Pickled Jalapenos

So this summer we have had an overabundance of Jalapenos.  Lesson learned, plant way more bell pepper plants than jalapenos – not equal amounts.  Jalapenos are awesome, flavorful, and a great extra kick to a lot of the foods that Will and I cook, but with just the two of us we can’t keep up with how much those plants produce.

this is nothing....
this is nothing….

We have eaten some, given some away, and sadly a few have been wasted.  The vast majority of our jalapenos, however, have been pickled.   I don’t know that they qualify as all the way pickled because the process is very quick, but that is what we need, a quick method.   This process only takes about 20 minutes total.  So 20 minutes will take care of 15 jalapenos that we otherwise would not have had a use for. It will give us a pint sized mason jar full of pickled jalapeno slices.

Will found the recipe we use here. The process is super easy, and the result is really tasty!  The final product has an initial sweetness and then the spicy jalapeno kicks you in the throat.  I actually took a jar to the office to give to one of my friends, and all the guys loved these.

So if Will and I and my coworkers like them then I think it’s a safe bet that they’re awesome! 

jalapenos 2

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup water
  • ¾ cup distilled white vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 clove of garlic (minced or crushed)
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 10-15 jalapenos (depends on the size.  We use 15 small to medium ones)

jalapenos 3

Directions:

  1. Slice the jalapenos into rings
  2. Put the remaining ingredients in a medium sized sauce pan, bring to a boil, and mix to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Once it’s boiling add your jalapenos and remove the pan from heat.
  4. Let sit for ten minutes.  Then scoop out the jalapenos into whatever container you’re storing them in, and fill it the rest of the way with juice.
  5. Refrigerate
  6. Enjoy!
Tah duh!
Tah duh!

How to Blanch Green Beans

Since Will planted 50 green bean plants in our back yard, we were picking more green beans than we possibly knew what to do with…. If you plant them; they will come.

Obviously 50 plants is going to yield way too many greeGreen Beans - 1n beans for the two of us, even though we really could eat a whole meal of them because we like them so much.   So we had the predicament of how to store them.  We will eat canned green beans, but we really prefer the crispy fresh ones.  So we decided that freezing them was the way to go.

***Side Note: I now know why people can.  12 pounds of green beans takes up a whole heck of a lot of room in the freezer  (we’re talking enough for about 40 meals’ worth of green beans as a side); plus those nicely stacked mason jars full of colorful veggies are very aesthetically pleasing.

Any way, we did some research and found out that if you intend to freeze fresh green beans you should blanch them first.  We have frozen them without blanching as well, but after doing some research we have started blanching them.  The blanching process of hot then cold stops “enzymatic activity” in the veggies.  That’s a fancy way of saying it will help keep the vegetable from getting discolored or a strange texture from being frozen.

So here is how you do it:

Step 1

Pick/purchase some fresh green beans.

We picked that many green beans every day for a week.  What's worse, mosquitos live in the green bean plants.
We picked that many green beans every day for a week. What’s worse, mosquitos live in the green bean plants.

Step 2

Wash them off and trim the ends.  Go ahead and put the time in now to trim the beans, that way you don’t have to do it when you pull them out later.

Step 3

Get a big pot of water boiling and have a big bowl of ice water ready to go as well.  I say big because you want the bowl of ice water to be big enough so that you can do as few of batches of green beans as possible so you have colder water.

Step 4

Now submerge your green beans in the boiling water and leave then in there for 2 minutes. Green Beans - 3 Green Beans - 4

Step 5

Quickly pull them out (we found tongs were our weapon of choice for this task) and put them in the ice water for 1 minute. Green Beans - 5

Step 6

Remove from the ice water, bag, and freeze =)

we freeze ours in small bags, portioned out for dinner already.  Then we place all those little bags into a bigger freezer bag for extra protection.
we freeze ours in small bags, portioned out for dinner already. Then we place all those little bags into a bigger freezer bag for extra protection.

Ta duh! Fresh green beans for the winter!

