Friday, July 29, 2011

Harvesting the Garden

This last weekend none of the house projects were worked on, I spent all the weekend picking blanching, freezing or baking.  I pulled up the pea vines and froze my last 2 quart for the season.  I was picking beans all week and froze approximately 6 quarts of whole beans.  Cucumber started producing this last week, so I made my first sour cream and dill cucumber salad.  I been trying to find a dill pickle crock pot recipe yet if you would be willing be share one, please do.  The summer squash is going crazy and my refrigerator is loaded with them. 

I had one zucchini get too large so I shredded it up and had enough to make 4 zucchini breads.  I prefer to pick zucchini between 6 to 8 inches long with a diameter of 1 to 1½ inches.  I made my favorite zucchini dish which is a zucchini quiche. 

You can use a frozen 9-inch pie dough but I prefer to recipe from 1,000 Lowfat Recipes which I referred to in the “Caramel Apple Pie” blog.  The original recipe suggested that cheddar cheese or Swiss cheese but I prefer using a Reduced Fat Baby Swiss Cheese made by Country Connection.  It is made in Wisconsin’s driftless area.  It is the only reduced Baby Swiss Cheese I found in a block.  I do not like pre-shredded low fat cheese in the grocery stores.  It tastes terrible so I always looking out for low fat cheese in block form.

Many zucchini quiches recipes puree the zucchini but I like them thinly sliced and then sauté.  It gives the quiche body (adds more fiber to the dish).  Here my version of the dish.

Zucchini Quiche

9 inches unbaked Pie shell
8 slices bacon
3 cups unpeeled thinly sliced Zucchini (pick 6 inches with diameter about 1 inch)
1 medium thinly sliced onion
4 eggs
½ cup evaporated non-fat milk
2 tablespoons fresh marjoram, chopped
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups reduced fat Baby Swiss Cheese (I like Country Connection brand, it is the only reduced Swiss cheese I can find in a block)

Cook bacon until crisp, cool on paper towel and crumb it.  Using the bacon dripping sauté onions until soft then add zucchini and cook until soft.  Set aside onion and zucchini mixture.

Preheat oven to 425F.  In a large mixing bowl break open the eggs and beat until smooth.  Add evaporated milk, white pepper, salt, basil and marjoram.  Beat until mixed.  Add onion and zucchini to egg mixture and fold it in.  Fold in Baby Swiss Cheese and bacon to mixture.  Pour it into the pie shell.

Bake at 425F for 10 minutes, then turn down the oven to 300F and bake for 50 – 60 minutes or until center set (knife or toothpick come out clean).  Let quiche sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 serving.

Adaptive from the The Zucchini Cookbook by Paula Simmons

Thursday, July 28, 2011

My Vegetable Plants must be on Steroids

View from Driveway
My vegetables are just huge this year.  My tomatillos are 7 feet tall this year.  I never have seen them this tall.  

Paste tomatoes are tied to the bamboo on the right
and the tomatillos are to the left.
The winter squash is moving into the garden path.  I have no idea why the plants are so much bigger this year.  All I used in my garden is compost and 10-10-10 fertilizer. 

View from the shed and you can see the squash moving into the path.
The previous two week we were in a drought along with the heat wave and I starting to wonder if I get any winter squashes since the fruit was falling off vines.  We finally got rain last weekend and the fruit is now setting.

Juvenile Butternut

Juvenile Pumpkin

The weather was cooler this spring which really helped the pea and Brassica.  Last year was the first year I tried to grow cauliflower and only ended up two very small heads between 3 to 4 inches.  I decided to try one more time and I am glad it did.  Friday I will be harvesting two cauliflowers heads that are about 12 inches across.  They not the normal white colored heads these are called a Cheddar Hybrid and they are the color of Cheddar cheese.

