Monthly Archives: September 2010

My summer harvest

This spring I set about having my biggest herb and tomato garden errr porch ever. My first married summer we were living in an apartment and had a very small patio. My grandfather gave me a potted tomato plant. It was semi-successful in that I got a couple of small-medium tomatoes off of it before squirrels and cats ate it.

Last summer I purchased a couple of herbs and one tomato plant and they all failed. Mainly due to a pesky puppy who either dug them up or knocked them off. It was very tragic and I still do not like to talk about it to this day.

This summer I decided I’d move things up to the front porch where the dog wouldn’t be able to get to them unless supervised.  I bought new pots and spray painted them a cute color and set about planting. It took me a whole day between buying the plants, the pots, spray painting, and planting. But I was super excited to try to hand at the green thumb.

So I started off with 4 tomato plants (of various species), 1 jalepeno plant, 2 cilantros, 2 basils, 1 thyme, 1 rosemary, 1 chive, 1 mint, and 1 parsley.

This is all the tomato I got out of my FOUR plants:

Yeah. Pathetic. The jalepeno plant did great at first, then it stopped, but now its got 3 on it.

My herbs started off really well. After a few weeks my cilantro died. The mint kicked the bucket a couple of weeks ago. I have to say my favorite was the thyme. It was an impulse purchase, but I am so glad that I gave into it. I’ve really enjoyed using the rosemary and thyme in various dishes. I think I’ve used the basil more than anything.

While I wouldn’t say my third forary into tomato plants was successful, I’m glad I made some progress this year.

What experience have you had with herbs and vegetables?

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Homemade Pasta: A learning experience

We eat a lot of pasta. Its one of my favorite foods and Bryan is a runner, so he likes to carbo load… although I think he just really likes pasta too.

Once, when I was really young, I went to a friend’s house for a sleepover. My friend’s mom made spaghetti from scratch! From scratch! My young self didn’t even know that was possible. It blew my mind. I don’t remember what it tasted like, but I do remember that sense of awe of making pasta at home. 

Since I started cooking its been one of those things in the back of my mind. But I am definately not a baker. I have a very strong flour aversion. I don’t know why, I just do. I don’t mind flour, I just hate having to come into contact with it and it being loose in my kitchen.

Months back I saw this post on the Pioneer Woman when Pastor Ryan made pasta using Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio book. Not long ago I purchased the Ratio app on my phone and have been anxious to try it out.

I started off with four eggs and a little over 2 cups of flour. I had it in a medium bowl. This is where I belive I failed. I used a fork to help the ingedients combine. (I have a flour aversion, people!) Then it sits for about 15 minutes. I forgot to set a timer so I don’t have any idea of how long I let it rest. Oops.

Then came the part I hate. The flour part. I put a good amount of flour on the counter top and rolled out the dough.

Then it wasn’t so bad. I used a pizza cutter to cut it up into strips. Here’s my 2nd mistake. Cut into very fine strips.

Once I had the water boiling I tossed it in. I wasn’t sure how long to cook my noodles. So I gave it about 3-5 minutes.

The pasta toured out to be big and a bit tough, due to my fork kneading. But the sauce was delicious! But that’s another post for another day.

Have you ever made pasta at home? Whats your tips and tricks? And more importantly does anyone else also hate working with flour?

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Peach Gratin

Peaches are my very favorite fruit. Its probably because my mother is from Georgia and she knows how to pick the perfect peach. Plus, its just really delicious.  This summer I’ve found myself collecting peach recipes. Do you do that too? I tend to collect certain types of recipes. This summer is was peach desserts, in the past I’ve saved a bunch of bread recipes, etc.

Anyways, one of the recipes I saved was a peach gratin found here. I first made it a few weeks ago. I’m not a huge fan of sour cream, but when I got a bite with a bunch of brown sugar it was scrumptious. How could you go wrong with peaches, bourbon and sugar anyway?!

The other night I made peach cups. Which are delicious, by the way. I really enjoyed it left over for breakfast the next morning. But I had a lot of cream cheese/sugar mixture leftover. While sitting at my desk at work one day it hit me. Cream cheese/sugar + peach gratin – sour cream = happiness for eternity. I considering telling my boss I felt sick and needed to go home only to go home and make this. But then I realized I liked getting paid and decided to wait it out.

I ended up making the gratin the next day. It was relatively difficult to mix the bourbon in with the cold cream cheese mixture.  I also didn’t have much patience, so didn’t try to hard either. I topped with peaches and tried to give it a little stir, or at least press the peaches down into the chream cheese. Then I topped with the brown sugar.

It turned out being too sweet and rich for me. But I’m also a wuss. I’ll only eat a bite or two of chocolate cakes.

Peach gratin is a fantastic dessert that I high recommend during these hot summer months. Try it before its too late!

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Ketchup! p. 51-52

My husband loves ketchup. He uses no discretion when applying ketchup. If I were more sensitive I would be offended at his ketchup usage at times. So the idea of making ketchup from scratch appealed to us both. I was intrigued to find out what was behind such a mystical sauce and Bryan to have a source to make unlimited ketchup.

So we started off with fresh tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, celery, garlic, tomato paste, cider vinegar, pickling spice, brown sugar, salt, and cayenne.

It was fairly simple process, although it did take time. In the end we had two large mason jars and one salad dressing container full of our own stuff. The taste was nothing like Heinz. I believe the pickling spice was the most prominent flavor.

I’ve seen other recipes which do not call for that and I may have to investigate further in the future.  Bryan liked it okay, but I think he’d be happier with something more familiar to the bottled stuff.

We enjoyed our ketchup on sliders, fries, hamburgers, and other things.

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