and the new garden harvest begets: Salsa

Bloged in food: recipes + dining out,General Home Life by mark Tuesday August 9, 2016

So. Pickling’s outta the way. Dilled Beans done. **This weird summer has been very slow to begin harvesting enough Tomatillos to make salsa……but in the last week….I finally had enough on hand…. SO. Tomatillo Salsa Batch 1 came through yesterday.

Of course…. get it all in one place…..ready to mix it up:

salsa seeson strt

It’s always a bit fun to make some batches a little warmer than others…..for #1 batch this year, there’s a habanero, some cayenne flakes and the rest all serrano…may be a warm batch!

salsa mixup 1

It’s always fun when you have some peppers from the garden to use:

salsa mixup 2

At the start of the cook:

salsa cook1

And 20 minutes later:

salsa cook 2

And 10 minutes after that, we’re all done:

salsa finish

I’m in Salsa making mood now…..c’mon summer, help me ripen some more Tomatillos.

Picklathon 2016 aug 6

Bloged in Family,food: recipes + dining out,General Home Life by mark Monday August 8, 2016

Once again! We made it. We were back to our normal “crew”, all visitors canceled “claiming” they written assurance their would be even enough pay for the days work to justify the trip here.

I can also see “next” year, we’re going to have to make sure Rodger’s in MORE of the pictures…he TOOK all of them, and we obviously didn’t think about getting him to ‘star’ in a few! 🙂

Oh sure, some prep work began earlier (see earlier blog post)…..and the day before cousin “J” came up for a while to help clean and trim the cucumbers, and get a start on peeling garlic…that was a great help…..we even had time for a great lunch at John St Cafe with Bhakti!!!! **they had my all-time favorite dish special that day, you MUST try it sometime: “Short Beef Ragu with Pappardelle Pasta & sauce” . . yum.

and of course….. Friday night, a little “inspection” of things in general always show up a little list of things to get done………… THEN………..

Saturday morning! 0830 hours! Nancy Minor arrived first and was ready to work! Soon J & Bhakti were there and, as always happens, getting that first batch or two going, is a bit awkward until our “flow” kicks in, and we get into a smooth operation…..after all THIS crew’s been working together for a few years now………. (we ALWAYS remember J’s mom, Nancy Purvine who began this little pickle mission years ago, but passed away from a Mursa virus ….we ALL still love to share our memories of her on this day………… **and of course, that’s how J and Bhakti got into this task…they inherited their “position” !!! Hah.

First issue to find was: SO MANY of these cucumbers were awkwardly LARGE so getting them stuffed efficiently into the jars was going to be a little tougher than normal……. NOTE TO MARK for NEXT YEAR: **DO NOT arrive at the Pumpkin Patch down on the Island right at 0900 opening….all the produce that’s out is the stuff that didn’t sell yesterday…… ya gotta go a little later than 0900….10:30 OR 11:00 NEXT YEAR……

So the crew awaits El Marko’s prep of the 1st brine batch….. just who is it we’re gossiping about says J ? 🙂

pikle 2016 1

So here we are before the first batch, getting into production: ….peeling, trimming, packing, measuring, and on and on:

pikle 2016 2

Yep, THIS year, picking out the right cucumbers was a little harder task since they were large:

pikle 2016 3

and just a few hours later, and a great lunch at Helvetia Tavern (cheeseburgers for all!!!)….the jars are getting lined up for Rodger’s Photo Studio to photo the result:

pikle 2016 4

Our Boss, Ms. Nancy M must ALWAYS approve whether the lineup is perfectly set:

pikle 2016 5

AND…….I’m not sure this crew looks as tired as we might actually be…..but we’re a proud bunch by 3:30 pm:

pikle 2016 9

Now, Mark, make notes about what went right this year, and reminders what to get ready for next year!

Pickling 2016. How it looks before that day

Bloged in Family,food: recipes + dining out,General Home Life,Scuff Boys by mark Thursday August 4, 2016

Just a couple pics of the famous Grandma Ray Pickle Day for cousins….. a day or two AHEAD of the event….not so cute…but there is a bit of work required to get things ready.

Ah! Jar Lids….Yes, count ’em twice….make sure you have both lids & rings enough for the “planned” count:
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canning lids

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Ah! Don’t forget…if you’re pickling, you gotta “brine” those cucumbers for a day…so I’ve got the brining tubs washed, and they’re ready for duty beginning tomorrow:

brining tubs

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Ah! The Quart “wide-mouth” jars….make sure you have enough for the “plan”…and sometime tomorrow, get ’em opened up, and ready for sterilization:

jars

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Ah! Sure….the labels could “wait”….but THIS is the Grandma Ray (youngest of 17 kids…yes, she was “spoiled” as a child)…….who introduced us to this snack food, and always made enough right out of her hillside garden so EVERY one of her kids (6) had more than enough pickles on hand for a year (or 3)……….

pikl4
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Okay. Back to the housecleaning and right now, out to water a dry veggie garden…………. Busy Week.

Is it oregano, really?

