Monday, August 15, 2011

Zucchini Relish and a Blogging Break

I must say that given our unusually wet and cold spring, our garden has outdone itself so far this summer!  We can hardly keep up with the harvest of tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli, lettuce, peppers and garlic.  Not long ago Ferne over at Sew Sweet Thymes, quilter and gardener extraordinaire, sent me a recipe for Zucchini Relish.  I'd recently purchased a pressure canner and would really like to get good at it!  The last time I canned anything was in high school with my mother at my side - and you don't want to know how long ago that was!
So here is my first solo attempt at preserving - Sweet Zucchini Relish.  As of this posting, the lids have all sealed and they're ready to go! If you would like the recipe, just send me an email and I'll be happy to pass it on!

I've also decided that I need to take a bit of a blogging break.  Mr. Squash and I are headed to Canada on the 23rd for our annual "Big Fishing Adventure".  This year we're going someplace new - Caverhill Lodge.  With so much to take care of in the garden and yard as well as getting ready for the trip,  I think I'd best spend a little time away from the computer.  I'll be back sometime during the first week of September.  I promise to take lots of pictures and to have lots to blog about soon!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

No Recipe Salsa!

I don't know about you, but our garden is beginning to really come alive! Tomatoes and peppers are in a race to out-grow each other! So.... I thought a fresh tomato salsa was in order for a lovely afternoon snack on the patio!
Here is what I had on hand - freshly picked tomatoes, sweet banana peppers, jalapenos, cilantro, lime, salt and (not pictured) half a sweet Walla Walla onion.
This is what the finished salsa looks like!
Add that to a bowl of chips and you have your sunny afternoon snack!

For those of you who would like to know the quantities I used:

Fresh Tomato Salsa

2 medium tomatoes and a handful of yellow cherry tomatoes, chopped
half a sweet Walla Walla onion, chopped
appx 5 Tablespoons fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 small Jalapeno pepper seeded and finely chopped
1 sweet banana pepper seeded and chopped
juice of one lime
appx 1 teaspoon coarse salt

Mix everything together - add or subtract quantities per your taste, let sit in fridge for about 15 minutes or more and serve with your favorite tortilla chips!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Trip Part Two and Garden Update

Whew - I am in full "Summer Mode" around the Squash House.  Keeping up with the garden this time of year takes a lot of time and energy.  Plus we have had glorious weather for several weeks now - who wants to be inside?!

**Update** - Aug 8th -- If you are interesting in purchasing any of Fran's cookbooks, please be sure and go over to her blog today for a fantastic deal!
I promised to tell you about the rest of our fishing trip which really doesn't have anything to do with fishing!  On the way to the river we stopped in every little town we came across.  One town, Condon, Oregon, had the cutest shop that contained gifts, garden supplies, a cafe and espresso bar and even a decent kitchen shop area!  I immediately zoned in on this cookbook by Fran Gillette.
If you are missing the kind of cooking many of our mothers did in the 40's and 50's, this is the book for you!  All my old favorites and more, plus wonderful farm stories and memories of Fran and her family are in this book.  The photography is also stunning!  Fran has 6 cookbooks now and I think I many want to work my way through each one!

We also had a chance to visit the Kam Wah Chung museum in the city of John Day.  Photography was not allowed and even if it was, the inside of the building was quite dark in order to preserve everything.  Back during the height of the American Gold Rush many Chinese came to John Day to help in the mines.  Along with the workers came two gentlemen, one a doctor and the other a businessman.  They formed a partnership and despite the feelings about Chinese among the white population, came to be revered and respected members of the community until their deaths.  The building had been preserved down to every last detail after Doc Hay died and is now open to the public.  It really was interesting!
The garden harvest is getting bigger and bigger by the day!  Here are more zucchini, tomatoes, and the first broccoli harvest!  I just finished baking a Chocolate Zucchini Cake - delicious!

Speaking of zucchini, we made the decision this morning to remove several bushes.  Two people can only eat and/or give away so much summer squash - lol!  I've frozen quite a few bags of grated zucchini to be used in breads or soups and stews this winter, and am planning many more recipes for this versatile squash in the next couple of weeks!  The tall plants in the bed next to the front are going today!
Here we're looking at carrots, celery, green onions, peppers, eggplant and lettuce.  The carrots are very slow this year and for some reason this is the 2nd year that green onions have barely produced.

Check out this row of tomatoes!  Would you believe I have trimmed them all down several times already?  They are beginning to ripen here and there and my fear is that they will be ripening rapidly when we leave for Canada later this month!  Mother Nature definitely keeps her own schedule!
The blueberries in front here are almost done giving up their juicy, dark blue fruit!  Dahlias are beginning to rapidly bloom, too!  But best of all are the grapes on the trellis in the background!  Both sides have reached the top and over!  If all goes well, they may even bear fruit next year!

In case you've wondered, I am sewing, but unfortunately it's another Supreme Sewing Job that I can't show you until the pattern is out!  I do plan to work on some things of my own soon and will be sure to give you a peek or two soon!