Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda

I should have taken a picture of my pathetic tomatoes seedlings. I thought I would be throwing them out. After a great start they became too leggy. Think long spindly worm plants. Everyone laughed at them claiming they were worthless and would produce nothing. I looked around at all the stores and could not find one cherry tomato plant. They all said they weren't getting them in. So I planted my sick looking cherry tomato plants in the hopes of getting something. I'm glad I did. And everyone else is too.

Fresh Corn-on-the-Cob

Last year my homegrown corn cost me about $25 a dozen. This year I bought some from a farm. For $2 a dozen. That's like 90% off.

Fresh Salsa for Wimps

After planting 200 red onion bulbs and listening to the jeers about how all that onion that was going to ruin everyone's lives, I ended up with little or no onion. The poor little things were dug up by woodchucks, trampled by the cable guy, the electric guy, the gas guy and a million other workers. I manage to salvage a few puny ones.
Fresh Salsa for Wimps (i.e. not hot, no peppers)

Tomatoes, seeded and chopped
Red onion, chopped
Garlic, minced
Cilantro, minced
Lime juice

The amounts really depend on taste.
These are the amounts I used. Oooo, just got the thumbs up from the Arizona guy.

2 pounds tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 c. red onion
, chopped (use more if desired)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
3 T. fresh cilantro, minced (can use 1 T. dried)
1 T. lime juice
Salt to taste

Combine all the ingredients. Let sit at least for an hour. If the onion flavor is too strong, add less or let the onion sit in boiling water for a minute.

Its Almost Apple Time

Which means I needed to do something with the bags of apples from last year that filled up the basement fridge. Only one grocery bag currently left after making applesauce and an apple pie. I did throw out the brown mushy moldy ones.

Mrs. Field's Classic Apple Pie

Yield: 8 slices


3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp grated lemon zest (1 medium lemon)
1 cup salted butter, chilled
6-8 Tbs ice water, more if needed

I add 1 t. salt and leave out the lemon zest. I don't know if the salt would be needed if you added the zest.


6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup salted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

Egg Wash:

1 large egg, beaten
1 Tbs white sugar (I use 2 Tbs)

To prepare crust:

Mix flour and lemon zest together with wire whisk in a medium bowl. With pastry cutter or 2 knives, cut in butter with flour until dough resembles coarse meal.

Add ice water and blend until dough can be gathered into a ball. Divide dough in half, flatten into disks, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap or a plastic bag. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.

To prepare filling:

Combine sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch with a wire whisk in a large bowl. Add apples to sugar mixture and toss with a wooden spoon until dry ingredients coat the apples completely.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

On a floured surface use a floured rolling pin to roll out one piece of dough into a circle 11 inches in diameter. Fold the crust in half, then in quarters.

Place point of folded crust in center of a 9 inch pie plate and carefully unfold. Trim excess dough, leaving about 3/4 inch hanging over edge of pie plate.

Spoon in apple filling and sprinkle butter pieces on top.

To prepare top crust:

Roll out second piece of dough into a circle 10 inches in diameter. Again, fold in half, then in quarters, and place on top of filling. Fold extra crust of the top layer over the bottom layer. Crimp layers together decoratively.

Cut several slits in pie top, brush with egg wash, and spinkle with 1 Tbs sugar.

Place pie on center rack of oven. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce oven to 350°F. Bake an additional 30 minutes, or until crust is deep golden brown and filling is bubbling through steam slits.

Remove from oven and cool to room temperature on rack.

And the Beet Goes On

This is a classic recipe using fresh beets instead of canned.

Havard Beets
yield: Makes 8 servings
When preparing beets, trim off all but 1 inch of the roots and the stems. Cooking time may vary, depending on the size of the beet.
  • 3 pounds fresh beets, trimmed
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt, to taste
1. Simmer the beets, covered in salted water, until tender, about 40 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the liquid.
2. When the beets are cool enough to handle, slip off the skins and cut the beets into a 1/4-inch dice. You should have about 6 cups of diced beets. Set aside.
3. In a medium-sized pot, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, and reserved beet liquid. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Whisking constantly, cook for 30 seconds or until thickened. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter until melted.
4. Stir in the diced beets and cook to heat through. Season with salt. Serve at room temperature.

