Sunday, August 8, 2010

No Meat and 3 or The Return of Bambi

My absolute favorite dinner is a fresh vegetable plate with good cornbread. I really don't require any meat main dish if I have got great sweet corn and fresh tomatoes. When not available at home I am always on the lookout for that Mom and Pop cafe that offers a meat and 3 menu. You know, pick your meat and 3 veggies served with cornbread and sweet tea.

This should be available at my house but I can't seem to get that garden going for a ready supply of fresh veggies. Of course, I am surrounded with farmers markets and roadside stands with other folks' produce, but I want my own. Just as I was thinking that we had scared away the raccoons sufficiently that my small garden would begin to produce, just look who is back!

That's right, I woke up one morning and who is standing in my yard? Bambi's mom. And just exactly who does she have with her? That young stud, Bambi, of course? I suppose she is explaining to Bambi exactly why it is, that even though the forest is full of lush vegetation, the real treats are behind that low, chicken wire fence....That's right, you can lean right over and nibble to your heart's content!

Can Thumper and Flower be far behind?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Perils of the Summer Garden or Gardening With Twins

I have always wanted to be a gardener like my father. Unfortunately, I am opposed to hard labor and will go to great lengths to avoid anything that requires exposure to heat and humidity. For the last 2 summers I have forced myself into the glorious outdoors and begun dabbling in home grown produce. Mother nature has somehow sensed my lazy nature and has gathered her off-spring to conspire against me.

Last summer the deer ate all my tender new plants flat to the ground. By the time I had replanted, with addition of a chicken wire fence, it was too late for much of a harvest. This Spring I started with renewed vim and vigor. I soaked the okra seed overnight in water as I remember my father had said to do. Everything sprouted beautifully. I had huge leafy squash plants covered with blossoms. I actually harvested several yellow and small butternut squash plants.

Suddenly I began to notice the squash blossoms were all lying on the ground! What was the culprit? They seemed to be neatly snipped off but there was no sign of a cutworm or other insect. I posted an alarm to my FaceBook status but got nothing but sympathy, no suggestions. I then posted to a garden discussion page, received several suggestions for killing various insects.

Imagine my terror each morning as I hopefully crept to my garden, cuss words flying as I found newly snipped blossoms! I was in despair. Finally a FaceBook "friend" asked if I had raccoons, they sometimes bite off blossoms? Raccoons? Well, Duh! I live in the South, don't I? It was only a few days later when I spotted the Twins climbing the stairs to our garage apartment:

Why am I so suspicious that these "precious" babes are the ones standing between me and my Master Gardener designation? Will I never grow enough vegetables for a single Southern style veggie supper? And will Mother Nature and I ever reach a truce? Tune in later to find out.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Emergency Recipes for the Harried Homemaker

When I got married, many long years ago, I along with other young women in the South spent a great deal of time and thought selecting our china and silver patterns. There was the good china as well as the everyday china to be considered along with the crystal, flatware and appropriate linens to be coordinated. I remember thinking that I would be giving elaborate dinner parties and entertaining in a fashion akin to Scarlett. Truthfully, I have entertained at my share of bridal showers, church circle meetings, bridge parties and a few elaborate receptions. But these aren't real life... at least not the everyday real life events that make up the majority of our lives. And there are special occassions that require special recipes. Those are nice to have. But most of us are just trying to get something on the table.

Everyone needs a couple of quick recipes and if your Mom or Grandmother hasn't shared these with you, then let me help. Here is a quick fruit cobbler recipe that I used many times as a new bride in the 60's

Quick Fruit Cobbler - 350*
1 stick butter or margarine - melt in 2 qt. oven-proof casserole dish in oven
2 C. fruit - heat with about 1/2 c. sugar in a sauce pan
1 C. self-rising flour, 1 C. sugar, 1 C. milk - mix all together to make batter

Now, pour the batter into the hot melted butter in the casserole dish
Next pour in the hot fruit, don't mix it all together, just dump it in.
Bake at about 350-400 degrees until lightly browned
Serve with some vanilla ice cream or Cool Whip

Here is the thing about a recipe like this. Proportions and temperature don't matter too much. These days I usually reduce the butter to a half stick, doesn't matter. Any fruit works and combining an apple that is past it's prime with the few blackberries the kids were able to pick, works great. Once I sliced up a green tomato into a cobbler to see what would happen and my family never knew it. They thought it was an apple pie.

Relax, don't worry. What is important is having a meal with your family!