken Mushrooms!
A very simple, yet thoroughly scrumptious, way to do up mushrooms for a special occasion.
Author: Diane Speed (SlowMoFood)

Ingredients

  • 1 giant pile of whole mushrooms, cleaned
  • 1 giant bottle of cheap, red wine
  • 1-4 sticks butter
  • 1 giant pile of fresh garlic, pressed
  • salt to taste
 Instructions
  1. Plop the cleaned mushrooms into a thick-bottomed pot, pour in enough wine to cover.
  2. Top with butter, garlic, and salt. Amounts are very flexible, depending on your own tastes.
  3. Bring to a boil, then simmer over low-medium heat for an hour or two until mushrooms are cooked throughout.
  4. The longer you cook them, the more flavor the mushrooms absorb. This would work great in a crockpot overnight.

Next up:

Today’s snowfally had the kids begging for snow cream but I didn’t want to go the “traditional” route of sweetened condensed milk & sugar.  I did some googling but came up empty handed — so I decided I’d just jump in and wing it.  It worked out great!

Scale the recipe up/down according to how big of a pig you feel like being.  ;-)  The amount below served eight of us, roughly two-cup servings.

This is GAPS-friendly and filled with probiotics.  Enjoy!

Recipe: Snow Cream — Healthified!
Prep time:  

Total time:  

 A healthier version of Snow Cream! This is GAPS-friendly and filled with probiotics.

Author: Diane Speed (SlowMoFood)
Serves: 8

Ingredients

  • 8 quarts clean, fresh snow
  • 6 egg yolks, raw
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons real vanilla
  • 2-4 cups homemade yogurt or milk kefir
  • honey to taste
 Instructions
  1. Mix two cups of yogurt with the egg yolks, salt, and vanilla.
  2. Whisk until smooth and add in snow a few cups at a time until of the desired texture. I used nearly all 8 quarts of packed snow. Add in more yogurt or kefir as needed until you hit the sweet spot. I just eyeballed it and didn’t measure the yogurt.
  3. Here’s where it gets tricky. Start drizzling in honey and whisking — a LOT — to combine the honey with the snow cream until it’s sweet enough for you. When the honey hits the cold mixture, it hardens up so you have to really whisk it to death. ( If you’re smarter than me, you’ll measure how much honey you add so that, next time, you can use that same amount and whisk it into the yogurt mixture before it gets the cold snow added. Heh.)

Next up:

Sweet Lemon Bread

A moist, sweet-tart lemony dessert bread.
Author: Diane Speed (SlowMoFood)

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon lemon extract.
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • extra powdered sugar for dusting
 Instructions
  1. Cream the coconut oil and sugar together, then mix in the egg and milk until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon extract and whisk until no lumps remain.
  2. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
  3. While the bread is baking, mix together the powdered sugar and lemon juice to make a thin glaze.
  4. When bread is done and still hot, prick the top of the loaf, all over, with a fork. Drizzle the lemon glaze over the top.
  5. Let cool and dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Next up:

Sweet Orange Marmalade Bread

1/4 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
2/3 cup orange marmalade

Cream the above ingredients, then mix in the following:

3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon orange extract

Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. While still hot, prick the top of the loaf, all over, with a fork and pour in the following glaze:

*This is where it gets hairy since I never wrote down an exact recipe for the orange glaze, instead winging it each time.

1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate

Just adjust the above ingredients based on your tastes. With less lemon juice, it takes on a “darker” taste but, with less orange juice, it starts tasting closer to the lemon bread. Don’t be afraid to play with it. ;-)

Once cool, dust with powdered sugar.

Next up:

Recipe: Sourdough Bread

Categories: Recipes

My friend Ilene has been waiting so patiently for me to post my sourdough recipe. It’s not some huge secret, not at all. In fact, it’s incredibly simple. I’ve been putting it off because I wanted to take photos, do some step-by-step illustrated tutorial, maybe even some video. Ha. Like that’ll ever happen.

