We did not get our garden in this year because 1) Bil was just getting out of the hospital when it was time to till it and 2) we are putting in a new driveway to the barn and guess where it runs. Yep, right through the garden. So next year we will have to start all over in prepping the soil somewhere else.
For the last few years we had corn, purple-hull peas, squash, zucchini, okra, tomatoes, green beans, red potatoes, cucumbers, and watermelon, one of which weighed 27 lbs. Since I’m the only one in our house who eats these vegetables, a large portion of our garden was given away to friends, if they wanted them or not, and that was the most fun part about having the garden.
I was consoling myself for the lack of a garden by saying, well at least we will have peaches. Several of our peach trees are loaded. But the other day, when I went to check on them, one whole tree was stripped bare and about 50 peach pits were lying on the ground picked completely clean. I was very upset, to say the least, as the culprit chose the tree that produced the best peaches. People have told us it was coons or even squirrels. I hope they got a very bad tummy ache from their adventure.
Following are some recipes for you to try if you do happen to have a garden. If you don’t, you can always go to the Farmer’s Market that is held in front of the chamber office every Friday morning to pick up some good homegrown produce. .
My Icebox Pickles
(Here is my pickle recipe for those of you who have been so kind as to ask for it. I can eat a jar a week all by myself, if I don’t watch it. These are very tasty along side a good
• 1½ cups vinegar (I like apple cider)
• 1 cup sugar
• dash of salt
• 1 tbsp. mustard seed
• 1 tsp. celery seed
• 1 tsp. Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce
• small cucumbers (sliced)
• sweet onion (sliced) optional.
• Put the brine ingredients in a small sauce pan.
• Heat to boiling, then remove from heat and set aside while you prepare the cucumbers and onions.
• Slice up some cucumbers and onions, if using, and put them in a quart jar (you do not have to fill the whole jar).
• Pour brine with all the seeds over them. If there is not enough liquid to cover the cucumbers, make another batch of brine.
• Put a lid on the jar and refrigerate. These are ready after 5-6 hours of chilling time, but best the next day.
Cook’s Notes: For best results, get the mini-cucumbers at Sam’s. They come in a bag of about 16-18 in the vegetable cooler there. The big ole green salad cucumbers in the store are not good for this. When I had a garden, I grew Thai cucumbers for these pickles, but the ones at Sam’s work just as well. Use any small, thin skinned cucumber. Sriracha Sauce is found in the Oriental section of H-E-B. It comes in a squeeze bottle with a green top. The mustard seed and celery seed I get from the spice man that comes to Market Days. He has big jars of them for the price of what you would pay at H-E-B for just a few tablespoons. You can adjust the brine to your liking.
Cold Yellow Squash Soup
(From Patsy Light who says she makes this yellow squash soup several times a month. I’m definitely picking up some squash to give this a try this week.)
• Sauté 1/3 -1/2 cup chopped onion in 3 tbsps. of olive oil until transparent.
• Add 3-4 cups Swanson’s low sodium, non-fat chicken broth and 4 cut-up yellow squash (I cut the squash in length-wise quarters, and then cross-wise in small chunks).The amount of broth used is dependent on the amount of squash - less broth makes a thicker soup.
• Cook until squash is very tender.
• Remove from heat and let cool.
• Blend in batches in blender or food processor until smooth.
• At this point, add seasonings of your choice. Some people like a little nutmeg, I like Italian herb seasoning.
• Thin with a little more chicken broth, if needed
• Chill until very cold.
Cook’s Notes: My husband puts a drop or two of Tabasco in his when it’s served (which makes up for the lack of salt). Serves 4-6, depending on size of serving. This recipe also works well with zucchini.
My Creamed Corn
(For Linda S. who asked for this recipe several years ago. I make this when we have a large group of company over for supper.)
• Cut the kernels off 16-18 ears of sweet corn with a sharp knife or corn stripper. Be sure to go back over the ears and scrap out the “milk” with the back of your knife. You want as much of the creamy stuff as you can get.
• In a large skillet, melt one stick of butter.
• Add the corn and 3-4 tbsps. of water, just to get the corn cooking and to keep it from sticking.
• Once it is going good, add some half and half, maybe ½ cup.
• Keep cooking and stirring.
• As the half and half reduces, add a bit more until it all comes out creamy.
• Add 2 tsp. of sugar.
• Add salt and pepper to taste.
• Cook until corn is tender.
(From the late Getty Mayer of Victoria who gave my Mom this recipe decades ago. This is the only way my husband will eat zucchini. This bread has a nice texture that slices cleanly. Makes 2 loaves.)
• 3 eggs (I used extra large as that is what I had)
• 1 cup vegetable oil (I used Canola)
• 2 cups sugar
• 3 tsp. vanilla
• 2 cups grated zucchini, drained (about 2 large)
• 3 cups + 2 tsp. flour
• 3 tsp. cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp. baking powder
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• 1/2 cup chopped nuts
• Beat eggs.
• Add oil, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt.
• Mix well. Then add baking powder, soda and flour.
• Mix until combined.
• Add zucchini and nuts.
• Pour into two greased/floured loaf pans (I just lined mine with parchment paper and sprayed the paper with Pam).
• Let stand 15 minutes.
• Bake at 325 for 1 hour or until done (mine took 1 hr. and 10 minutes).
• Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing onto a cooling rack.
Cook’s Notes: I cut my zucchini in half and removed the seeds before cutting them up. Then I put the chunks in the food processor and ground them up pretty fine. Then I put the zucchini pulp into a fine strainer over a bowl and let it drain out the liquid while I mixed up the batter.