Tuesday, January 1, 2013

happy new year

new year harvest martinis 041

Jacob's Cattle bean chili

chili 057 I bought some beautiful dried beans at the Farmer's Market this past fall. The variety: Jacob's Cattle bean. They are big red, white and maroon beans that I plan to try growing myself next year. I cooked them up, with some of my canned garden tomatoes, into a rich chili today.


1.5 cup dried Jacobs Cattle beans (or any other type of dried bean)

1 onion
5 large cloves garlic
1 shallot
1 sweet red chili pepper, fresh
2 large dried chili peppers, crumbled, with seeds
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp crushed coriander seeds
2 tsp dried thyme
Salt to taste
3 Tbs bacon fat and/or olive oil

1 lb beef sirloin tips
1 qt canned tomatoes

Grated cheese (cheddar or Jack)
Chopped green onions

Rinse beans, then soak in water 2 hours. Transfer beans (and soaking water) to a Dutch oven, adding water if necessary to cover with an inch of water. Place covered Dutch oven in 250*F oven (or on low heat on stove top) and simmer 2 hours.

Chop onion, garlic, shallot and pepper. Add to large skillet with dried chilis, spices and fat/oil. Saute a few minutes to brown the onions, then add this mixture to the simmering beans.

Chop beef into 1/2 inch pieces, brown in large skillet, then add to the simmering beans. Add tomatoes then continue to simmer the chili for 2 hours, adding water if needed.

Serve topped with cheese and green onions. Or, make chili burritos by serving with tortillas, rice, sliced avocado, pickled Hatch jalapenos and sour cream.

Monday, December 31, 2012

garden plots in the snow

snow on my community garden plot IMG_0053 On this last day of the year, Skippy, Steve and I walked though our community garden plots and the adjacent fields and woods. We got about 7 inches of snow yesterday - our first real snow of the season. Everything was beautiful. Bright blankets of white, song sparrows and chickadees out and about, and lots of dogs and their people out enjoying it all.
snow at the water hole IMG_0072 winter song sparrow IMG_0065

tiny little sweet potato sprouts!

sprouting sweet potato 038sprouting sweet potato 024 sprouting sweet potato 042
About a month ago, I selected a couple sweet potatoes and put them in little bowls of water, hoping to get them to sprout. I put them on the floor by the heater, but since they got in the way there, I moved them to my plant shelf. Today I checked on them - sadly, no sprouts yet. :-(

Then later, as I was selecting a sweet potato for dinner from my basket in the kitchen, I found that one of these had tiny little sprouts! Yippee!!! I put this tuber in a bowl with water. Finally, I have a sprouting sweet!

I am guessing that this one sprouted because it was stored in the warm kitchen, quite near the oven. Maybe the room with the plant shelf is too cold for sprouting sweets? In any case, it is exciting to have one sprouting. As I learned last season, one sweet potato makes a lot of slips, and one slip makes a lot of sweets.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

garden christmas gifts - given and received

This year I gave, and received, a number of gifts made from homegrown garden produce or items to use in the garden.
wrapped gift 027
Dried herbs: This year I dried lots of my garden thyme, rosemary, sage, hot red chilis, and coriander seeds. I packed these in little jars (from Crate and Barrel) and used ribbon to tie on labels.
dried herbs 034dried herbs 038 dried herbs 019
Hand-decorated dried gourds: My brother-in-law found a fantastic source for the most creative decorated gourds I have seen. I love the tall snowman gourd that is now on my mantle! I'll add more photos and the source later.

Planting basket: My sister gave me a Smart Pot. Its a 10 gallon container made of a porous aeration fabric. (www.smartpots.com) I can't wait to try it.
smart pot
And, I received a stack of wonderful books! gift books 037

my on-line planting calendar is fixed now

Stan and Jan reminded me that my On-line Planting Calendar link was broken. So I have just now fixed it. It is exciting that it is time to start thinking about planting!!!

If you haven't tried this calendar before, its a piece of code I wrote that lets you calculate when to plants all sorts of vegetable seeds based on your last frost date.

Here's the link: Calendar link.

The link is also near the top of my sidebar.