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Thursday, September 18, 2014

GAD ZUKES!

Yup, they're taking over the kitchen.....Zucchini!

Last week, I opened the last pint of Zucchini Relish from the batch I made in 2012. I panicked.....really.....I did. I panicked because my zucchini plants had done nothing but drink water since May. Not a thing. Not the green one, anyway. The gold zucchini had put forth a few fruits. Not a lot, though, and not very fast. 

Where was I going to find enough zucchini to make relish?

I went off to my sewing day, thinking about zucchini. While there, I mentioned my dilemma. What was I thinking?

By the end of the afternoon, I had all the zucchini I needed! One should never forget that, while one's own zucchini may not be fruiting out, someone else might be having the opposite problem. TOO MANY ZUKES!

So, next day, the saga of Zucchini Relish began.


My friend, Laura, gave me a box of zukes, including these giants. For relish, small zucchini are lovely and easy but the big ones, which not too many people want, are really great.


I sliced the biggies in manageable lengths and trimmed off any scars or discolorations. These were fresh from the garden, which I recommend, when canning.



I cut the smaller ones in the right size for our grinder.


The large ones....


....needed seeding....


....with a tablespoon.....


....to get them ready.


All set.



I had two big kettles of zucchini.


Aren't these gorgeous?



Peppers all cleaned, trimmed and cut, ready for the grinder....




....with the onions.



I attached the grinder to the Kitchen Aid mixer.




And my DH, did the grinding for me. It goes really fast. You can use a hand grinder, too, or a food processor.  Mix the veggies with salt, at this point, to help the product release water.


Here it is, in our biggest stainless steel bowl, lined with four layers of cheesecloth.



Cover it with plastic wrap.



Let it stand for 2 hours. Then, I transferred it to a very large collander....



....to rinse well....



....and squeeze.....





and squeeze.....



....until it's almost dry.....



....ready to cook.



Mix up the vinegar, sugar and spices in your largest stock pot....



......and mix in the veggies, well.


 

Bring it almost to a boil and simmer 10 minutes until all is steamy and lucious yummy. By now, even the neighbors two houses away know you are making pickles.



Wash your jar lids in hot, soapy water.



Sort out your rings.


Inspect your jars and toss out any with nicked rims or cracks or chips.


Here's my assembly area with a plate to fill the jars on and a canning funnel to make filling easier. I use the damp, clean cloth to wipe the rims before placing the lids and rings.



All set to go.



Here are the filled jars in their rack at the boil.


Cover and process ten minutes. I always add a little vinegar to the canner water to keep the jars from gathering lime during processing.





They come out quite clean and pretty. Whew! I don't have to do that for another couple of years.

Here's the recipe:

Zucchini Relish

Grind fine:

2 c. chopped zucchini (about 3 medium)
 1 c. chopped onion (about 1 medium)
1/2 c. chopped sweet green pepper (about 1 small)
1/2 c. chopped sweet red pepper (about 1 small)

Mix well in a very large bowl and sprinkle with

2 T. salt

 Mix well again and cover with cold water,

Let stand 2 hours. Drain; rinse and drain thoroughly. 

Measure the product and add, for every 4 cups of product:

1 3/4 c. sugar
1 c. cider vinegar
2 t. celery seed
1 t. mustard seed

Combine remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Add vegetables; simmer 10 minutes.

SPECIAL NOTE
If the product doesn't seem wet enough, add another mix of the vinegar/sugar/seasoning recipe to it and cook it again. You don't want it too dry for fear the veggies won't get pickled properly. Better a little too wet, than too dry. If too wet, you can adjust it as you fill the jars.

Pack hot relish into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust two piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner. Yield: about 4 half-pints.

Obviously, I used a lot more zucchini. I had about 16 cups of product  (zucchini, onion and peppers), after soaking and rinsing, so I multiplied the recipe for the vinegar mix accordingly.  My effort yielded 15 1/2 pints of relish.












































Wednesday, August 20, 2014

NEW - APRIL BANNER OF THE MONTH .... Stormy Weather......and a WINNER!!!!-

A little stormy weather doesn't bother Sunbonnet Sue. She's prepared! Here she is in our latest pattern offering....soon to make its appearance in our sales room. 

April Banner of the Month


Sunbonnet Sue knows "April showers bring May flowers!" In her mind, they're already blooming. This block, basically, a log cabin, is very easy to make, as are all of the blocks we include in our applique patterns.



The rain is coming down.....raining cats and dogs....well, dogs, anyway......


....but even her pooch is protected from the deluge!


On she goes....promises to keep. 

Our banner patterns include instructions for fusible web applique but you can do them any way you please. This sample was sewn with the web and machine appliqued.


Just right for our recent stormy weather!

Again, Joan, over at Moose Stash Quilting has done herself proud, testing our patterns. Thank you so much, Joan, for another gorgeous sample.

And on another note:

A little dust storm called a Haboob came through last week. Haboob is an Arabic word originally describing sand storms in the Sudan. It is pronounced hay-boob. As was the case last week. the Haboob preceded a thunder storm. You can read more about it here

And on a final note:

  It's time for a drawing and someone has won their choice of a Prairie Cottage Corner pattern!

And the winner is:  Linda H.

Congratulations, Linda







Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I Think We Need to Cool Down a Little......and a Give-Away!!!!

Well, we had Christmas in July - now we'll have Snow in August. I didn't get these photos posted during the winter, so I'm posting them now.....hoping it will cool us down a little.....at least, in our imaginations!

