Monday, August 21, 2006

If you're not busy September 5th...

PLEASE stop by and play our first R,S,C game of the season!

Yes, you read me right. Tuesday, September 5th will be our first game this year of Ready, Set, Cook! Rules are listed
HERE for anyone whose interest is even remotely sparked.

It can be a lot fun and I've had some really great "contestants". There are no prizes other than my undying gratitude so play for fun! Check out the archives for past games and you'll get a better idea of what I'm talking about. The first few games were a dud but eventually people caught on and I'm not ready to quit~I am a tenacious type.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Now what?

So, what to do with all that produce we bought? So far I have made more gumbo (can't ever get enough of that), fresh salsa, chili with an extra helping of veggies, the corn on the cob was your basic slathered-in-butter feast, cantaloupe was eaten as-is and with cottage cheese, and on the chopping block next is peach pie, a Georgia Cheesecake Pie, apple pie, breaded and fried squash, ratatouille, the acorn squash will be simply roasted, the baby yellow tomatoes are great in a salad and those cherries are just fine as is.

We had the angel food cake with freshly whipped cream and the shoo fly pie didn't last long enough for me to know exactly who ate it.

Click the linked words above for recipes and here are two more:

Fresh Salsa
Printable Recipe

3 large ripe tomatoes skinned, seeded, and chopped
1 small white onion chopped
3 garlic cloves minced
jalapeno or Serrano chiles (as many as you like) stemmed,
seeded, and chopped (or 1 small can of chopped mild green chiles)
1/4c. chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley
1 lime-juiced
1t. kosher salt
1t. sugar if the tomatoes are acidic

Combine all and mix well.
Allow flavors to blend for at least 1 hr.
Taste for seasoning and serve at room temperature.
Refrigerate unused portion.


Anne's Ratatouille
Printable Recipe

1 medium onion, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 T olive oil
1 small eggplant cubed
1 medium zucchini cubed
1 medium green pepper seeded and diced
1 can (15 oz.) tomatoes, chopped and undrained
10 mushrooms (white button) sliced
1 t each basil and oregano
1 t salt
1 T parsley chopped
1/3 c Parmesan

In a large skillet cook onion and garlic in olive oil until onion is translucent.
Add remaining ingredients except cheese and stir well. Cook on low, stirring once in awhile, about 25 minutes until tender and liquid has evaporated.
Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Serve warm or cold.

Monday, August 14, 2006

More Farm Markets

Our Wednesday trip was delicious, and Saturday's was every bit as good, only cheaper.

As I said, I hadn't been to produce stands for quite some time and I absolutely adore the Amish and Mennonite stands just west and south of here. I took off on Saturday with all the kids (hubby opted to stay home) and after a very roundabout trip that involved somehow winding up in Reading and quickly exiting North, we wound up back near Kutztown. The kids were “staaarving MOM!” and I really need the little girls’ room so we stopped at BK. Well, I’m not going to critique on this point so…as Thumper says “If you can’t say somethin’ nice…”.

After leaving there we headed south to look for a farm that had a roadside sign up and didn’t exactly find that farm but did find another, Newswanger’s. We stopped briefly and the kids were enthralled with the turkeys and roosters hanging about in the dusty yard and the two mutts that were “guarding” the farm. I picked up an eggplant for 45 cents, 3 loverly tomatoes for 1.25, a large cantaloupe for 1.00 and a zucchini for 35 cents. Not bad and I already know those veggies will taste far better than anything I can find in my city market.

We set off for home really but encountered another roadside stand, Burkholder’s Farm Market. The market is completely run by a large Mennonite family (extended) and had the best looking and cheapest produce I’ve seen in a long time. I bought 3 acorn squash for 1.00, a pint of yellow grape tomatoes for 1.50, a large red bell pepper for I don’t know what, a quart of black cherries for 2.00, 4 heads of garlic for 1.00, a LARGE raspberry angel food cake for 4.00, a Shoo-Fly pie for 4.00, and a beautiful yellow zucchini for mere pennies, I’m sure. After I got those huge bargains, (and there was so much more to choose from, I can’t begin to tell you) we went around the side of the building and got ice cream cones, 7 in all, for 25 cents each. Yep…twenty-five American cents! Had I not taken the kids to Death on a Bun, I would have gladly gotten them lunch at Burkholder’s. Not only were they serving 25 cent ice cream cones, they also had hot dogs for 25 cents and FREE corn on the cob and sodas! I don’t know how they do it but I certainly appreciate it! I couldn’t take such a large family anywhere else as cheaply. Add it all up, that’s less than $20 including the ice cream.

Aside from the fabulous foods they were selling, my older girls were charmed by the Pennsylvania Dutch they were all speaking, and simply adored their children. The little girls were wearing the most adorable dresses and the boys had suspenders and straw hats, absolutely simple and lovely. Those kids kept running to and from the soft ice cream machine and must have been filling up all day! They all looked so incredibly healthy, the men, the women, the children. I can’t imagine what they must think of we “English”. I suppose they are grateful for our business but I also think they are most likely glad to see us leave at the end of the day.

They also had for sale there the prettiest wooden outdoor furniture, ornaments and play houses. The craftsmanship isn’t likely anything you would find at Home Depot.