 

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Handpicked Wild Berry Cobbler

Will’s family has a gorgeous farm in Northern Kentucky.  We go up there every Friday after work (while we enjoy our happy hour drinks) and come home on Saturday evening sometime.  People make comments about how we choose to spend our weekend time, but that’ just it.  We CHOOSE to go up there.  It’s our way of slowing down.  Will and I both really like to be outside.  We enjoy soaking in the beauty of nature, marveling at God’s creation, listening to the wind and the critters.  It brings us peace and rejuvenates us.  We hope to move into the country someday for that very reason.  But for now we get 24 hours of it per week =).

the view from the deck =) All that mowed area is his family's
the view from the deck =)
All that mowed area is his family’s
the farm also has the prettiest sunsets!
the farm also has the prettiest sunsets!

And you know what, there are some pretty great perks to going up there.  Time with family, a good tan, a tired out pup, and lately- BERRIES!  Yep.  There are wild black raspberries and wild blackberries all over!  I may have gotten poison ivy on my shoulders and hubster may have it on his face…. but it’s worth it!

yes, I am wearing Will's raggedy old work jeans.  don't judge me.  I think I pull off redneck well.
yes, I am wearing Will’s raggedy old work jeans. don’t judge me. I think I pull off redneck well.
a small portion of our berry harvest!
a small portion of our berry harvest!

Berries are so tasty and healthy!  They are one of my favorite foods.  I think we buy some every week at Kroger. There are so many things to do with berries:

  • Just eat them!
  • put them in smoothies
  • make muffins or scones or bread
  • make “ice cream”
  • make jam
  • make a pie
  • OR make cobbler!  

2013-07-07_21_36_11So that’s what I did.  I made cobbler.

Next time I make this recipe, I will use more berries because in mine and Will’s opinion, the biscuit to berry ratio is off.  But maybe you like your cobbler with more breading than berries, so I left the original recipe here for you.  I might possible decrease the biscuit part to:  3/4 cup flour, 3/4 cup milk, 3/4 stick of butter so that the biscuit get smaller too.

Wild Berry Cobbler

Ingredients:

Biscuit

  • 1 cup flour***
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

Berry Filling

  • 3 cups of berries (I used 2 cups wild black raspberries, ½ cup red raspberries, & ½ cup strawberries; also, as I mentioned earlier, I think it needs a little more than 3 cups)
  • 2 tbsp Lemon juiceCobbler - 5
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 4 tbsp honey

*** Gluten Free- substitute ½ cup oat flour, ¼ cup almond flour, and ¼ cup sweet white rice flour. Even if you aren’t gluten free I suggest this substitution because it gives the biscuit part such a warm flavor!

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Wash and cut your berries.  Now put half into a medium sauce pan and set half aside. Trust me use a medium sized sauce pan because they will bubble up a lot!
  3. In a separate large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.

    dry ingredients
    dry ingredients
  4. Place a stick of butter in a 10-12 inch cast iron skillet.
  5. Now that you have your prep work done, add the honey, lemon, cinnamon and nutmeg to the berries in the saucepan and cook them over medium-high heat until the berries burst and release their juices and the mixture begins to thicken, about 10 minutes. You will need to stir them occasionally and adjust the heat if needed.  Also if you think that they aren’t thickening enough add some corn starch.

    the wooden spoon was a victim of this.... it is now permanently the color of red wine...
    the wooden spoon was a victim of this…. it is now permanently the color of red wine…
  6. When you have the berries going, melt the stick of butter in the cast iron skillet. Remove the skillet from the heat.
  7. Add the milk into the flour mixture and mix until the lumps are gone. Don’t be alarmed the batter will be extremely runny.  Now do something strange and pour this batter over top of the melted butter. (not going to lie, it looks pretty gross at this point because of all the melted butter, BUT I promise it doesn’t end up that way!)
  8. Gently mix the leftover uncooked fruit into the cooked fruit.  Now spoon it over the batter. Do NOT stir this!
  9. Bake the cobbler for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and almost set.
  10. And of course serve it up with ice cream!
Wild Berry Cobbler =)  Tastes even better knowing you picked them yourself!
Wild Berry Cobbler =)
Tastes even better knowing you picked them yourself!