Bloged in food: recipes + dining out,garden by mark Thursday August 2, 2012

THIS week’s job was to finally process the oregano hanging in the garage the last 3 weeks…yep, the hanging bundles that immediately drew a neighbor asking how we were brave to dry our marijuana in plain sight. As IF we had any. Remember the oregano ?

Yes, pretty simple process, but I was surprised how much actually came through…must be the mild summer. First the bundles placed on the counter:

Stems stripped, leaves lightly pressed to break ’em up a bit, and of course, pull out most of the smaller stem pieces:

Result in about 1hour? 2 half gallon jars:

The biggest demand for the oregano will be in the Tomatillo Salsa upcoming weeks, but maybe I should set up a small box and chair by the road and put up a Oregano Sale sign? hah.

That effort brought about the need for a good chewie, so a batch of my M&M Cookies began to replace the space Oregano took up:

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Favorite NW Berry Jam project completo for 2012. MORE to follow.

Bloged in food: recipes + dining out,General Home Life,Scuff Boys by mark Thursday July 12, 2012

The season’s sudden change almost overnight from cool and damp to steady 80+ days, 55+ nights has brought an explosion to our summer gardens, and production plans. THIS WEEK? The only grower in this area I know of that, for about 2-3 weeks, has: Cascade Delight Raspberries, …… WEST UNION GARDENS ……..called to say they’re ready. Next morning, 2 flats were brought home to become jam within a few short hours of being picked:

So. Preps are made. Lids gathered sorted and placed for sterlizing dip into the hot water as jars are filled:

The jars we’ve saved or returned to us are always welcomed when the season starts….here they await loading into the sterilizing dish washer cycle:

We then begin processing the berries, one batch at a time (about 7 jars yield for each batch):

After the mixing, processing, this beautiful berry jam is placed into the jars, sealed, and await cooling:

4 hours later: 48 jars of Cascade Delight Raspberry Jam complete the Raspberry inventory for 2012. NEXT? West Union Gardens has called me this morning to advise the Boysenberry picking begins Saturday………. Nice.

Summer Puddin’ Time it is!

Bloged in food: recipes + dining out,General Home Life,Nature,Pacific Northwest by mark Thursday August 4, 2011

NOTE: ALL the photos here were caught JUST with the PHONE Camera…it was all I had…. I AM surprised how well it does, I know some aren’t composed really well….but……..it summer’s moving too fast to pose for long.

On to my favorite summer dessert.

You KNOW your summer’s peaked when you eat SUMMER PUDDING (link to Recipe) . . . . . the first time.

Nancy had a few family members over last evening for a summer picnic evening ….yes it was fabulous. We both made a little of that magic dish and “I” thought it was the highlight of the evening.

There’s no stopping me now….after the dental appt this morning, picked up 4 mixed berry containers and am on the way! (Blueberries, Boysenberry, Blackberry, Raspberry)………

***** SOME of these pics can be enlarged ******* They get a little more interesting on a hot day if you can almost FEEL some of this summer air *****

Summer Pudding starts this way:

Next thing you know, your berries are mixed, and brought JUST to the point that the juices start to run:

Next thing is slapping down the pound cake slices around the bottom and sides of the bowl, pour in the fruit & juices, then TOP the thing with more pound cake:

NOW:
Weight that all down, set in the fridge for 12 hours. You’ll pull out a purple lovely Dessert just begging for a little whipped cream………. Yep, that was Poor Man’s Dessert in England 100 years ago.

We’re STILL enjoying the best of summer, and hoping friends suffering from the 100+ temps back east can feel the falls, here’s photo of La Tourell Falls, this time kept LARGE so you can feel it’s power…..CLICK on this photo:

And sure, portland has lots of rose gardens. Here’s a minor one: Peninsula Park Rose Gardens #1:

Garden Pic #2

And those SAUVIE ISLAND FARMS old trucks they keep seasonal flowers in? Here’s what they look like this week.

Truck 1:

Truck 2:

Truck 3:

Let’s try to cool off a little…..Here’s a Columbia River Gorge Shot from cooler times in the early summer, shot from the Washington Side of the river, simply with the Android phone camera….

And lastly, a little wild foxglove….really stood out hiding there in the forest:

Ah summer. It’s too short.

Our latest Menu Favorite(s)

Bloged in food: recipes + dining out by mark Tuesday August 31, 2010

Another interesting time for us this weekend. Somehow, from the prior Picklathon weekend, we didn’t think we had “quite” enough jars of the Habanero Spicy Pickles, so had bought two “small” bags of cukes for Saturday’s completion of the task. **KATE and IAN, from the prior week, who visited while the cousins pickles, decided they too were going to pickle Saturday. We combined efforts and made a full day of it………………(pic from prior week…..we took NO pics THIS day):

By Sunday morning, when our appetites had returned, we realized we had NO food prepped for the week. But we had some things we’d wanted to try. However, fatigue from two busy weekends, meant we took Sunday easy. Monday, however, we got caught up on some NEW Recipe tryouts……..I hope you try them as well, they are delicious.