So, if you are at all interested, Burkholder’s directions are thus:

630 Topton Rd
Kutztown, Pa 19530

Going East of Kutztown on 222 turn right at traffic light and Arby’s (go towards Topton) Go approx. 2 miles straight thru crossroad to 2nd farm on right. Open Monday-Saturday 9:00 am to 7:00 pm

WELL worth the trip!

Monday, August 07, 2006

"Memorial" Day

I was able to get together with many of my family members on Saturday for Dad's memorial "service". I saw aunts and uncles I hadn't seen for over 20 years and met a cousin of my father's for the first time.

We all met at my oldest brother's home in Lansdale and though there were only 3 of us children there, it went really well. I felt like I hadn't been away from anyone at all and we all just sat and talked and laughed and cried.

My step-mom was there of course, and that was probably the hardest thing for me; I have never seen Joyce without my father. That sort of solidified the fact that he was gone. She had asked a bit ago if there were anything of my dad's that I wanted to have and I didn't answer at first. Giving her an answer and getting something from her that belonged to dad would make it all too real and I was still in, and wanted to be in, denial.

We had gotten around to talking about dad's shoes. For years he wore Chuck Taylors and those "Bobo's" as we all called them when I was a kid, were a source of great amusement for us kids. I asked Joyce on Saturday if dad had ever worn red ones and she said yes, he used to. I then asked if he wore high top or low top and she said both. It wasn't that I had forgotten, as I feared was the case, it was that I remembered, but I remembered all of those shoes. I recalled the black ones, the red ones, the high tops, the low tops; thankfully my memory wasn't fading as quickly as I'd thought.

Joyce asked if I wanted a pair and I told her yes, I did. She said she would clean up a pair and send them to me. I look forward to, and dread, the day that they are delivered.

My Uncle Earl, a pastor, was there and read several scriptures that he and dad had discussed shortly before dad's passing and shared some of his own experiences with other loved ones dying. It was good to hear about everyone again, Aunt Margie, Grandpa, Grandma. Uncle Earl himself has been sick with cancer for quite a few years and the thought was always that he would pass before dad. I sensed a disappointment when he talked that it hadn't happened that way. God's timing is perfect though, and although we don't all see it, He does know what He's doing. Earl may not be with us for too much longer and I'm so happy that I was able to see him again. Hearing him "preach" on Saturday was so reminiscent of the few times that we had attended a church he pastored in Hereford, PA.

My oldest brother shared a talk he had with my father, and had me read his memory he had written. I won't go into any of that now but when dad's memorial book is finished I'll share some things.

It was decided that my brother Jon would take dad's ashes to Six-Mile Lake in Michigan sometime in the near future and even though dad didn't specify anything about his ashes (on the contrary, her said he really didn't care where they went) I think he would like that. He always loved nature and was sure to place himself where he would be surrounded by it.

Dad's cousin was there with her new husband and she handed out a photo of dad that was taken at her wedding last year on dad and Joyce's wedding anniversary, June 26th. I was floored by it since it was so recent and all the photos I have are 10+ years old. I also told her it held some significance for me. When dad was setting off to his cousin's wedding (I am so ashamed that I didn't find out the spelling of her name--Eleanor or Elinore or something in between!) he emailed me as usual and let me know his plans. The email made me sad because dad sounded as if he were trying to explain himself "we're only going because..." ; I think he felt he had to let me know why he was going there but not coming here. I understood completely and never even would have thought of it that way. Canada is so much closer to where he lived,it made sense.

This is that photo. I know I'm partial, but I think he looks fabulous and I plan to frame it and place it somewhere very prominent.

There were so many photos shared; from dad's infancy to his last months, and many of them will be in his book. I really look forward to it.

I did take the food and to me it was nothing overly special but I made a point of taking my Gumbo since dad had really enjoyed it on one of his trips here. I have a feeling that he would have liked everything and hovered at the table a bit longer than the rest. I'm sure part of my love for food came from dad.

I hope he was there to see us all together, Joyce said over and over that he would have had a good time just sitting around talking with us all. Someday soon we'll all be doing that; a bit North of here.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Delicious Experiment

I love when thrown together things turn out so good that you must share them.

Yesterday my mother dropped off some lovely Portuguese rolls and a neighbor sent over Summer squash. I already had 2 large onions in the fridge that I was hanging on to for some odd reason and I got to thinking (not always a dangerous prospect for me).

Here's a rough recipe for what we just had for lunch. Someone (read; kids) ran off with my fully charged digital camera batteries and I couldn't get a photo.

2 large onions, diced
2 medium Summer squash, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 medium tomato-peeled, seeded and chopped (had that in the freezer)
olive oil
salt to taste
generous amount of grated Parmesan
oregano, basil and parsley-about 1 t each minced (from my garden)

Heat a pan over medium high heat and add oil, about 2T. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often until caramelized. Add squash and cook until soft. Add tomato and seasonings, simmer for about 5 minutes more and sprinkle well with Parmesan. Stir together.

Cut Portuguese rolls in half.
In another smaller pan heat about 2T olive oil add 1t Mrs Dash Garlic and Herb and add rolls, cut side down, and toast well. Remove from pan and set roll halves on a plate, toasted side up and spoon some of the squash mixture over each. Sprinkle with more Parmesan if desired.

We picked these up and ate them like open-faced sandwiches and they were SO good! The older girls and I ate them and the baby wouldn't stop hounding me for mine!

As for a name for clue. Almost a relish but not quite. Close to ratatouille but no go...any ideas?