Saturday, August 18, 2007

Oh, Where to Begin?

First, I have to tell you about the great New Jersey peaches we bought this week! They were delicious and so juicy. I froze a bunch of them for a mid winter treat, but we really enjoyed eating as many as we could out of hand. To everything there is a season, and we take full advantage of all the fresh fruit summer has to offer!

I'm afraid I've neglected my blogging duties horribly in the past two weeks. But, alas, with working too much, the weather being so beautiful, the garden getting away from me with zukes and green beans, there just has not been much time to sit inside and ponder words. I have taken lots of photos, but just have not had time to sift through them and decide which ones to post.

Schoodic section of Acadia National Park

So, here goes - the saga of the past two weeks:

First of all, for those of you who requested it, I will post the "Zucchini Mess" recipe at the bottom of this post. Sandy asked if the pot next to the mess was brown rice, and yes, it was. I buy the brown basmati rice as I think it is infinitely more fragrant and flavorful than the plain stuff and here is how I prepare it:

I always prepare a double batch as it freezes wonderfully and since it takes 45 minutes to make a fresh batch, it's nice to always have some on hand at a moment's notice when we need some to go with another dish.

I use a large, shallow lidded pan, such as a 12 inch fry or sautee pan. The shallow size allows each grain to cook fully and I never end up with a sticky mess.

So, on to the recipe. Rinse 2 cups of brown basmati rice and drain thoroughly. In the mean time, sweat one large onion, finely diced in about 1 tbsp of olive oil. When onions are glassy, but not brown, add the drained rice and sautee for about 1 minute to coat the rice with the oil. Add 3 1/2 cups of canned chicken stock, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes. Turn off heat and uncover the rice to cool. When cool, fluff lightly with a fork. Simply reheat to eat or put in freezer containers in appropriate serving size and freeze.

This method has never failed to produce perfect brown rice for me.

With the weather being so nice, H and I have been hiking in Acadia, and this week, took a road trip to St. Andrews by the Sea in New Brunswick, Canada. We visited Kingsbrae Gardens, one of Canada's Top Ten gardens. It was beautiful and I look forward to visiting in each season. I got several ideas for my own garden, only on a much smaller scale! We had to drive through St. Stephen to get there and noticed that they had a large chocolate factory, but that's a trip for another time. We really enjoyed all the scenery along the way and look forward to going up there often. Pot sculptures in Kingsbrae Garden

On another note: H and I have been adopted!
When our sweet dog, Bailey, passed away two years ago, we said we were not going to go out and get another one. We said that our next pet would find us. Well, that's exactly what has happened.
About two weeks ago, I spied a little black cat running down our road, chasing squirrels or whatever happened to jump in the weeds. He disappeared and I wondered where in the world he came from as none of our neighbors had cats. I felt sorry for the little guy because I knew he was on borrowed time, what with the coyotes and foxes we had heard or seen.
Last Thursday, he came bouncing down the road again, meowing pathetically. I stepped out on to the porch and he came running over, rubbing on my legs and purring madly. I sent H for a can of salmon out of the pantry and fed the little beggar, as I could not stand the thought of this poor skinny thing being hungry.
We did our best to ignore him the rest of the evening, but he just mewed at the door, and since H was asleep in his life-sucking recliner, I thought I'd just let the little guy in for a few minutes since it was now very dark and I was afraid of the bigger critters getting him. He spent the rest of the evening snuggled up against me on the love seat, purring most contentedly. As I was getting ready to go to bed, I didn't have the heart to put him out, and besides, he was now on H's lap, purring and snuggling up to him. Boy was H ever surprised when he woke up to find this cat kissing him!!!
The next day, we had planned a road trip and would be away all day long, so I put the cat out (after feeding him the rest of the salmon), and while we were gone, we discussed our options about the cat. We could either leave him to his destiny outside (not an option), take him to the shelter, or take him in to live with us. We decided that, if he was still around when we got home, we would consider taking him in. We arrived back home and no cat was to be seen. Relieved, we sat down in the dooryard for our evening ritual feeding of the chipmunk, and within seconds, out from under the porch, comes "Midnight", which we had originally dubbed him. With much purring, rubbing on legs, and letting us scratch him behind the ears and on his belly, the little stinker weaseled his way into our hearts and home.

Spike, as he is now known, has been with us just a few days and, although we were never necessarily cat people, we have come to love this little ball of black fur, who simply loves to be with us. He follows us around the house all day, sitting when we sit and just wanting to be near us at all times. As I write this, he is sleeping contentedly behind me on the office chair. (Doing wonders for my posture, as I cannot sit back and slouch in the chair).

So, as you can see, it has been an exciting few days in our lives!
Life is good on the farm!

As promised, here is the Zucchini Mess recipe: Sautee 1 large, diced onion in 3 TBSP olive oil, when they turn glassy, add 3 large cloves of finely diced garlic. When the garlic begins to get fragrant, add the zukes which you have halved lengthwise and chopped into bite size pieces and a large, green pepper, also chopped into bite sized pieces. Stir and sautee for a couple of minutes. Add one large 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes, salt & pepper to taste, bay leaf, a few hot pepper flakes, about a tsp of chicken bullion and about a cup of red wine. Then add about a tbsp of dried oregano, fresh chopped parsley, if you have it, cover and simmer for about 1 hour. This is great served over the brown rice and topped with a bit of parmesan cheese. We sometimes also add a bit of smoked sausage for a heartier meal.


Sandy said...

Giddy,thanks for posting the recipe. I can't wait to try it.
Love the story of the little cat adopting you. How did his name go from Midnight to Spike??

kris said...

Hi Giddy - I've seen your name on Zoey's blog comments and came today to check out your blog. I love it!! Your flowers and photos are beautiful. What a gorgeous part of the country you live in. We just started kayaking this summer, so had to smile when I saw yours on one post. I'll be back - lots of good stuff here!
p.s. those peaches look soooo yummy!

Sissy said...

You are such a kind person! I love the phrase-lifesucking recliner!
We have one, too!!

Giddy said...

Midnight just didn't seem to fit his character. We found that he loves to play fetch with a yarn ball, much like a dog. H said he reminded him of "Spike", the bulldog from the Nancy and Sluggo comics.

Marie said...

I've already printed out the recipe. Can't wait to try it out.
I love those clay pot people. I'd like to try to copy it somehow. That will be fun playing around with the idea.... I wonder if I have enough pots. Who am I kidding?

Kerri said...

I loved your kitty tale...of course! :) What a little sweetheart he sounds, and is a very pretty fellow. He's a lucky cat to have found you two....pushovers for sure :)
I liked the "lifesucking recliner" moniker too...well named! We try to avoid our recliner!
I make exactly the same "zucchini mess" that you do, with a few very minor differences. I was just thinking about making it this morning actually, since we too have zukes coming out our ears. Cukes too. The brown rice sound delicious. I'll have to try that.
I'm making zucchini bread at the moment..or at least I will be when I can get off my toosh, away from this computer, and into the kitchen!
Your photos are such a delight Giddy. That coastline is's a feast for the eyes...and I want to go there!
And oh, those beautiful peaches! I need to go get some to can. We love home canned peaches.