I promise this stuff won’t last long! It was so good, and I hope to make lots more!  I am going to try to make one with more of  an apple crisp type topping and see how that is.  I will compare the two and let you know!

Making a Raised Bed Garden

Well, it’s July already, and that means that the mercury will steadily creep up and the dog days of summer will soon be upon us.

Most of our cool season crops have ended their run.  The spinach bolted and the lettuce was picked, so we are left with no more leafy greens coming into our kitchen.  That’s just not acceptable!

this is what "bolted" spinach looks like.
this is what “bolted” spinach looks like.

To remedy the situation, I(Will) did some research to figure out if I could still grow those cool season crops in the heat of the summer, and it turns out that it is possible.  I’m going to attempt to grow some greens (lettuce and spinach) in a raised bed garden that gets about 4-5 (from about 2 pm to 6 pm) hours of sunlight a day.  In addition to putting the bed in the shade, I am also going to trellis cucumbers over the plot to block out more direct sunlight.

The raised bed I built was made with scrap lumber I had laying around in the shed.  4 pieces of 2″x12″ cut to 4 ft. lengths is what I used to create the frame. I put three 2.5″ deck screws into each end to fasten the boards together.  Next, I had to level out the ground so that the box would sit flat.  I took a shovel and dug deeper where dirt needed removed and added dirt where that was appropriate.  Word of advice, just get the corners leveled up and then go at filling in the rest.

Image

Next, I needed to add some soil.  We did not have enough spare dirt laying around so I had to run to Home Depot to get some.  First, you should get a rough idea of the volume of dirt you will be needing.  You calculate this by multiplying the length, depth, and width of the raised bed.  For this raised bed it was .5′ x 4′ x 4′ = 8 cu. ft. I bought a bag of sand, 1 bag of “organic humus and manure”, 1 bag of topsoil, and 1 bag of “gardening soil.”  I didn’t realize there were so many types of dirt people could buy!  We had some compost that I added to the mix as well.  Total, about 6″ of soil was added and mixed into to the raised bed.

Image

Image

I planted 2 rows of lettuce, 1 row of spinach, 2 rows of green onions, and 3 cucumber plants that I had started from seed a few weeks ago.  I’ll post updates as the season progresses!

Garden Update

You may recall a couple of weeks ago, Will wrote a blog about our garden.  If you missed that; you should check it out and have some thing to compare the following pictures and information to.

Will often times tells  me that I should not write a posts called “Saturday Sweat.”  He says that it would be more accurate to call it the “Sunday Sweat” because we work our butts off and work up a good suntan out in our yard/garden.  Well today was quite the day for the garden.  We had several unruly tomato plants to tie up, spinach and lettuce to do a final harvest on, green beans to pick, blanch, and freeze, our first potato harvest, AND Will built a raised bed garden today too! Garden Update - 2

there are the potatoes!
there are the potatoes!
fresh from the ground!
fresh from the ground!

Our spinach and lettuce have been done growing for a while now, and if we didn’t harvest them it would all go bad out there in the buggy sunniness.  We love our spinach and lettuce so much though that Will built a raised bed garden in the shade so that we can grow some more!

ta da!  I will have to write a post about how he built it.
ta da! I will have to write a post about how he built it.

We have picked just shy of 10 pounds of green beans total.  Today we picked 9 baggies (aka 9 side dishes for dinner for us)!  Green beans are hard work, but so worth it!  And since evidently we don’t have enough green beans to go around we filled the newly vacated lettuce/spinach row with more green beans… lol.

the empty row, which is going to be more green beans!
the empty row, which is going to be more green beans!
this is what we picked today!
this is what we picked today!
some of our 31 baggies of green beans already portioned out for dinners =)
some of our 31 baggies of green beans already portioned out for dinners =)

I hope you enjoyed all the pictures!

our potatoes and green beans
our potatoes and green beans
the back half of the garden
the back half of the garden

Here are some things to look forward to this week:

  • lemon berry zucchini muffins
  • berry cobbler
  • Captian Crunch French Toast

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