Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Can you Count the Ways To use Zucchini #3

Zucchini-Eggplant Casserole
This recipe is also from my Mom.  I use hot chili peppers in this recipe since zucchini and eggplant are mild to add more flavor to the dish.  The cream cheese reduces seems to reduce the heat in the chili peppers. 

6 medium Zucchini, ¼-inch slices
1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced
1 (8-oz) pkg. cream cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 (4-oz) can chopped green chilies, drained
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
1 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs
¼ cup butter or margarine, melted

Simmer zucchini and eggplant in boiling water 15 minutes. Drain well and set aside.

Beat cream cheese in a medium-mixing bowl. Add eggs and blend well. Stir in zucchini and eggplant, green chilies, salt and pepper. Spoon in oiled 1-quart casserole. Combine breadcrumbs and batter. Sprinkle over casserole. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Can you Count the Ways To use Zucchini

I guess this is number 2.  As with many gardeners who plant zucchini I am runneth over with them.  When I first was introduce to zucchini as a kid (and yes I was once a kid) my Mom would make a mixed vegetable stirred fry dish.  Back then I enjoyed it but now I just will not make it anymore I guess I just had it too many times.  So the hunt was on to find as many I can serve zucchini. 

This recipe is from my Mom and I have no idea where she found it.  This dish would make a nice main course or side dish.

Zucchini Provolone Bake

Vegetable oil spray
1 medium onion
4 cups thinly sliced zucchini
2 tbsp. minced fresh or 2 tsp. dried basil
¼ tsp. salt and pepper
1 cup shredded Provolone cheese
½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 eggs, beaten

Spray oil on to skill. Over medium heat add onion and cook until tender, stirring occasionally; add zucchini and cook until crisp tender, frequently stirring. Remove from heat and stir in basil, salt and pepper. Add cheese and eggs; mix well. Spoon in oiled 1-quart baking dish. Bake at 350F for 35 to 40 minutes or until top is browned. Serves 4.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Day's Harvest

Yesterday I spend most of the evening working in the garden picking vegetables or dead heading flowers.  Here is the result of all that work.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Slow Going but I am still progressing forward.

We did not get the forecasted rain until early Saturday morning so I spent Friday evening putting the first coat on the remaining balusters and called it a night. We had intermittence rain over the weekend so I needed to change my plans on working on the outside of the house. Saturday morning in between going to Mineral Point’s Farmer Market and doing laundry, I prepared the basement floor for painting. I first vacuumed the floor and then washed it. It took many buckets of clean water to clean a 15 x 8 square foot area. The rain did help me find where water was coming in the floor’s south corner. I applied hydraulic cement over the leak. I now need to wait a week for the cement to cure before I can start painting the floor.

Later on Saturday I removed the glass panes from the storm window on the wall I am stripping and also stripped it of paint. The storm window’s lower joints needed to be glued back together. The bottom section of the window has some rot in it and some time this week I will be applying wood harder to those areas. After I fix that area and fill in some other areas with wood filler, I can prime it and reglaze the glass panes before painting it with the accent color “Hodley Red”.

Sunday was again spent canning and freezing vegetables. I canning another 4 quarts of Amish Dill Pickles and preserved my first ten 12-oz jars of Dilly Bean this year. I did find time to make an eggplant and zucchini casserole and roast cherry tomatoes for a pasta salad. I love the “Roasted Cherry tomatoes and Garlic Pasta Salad”. It is a great way to use all those cherry tomatoes up, I found this recipe in Martha Stewart Magazine last year believe it was in the October issue. Look it up because it is a keeper.

Updated 8/23/2011: The recipe I wrote about is called "Rigatoni with Roasted Tomatoes" from Martha Stewart halloween 2009 special issue, p. 114.  I looked for it on the her web site but it must not be posted anymore. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Its Primed

Yesterday I spent the day priming the deck and got some of the balusters painted with the first coat of paint.  The weatherman was forecasting rain after midnight last night so I tore off all the papers last night.  We recieved no rain last night and are not expecting until later this evening I could have spent other day home and maybe finished the job but instead I am at work due to a bad forecast.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Still Scrapping the Wall

I took more time off last week to work on the house.  I spent Wednesday and Thursday scrapping paint off the wall.  My goal was to finish scrapping all the paint I could reach before I needed to climb on the roof to remove the rest and I almost made it.  This is the wall were the electrical wires are attached to the house and it took longer than expected because I needed to be aware where the lines and the hook up was at all times. My father is a retired electrician and I asked him how I needed to keep safe while working around the wires.  He told me the bare twisted wire was the ground and I could touch that connection to the house but the other two black wires were not to be touched.  He told me not to wrap my body around the wires while scrapping.  It is not easy trying to use a heat gun and scrapers to remove the paint and work around those wires so it took a little longer. 

Friday I decide to take a chance that it would not rain and started staining the deck.  I only got the deck floor and stair treads done before the sky turned very dark.  I have been trying to make up my mind about staining the whole deck with the color "Dragon's Breath" and I finely decided that I am not going to do.  I will be painting the hand railing, stair riser, stringer and rim joints with the "Tarrytown Green" and the balusters will be painted "Brookline beige" (the color of the clapboards).