So, Ilene, this one’s for you — the quick & dirty version of my sourdough recipe. Maybe one of these days, I’ll get my act together enough to do a fancy tutorial… but don’t hold your breath!

Sourdough Bread

1 cup active sourdough culture
1 cup filtered water (chlorine in normal tap water makes the sourdough critters not so happy)
1-2 teaspoons salt

Whisk those together to distribute the starter & salt in the water. (I love using my Danish whisk for whipping up sourdoughs!) Then whisk in about 3 cups of flours. This is where you get to use your judgement and gain a little experience in how the dough should feel. It should be shaggy — not nicely balled together but not goopy, either.

Let the whole shebang just sit & rest for a bit, maybe 10-15 minutes. Then begin kneading, either by hand or in a KitchenAid (or similar) for 5-10 minutes. (Go for the shorter time if using mechanized kneading and longer if by hand.) Place in an oiled bowl and cover. I used old ice cream tubs, the square shaped ones with their loose-fitting lids, and put a sticky note on top with the time I placed it in the bowl, followed by the times I should be back to stretch & fold. It would read something like this:

1:00 — started
2:00, 3:00, 4:00 — knead
6:00 — knead & shape & preheat
6:45 — slash & bake

So, I’d come back and “knead” about every hour for the first three hours, then I’d let it sit undisturbed for another couple of hours. Then, a final light “knead” and shaping. Let sit, covered, for about 45 minutes while the oven is preheating to 450. Once that last stretch of time is up, slash the top with a razor or serrated knife, and pop that sucker in the oven.

Ah, but that’s not all.

First, the “flours” referred to above. Whole wheat tended to take a bit less flour while white took a bit more. If you’re going half & half — which makes a nice rise but still gives you that heartier wheat taste, right about three cups should be right. But it also depends on the humidity, how closely you measured the water, how old/fresh the flour is, and so on. If going for 100% whole wheat, you can add a couple of tablespoons of vital wheat gluten to help with the rise. I even tinkered with adding a couple tablespoons of honey but found I could do just fine without either of those “helps”. And making beautiful bread with nothing but flour, salt, and water did my purist heart good.

The “kneading” you’ll be doing after you place it in the tubs/bowls to sit will not be the kneading you are accustomed to. It’s the “stretch & fold” technique. There’s a nice video of that technique here: Breadtopia’s No-Knead Method page. But, of course, you all know I’m too lazy for even that, right? What I do is to quickly oil my hands, turn the tub upside down and catch the blob of dough in my other hand. Then turn my hand sideways so that the dough falls on either side, effectively stretching itself out somewhat. Then I fold it in thirds underneath and turn the blob 90 degrees. I repeat so that it’s now stretched & folded in a different direction, but again folding underneath, so that the top remains smooth and all of the creases are on the bottom. Finally, I push upwards a bit from the center bottom and tuck under all around the edges so so I end up with nice, smooth ball of dough and pinch the remaining crease on the bottom. Shove it back in the tub until next time. As you “knead” it in this way, you’ll notice the dough getting stronger. That’s a good thing. You’ll have a hard time getting it to “fall” on either side of your hand so just give it a pull to stretch it out. I know some of this may be difficult to visualize for those who have never done it so I promise to try and take some photos next time I have activate my sourdough.

When it comes time to shape the dough, I oil a piece of parchment paper that I place on my pizza peel. The dough ball is placed on that, then I gently shape it by “tucking under” the sides with the sides of my hands, all along to make sure any crease are hidden on the bottom and shaping it into the desired shape as I go — all while on the peel/parchment. I have a lame (nutty French word for a razor blade holder made just for slashing bread) that I use for the slashing. Which directions and how deep to cut is a very interesting subject to research, by the way. Before I had the lame, I used a serrated knife and it worked just as well. But the lame is cooler. ;-)

I baked on a stone, sliding the dough from the peel onto the stone, using the parchment. A big cast iron skillet was placed on the bottom on the oven and I put a couple cups of hot water into it right before I closed the door. That steam really helps the crust. Try some with steam, some without, and see the difference yourself. Cool stuff. After the steam had done its thing and the crust had set well, maybe 20 minutes into the baking, I slide the parchment paper out so that the bread is then resting directly on the stone. I also rotate the bread at this time, 180 degrees, to ensure even baking. Once the interior temp comes up to about 200-ish, I pull it out and let it cool on a rack. (Probe thermometers are cheap and a great tool to have.)