Heat Hides It

My shriveled tomatoes that is. They puff up nice and plump when heated. Ok, well more plump than they were.

Rotini with Chicken, Zucchini and Tomatoes

Melt butter in a skillet. Add sliced zucchini. Cook until fork tender. Throw in some left over shredded chicken and grape tomatoes. Season with garlic salt. Dill can be added if desired. Heat through. Serve as is, over cooked rotini or other pasta. Sprinkle with feta cheese.

The Waiting Game

is not good when it comes to most foods. Like waiting for more raspberries to ripen while the already picked ones turn moldy. The second picking becomes picking out the moldy ones then using them to make jam. I added blueberries to make up the missing raspberries. Which I could have done in the first place. The blueberries actually make it so you don't have to sieve the seeds out of the raspberries. A nice inconsequential consequence.
Raspberry Freezer Jam
Makes About 7 (1-cup) containers or 112 servings, 1 Tbsp. each

3 cups prepared fruit (buy about 6 cups fully ripe red or black raspberries) (I used half black raspberries, half blueberries)
5-1/4 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl
3/4 cup water
1 box SURE.JELL Fruit Pectin

RINSE clean plastic containers and lids with boiling water. Dry thoroughly.
CRUSH raspberries thoroughly, one layer at a time. (Press half of pulp through a sieve to remove seeds, if desired. Not necessary if you use half blueberries.) Measure exactly 3 cups crushed raspberries into large bowl. Stir in sugar. Let stand 10 min., stirring occasionally.
MIX water and pectin in small saucepan. Bring to boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Continue boiling and stirring 1 min. Add to fruit mixture; stir 3 min.or until sugar is almost dissolved and no longer grainy. (A few sugar crystals may remain.)
FILL containers immediately to within 1/2 inch of tops. Wipe off top edges of containers; immediately cover with lids. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours. Jam is now ready to use. Store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks or freeze extra containers up to 1 year. Thaw in refrigerator before using.

Kraft Kitchens Tips

How to Measure Precisely
To get exact level cup measures of sugar, spoon into dry metal or plastic measuring cups, then level by scraping excess sugar from top of cup with straight-edged knife.

Prepare using blackberries.

Zucchini Brownies

Whose going to all that zucchini eat it?? Not me! Can I have a brownie?
Double Chocolate Zucchini Brownies
Serves 9

5 ounces bittersweet dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 egg whites (I used one egg.)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cups all-purpose flour or oat flour, plus 1 tablespoon for flouring the pan
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini, (about 1 large zucchini)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or almonds (optional)
Non-stick cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 8×8-inch baking pan with cooking spray and sprinkle with the one tablespoon of flour. Shake the pan until the flour evenly coats the inside of the pan. Place chocolate in an ovenproof dish and place in the oven, 5-6 minutes until just melted. Or place chocolate in microwave (30 seconds to 1 minute) until melted. Cool slightly.
In a large bowl, mix together the oil, egg white, sugar, vanilla and melted chocolate until well blended. Stir in the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. Fold in the zucchini and nuts. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the pan. Cool completely in the pan and cut into squares. Store in an air-tight container for up to 3 days. (I bake mine for 40 min.)
292 calories each serving without nuts

Dear Hubby,

I figured out the smell in the refrigerator. I will be serving it tonight at dinner.
Love, Tarnation

Asparagus Casserole
From Southern Living
Serves 12
For the sake of my marriage, I doubled the topping.


  • 3 (10-ounce) packages frozen asparagus, thawed and well drained*
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup refrigerated shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup soft breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika


  • Arrange asparagus in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
  • Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually add milk; cook, whisking constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Stir in 1/2 cup cheese and salt, and pour over asparagus.
  • Stir together remaining 1/4 cup cheese, breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and paprika; sprinkle evenly over casserole.
  • Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
  • *3 pounds fresh asparagus may be substituted. Snap off tough ends; remove scales with a vegetable peeler, if desired. Cook in boiling water to cover 3 minutes, drain.