The deck would have been too dark if stained in one color and using a three colors combination on it will make a nice contrast.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Garden Shots

The weekend was busy canning Kohler Dill Pickles and corn relish, making rhubard strawberry jam, and freezing vegetable.  Here what I found in the garden this weekend.

Cardinal Flowers
Northwest Corner Porch Garden
Giant Black Swallowtail


Purple Cone Flower (Echinacea)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Juvenile Udumalapet
Rosa Bianca Eggplant

Graffiti Hybrid Cauliflower

Butternut squash
Sugar Pie Pumpkins

Ruby Perfection Hybrid Cabbage

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Updating an Old Oak Chair

Last night I finished working on this piece. It was a very easy job and took about 6 hours. I torn off the old leather seat covering and determine it was the original covering to the chair. My upholstery teacher thought it might be so I was wondering if I should even fix it up. There was another student in class who is an antique dealer told me that the chair was not worth much and it would not matter if I removed the old covering. The old leather seat was torn while trying to remove it so there was no going back at this point. The blog called “New Arts & Crafts Chair” show the chair in its original condition.

After the leather and padding was removed, I cleaned the chair with soap and water and wiped it dry with paper towels and determine that was all it needed. I was lucky the chair looked great and I wanted to keep its patina as is. The old padding was replaced with a ½” polyester padding and staple in place. Then the leather covering was cut to slightly over lap the padding and temporarily tacked in place. Four 1” wide strips were cut about 4” longer for each edge. I marked a center line along the length on the back side of each strip and apply double sided tape down the center line. Next I pressed/folded the both raw edges to the center line forming my taped edging. The tape was used to cover the raw edging on the leather seat covering. I then placed painter tape on all four side of the leather cover and marked out how far and how many tacks were going to be used to hold the leather tape in place. Now I could staple the leather cover down in between the tack placement.

The center of each leather strip was place on each center edge and then tacked into place. I worked each side from the center out placing the tacks ¾” apart. Where the strips meet in the corners, the strips were mitered cut and a tack was place in the center of the cut to hold it in place. Here is the finished chair. I much prefer this to the original.

The total cost to redo this piece was less than $5 since the leather was left over from this other project.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Work on the house is progressing

I took Thursday and Friday off to work on the house. The routine was not much different then before spent the first three mornings painting the basement walls and now can cross this off my list. I still have 2/3 of the north basement wall to paint but that will have to waiting until I repair and paint the floor along the walls I just finished.

The unfinish wall section in the basement.
When the floor is done I brought heavy duty shelving to put up along the east wall. I have a finished sewing & craft room on the west side of the basement which is filled with all the boxes that belong on those shelves. I cannot even get to my sewing machines to do mending let alone make curtains for the living room.

Thursday afternoon I finished sanding the deck and brought a deck cleaner to clean and brighten the wood up for staining. It looks great. Now I need at three days with out rain so I can start staining it.

Friday and Saturday afternoons I started remove all the paint from the 2nd wall elevation in back of the house. My goal each summer is to remove all the paint off, fix and weatherize all windows, prime it, then caulk and finish it with the final paint coats. Since I am the only person doing all the work at my house I am very happy to be able to getting finish one small wall each of the last two summers and hope to finish this third one now. I got a good start last weekend. I plan to take two or three day off this week since the temperatures around here will be in the mid 70’s and make it must easier to wear a facemask, ear muffles, face shield, leather gloves, long sleeve t-shirt and pant. I wear all that when using a heat gun since I have in the past accidently burned myself with it.

Here is another safety tip if using a heat gun to remove the paint from your house. Make sure the gun is set to low heat when using it. If the gun is set to high and the paint has lead in it, the lead can vaporize.  A dust mask or a dust mask with organic filter will not block lead fumes. Please make sure your heat gun is set to low.  The treatment for lead poisoning is not much fun.  It does not just remove the lead it also removes the trace metals needed for a healthy body.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The House Projects

This weekend I spend most of my time putting up vegetables from the garden. I cut the two “Cheddar” cauliflower heads and filled two Ziploc gallon bags for blanching. I spent Saturday morning freezing the beans, cauliflower and broccoli. I also prepared beet greens for freezing and cooked the beets. I save some beets for eating this week but the rest of the beets were pickled and canned for a total of 7 half-pint jars. Sunday morning I made 7 pints of canned dill pickles.

After getting that job done I found time to put the first coat of paint on the northeast corner of the basement. Putting the first coat on the wall takes the longest since I needed to painting over all the spray-foam and foam-board insulation between the cement wall and first floor. The next three coats should be a lot easier since I one coat usually covers the foam.

The rest of the Sunday I spent sowing “Detroit Red” &“Detroit Golden” beets and “Chantenay” & “Baby Nantes” carrot. I used boiling hot water from the food processing to kill weeds in the stone paths. I used some of leftover flowers from Farmer’s Market to fill in holes in the garden and composted the rest.

I also had the back deck on my “TO DO” list. I have a small area on the left stair riser left to sand. One week ago the heat wave broke and I spent that Monday home working on the deck. My upholstery teacher lent me her Black and Decker Mouse sander. The sander has attachments which allow you reach in the tight areas. I got all the deck done in 8 hours last Monday with only small area left to hand sand. The weather is going do cool down after Tuesday so I might take more time off to finish it.

Area that needs to be hand sanded.