Sunday, September 11, 2011


"There is hardly anything in the world more exciting than something which is on the verge of becoming.

When this something is a human being,

a human personality on the verge of declaring itself,

the excitement doubles." -Louise Bates Ames

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Light in September,

...a new batch of Zucchini Relish (click here),

...our lambs in September (I'm thinking about lamb sausage a lot lately),

...individual bread puddings (click here),

...a jar of chili oil my mom gave me yesterday,

...a September lunch salad of garden green beans, freshly dug potatoes, home canned tuna (thanks mom!), and cherry tomatoes,

...and a plate of deviled quail eggs (click here). Except for the barn swallows leaving, I love everything about this time of year. The light has been absolutely magical this week. Even though this has been a rather dismal year for gardening, I love putting together the hodgepodgey (it's my blog and I can make up words if I want to!) sort of meals that are dictated by what's coming from the garden (and the river) right now. Last night was a weird but tasty stir-fry of fried potatoes seasoned with chili oil, broccoli, zucchini, patty pan and yellow summer squash over rice. Tonight, smoked salmon and cream cheese on crackers, and leftover green beans with bacon and garlic (served the night before last with salmon grilled over the fire, bread, pasta and freshly made pesto). And we'll have individual bread puddings for breakfast in the morning. If I were a cat I'd be purring.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Get Behind the Mule

"Pin your ear to the wisdom post
Pin your eye to the line
Never let the weeds get higher
than the garden
Always keep a sapphire in your mind
Always keep a diamond in your mind

You got to get behind the mule
in the morning and plow" -Tom Waits

And make pickles, dig potatoes, smoke salmon, clean barn, and make plow one row at a time.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pinks and Zucchini Relish

Life is messy, but my hiatus seems to have been a month with more messes than usual: an allergy season that seemed it would never end...weeds on steroids taking over everything...How much physical therapy does one ankle need for crying out loud?...Does this look like a bedbug bite?...Who forgot and left the dog locked in the basement all night?...bad hair day every day...from flock to freezer: The Silence of the Ducks...a mountain of discarded wool from shearing day...a wallet and passport lost the night before a planned flight...and yesterday's 'is that OUR CAR smashed into the mailboxes??' Luckily yesterday's flares and flashing lights mess involved someone else's teens, who missed the telephone pole by a foot, but directly hit (and took out) the rock-solid frame for our mailboxes. My husband and our neighbor put it all back together again last night after dinner. For dinner we had one of these:

The pinks are running in the river and my husband has gone fishing before work the last few morning. I'm excited about the fish, because fresh fish is so wonderful. Last night I wrapped the one we had for dinner in foil before baking it (YUM), and today I'm smoking one. This is the basic recipe I use for smoking smelt and salmon.

Smoked Salmon Brine
3 quarts water
1/2 c. salt
1 c. brown sugar
1 T. garlic powder
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. ground black pepper
2-3 bay leaves
Soak salmon chunks in refrigerator 10-12 hours in brine. Place on dry rack and air dry at least one hour. Use four pans of chips and smoke 8-12 hours or until done. To can, pack into half-pint or pint jars without adding liquid. Seal. Process in pressure cooker for 100 minutes at 10 lbs. pressure.

It is the time of year for making Zucchini Relish. Last year I didn't make any and we have only 4 pints left. I ground the zucchini and onions today and put them in a bowl in the fridge to sit overnight. Hopefully, there will not be any major messes to deal with tomorrow and I can cook and can my relish. I can always hope for a mess-free day, even if I'm not counting on one!

Zucchini Relish
Grind and put in Ziploc quart bag in the fridge to add the next day (Saves a second cleaning of the grinder):
1/2 lb. green bell pepper
1 lb. red bell pepper

10 c. coarse ground seeded zucchini
4 c. coarse ground onion
1/3 c. pickling salt
Combine vegetables and sprinkle with salt. Let stand overnight. Drain. Rinse with cold water and drain again. Add:

2 1/2 c. vinegar
4 1/2 c. sugar
ground bell peppers in Ziploc bag
1 T. celery salt (or 1 t. celery seed and 2 t. salt)
1 T. nutmeg
1 T. turmeric
1/4 c. cornstarch

Cook slowly for 30 minutes or until clear. Put in pint jars and seal. Water bath for 15 minutes. Serve on hamburgers and other sandwiches and also great added to deviled eggs.