Sunflowers for roasting

Wow, have I been slacking on the blog. Work has been consuming just about as much of my spare time as possible. If I’m in front of a computer, I’m most likely working.

Anyway, enough complaining. Tonight I carved out enough time to decapitate three of the sunflowers.  I’m planning to take them into work with me and see if anyone there is interested in roasting their own sunflower seeds.  To make things even easier, I’ve even printed a recipe.  I tried this one last year and the seeds turned out tasty.

If anyone else out there is thinking, “Aww, man!  I want to roast some of my own sunflower seeds.  I wish I had a sunflower head of my very own.” Feel free to let me know, I have a few more that have not been cut down yet and would be more than happy get one too you.

 

Look at all the seeds

Look at all the seeds

 

Plenty of seeds for roasting

Plenty of seeds for roasting

Zucchini Crisp 2014

It is that time again. This may be the annual highlight of friends, family and coworkers.  Yesterday I took the larger of the two workout zucchini and transformed them into a far less healthy form.  That is right, it was time to make the annual Zucchini Crisp!

This year I took a few more pictures of the preparation.  As linked many times already, the first Zucchini Crisp post here includes the full recipe for anyone interested in making one of these delicious desserts themselves.

First peel, slice and remove the spongy core.

First peel, slice and remove the spongy core.

Dice up the ring into pineapple size chunks

Dice up the ring into pineapple size chunks

The magic elixir

The magic elixir

This really is the magic juice the transforms a mere garden squash into something that tastes as good as an apple. In fact, some people have even said that they liked the Zucchini Crisp BETTER than Apple Crisp.

The filling once cooked and cooling

The filling once cooked and cooling

Gotta love a recipe that uses THREE sticks of butter

Gotta love a recipe that uses THREE sticks of butter

Crust mixture all ready

Crust mixture all ready

Crust mixture pressed into the pan

Crust mixture pressed into the pan

Spread the filling on top of the bottom crust

Spread the filling on top of the bottom crust

After adding the top crust

After adding the top crust

A dusting of cinnamon for the final touch before baking

A dusting of cinnamon for the final touch before baking

All baked up

All baked up

Final result 'a la mode'

Final result ‘a la mode’

Sadly, less than 24 hours after this last picture was taken, the crisp was all done.  I took most of it to work with me today and none returned.

Green beans, brown sugar and bacon

The moment we’ve all been waiting for! Okay, so maybe not everyone, but it was a big day for me and the wife. Yesterday was the first green bean harvest! To celebrate, I cooked up a batch of old fashion green beans. To be honest, after cooking in brown sugar and bacon it could have been Catawba pods and still tasted pretty good.

Fresh green beans

Fresh green beans

Green beans with recently added brown sugar

Green beans with recently added brown sugar

As if the green beans were not enough vegetable to go with the grilled pork chops, I also grilled a yellow squash and a zucchini.

Grilled Vegetables with a bit of steak seasoning

Grilled Vegetables with a bit of steak seasoning

And if that wasn’t enough, I also sliced up the first cucumber of the year. After some with just salt and some with humus, they were gone before I could get a picture.

First cucumber.  Kinda ugly, but tasted good

First cucumber. Kinda ugly, but tasted good

I think I may be in trouble…

Three yesterday and another three more tonight. One was eaten for dinner tonight and at this rate I will swimming in these guys before the month is out.  If you start to find these on your doorstep, in your office or in your mailbox, it didn’t come from me. But, if by chance you do end up with one of these or their green cousins, I HIGHLY recommend the following Baked Zucchini recipe as a fantastic way to get rid of them.  If was a big hit with 3/5 of the family tonight.  Around here, that is about as good as can be expected.  I should have taken a picture but they were gone before I could get the camera out.

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Five yellow squash in two days

In other news, I was having trouble with the rain gauge of the weather station since returning from vacation.  It seems to have gotten stuck and was not recording any of the two recent rains.  I got the step ladder out and removed the top funnel to check out the inner workings.  The little teeter-totter inside seems to have gotten stuck a bit.  I flipped it back and forth a bit and it seemed to loosen.  I tested it by then pouring some water in and it seem to be working as I could hear the click-click as the mechanism rocked back and forth.

While I was up on the ladder, I decided to go ahead and take the dorky pictures.  The first one is a panoramic shot of the garden at the southwestern corner by the weather station.  Be sure and click the image to see the entire view.

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Panoramic of the garden

The second picture is of the garden from a bit of in the backyard.

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Slightly elevated view of the garden

It is time… Crisp Time!

I finally was able to make the time to take one of the giant zucchinis from the garden and slice it and dice it and make a zucchini crisp from it. For pictures and the recipe, check out the previous post on the subject ‘Zucchini Crisp Time’. Of course, any of you who read my post about making the green beans will be able to guess, again, things didn’t start off as planned. This time I was tripped up by none other than Lemon Juice. Contrary to the episode with the bacon and brown sugar, there was lemon juice in the refrigerator and I checked last week to make sure there was. Unfortunately, I must not have actually picked up the bottle to see how much was inside. Sad to say, a mere 1/3 of a cup was all that was there when I needed 2/3 of a cup. A quick dash to the grocery and the obstacle was overcome.

Based on some of the comments from the recipe site, I decided to try and alter the crisp a bit this year. This time around, I substituted one of the cups of flour for a cup of oats. I also added some chopped pecans as well. As I type, there are 24 min left on the timer, so we will know soon if those were good additions and substitutions.

For those fortunate enough to either be a coworker or a neighbor (or willing to make the drive), hunt me down later today at home or tomorrow at work for some crisp. I certainly can’t eat it all by myself.

*** UPDATE ***  Two thumbs up for the addition of the oats and pecans.  Very tasty.

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The monster on the left was the maker of the crisp

It was such a great day…

But then it wasn’t.

Maybe I should start from the beginning.  I really enjoy the first batch of green beans from the garden.  In my opinion, they really do taste so much better than anything from the store. Today was going to be the first harvest of green beans!  Turned out that there was a lot more beans out there than I expected.  From just the two 4 ft rows, I managed to pick a whole bowl full of nice looking green beans, just in time for dinner.

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First harvest of green beans

Now that I have plenty of green beans.  It is time to head off to the kitchen to start dinner.  I had my sights on this recipe for Old-Fashion Green Beans.  Green beans?  Check.

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Grean beans, ready for cooking

Next on the list… bacon.  Mmmmm, bacon.  Bacon should be right here…. just need a slice or two…  Hmm.  No bacon.  Short pause.  Oh well, I’ve made the beans without bacon before and they still taste good.

Next ingredient, brown sugar.  Mmmmm, brown sugar.  Brown sugar should be right here… just need a couple tablespoons… Hmm.  No brown sugar.  A little bit longer pause this time.  Oh well, they are still fresh green beans.

So, in the end, the first batch of green beans were cooked with a little bit of water and just a touch of plain old white sugar.  You know what… they tasted great.  Maybe it was a great day after all.