Last year, we had our first snow just before Christmas.  It was the day we were to take gifts to some friends who were living rough while building a house. We had a basket of food and goodies as well as presents and supplies for them.

So we bundled into the Explorer. It was snowing heavily. I'll tell you our route through the sage brush along Crab Creek, as we go.

Here we are turning onto Laney Brother's Road from Coyote Heights Road. I love the names of the places out here. That's my forehead in the rearview mirror. It's been so dry out here (alright, I know it's semi-arid, but there are degrees of semi-arid and we have been hitting a mark close to zero rainfall for weeks on end.); the snow was definitely a  source for excitement.


No one else was out on the roads. Actually, we don't often see anyone on this road, at any time. In fact, in our little town, three cars at the main intersection is considered rush hour.


Here, we're approaching the high point on the road, just south of Sylvan Lake and just west of the big meadow where there's a dairy.


Okay, we didn't photograph the dairy. Don't ask me why. The road goes right through it between the house and the barn, so I'm always busy watching for cows, equipment, calves, ponies, dogs, cats and, most importantly, children. Now we're almost to the crossing of the creek. Up to the left in the next two pictures, are eagles' nests.


Bald eagles are quite common along Crab Creek where the palisades line the flood plain. I didn't see one on this day.


These palisades were formed progressively over thousands of years from massive lava flows and eruptions, three different times. The basalt that we see here, can also be found on the seashore at Cannon Beach, Oregon.


Many of the palisades are high and massive. Now, we've made the turn and are on the bridge across the creek. In the background are the palisades we just went past..


 And another view of the palisades.


Then, at the top of the hill coming up out of the coulee, we turn onto Lamona-Kramer Road. It's a primitive road with no warning signs and very little traffic, ever. One of our favorite parts of the short trip. It runs, here, through sage brush and pasture land.....no wheat right here, but plenty of it a mile or so to the south (to the right).




There's our friends' building project in the distance as we're turning onto Downs Road. 


The house is coming right along!


Well, have you cooled off yet? Feel any better? I know I do. I turned up the AC! That, plus the snowy landscape, did the trick.

Hey, you can win a free pattern of your choice by leaving me a comment and telling me 

HOW YOU KEEP COOL IN HOT WEATHER.

I'll draw the winning name on Monday, August 18, 2014,
 at 5 PM PDT.

Thanks for coming by and visiting. We love to hear from you!





Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Hazy, Lazy, Summer Fare

Is the weather all I have to complain about? It's the (I don't know how many) straight day of 90+ temperatures with very little rain, and I don't want to cook. I don't even want to THINK of turning on a burner. I'm even shy of the microwave - that's how hot it is and how hard it is to keep the inside of the house cool. Yup.

So meals become different when you don't want to use heat. You think about using no heat or minimal heat to prepare food. Thus, today's menu:

Three Bean Salad
Hepped Up Deviled Eggs
Fresh Garden Tomatoes
Toast

How's that for dinner? Sounds good to me!

First, the Salad Dressing Recipe


1/2 c. Cider Vinegar
1/4 c. Water
3/4 c. Olive Oil
1/2 t. Celery Seed
1 to 1 1/2 t. Italian Seasoning
1/2 t.Onion Granules
1/2 t. Garlic Granules
Salt & Pepper to Taste
1 - 2 T. Sugar or Sweetener (to taste)

Place all in a pint jar and shake well. Set aside.




Bean Salad Recipe
Mix together in a large bowl:

2 cans Black Beans, drained & rinsed
1 can Great Northern Beans, drained & rinsed
1 can Cut Green Beans, drained & rinsed
1 can Mushroom Stems & Pieces, drained
1 can Chopped Green Chilis (mild)
1 large Walla Walla Sweet Onion, chopped small
1/2 Green Bell Pepper, chopped small
1/2 bunch of Fresh Cilantro, washed and chopped, stems and all



Pour all of the dressing over the salad ingredients and mix well.


Chill.. You may want to let it stand at room temperature 1/2 hour before serving so that the olive oil loosens up a little bit. So, there's the salad. Now, for the protein side of the meal.....

Hepped Up Deviled Eggs Recipe


Place 6 to 18 eggs (not too fresh) in a soup kettle and cover to a depth of about 2" with cool water. Bring to the boil over medium high heat, covered. When the water is boiling, completely, shut off the burner and let the eggs stand for 15 minutes. Run under cold water to cool the eggs. Peel carefully and rinse in clean, cool water. Cut them in half, lengthwise and remove the yolks to a gallon re-closable bag. Mush the yokes up with your hands until smooth. Place the whites in a tray, ready to fill.


To make the filling, mix together in a small bowl:

1/4 to 1/2 c. Best Foods Mayonnaise
1 t. Gulden's Prepared Mustard
1 can Deviled Ham
1/2 t. Smoky Paprika
1/2 t. Garlic Granules
1/2 t. Onion Granules
1/4 t. Ground Black Pepper
1-2 T. Dried Parsley or 1/4 c. Fresh Parsley
Salt to taste (I don't add any because the ham is salty)


Add the mayonnaise mixture to the bag and mush everything together well. Snip off a lower corner of the bag, making an opening about 3/8" long. Squeeze the yolk mixture out, starting at the bottom of each white and swirling to almost cover the whole top.


Chill well. These should keep in the fridge for about 3 days.



Serve the Bean Salad and Hepped Up Deviled Eggs with fresh tomatoes and toast for a summer's delightful, dinner. Yum. We've been enjoying this since yesterday. The house is staying fairly cool and the cook is NOT frazzled (well, not over cooking, anyway)......AND, she has time to quilt.