Cheddar Hybrid Cauliflower
 The cooler weather may have kept the pest bug in control allowing the plant get establish.  Whatever the reason I am graceful for the good fortune.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Weekend Projects

I spend the weekend working on the painting the basement walls and I finished putting on the fourth coat of Watertite paint on Sunday.  The "aged pearl" color sure brightens the basement up.  I still have the small wall with the electrical panel and the northeast corner left to paint this summer.  I can start paint the wall with the electrical panel on Wednesday but the northeast corner needs to cure until Sunday before I can start paint it.

Once I finished painting the wall I can pull up the drop cloths and plastic and start preparing the floor for painting.

While waiting for the paint to dry in the basement, I spent Saturday afternoon hand sanding the railings on the right side of the picture. I thought I would be using my power detailer sander for this but the head was to large to fit in between the railing going down the stairs. It took me 6 hours to do that small area. I try to working on it Sunday when the deck is in the shade but wearing a dust mask in a Heat Advisory was just too much. The deck can just wait until the weather is cooler.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Garden Keeps Blooming

The different types of lilies are the main show this last week.  Here are the daylilies.

Lilies, I not sure what are Asia and Orientals but I just love having them in the garden.

Here picture of my small garden bed beside the back deck I am working on now.  There is another daylily is this picture when I brought this plant I was told that it does well in shade.  I do love the dark red with its yellow center.

Lastly, I also have an Indian Blanket flower just start blooming.  I planted it in the garden just last year; I been having trouble getting them to winter over in the garden.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Finally I Am Back to Working on the House.

The garden is now in maintenance. So all I need to do there is pick the produce, water it, weaving the squash & cucumber vines in the trellis and tie up the tomatoes. I also stop selling plants at farmer's market the last weekend in June. This allows me an extra half day on the weekend to get other projects done at home the rest of the summer.

I took Tuesday and Wednesday off this week to get a good start on two projects to be done this summer. The first is to finish waterproofing the basement. The basement project was put to a halt late February when the paint in the upper southeast corner started dripping down the wall. See "Painting the Basement" more information. I spent the both mornings painting the wall, so now have 3 coats on the south wall and 2 on the east wall section. Watertite paint recommends 3 to 4 coats on cement wall. I plan to spend my weekend mornings down there painting on the last coats this coming weekend. I still need the paint the east section of the wall with the fuse box and water softener tank in front of it. I need to do some repair on those sections because my hydraulic cement failed to bond in some areas.

On my afternoons off this week I started to sand down the deck to the bare wood. I finished sanding any area I could get my 5" oscillating disc sander into by 7 PM on Thursday. All I need to do is use the detailed sander on the remainder of the deck and if necessary do some hand sanding before staining it. I pick out a Benjamin Moore semi-transparent stain called Dragon's Breath which nicely compliments the Brookline Beige on the clapboards. I would like to paint the deck railings similar the front porch. I would like to paint the spindles with the Brookline beige and the hand railing with the Tarrytown green but I am waiting until I see how the stain color looks on the deck floor. I hope to finish sanding the deck this weekend hopeful the 90F weather will hold off until Monday.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Not Much Has Changed

I am still busy working on the garden. I have been harvesting pea pods, broccoli, and beets. This weekend I froze 5 to 6 quarts of pea pods and another 3 quarts of broccoli. My beans are just starting to produce; I pick only five beans off the bushes yesterday but there are many more beans coming. The tomatoes are growing now since we are finely getting some warm weather. The cucumbers are blooming and I also noticed that my pumpkins are blooming too. The golden zucchini has a 6 inch squash ready to harvest this evening.

The perennial garden is looking good now. Last week I dug up the iris and divided them. The irises were dying from iris bores. I saved what I could and threw the rest out. I also divided some of the other plants the garden to keep them from getting to big. Here are some pictures of the flowers in bloom.



Believe it or not I actually found time last weekend to start working on the house again.  I spray washed the front porch and back deck.  Vacuumed and washed the front porch furniture which was covered with White Pine pollen.  The back deck still needed to the rinsed down with a beach solution since there was still some algae that survived the commercial cleaning solution.  Now I need to sand down the back desk before staining it.