Friday, July 23, 2010

Baby It Is Hot In The Kitchen!!


Well I don’t about where you all are, but it is HOT and Humid here!

We live in the New River Valley,in South west Virginia. It is not supposed to be 90*  here! With all the canning I am doing, I am not cooking big meals! So it is salad time here at the Farm. I thought I would share with you some of my favorite summer salads.

Italian Summer Salad


Chopped romaine lettuce (however much you need for how many your serving,about 1/2 cup per person)

Tomato, chopped

Red onion, chopped

Mini Pepperoni

Small pepperoni

Chopped ham

Mozzarella or Provolone,cubed 

Black Olives,chopped

chick peas


Top with your favorite Italian dressing ( I like Newman's Own olive oil and vinegar)

This is very light and refreshing. The nice thing about it is you can have all of these things already chopped and in containers and ready to make individual  servings, for a quick fix!


Mexican Chef Salad

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1 lbs. of ground beef

1 onion chopped (divided)

chopped black olives

chopped lettuce

chopped tomato

chopped avocado

shredded cheddar cheese

corn chips

sour cream



Brown ground beef with 1/2 onion and drain off fat, season to taste with salt  and pepper. I like to cut everything up and let everyone put on their salad what they would like. I love this salad !  We eat this quite frequently. There is no right or wrong order, but I put the lettuce in the bottom and then the tomato,onion,olives,hamburger chips(I like mine crushed) cheese,and top with salsa and sour cream. You can add what you like,make it yours!

The orzo salad from a prior post is great to keep made up in the fridge. It is great to grab and go,because it has no mayo in it ,it travels well. Add cooked chicken to it or shrimp and  toasted pita bread you would have a complete meal .



Another favorite to keep made up in the fridge is good old cottage




add,chopped red onion,

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chopped cucumber,

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fresh tomato (I don’t mix it in, just chop and add to my bowl,as it will make it runny)

You can add green pepper if you like ,or jalapeños, Mix all together in a bowl and keep in fridge to eat on through out the week. I like to serve it with chopped lettuce in the bottom of the bowl and top with cottage cheese mixture and add tomatoes on the side. It is quick and so refreshing!

Most of the salads you can make up ahead, or all of the components of them and put them together as you need them. Even the hamburger can be cooked ahead and just heat up a portion in the microwave for your salad.

Steve, my DH is performing a wedding this weekend and the  young couple is so nice I wanted to do something special for them. I whipped up a batch of Almond Strawberry Biscotti, put some of my jams and a set of pot holders and dish towels in a basket and gave as a gift.

I love Biscotti and it is really easy to make here is my recipe:


Strawberry Almond Biscotti


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 fresh strawberries ,chopped fine
1 cup finely chopped almonds
3  cups confectioners' sugar
Combine the flour, eggs, margarine, sugar, vanilla,  and chopped almonds to form a smooth dough. Stir in the chopped strawberries.

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Divide dough into 3 equal parts and roll each portion out into a cylindrical log shape. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350ºF (175ºC).
Place refrigerated rolls of dough onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool then slice into 1/2 inch thick slices. 
Put cookies onto greased baking sheet and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes or until golden pics 183The cookies are very crisp when done.


These are delish with a cup of coffee!! Enjoy!

Stay cool, until next  time!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Canning Adventures Continue!



Have you ever tried peach salsa?

I think it is really good,It has that sweet hot thing going on! Imagine it on grilled chicken or on pork roast! It was really good just on chips !

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It turned out really pretty in the jar.


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The are very few ingredients :peachsalsa-01

6 cups Peaches and  2 Jalapeños chopped


1 Red onion chopped


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1 bunch cilantro chopped & 1/2 cup lime juice


2 to 3 Tblsp  honey



2 tsp cumin

Salt and pepper. I had some juice from fresh raspberries that I added about 1/4 cup. Combine everything in a medium size pot and bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Then place in prepared pint jars and water bath for 10 minutes. Yum!


I canned apples and they are so convenient to have on hand!

blog pics 166  They turned out nice and white in the jar. This year I added fruit fresh and lemon juice! Canned them in a medium syrup. They are ready to use in a pie or with pork for fried apples. I like to use them in a savory way by adding garlic and rosemary red onion ,salt and pepper. It really pairs well with chicken or pork.

One quart will make one apple pie, just make your crust (My favorite is in the prior post) drain apples and put in large bowl add about 1/3 cup flour and some cinnamon if you like and a pinch of salt, 1 tsp vanilla and mix all together and put in pie crust and dot with butter and then top with pie pastry and crimp and put slits in it and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake @ 425* for 40 minutes or until you see the fruit bubble.

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I wrap the outer crust with foil before baking and then take it off for the last 15 minutes so the crust does not brown too much.

You could make a apple crumble or a cobbler as well. It really cuts the work in half to make a dessert.

I also made some Black and Blue jam! It was really good! I mixed black berries and blue berries and ran them through a sieve,

blog pics 172 It was really kind of a messy job but well worth the effort! blog pics 177 Look at that color!

