Sunday, March 11, 2018


Its Springtime again, lets make lots of new plants.  I get lots of suggestions because people know I have a garden, and they want me to start some plants for them.  The biggest requests this year are Thai Eggplant, and Thai Dragon Chile.  Then also I have some interesting things people give me, like a French Cherry Tomato.  There are also things that I have grown previously that I wanna make more, like the Carolina Reapers.  And then staple foods like Carrots, Onions, and Potatoes.
I've got an amazing variety of garden plants picked out for this year.  Some are salvage from purchased products like Pineapples, and Potatoes.  If you get a Potato that sprouts (eyes), stick it in the ground.  The plume of leaves on the top of a Pineapple is the next generation of the plant, stick it in the ground.  Onions, and Garlic that sprout, stick them in the ground.  Vegetables that have seeming gone bad are sometimes just trying to reproduce, and grow again.  Then there are seeds.
Of course you can harvest the seeds from anything that you purchase, and plant them.  Or buy seeds that are packaged for sale.  You can even plant seeds of the stuff you find on the ground walking around your planet.  I've had varying success planting seeds from produce that I buy at the store.  For instance I got some Hatch Chiles last year, and tried to plant those seeds, but they didn't germinate.  I was very disappointed.  I have much better luck with purchased seed packages.
Stuff that sprouts sitting on you counter is very easy to grow.  This is a Potato that sprouted sitting on the counter.  I dug a hole, threw the potato in, then covered it up.  We've had a decent amount of rain lately, and I didn't even water it much.  One planted Potato can generate up to about 20 Potatoes.  If you let them sit, over the winter, in the ground, and grow another year, that number will exponentiate, 400 potatoes, LOL!
Onions, and Carrots are also very easy to grow.  I plant Carrots from seed, and they require almost no maintenance.  Pulling the weeds out of the area is the main task.  Onions from seeds are mainly the same except that Onions a perennial while carrots are evergreen.  Carrots will grow year round here in North Texas, but Onions will go dormant during the summer.  Onions will dry up in the heat, and should be harvested, and protected indoors, then planted again when the climate cools off.  Garlic is the same.  So, I'm getting a good early start, lets hope it doesn't snow in April...

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Reaper Madness

Went to Zestfest on Saturday to burn my face off.  I did indeed succeed.  A lot of the same vendors were there, but there were some I wanted to find, and not there.  Then there were some new vendors I am excited about.  Yellowbird is from Austin, and they brought some significant players to the party.  I made some Reaper Sauce last year, and I'm very attached to it.  Yellowbird has a couple sauces that reach up into the Reaper Realm, MegaScovilles, which are the Habanero Condiment, and the Ghost Pepper Condiment (Bhut Jolokia).  Then I found The Reapers at Mikey V's.  Whoa...  CaJohn's  has been at the upper end of the spectrum at Zestfest for years.  Their Execution Station is legendary.  Well, Mikey V's is a serious contender with Reaper Unleashed, and Texas Ex's which are beautifully excruciating, and well past the MegaScoville mark, excellent, five stars...  Reaper Unleashed is Reapers only, while Texas Ex's is a blend of seven chiles in the MegaScoville realm.  It's time to turn the heat up, the Reaper has arrived...

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Kosher Dill Sour Pickles

Been making my weird Pickles again lately...  I had a few people comment "I only eat Dill Pickles", and didn't want to try mine.  LOL!  Peeps...  Alright!  I'll make the Dill Pickles...  LOL!  Its been about 11 days since I started these.  At first they got this electric, or maybe florescent green color.  Now they are the Pickle Green color, but they smell awesome, and I can't wait to try them.  Maybe in another week they will be ready...

Turkey, Gravy, and Stuffing...

