Category Archives: Vegetables

In Just Minutes, Clean The Seeds Out Of A Cooking Pumpkin

Time to get back to regular life.  I have been surprised at how difficult it has been to do things I enjoy. So a simple post to help get things rolling again.

Yes!  I said cooking pumpkin!  (My local farmer’s market is selling them for a dollar each.)  I don’t know if you could do the following with a Halloween pumpkin unless it was big enough to get your hand and the fork inside. Yup, fork! Besides the obvious, a knife, you need a salad type fork and spoon.  If you have a salad serving pair, that works even better.

Tools.

Tools.

Cut the head off your pumpkin.

Cut the head off your pumpkin.

Flip the pumpkin over and cut it in half. Once you're through the blossom spot you can usually wiggle the knife and pop the pumpkin in half.

Flip the pumpkin over and cut it in half. Once you’re through the blossom spot you can usually wiggle the knife and pop the pumpkin in half.

Drag the fork through the seeds.  They will start falling out with very little effort. You will leave behind nearly all the

Drag the fork through the seeds. They will start falling out with very little effort. You will leave behind nearly all the stringy stuff that is so hard to wash off.

This is what is will look like when you're done.

This is what is will look like when you’re done.

Scrape out the stringy stuff.

Scrape out the stringy stuff.

Now you get to use your imaginations!  

You know, make a picture in your head!

(In other words, I forgot to take a picture of the next step.)

Fill the bowl full of seeds with water and stir. The water will be orange, the seeds will float, and any chunky stuff will sink to the bottom of the bowl. Reach in there and scoop out the stuff on the bottom and dump the seeds into a colander for a final rinse.

There may or may not be a couple of orange bits still stuck to the seeds.  Your choice to remove them or not.  I'm not overly picky unless they're big enough to burn.

There may or may not be a couple of orange bits still stuck to the seeds. Your choice to remove them or not.  I took out those two pieces in the middle and ran the seeds under the faucet.

Now choose a drying method! Paper towels or real towels and dump the seeds out to pat them dry.

I like to dry mine on flour towels.  A spatula will take care of those sticky ones!

I like to dry mine on flour towels. A spatula will take care of those sticky ones!

Now pick your favorite pumpkin seed recipe, cook those seeds and enjoy!

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Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

I love these things.  They start disappearing as soon as they come out of the oven.  Eat them as your veggie with dinner.  Toast/broil some bread, add Garlic Paste, these tomatoes, top with cheese and put them under the broiler for a quicky bruschetta type yummy.  Saute some pasta with olive oil and garlic and at the end throw some chopped up slow-roasted tomatoes in and cook till they’re just heated through.  Put them in a salad.  I mean, what can’t you do with these?

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

from The Herbfarm Cookbook by Jerry Traunfeld

  • 2 pounds plum tomatoes (12 to 14)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh English thyme leaves

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.  Cut the tomatoes lengthwise in half and remove the seeds by poking them out with your fingertip.  Toss the tomato halves with the oil, salt, sugar, and thyme in a bowl.  Spread them out cut side up on a baking sheet.  Bake the tomatoes until they are slightly browned on the edges, the skins have wrinkled, and they have the texture of a soft prune, 2 to 3 hours.  The baking time varies greatly depending on the ripeness and juiciness of the tomatoes.

MY NOTES

  • You can use Roma instead of plum tomatoes.  Anything meaty will do.
  • You don’t have to use your fingers to get the seeds out.  A knife or narrow spoon will do.  Just don’t get scrape happy.  And if the seeds are loose, sometimes you can just shake them out.
  • I like to put all the ingredients in a dish and microwave them for 40 seconds to a minute to heat the oil and help the flavors infuse before I even begin cutting up the tomatoes.
  • Though fresh is always best, 1 teaspoon of ground thyme will work instead of fresh.  (Winter sucks.)
  • I like to double the ingredients so I have something to drizzle into the tomato halves.  However, the tomatoes won’t shrivel as much unless you cook them longer.  I prefer them less shriveled.
  • A wide slotted spoon is great for tossing and putting the tomatoes onto the baking sheet.  They’re slippery little suckers when oiled!
All cut up!  I left these sit too long after bringing them home from the Farmer's Market and some had started to go bad.  AND there was a WORM in there helping himself!  So that's why there are pieces of tomatoes in there.

All cut up! I left these sit too long after bringing them home from the Farmer’s Market and some had started to go bad. AND there was a WORM in there helping himself! So that’s why there are pieces of tomatoes in there.

Heated and stirred a couple of times.  I whisk briskly to mix as I pour since the sugar doesn't like dissolving in oil.

Heated and stirred a couple of times. I whisk briskly to mix as I pour since the sugar doesn’t like dissolving in oil.

Ready for the oven!

Ready for the oven! Yeah, I used more tomatoes than the recipe called.  It’s not like they’ll go to waste!

Two hours later.  They are just starting to brown.  I like them better like this.  Another half hour would see them with distinct brown edges and much more shriveled.  The flavor would be even more concentrated.

Two hours later. They are just starting to brown. I like them better like this. Another half hour would see them with distinct brown edges and much more shriveled. The flavor would be even more concentrated.  Cook them how you like them!

So how long do you think these will last at your house? 🙂  ENJOY!

Recipe Post for Saver of Bugs

Life here is still a mess.  But neglecting me hasn’t changed anything except make me even more miserable.  So I’m working on shoving things back in place for myself.  Recipe posts for Saver is an easy way to get back into blogging.

Here ya go, Saver:

Rich White Bread

  • 1   cup milk
  • 2   tbls. sugar
  • 2   tsp. salt
  • 2   tbls. shortening
  • 2   pkgs. active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (110 to 115-ish – just not hot)
  • 2   eggs
  • 5 1/2 to 6 cups flour

— Put shortening and milk in pan and heat till shortening is melted.  Add sugar and salt.  Let cool to lukewarm.