Whew. That sounds pretty complex, doesn’t it? But I promise you it isn’t. It’s one of those things that sounds daunting but, once you see it and try it, it’s the most simple thing in the world. I really need to just suck it up and do the fancy tutorial, huh?

In the meantime, just remember the simple recipe:

1 cup active starter
1 cup water
1-2 teaspoons salt
3 cups flour(s)

And have fun experimenting from there! I’d love to hear how you do!

Next up:

Recipe: (Probiotic) Ranch Dressing
Categories: Recipes
Our family loves ranch dressing but the stuff in the store is just… well, gross. You can make your own that tastes better with sour cream and a packet of the Hidden Valley powder mix but, as long as you’re doing that, why not take it one step further? I’ll give you my recipe and let you decide how far to take it. It’s terribly easy.

First, let’s start with the basic recipe I found quite a while back (and I’ve no idea where it was or I’d give proper credit). I’m horrible at exact measurements, going more for the “a bit of this, maybe a shake of that, and a good glug of the other” sort of thing.

Ranch Dressing

1/2 to 1 cup mayo
1 cup sour cream
1/4 to 1/2 cup kefir or buttermilk
1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice
sea salt
black pepper
fresh chives, dill, and/or parsley
optional: garlic and/or onion powder

Now let me tell you the basics of what I do, keeping in mind I don’t actually measure anything and it changes from time to time, based on what I have on hand:

1 cup homemade mayo. (Want a most incredibly easy — and super quick — way to make homemade mayo? Check out this tutorial: Real Food Forager’s Minute Mayonnaise.)

1 cup sour cream (I was lazy this week and used storebought sour cream but it’s easy to make your own. I’ve used both the kefir grains and yogurt start methods successfully.)

1 cup yogurt cheese (I make my own viili yogurt and strain it through flour sack cloths overnight to get whey (the liquid) and yogurt cheese (the solids left behind — use in place of cream cheese in many dishes.)

I mix the above three together, sometimes adding in some yogurt or kefir if I want it thinner, then start squirting in several glugs of lemon juice. (See? There I go with the glugs.) Several twists of the black pepper grinder, a palmful of salt, a nice surface coating of both onion & garlic powders, then give it a whirl with a whisk. Keep adding a bit more of this and a bit more of that until it suits your taste buds. If you have an herb garden, you can’t go wrong adding in some chopped chives and parsley at the end!

We love dipping veggies & meat in this homemade ranch. It’s also good to put a couple spoonfuls into stews & soups for a creamy change-up. And, if you use homemade yogurt, kefir, sour cream, and/or mayo, it gets a nice boost in the healthy eats department.

Let me know if you give it a try and what personal tweaks you give it!

Next up:

Recipe: Winter Salsa

Categories: Recipes

It’s the end of fresh tomato season! Oh, woe is me! Did you at least get some tomatoes canned up for winter? If so, here’s a great way to use them. If not, you can use storebought canned tomatoes.

Winter Salsa

(4) 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes (4-5 quarts home canned tomatoes)
2 onions
1/2 cup garlic
2-3 bunches fresh cilantro
1/2 cup pickled jalapenos
1/4-1/2 cup brine from the pickled jalapenos
2 tablespoons salt
1/2 cup lemon juice

Chop all as finely as you wish — we just put it all in a food processor and give it a whirl. That’s it!

