Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Recipe Archive: Asian-Style Plum Sauce

from
Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry
Recipes and Techniques for Year-Round Preserving
by Cathy Barrow

"Late-season plums, arriving at the end of summer, are dusky and deep, dark violet, with golden, sweet flesh. When cooked, they turn a deeper purple with reddish under-tones, like garnets. This is a very versatile sauce. Bright and fruity, acidic, and eye-opening  with the surprise of heat from the chile, it’s wonderful with Spiced Pork Chops, mixed with hot mustard for dipping spring rolls or dumplings, or stirred together with fermented black beans and brushed on grilled tofu. Just one jar has the potential to bring many new flavors to the table."

1½ cups (12 oz., 340 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
¾ cup (5 oz., 138 g) granulated sugar
¾ cup (6 oz., 180 ml) cider  vinegar
1 cup (4 oz., 110 g) finely minced onion
1 medium jalapeƱo pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped 3 garlic cloves, minced
1½ tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns
3 pounds (1350 g) late-season or Damson plums, pitted and chopped into ½-inch dice

full recipe in The Book Stall

Recipes and Techniques for Year-Round Preserving
by Cathy Barrow
W. W. Norton & Company, 2014
Recipe Archive
Farm Kitchen
Plums
Cookbooks

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Home Grown: Planting Fall Wildflowers



Native wildflowers and their cultivars — yellow goldenrod, purple asters,  golden sunflowers, and dusty rose Joe Pye — are not only attractive flowers, but provide nourishment for an amazing variety of butterflies, moths, and other insects.

Fall wildflowers are particularly outstanding at attracting adult moths and butterflies, which lay eggs that hatch into larva (caterpillars). The larvae provide a high-protein source of food for many birds, particularly warblers and neo-tropical migrant birds of conservation concern. Birds are very good at keeping populations of these insects in check, so it is a good situation for all.

Some flowers that bloom in the fall are tall, up to 2 to 6 feet or more, depending on the species and cultivar, and in a garden these work best at the back of a flower border.

Continued in... Planting Fall Wildflowers

Home Grown
Plants and Seeds
Growing Guides
Artwork: Aromatic Aster Seeds


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Book Stall Review: The Illustrated Guide to Cows.


Written for backyard farmers and smallholders interested in pasturing cows, this book describes some 50 breeds and their temperaments, giving basic advice on selecting animals and their husbandry. Nicely illustrated, the volume is certainly not encyclopedic in its coverage, but is rather more a friendly homage to keeping cows.

"Cattle are one of the most undemanding and rewarding domestic animals to keep, being in the main healthy and temperate. They are the smallholder's staple, providing the essentials of milk and beef. There are numerous breeds to choose from...," author and illustrator Celia Lewis explains.

A practical volume with useful advice on how to milk a cow, acquire stock, feed, tan a hide, and even make a cow horn, this handsome guidebook will make a decorative addition to the ranch-style decor of any living room or library.

How to Choose Them, How to Keep Them
by Celia Lewis 
Bloomsbury USA, 2014
continued in The Book Stall
Reviews Archive
Animal Husbandry Books
Outrider Reading Group

Monday, July 20, 2015

Home Grown: Planting a Second Crop


It may be midsummer, but you can make it spring again in your vegetable garden. Don't let the summer heat cheat you out of more fresh vegetables. Go for two crops this year.

Gardeners across much of North America generally plant summer vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, squash, sweet corn, southern peas, snap beans, cantaloupes and eggplant in March and April and finish the harvest around the middle of summer.

Much of the continent has a subtropical climate, however, and that means another round of summer crops can be squeezed in before the first frost in  mid-October or November.

Continued in... Planting a Second Crop

Home Grown
Home and Garden Center
Growing Guides
Artwork: Kentucky Wonder Beans

Monday, July 6, 2015

Home Grown: Sun Protection for Tomato Skins

The sun's rays are tough on our faces and arms, but we can wear sunscreen to reduce the damage to our skin. Tomatoes don't have that option. Exposed to bright sun, the fruit can heat up dramatically, reaching temperatures as much as 18 degrees warmer than the surrounding air.

Sunscald damage to your tomatoes depends on their stage of maturity, and the intensity and duration of the heat. The fruit is most susceptible when it is green or when the first pink color begins to show (called the breaker state).

If the fruit's temperature exceeds 86 degrees Fahrenheit on its sunny side, the flesh remains hard and will not ripen. At this temperature, the fruit can't produce the red pigment, lycopene, but still produces the yellow pigment, carotene. At a sizzling 104 degrees, the tomato stops producing carotene and the damaged area turns white. Damaged cells eventually collapse and the area may become sunken.

Continued in... Home Grown

Home Grown
Home and Garden Center
Tomatoes
Growing Guides
Artwork: Better Boy Tomato


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Home Grown: Trellis Home Vegetables for Better Fruit, Bigger Harvest

Trellising gets the plant and fruit up off the ground. This makes for better quality fruit and less disease. It also helps maintain order in the garden and makes harvesting easier.

For tomatoes, some people simply put cages over the plant to support it as it grows. Another method is to drive a 1-inch- square, 4-foot stake into the ground by each plant and tie the plant to the stake.

If you have a long row of tomatoes, you can set a large post at each end of the row and again about every 20 feet within it. Attach a wire across the top of the posts and about 4 inches above the ground. Use twine to tie each plant to the wires for support.

Continued in... Home Grown

Home Grown
Home and Garden Center
Plants and Seeds
Garden Tools
Artwork: Cucumber Trellis

Monday, June 1, 2015

Recipe File: Chocolate-Praline Cake in a Jar

Chocolate cake by the pint.

Adapted from Chocolate & Vanilla by Gale Gand, one of the country's most high-profile pastry chefs, this may be the ultimate portable cake.

Pour the batter into 1-pint canning jars and bake them in the oven; then pour in praline topping, let them cool, screw on the lids and go.

full recipe in The Recipe Archive

Chocolate and Vanilla by Gale Gand.
Recipe Archive
Farm Kitchen
Chocolate

Artwork: Pint Mason Jar