Monday, August 30, 2010

Easy Recipe!

Now playing: Pearl Jam - Garden
via FoxyTunes

Harvesting the garden in late August. Everything blended together nicely and finished on the grill for a Sunday meal.

Harvested potatoes. These were planted in a composting bin and that worked out great! I will definitely plant the other bin I have with more next year, to double the crop. The potatoes are very flavourful!

Two of the large potatoes were used to make a potato dough for our pizza crust.

Freshly picked Roma tomatoes for the sauce. Caramelised garden onions and peppers topped our pizza with mozzarella blended with a local cheese from MouCo- Colorouge.

We had skewered courguettes, brushed with EVOO, salt and pepper and finish on the grill. These are good on their own eaten off the stick, or added to the top of the pizza.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Chillis, Chilis, or Hatch Chiles!

Now playing: Red Hot Chili Peppers - Fire - Red Hot Chili Peppers
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It is Hatch chile season! The famous chiles of Hatch, New Mexico refer to the five or six main cultivated varieties of New Mexico chiles. The chiles have a distinctive quality due to the climate of Mesilla Valley. They have a short season a few weeks from late July to early September. Farmer's markets and some grocery stores here in Fort Collins have the familiar aroma of the roasting chiles right now!

There are red and green and mild and hot varieties. Here the green, milder variety is featured.

Load them in the grated barrel.

Turn up the heat and spin to evenly roast them.

The recipe I used my purchased chiles for is an Enchilada Casserole. Garnish with all kinds of toppings, anything that would fit comfortably in a taco (not having a laugh here). Mine has avacado and jicama on top too. Mine is also served on a bed of garden grown heirloom tomatoes.

Make a gravy with a 3 oz. jar of chili powder (yes, you read it correctly, trust me), 3 tbsp. vegetable oil and 1 c. of flour. Combine and cook slowly to get the rawness out of the flour. Add chicken stock and water and cook until you have a somewhat thick sauce (32 oz. of chicken stock and about 4 c. water.) I also added a few mild dried chiles (soaked in hot water) to be strained later. I used the soaking water from the dried chiles as part of the water I added for the gravy.

Dip corn tortillas into the gravy and line 8 into a 9x13 pan. Layer as such:

*Grated extra sharp cheddar (I used 4 c. of cheese total for the recipe), then 6 roasted green chiles, more sauce.
*8 more dipped tortillas and add prepared shredded chicken or other meat of your choice, more cheese, more sauce.
8 more dipped tortillas, more cheese, 6 more chiles, more sauce.
8 more tortillas. Top with more sauce and end with cheese. Cover with foil.

Bake in a 350 deg. oven for 45 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve with toppings. You can also reserve some sauce and keep it warm to pour over individual servings at the table.

Strolling through the veg garden.

Flowers too!

Edited to add:

I adapted the recipe above from a Mexican cooking class I took many moons ago. The class was taught by this woman linked below. I only added the chiles to the recipe.

Rebecca "Becky" Yanez

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Now playing: FSK - Gesundheit
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....Gesundheit! Oh, the herb Perilla -Sorry.

Perilla, or Shiso in Japanese is another herb the lady at the Asian market introduced me too. This one is heavenly! It has a citrus undertone and ends with a subtle anise-like flavour. Perilla is a member of the mint family. There are two varieties, a green and a red. The red variety is used more to colour food items, such as pickled plums. The green variety is used to flavour sushi, sashimi, salads and fried tempura-style and there is even a brand named cola that has a Shiso flavour in Japan.

It was fun cooking with this herb. I used it in a cucumber salad, as cucumbers are coming from the garden at the moment (watch out!) It was then garnished with tempura shiso and tempura green tomatoes (there was another incident with the patio tomato plant.) The big leaf of shiso was used as a wrap for the cucumber salad. Delicious! I will be growing this next year.

The salad had (it is gone now) sliced garden cucumbers and scallions. For the dressing make a concoction of rice wine vinegar, mirin, fish sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, roasted sesame seeds, chiffonade of shiso leaves.

Perilla is rich in vitamins and minerals. This herb is used to boost the immune system.