You’ll want to adjust this according to your family’s tastes. Personally, I double the onions and garlic (do NOT dare get within range of my breath on one of my salsa eating days!) and add probably twice as much vinegar as above and a bit more salt as well.

Store in the fridge as this is not an approved canning recipe — canning would completely ruin the fresh taste of this salsa anyway. Make it fresh when you need it and it’ll keep in the fridge for a few days. It also freezes well but becomes a bit more liquid-y once thawed so keep that in mind. Add a little tomato paste and adjust the salt & vinegar to conquer if you prefer the thicker salsa.

If you’re into fermented foods as we are, you can add some whey (strained from your homemade yougurt or kefir) and let it sit on the counter for a few days before storing in the fridge. This changes the taste a bit — not better or worse, just a bit different — so experiment.

We love summer salsa, using fresh tomatoes and chopped pico de gallo style when our garden is in its prime. But we are far too addicted to salsa to go all winter long without any salsa! So my husband and I developed this recipe to tide us over the winter months. It all started, long ago, when I was in the Navy and stationed in Hawaii. My neighbor was a “househusband” and enrolled in culinary school. One of his projects was to come up with an original recipe. He chose salsa and used me, a certified salsa freak, as a guinea pig while he ironed out the wrinkles in his home experiments. It was my experience with that which led me to start playing with salsa making myself. Then took it to a whole new level once hubby and I met & married. The rest is spicy history!

Next up:

Recipe: Chocolate Chip Honey Cookie Squares

Categories: Recipes

This recipe originally came from here: Our Best Bites. My take on it, with just a minor tweak or two, follows.

Chocolate Chip Honey Cookie Squares

2 cups all-purpose* flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 to 1 cup brown sugar
1/2 to 3/4 cup honey
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
(1-2 cups chopped nuts optional)

Cream the butter, brown sugar, and honey. (Use more honey and less brown sugar to get the more gooey or less honey and more sugar to get less gooey.) Mix in eggs and vanilla until smooth. Add dry ingredients and, again, mix until smooth. Finally, add chocolate chips and/or nuts and stir until well-distributed.

Spread into a greased, shallow cookie sheet (mine measures 17.5″ x 12.5″ x 1″) and pop into the oven for… I never time it. Once the top starts setting up and just starting to turn golden, I spin it front to back, and let it bake a bit more. Once the edges are browning nicely and the middle is thoroughly golden, remove from heat and let it cool.

*You can substitute whole wheat flour for some or all of the AP flour. You can even use soaked and sprouted flours. Each will change the texture somewhat but all are good.

Tips: Slightly underbaking will help increase the goo factor. Along with adjusting the honey:brown sugar ratio, you can also play with the flour amounts to tweak to your personal goo preference. Letting these puppies cool completely and sit overnight will do something magical. They’re mediocre at best fresh out of the oven but the cookie fairies sprinkle them with chewy, gooey, sparkly dust when left on the counter overnight. Do cover them, though. The cookies, not the fairies. Otherwise, the cat fairies sprinkle them with cat hair dust.

Whatever you do, do not double this recipe, cram it into the same pan, and think you won’t set your oven on fire. Do not ask me how I know that.

We survived the Plunge.

It was nice and warm this year!  Well, the air was.  I think it was in the 40s?  The water felt about the same, though.

Okay, so I can’t remember how to embed video on here so just click this link already for a short video of Team Terripin Farms taking the 2014 Hannibal Polar Plunge and, by the way, this is a most horribly formed sentence.

News article here:  Polar Plunge:  ‘Crazy for a good cause’

The two brains of the operation:

plungekids

Classy, fine looking crew, don’t ya think?

teamterripinfarms

Thanks to all who donated and those who cheered us on in person and from afar!

It’s crunch time.

planning

 

That’s AgSquared up there, by the way.  Love it!  Anyone else use it?

Squeeeeeeeee!!!

truckgh

 

Something good’s a’coming!  (In addition to an electric water heater so we don’t have to pay for propane at quadruple the price it was last fall.)

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