Black and Blue jam

9 cups of berries evenly divided(black berries/blueberries)

run through sieve and and have 3 3/4 cup pulp from berries

6  3/4 cups sugar

1/2 tsp butter

1 pouch liquid pectin

In large stock pot mix berry pulp and sugar together and cook on medium heat until sugar is melted . Add butter and melt . Bring  to boil, so that when stirred it does not stop  bubbling. Add the pectin and cook for 1 minute siring continually.  Take off heat and stir occasionally for 5 minutes. Dip into prepared jelly jars and place 2 piece lids and water bath for 10 minutes. Remove and place on counter to cool and seal. Enjoy!

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At this point I have canned 28 pints and 21 quarts of green beans!

I am sure well will get at least 2 more pickings off of the bushes.



Keep cool ! Until next time!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Had a Long break and I am Back!



I have taken a break from blogging ,but I am back!

I have been canning Jams,

pics 261  relishes and green beans.

I canned 15 pints and 7 quarts of green beans and that was just the first pics

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The corn is looking good this year and the tomatoes are almost ripe. That means the salsa making and sauces will be coming up! The cilantro is going crazy I have frozen 30 bunches of it and there is more to be harvested. I am going to try my hand at drying my oregano and basil this year, since  my darling daughter and son-in-law got me a dehydrator for my birthday.

We have kept our grandsons for 2 weeks this summer and had a blast!  Always have a good time with them.

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Our grandson Ryan reached another milestone of  turning 3 !!!! He has Lissencephaly, ,So for him to turn three is quite an accomplishment!pics 155

He is such a joy, I love that little boy!24911_1424348725896_1148077356_1261987_2488915_n

My family jokes that we  run a Bed and Breakfast,so this week we have my sister staying at Nana Nita’s B&B. Tonight for dinner I fixed Greek Bistro chicken and Greek orzo salad and for dessert Raspberry cream cheese Crostata ! Yummy I had some pastry in the freezer and some left over raspberries for jam making and I just had this moment of inspiration ! It turned out wonderful.


Greek Bistro Chicken


4 chicken thighs

juice of one lemon

1 tsp chopped fresh oregano

1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

1 clove of garlic grated

salt & pepper

2 Tblsp  olive oil

Put everything in a galloon sized ziplock bag and let the air out then squeeze all ingredients to coat the chicken well. Let marinate for 3 hours.

Now, I put the chicken in my rotisserie basket and cooked it for approximately 1 hour. If you don’t have a rotisserie then you could grill it or bake it in the oven until crispy.




Greek orzo Salad



1/2 cup red onion chopped fine

1 small cucumber chopped fine

1/2 cup black olives chopped fine

1 small clove garlic grated

1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese

1 Tblsp chopped fresh oregano

1 tsp rosemary chopped

salt & pepper

Juice of lemon and the zest of half of it

olive oil


Cook about 1 1/2 cups of orzo according to directions   then drain.

In bowl put in the lemon juice and zest, stir in olive oil to make dressing ,just enough to make an emulsion.

Add remaining ingredients and stir and the taste for salt .

You may add tomatoes if you like but I don’t like to because it will not keep as long . It will get  a little soggy.




Raspberry Cream cheese Crostata


Pastry for one pie (recipe for pastry at the end)

1 8 oz cream cheese softened

whipping cream

1 tsp vanilla or almond extract

2 cups raspberries (fresh or frozen) If frozen thaw and drain,If fresh mash and drain

1/2 cup strawberries chopped

1/3 cup almonds sliced


1 egg white beaten

preheat oven to 425*

Roll crust out in a circle and place on  parchment covered cookie sheet

( here is my trick on how to get pastry from counter to pie plate or cookie sheet)pics 099


Place rolling pin at the top of rolled pastry,

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Then roll pastry up on to rolling pin,

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after you get the pastry rolled onto the pin you then can pick up the pin and move it to where you need it.

In stand mixer whip cream cheese and slowly add cream until you get a (not runny) creamy texture , add flavoring of your choice,add sugar until you get it to your desired sweetness.

In small bowl put drained raspberries and strawberries and taste for sweetness add sugar accordingly .

In the center of the pastry spread out the cream cheese mixture and leave a 2 inch ring on the outside edge.

On top of cream cheese spread the fruit and then sprinkle with some of the almonds. Fold crust up an over fruit and cream cheese,you may have to kind of pleat it around to have it be a circle around it. Brush crust with egg white and sprinkle with sugar and remaining almonds. Bake in preheated oven  for 25 minutes or until bubbly .

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You could substitute blueberries or any other berries and it would be just as good!


Pie crust recipe (makes for a two crust pie)

12 Tblsp (1 1/2 ) sticks very cold butter(cubed)

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp kosher salt

1 Tblsp sugar

1/3 cup very cold shortening

6 to 8 Tblsp ice water


Put flour,salt sugar in bowl of large food processor and pulse to mix. Add cubed butter and shortening and pulse until it resembles peas. With machine running slowly pour in water in the tube until the dough begins to form a ball. Dump out on floured surface and roll in to a ball and cut in half. Flatten both out to disks and wrap separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. You may freeze at this point and use as needed.