The oil is also extracted to make paint and varnishes with waterproof qualities.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Now playing: Metal Fingers - Mugwort
via FoxyTunes

Another visit to the local Asian market led to the discovery of Yomogi. A herb used through many cultures. Yomogi is the Japanese word for this herb and is used to flavour plenty of dishes. Mugwort, or Felon herb in English, this plant was once used in place of hops as an aromatic for beer making in the British Isles. In Germany it is used to make Christmas goose, or other fatty birds, such as duck.

This is the Yomogi in front of the Asian market. It spreads quickly and grows like a weed in some areas.

Here the leaves are soaking waiting to be boiled in water with baking soda. Squeeze out the excess water and process into a paste. This paste can then be dried and used later. Here is a link that includes drying hints:

The recipe to follow can be made with fresh paste, or dried. Dried Yomogi can also be bought in some Asian markets.

Kusamochi with Raspberries

30g fresh yomogi leaves, (processed as above)
150g rice flour
15g sugar
100ml hot water
200g anko (red bean paste)
30g soybean powder
Dozen raspberries

Put the hot water with the rice flour and sugar into a microwave-safe bowl. Mix well until it becomes soft. Cover and microwave it for 5 to 10 min., until slightly transparent. Knead the dough together with the yomogi, until smooth. Roll into balls and fill with anko and a raspberry. Roll in soybean powder. Makes a dozen.

I also made Yomogi noodles with buckwheat flour. This will be used for a cold noodle salad tomorrow!

2 c. buckwheat flour
1 c. flour
2 eggs
1/2 c. fresh yomogi paste
water to bring to right consistency

Mix until smooth.

Process in a pasta machine. Use plenty of extra flour to prevent stickiness and cling film to keep it from drying out as you are working the dough.

Artemisia vulgaris- Mugwort which is related to Chrysanthemum is also used medicinally. It is said to induce lucid dreams and help insomnia. It was used in Druid medicine frequently for this effect. Mugwort can be used to kill parasitic worms. The herb has been used to ease menstrual pain, help in childbirth and increase appetite. Pregnant women should use great care when ingesting mugwort, consult a doctor. Everyone should watch the levels they ingest as too much thujone (a chemical component of absinthe) is toxic. Mugwort is said to ease muscle fatigue and bath solutions are available. Romans used the leaves in their sandles to ease foot fatigue, I thought I would try it out:

Will let you know how well it worked. ;-)

I also soaked in some in a bath, it smelled nice and I was relaxed.....

More info:

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Wanting Comes In Waves

Now playing: The Decemberists - The Wanting Comes in Waves (Reprise)
via FoxyTunes

We are all over the place with interests these days! As well as the usual cooking, gardening and crafts....I have started machine sewing and hand embroidery (more on that later, I don't want to ruin certain people's prezzies). I'm better at the latter discipline. I would love to find some transfer patterns in the UK, thistles, hedgehogs, Jacobean, etc, etc, to embroider on tea towels and pillow cases. I guess the inspiration came from my great grandmothers handed down pillow cases. She did beautiful work! See!

I have made some clothes peg bags to hang on the line for easy dispensing while hanging clothes. While at the fabric store I stumbled on some fabric samples that were discontinued and cost 2 bucks. The samples come at just the right size and complete with a hanger. All that is needed; turn wrong side out, sew edges, punch a rectangular hole where you want it, turn right side to, hem the hole and decorate with buttons. On some of my later models I have found that folding down the top creates a four ply thickness that the hanger holds to very well and it looks more finished that way.

Around the garden, we have tassled corn. In fact, I can further update that ears are forming (pictures later). They are cute little things though with a tuft of silk coming out the top.

"Oh, what I wouldn't give for a plate of fried green tomatoes like we used to have at the cafe. Ooh!"

This mess of fried green tomatoes didn't come from Whistle Stop Cafe and are quite different and happened quite by what turned out to be a happy mistake. My potted patio tomato plant lost a branch. After I was done jumping up and down and saying choice words, I decided to make the old treat. The little green cherry tomatoes turn out very nice indeed, they have a sweet flavour to start and just a slight pull in the back of the cheek from tartness. They were cut in half and soaked in buttermilk only to be breaded with seasoned flour. Shake in a mesh sieve and fry. Salt with some sea salt and enjoy. You may not want to tear off whole branches of your poor plant though. I think I saw Idgie nodding in approval from behind a tree....

More flowers, because most everyone likes flowers. The marigold on the top is supposed to be green, not sure....Cait's wedding flower experiment.