The temperature has taken a nose dive in the last couple of weeks. It's now in the low 20s (C), low 70s (F) most days and the nights are downright chilly.
In the garden we have raised a fine crop of the most enormous orb spiders you could ever wish to see. The one hanging out between the 4 x 4 and the planters in back has a body almost as big as the end of my thumb. She is humongous!
Tomato production has slowed way down, lots of green tomatoes yet, but we're down from two or three cupfuls of small tomatoes every day to a cupful every three days. Would you believe these tomatoes are the two inch runts I was too embarrassed to give away? They are four feet tall and would have taken over the 4 x 4 except I pulled runners out and put up a section of fence to hold them back.
The bok choi and kale I planted mid-August are growing well. What I can't understand is why seeds which did not come up in the spring when I planted them have come up four months later when I don't want them? There are young squash and melon plants just going nuts back there, from seeds which didn't come up in spring, or all summer. And as much as it hurts I will have to cut them off if I'm going to get any kale.
The Brandywine and Purple Prince tomatoes have produced a bushel of tomatoes. Several tennis-ball-sized Purple Princes and Brandywines are turning red, and hopefully will be ready in a few days, but unless we get some warmer weather a lot of these last tomatoes will be pulled green. I'm thinking fried green tomatoes, which is never a bad thing.
I have primarily been busy drying more food. I got through that 20 pounds of plums, dried a large spaghetti squash, and did 15 more red, yellow and green bell peppers. Peppers are so easy to dry, simply wash them well, cut into pieces about an inch wide and an inch or so long and put them in the dryer. They look like jewels when they are dried.
Late yesterday I dried four trays of Russet potatoes, one tray grated, one tray diced in 1/4" cubes, and the rest sliced into quarter moon slices about 1/4" thick. I scrubbed the potatoes, sliced them into four pieces and cooked them about 3/4's done. After they'd cooled I grated, diced and sliced. I treated each bowlful with about three tbs of water with a tsp of Fruit Fresh dissolved in it, and I sprinkled a bit more on the tatties after I had them on the drier trays. They dried really fast and did not discolour at all, despite looking yellow in the picture. It was taken under the kitchen light, so the light balance isn't right.
I have never dried potatoes before so I am using some in a recipe to see if it's worth doing more. They are a lot more work intensive than most of the fruit and veggies I have dried so far, though slicing them is the least work, and if these are okay I would slice any more that I dry, and forget about the cubes and grated ones.
I tried my new toaster oven out by baking some chili cheese cornbread to accompany the pinto beans and yams I cooked for dinner a couple of nights ago. There are two meals fit for a King. Pinto beans and potatoes and pinto beans and cornbread. Two wonderful recipes follow. Cornbread was a staple in our house when I was growing up. This chile cheese cornbread is incredibly delicious!
Chile Cheese Cornbread
• 1 cup cornmeal
• 1/3 cup all-purpose non-gluten flour
• 2 tbs sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup shredded cheddar or jack cheese
• 1 egg, beaten
• 1 cup buttermilk
• 1 can chopped green chilies
Combine dry ingredients, including grated cheese; add beaten egg, buttermilk and the chiles, mixing well. Pour into greased, heated 8-inch or 9-inch baking dish. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.
And this is the one I'm trying my dried potato slices in. We love these, they are soooo delicious.
Potato and Pinto Bean Enchiladas
* 1 lb diced or sliced potatoes
* Olive oil
* 1/2 pkg Taco spices
* 1 medium onion, minced
* 1 15 oz can (drained and rinsed) or 2 c. cooked pinto beans
* 1 dozen corn tortillas
* 1 cup salsa
* 1/2 c grated cheddar or jack cheese
* pitted black olives
* 1 avocado
* juice from 1/2 lemon
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* salt to taste
* Louisiana hot sauce to taste
Dice the potatoes and put them in a pan with boiling water. Simmer for 5 minutes and drain. Put the oil in a large skillet and heat. Add the onion. Cook onion until it's transparent and add the potatoes. Cook until the potatoes have browned. Add the pinto beans and cook for 10 minutes. Mixture should be fairly dry. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Fry each corn tortilla in a tsp of oil and as soon as it cools, place a spoonful of the bean and potato mix inside and roll it up. Place side by side in a baking dish.
Spoon salsa over top of enchiladas, sprinkle cheese on top. Scatter black olives on top. Put in microwave for five minutes or in hot oven long enough to melt cheese.
In the meantime, open the avocado, remove the pit, and scoop out the flesh into a bowl. Add the garlic, lemon juice, salt, and hot sauce. Mash together until well mixed.
To serve, place a spoonful of Guacamole and a dollop of sour cream side by side on top of each enchilada.