Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Last week's harvest

I forgot to post pictures of all the onions and potatoes I pulled last week! I have learned my lesson for next year but I was to impatient to wait- I just had to pull them! Most of the potatoes were pretty done growing, it seemed, but the onions would have gotten bigger if I had waited. Oh well- little cute onions are just as delicious as medium-sized cute onions!

And they were delicious. :)

Well they were, but I let some cure in the nudroom and then I braided the remain in an attempt to pretend I am a person who knows about these things, and they are sitting in the basement hopefully being preserved.

Indoor Seed Starting project!!!

So I have some exciting news folks- today I began to set up my seed starting station in the basement, the one I mentioned in an earlier post. A friend of mine had a bunch of seed starting stuff including the floresent light fixtures and bulbs and a lot of plant tray and plastic holders! :) I went to Lowe's (not as local as I would have liked, but I ran out on a spontaneous whim and I do own stock in Lowes!) and picked up:

  • 2 seed starting kits that included peat, and the plastic underneath containers, each holds 75 plantlings!
  • 8 lengths of 1.5' chain to hang up the fixtures
  • Some screw-in hooks to hang the fixtures from the shelves

See planting kit:

I ended up planting 36 spaces for lettuce and I tried a few pumpkins but we'll see- that's more of a Frankenstein-type project. Once I planted the seeds, I started on the task of hanging the light where I wanted it. I started with the top shelf, and installed the hooks where they needed to be. Once I did that, I simply hooked up the light fixture!

See here:

and here:

kinda creepy lookin' there.

So Yea!!!!!! I'm fairly excited about this ;)

My plan is to start the baby lettuces indoors and then move them out to the garden
(once I weed the hell out of it) once it's cooler again.
Then we can have lettuce through the early fall, I hope!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

First Harvest

Look at what I pulled up from my garden!

onions onions onions

                                                                 some glacier tomatoes :)

a ton of potatoes!

  When life gives you potatoes- 
you should make this fucking delicious potato salad!


Ina Garten's Potato Salad
(I subbed a little bit of regular mustard and some sour cream in place of the Dijon and the whole-grain mustards because my husband hates things that smell like Horseradish lol)
  • 3 pounds small white potatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion


Place the potatoes and 2 tablespoons of salt in a large pot of water. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are barely tender when pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes in a colander, then place the colander with the potatoes over the empty pot and cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel. Allow the potatoes to steam for 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, dill, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Set aside.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in quarters or in half, depending on their size. Place the cut potatoes in a large bowl. While the potatoes are still warm, pour enough dressing over them to moisten. Add the celery and red onion, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Toss well, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Refrigerator Pickles

After vacationing at Sleeping Bear Dunes, (a family tradition!),
I was eager to get home and start preserving. Besides soup, I haven't preserved anything else- time to get going! My mom and I found this Refrigerator Pickles recipe in Organic Gardening, and it looked delicious: like the epitome of summer! I gave it a try- my first experience pickling pickles!

Audrey's Pickles from Organic Gardening
1 pound medium cucumbers
3 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
½ teaspoon whole mustard seed
1 teaspoon fresh dill weed
1 whole dried bay leaf
2/3 cup brown sugar
6½ tablespoons white distilled vinegar
6½ tablespoons white-wine vinegar
¾ cup water

1. Cut the cucumbers into spears or slices and place in a 2-quart container or jar with a lid. Add the garlic, peppercorns, mustard seed, and dill weed. (I used 4 pint jars instead, and just divided the cukes, garlic, peppercorns, mustard seed, and dill weed among the jars)

2. Stir together the brown sugar, vinegars, and water. Pour the vinegar mixture over the cucumbers and shake the jar(s) well to combine. Cover and chill. For fullest flavor, wait at least 24 hours before serving. These pickles will keep up to 3 months in the refrigerator.
Makes 2 quarts (about 18 servings)


Mike and I sampled them yesterday (we couldn't wait any longer, since 24 hrs is a loooong time), and they tasted pickley, even after just a day! :)

I think I am going to make a few modifications for the next time around (aka this evening), to make the taste a little more to my liking. There were a few small things I changed:
  • If you're going to use pint-sized jars, I think you need more spices in each individual jar
    • I bumped up the amounts of peppercorn, mustard seed, and dill
  • The amount of vinegar and water was not nearly enough to fill each pint jar
  • I didn't have bay leaf, so I didn't use it
  • Increased the water proportion a bit more since I was upping the amount of vinegar used as wel
Here's my modified version:

Lycan Family pickles

1 pound medium cucumbers
3 cloves garlic
3 teaspoon black peppercorns
3 teaspoon whole mustard seed
3 teaspoon fresh dill weed
3 teaspoons of "spice" of your choice- jalapenos, ground red pepper flakes, etc. I chose to use McCormick Italian Spice
2/3 cup brown sugar
14 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
14 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
1½ cup water