Once again, we had watched America’s Test Kitchen w/Christopher Kimball last weekend. From that a really delicious Baked Manicotti Dish was prepared by Rodger last night. (**The LINK goes to a video of ATK preparing the recipe.)
**ATK’s video shows an efficient way to stuff the pasta:

**Rodger patiently stuffed each one carefully:

**And, MAC, of course, tried to not be noticed in the background hoping a speck would hit the floor:

Also watched on the Food Network was one of Ina G’s new shows, “Ina Garten: Cooking for Beginners” . . . . from THAT program two new recipes caught our eye, and Mark made: Moroccan Chicken Tagine. He WILL be making “Preserved Lemons” as soon as the lemons are brought home from a store, or orchard which ever’s closer, hah!

Can’t leave without mentioning our stop at a local gourmet bakery out on NE Broadway, and it’s been here a LONG time: Helen Bernhard’s Bakery, and NO, we didnt’ intentionally drive by it, but once we were “there”, and God had provided a parking space by the front door, we were helpless…..WHY? On SUNDAY, THIS choice spot doesn’t bake anything….it’s the one day off in the back. It may be “unadvertised”, but EVERYTHING they have not sold from saturday, goes on sale half off! YEP, we took out a small bag of breads, rolls, pastries and a full Carrot Cake………IF ONLY I’d taken a picture of it before we ate it. . . . . .The photos of cakes on the web page do not exaggerate.

Ah! Late summer! Nothing like it.

The Nancy’s Do Pickles

Bloged in food: recipes + dining out,garden,Scuff Boys by mark Monday August 23, 2010


125 Pounds of Cucumbers were gotten at the Pumpkin Patch on Sauvie Island Friday Morning…..luckily at the very moment the new load came in from the field! They were placed in 5 tubs like the above to soak in water until Saturday Morning when cousins Nancy M & Nancy P would arrive for a 2 day picklathon. It’s only our 2nd year doing this, and it already feels like a tradition!

The first morning, friend Ian and Kate (& of course, Celeste) arrived to watch the process. Kate intends to make pickles from Grandma Nancy’s recipe herself this year. We enjoyed Kate’s help for a couple of hours:

Yep, we had a good start, and it doesn’t take long for the island to look busy:

During the day, it may look good or messy depending on your point of view:

**By the way, the sliced cukes were for a special batch of pints we canned, you know, for those small “Hamburger on the grill” weekends……

Within a few hours, the process sort of evolves into an efficient operation, and by Saturday’s end, we were 2/3 done…… a good sign! However, we had NO Habanero’s! Yikes! Before Sunday’s work began, we had retrieved said peppers and were well on our way to saving the few jars of Spicy Pickles many DO love:

By early Sunday afternoon, we were finito! Complete!

2 Nancy Boys, and 2 Nancys had finished making another 93 bottles of Grandma Nancy’s Dill Pickles! We were SO proud we hauled off to Russell Street BBQ for some down time! This was a fabulous time for us to be together again…… Mark grew up with these women….. and we both love them completely.

**On the birding side, ALL of our songbirds are now GONE! Flown the coop! The woods are silent again for almost 8 months up here, sadly. We’re currently left with the gangly clumsy Band Tailed Pigeons …….and feelings about them are mixed, but their clowny arrivals are fun to watch:

And once again, MAC had a boring weekend, but he was well behaved, and TIRED somehow after all the company left:

And we’ve heard from Bill H back home in NYC! HE DID JAM while he was here:

And word is out that he’s enjoying serving his friends HIS OWN home-made Raspberry Jam. MOST cool.

Fresh Raspberry Ice Cream

Bloged in food: recipes + dining out by mark Tuesday June 29, 2010

Fresh RASPBERRY Ice Cream

Thanks to the fabulous visit of the Taron/Hallorans, and Doug telling me that the recipe in the Ben & Jerry Ice Cream Cookbook for Fresh Raspberry Ice Cream was “excellent”, we made some. We’d had the book for years and I’ve only used the Vanilla recipe up to this date. The raspberry experiment? I ate a PINT of it the first night. Oh, but it was a pleasure.

Hence, I’m putting it out here for all to enjoy….. IF YOU like fresh Raspberries, you must try this, and it IS that season right now.

*Compared to other fresh fruit, fresh raspberries are intensely flavorful and very tart, so to make ice cream you need less fruit and more sugar.

1 Pint fresh Raspberries
1 1 / 2 Cups Sugar
Juice of 1 / 2 lemon
2 Large Eggs
2 Cups heavy or whipping cream.
! cup whole milk

1. Toss the raspberries, 3 / 4 cup of the sugar, and the lemon juice together in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.
2. Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the remaining 3 / 4 cup sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minutes more. Pour in the heavy cream and milk and whisk to blend.
3. Drain the juice from the raspberries into the cream mixture and blend. Mash the raspberries until pur’eed and stir them into the cream mixture.
4. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Makes a generous quart. Bon Apetit !
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I’m way behind in keeping this “diary”…………and hope to catch up soon.

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