I've changed my Turkey process over the past few years.  I've got a need for Gravy, so cooking the Turkey in the smoker all the way won't work.  I'm still brining the Turkey, but to make Gravy I need the drippings from Oven Roasting.  So what I do is to Roast the Turkey to about 80% done.  Then let it sit at room temperature for a couple hours.  Right before the rest of the meal is ready I'll put it in the smoker for two reasons.  First to finish cooking the Turkey, and second to put a specific amount of smoke on the Turkey so that its smoky, but not blackened with smoke.  This one turned out great, sort of a Mahogany color.  I used Pecan wood to smoke the Turkey this year...
Reddish Brown, and the skin was eatable, kinda chewy, and smoky.  The Pan Drippings got routed a different direction.  First transferred them to a fat separator.  This lets you separate the fat from the pan drippings.  The Fat goes into a skillet to make a Roux for the Gravy.  I think I had about six ounces of Turkey Fat, and as that was heating I whisked in seven tablespoons of Flour.  Keep whisking until you have a smooth paste, that doesn't look oily.  Then I added the Giblet Stock I made with the Neck, and Giblets.  Whisk that in good, then add the Pan Drippings.  Whisk that together well, then add some more Chicken Stock, while whisking, until the consistently is what you want.  Add some seasoning to your taste, then what ever flavorings you like, pepper, herbs, chiles, and Giblets...
Stuffing is really easy.  I sauteed some Mirepoix, plus Mushrooms in Butter, plus Sea Salt, and Pepper.  In the meanwhile I Diced up some Artisan Sourdough Bread, and a pan of Jalapeno Cornbread.  Maybe 6 cups of bread between the two which becomes the "Stuffing".  When the Vegetation is well sauteed dump the breads into the pan, and mix it with the Vegetation while stirring in some Chicken Stock.  Once it is mixed dump all of it into a baking pan, and put it in a 350F oven for around 30 minutes.  Well, that only took about 8 hours...  Easy weeknight dinner...

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Lunch Salad

This is a fairly typical Lunch Salad that I make for work.  I decided to weigh it this morning.  LOL!  1.5 Pounds!  That is bigger than I expected.  Cabbage, Celery, Onion, and Tomato...

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Luffa Squash, and Winged Beans

With the help of some friends we have figured out that this "Vietnamese" Squash is really a Luffa Squash.  I've got plenty of advise from the Asians at work.  So, now I am picking them accordingly.  You don't want to let them get too big.  If they do get big then let them stay on the vine until they are fully mature for seeds, and the Loofah Fiber which is used like a sponge.  Definitely the weirdest thing I have evar grown.  Also maybe the biggest thing I have evar grown.  It's taking over the whole garden.
It's growing up the Trumpet Vine, and into the Chile Patch.  I was picking Carolina Reapers, and found Luffa Squash growing in the Carolina Reaper Plants.  Also picked a few more Chiles today.  I'm looking to make something a little less hot than the Grim Reaper Sauce.  I bought some Serrano Chiles this week, I guess I was needing to tone the heat down a little.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Pickling Jar Seal

This is an impromptu method I've been using to seal the top of the Pickling Jar.  By Pickling Jar I mean whatever vessel is free at the time I want to make Pickles.  This time the Pickling Jar is a 2 Quart Mason Jar, and the Lid this time is a 1 Cup Ziplock Container filled with water.  A lot of dedicated Pickling Jars have a stone that is  used to submerge the Pickles.  Molds can grow on the top of the Brine, and any Pickles that are sticking out of the Brine will get moldy.  So the method is to keep all the Pickles submerged.  Having a Pickling Stone is nice, but it only fits that one dedicated container.  My kitchen needs to be a lot more flexible so I can adapt to whatever container is at hand presently.  The One Cup Ziplock Container filled with water fill most of the space of the Mason Jar opening.  There is a gap that is large enough to let the CO2 gas bubbles out, but also small enough to prevent the Pickles, and other ingredients from rising to the surface.  This batch of Pickles is Cayenne, Garlic Cucumber Pickles.  Fresh Cayenne from my garden will put some fire in these Pickles.