— Sprinkle yeast on warm water and stir to dissolve.  Add yeast, eggs and 2 3/4 c. flour to milk mixture.  Beat with a spoon until batter is smooth and sheets off spoon.  Or beat with electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.

— Add enough remaining flour, a little at a time, first with spoon and then with hands, to make a dough that leaves sides of bowl.  Turn onto lightly floured board, cover and let rest 10 minutes.

— Knead until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. Round up into a ball and place in lightly greased bowl; turn dough over to grease top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

— Punch down, cover and let rise until almost doubled, about 30 minutes.  Turn onto board and shape into a ball; divide in half.  Shape into loaves and place in 2 greased 9 x 5 x 3″ loaf pans.  Cover and let rise in warm place until dough reaches top of pan on sides, fills corners and top is rounded above pan.

— Bake at 400 degrees 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown.  Place on wire racks and cool away from drafts.  Makes 2 loaves.

Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Bread

  • 2  c. milk
  • 2  c. quick rolled oats, uncooked
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1  tbls. salt
  • 2  tbls. shortening
  • 1  pkg. active dry yeast
  • 1/2 c. warm water
  • 5  c. flour (about)
  • 1  egg white
  • 1  tlbs. water
  • extra rolled oats

— Warm milk and shortening in pan till shortening melts.  Add 2 c. oats, brown sugar, and salt.  Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm.

— Sprinkle yeast on warm water; stir to dissolve.

— Add milk mixture and 2 c. flour to yeast.  Beat with electric mixer on medium speed, scraping the bowl occasionally, 2 minutes.  Or beat with spoon until batter is smooth.

— Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough that leaves the sides of the bowl.  Turn onto floured board; knead until dough is smooth and elastic.  Place in lightly greased bowl; turn dough over to grease top.  Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Punch down and let rise again until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes.

— Turn onto board and divide in half.  Round up to make 2 balls.  Cover and let rest 10 minutes.  Shape into loaves and place in greased 9x5x3″ loaf pans.  Let rise until almost doubled, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Brush tops of loaves with egg white beaten with water and sprinkle with rolled oats.  (I usually skip bothering with the egg white and just use water.)

— Bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes.  (If bread starts to brown too much, cover loosely with aluminum foil after baking 15 minutes.)  Makes 2 loaves.

Shaping Regular Loaves

  • Turn risen dough onto board; divide and let rest as recipe directs.
  • Flatten dough with hands.  Then with rolling pin roll it into a rectangle.
  • Starting at the narrow side farthest from you, roll tightly.  Seal the long seam at the end well.
  • Seal the ends of the loaves by pressing firmly with the sides of your hands to make a thin, sealed strip.  Use care not to tear dough.  Fold sealed ends under.
  • Place loaf, seam side down, in a greased loaf pan.
  • You may lightly brush top of loaf with salad oil or melted butter.
  • Cover and let rise according to recipe or until doubled or until a dent made by gently pressing sides of dough with finger does not disappear.

Notes on Bread

  • When baking time is up, tap loaf lightly.  It should have a hollow sound.  If it doesn’t, put it back in the oven for 5 more minutes and try again.
  • Be sure to take the bread out of the pan to cool on a rack or it will get soggy.

Green Beans with Sour Cream

  • Can, Bag, or Fresh Green Beans
  • 3 to 4 Tlbs. of sour cream
  • 1 tbls. Parmesan or Romano cheese

— Cook and drain beans.  Add sour cream and cheese. (As you know, your dad prefers to double or triple the sour cream and cheese.  But this is the original recipe minus the sesame seeds that no-one would eat on the beans.)

Refrigerator Mashed Potatoes

  • 5 lbs. of potatoes (9 large)
  • 1 – 8 oz. pkg. of cream cheese
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 2 tsp. onion salt
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbls. butter

— Cut potatoes into roughly 1 in or so chunks and boil until chunks mash easily with a fork.

— Drain potatoes and mash or beat potatoes.  Add remaining ingredients and mash or whip to desired consistency.

— These will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

— If you want to make these ahead of time and reheat, place them into a 2 quart casserole, dot with butter and bake at 350 until heated through, about 30 minutes.

Old Fashioned Fudge

  • 2 c. sugar
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 1/3 c. cocoa
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tlbs. butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

— Combine first 4 ingredients in pot and cook at medium heat until a little dropped in cold water forms a firm ball that does not dissolve.

— Pull from stove, place on trivet and add butter and vanilla.  DO NOT STIR!

— Let cool 20 minutes and then beat until fudge begins to go from glossy to dull or flat looking.  Pour quickly onto a greased or lined plate or into a greased 8 x 8 pan if you want to cut into uniform pieces.  Enjoy!

Fur Babies and Other Critters

Not my idea of comfortable, but Stitch is happy.

Not my idea of comfortable, but Stitch is happy.

Out In The Yard

Our header today is:

A bumble bee enjoying the blooms on a White Profusion Butterfly Bush.

This is a Psithyrus, a cousin of the Bumble Bee, enjoying the blooms on a White Profusion Butterfly Bush.  They are the ‘cuckoo’ of the Bumble world.  The Psithyrus Queens invade the Bumble Bee nests and ingratiate themselves into the colony.  Once they are accepted they kill the Bumble Bee Queen, who stands very little chance because of the heavy armor of the Psithyrus. She then takes over the colony using the Bumble Bee workers to raise her Psithyrus babies.  Note the shiny, hairless, armored abdomen.  This is one way to help tell the difference between the Psithyrus and the Bumble Bee.

Night All!