Sunday, June 26, 2011

Vegetable Fritters

Don't shy from this recipe, please. The basic fritter recipe for vegetables is a simple one...instead of artichokes, you can use (blanched) cut up squash, eggplant, or even green tomatoes.

Artichoke and Scape Fritters

14 oz can of artichoke hearts, (drained and quartered)
*1/4 cup of chopped scapes ( the tops of garlic)
1/2 cup of basic flour
1T salted butter
1/4 cup of corn starch
2 eggs
3 T of milk or a splash of beer
Salt, pepper, and a dash of cayenne pepper

Pour artichoke hearts in a strainer and quarter them. In a large bowl start with flour and butter-break up with a fork into crumbs, then add corn starch, eggs and milk-do not over process. Add artichoke hearts and scapes. Combine. Heat up a cast iron skillet with peanut oil under medium heat. Take big spoon fulls, three at a time, turn until golden, place on a paper towel. Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese. Serve hot.
*Instead of scapes you could add chopped basil, onion, or red pepper.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Natural Bug Spray

Right now you can buy a flat of marigolds cheap, and that is one of the effective ingredients to make this natural bug spray.

Bug Spray

2 cups of marigold flower heads (African variety is the most pungent) it has deep red and orange color.
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp of mint extract
1/4 cup of Murphy's oil soap.
3 cups of water

In a blender, add all of these ingredients and pulverize, then liquify all for about 3 minutes. Stain through a metal mesh strainer, then through some cheese cloth, pressing with a spoon to get every bit of your essence through. Pour in a quart jar and let it settle. Now pour into a spray bottle. You are ready to go repel any bug in your garden. This spray is safe for your plants and you. It won't burn and will wash off and not leave an odor. Shake your bottle every time you use it. Be careful not to get spray on your clothes.
The spray bottles that I use are the ones for spraying horses, it has the stream choice. You can also reuse sprayers from the store that have this feature. Make sure that particles are out of your formula before putting into the spray bottle.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Milkweed Flowers Recipe

Saltsman's Hotel serves the milkweed casserole at the end of May  until the second week in June...a great place to eat.Saltsman's

Milkweed Au Gratin:

4 cups of Milkweed flowers 
4 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flower
1 1/2 cups of milk
1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper

  Cook the Milkweed flower buds in boiling water for nearly 1 minute, then strain and pat dry, and put in a medium metal baking dish. In a skillet melt the butter, stir in the flour and salt and pepper. Make it brown, like a roux which generally takes not more than a minute. Now mix the milk and beat the mixture like you are making gravy. Pour it over the milkweed and put grated cheese on the top. Bake for nearly 10 minutes at 375 degrees on the top rack, and then broil for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.

Milkweed Uses 

The milkweed filaments from the follicles are hollow and coated with wax, and have good insulation qualities. Tests have shown them to be superior to down feathers for insulation. During World War II, over 5,000 t (5,500 short tons) of milkweed floss was collected in the United States a substitute for kapok. As of 2007, milkweed is grown commercially as a filling for pillows.
The milkweed flowers have a high dextrose content that the American Indians used to sweeten foods.

The bast fibers of some species were also used for cordage.

Milkweed latex contains about 1 to 2% latex, and was attempted as a source of natural rubber by both Germany and the United States during World War II. No record has been found of large-scale success.

Milkweed is a common folk remedy used for the clotting of small wounds and the removal of warts. Milkweed sap is applied directly to the wart several times daily until the wart falls off. Dandelion sap is often used in the same manner.

Milkweed is beneficial to nearby plants, repelling some pests, especially wireworms.

Milkweed is toxic and may cause death when animals consume 10% of their body weight in any part of the plant. Milkweed also causes mild dermatitis in some who come in contact with it.

Milkweed sap is also externally used as a natural remedy for poison ivy.

Being the sole food source of monarch butterfly larvae, and attracts butterflies in the garden.
Milkweed can be used in ornamental flower bouquets.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Garlic, Oh, wonderful Garlic!

Last October, I planted single garlic bulbs, then heavily mulched with clean straw to cut down on weeds. Early this spring the garlic plants emerged with uncontrollable excitement! I can't wait to harvest the scapes and bulbs. I have three wonderful recipes for using garlic. This includes a warning that even brushing your teeth for an hour before bedtime will not prevent that taste from coming back in the morning.

Black Olive Tapenade

1 1/2 cups of large black olives (pitted and drained)
1/2 cup of Kalamata olives (pitted)
3 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 tsp of lemon juice
1 tbsp of fresh parsley
A couple of turns with the black pepper mill.
*1 anchovy filet (about 1 tbsp)
3 tbsp of olive oil

Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse only once or twice-until coarsely chopped. 
Serve in a small dish, and spread on small slices of crusty bread. Compliment with a dark dry red wine.
*You won't even notice the anchovy, freeze the rest in a plastic bag.

Garlic Scape Pesto

Scapes are the long twisted part on the garlic plant that you cut off to ensure a robust garlic bulb. I use only the tender ends.
1/2 cup of chopped scape
2 tbsp of olive oil
2 tbsp of chopped parsley
1 tbsp of fresh chopped basil

Keep in a pint jar in the refrigerator and use for cooking with chicken, or pasta. If you like garlic you can spread this on a cracker.

 Shrimp Scampi

1 lb of thawed large shrimp
3 cloves of garlic minced
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp of olive oil
a dash of cayenne pepper 
1/2 cup of planko bread crumbs

In a shallow 9" baking dish, arrange shrimp. Melt butter, olive oil and garlic, pour over shrimp, and top with bread crumbs. Bake in a preheated oven 425- on top rack for about 10-15 minutes. Butter just starts to bubble and crumbs are golden. Do not over cook. Serve over rice.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

After The Garden

My chores consist of shoveling manure, weeding the garden, setting up fences, and household tasks. Nail Salons would be a total waste of my money, but I do like to pamper myself with products that civilize and sooth the skin. Hands are the forefront, a telltale account of our lives."You can tell a lot about a person just by looking at their hands." For myself, my hands would say that I work hard. However your hands make that first impression, at least make sure they are clean!. 
Living near Sharon Springs, New York, I have found Beekman's 1802 "After the Garden" soap to be just the thing to get my hands feeling good again. click here The scent is nice and clean, lathers up nicely, and leaves your hands feeling soft and smooth.
One tip I learned from my grandmother, was to scratch the soap with your finger nails before you go out to the garden to prevent dirt from entering the crevice in the first place; and this soap works like a charm because of it's soft consistency. 
Then after the garden, I make up a nice ice tea with a sprig of mint and sit in the shade admiring the great weeding job-nice and clean, how great is that!
And to find more about Josh and Brent's fabulous journey to Sharon Springs read...The Bucolic Plague, by Josh Kilmer Purcell