Friday, August 28, 2009

Peach Cobbler

I had another batch of excess fruit. This time just peaches. I had recently baked a peach berry pie so I thought this time I would bake peach cobbler. Again, a first for me. I had no idea cobbler was so easy. The recipe is from Better Homes and Garden.
This came out great! I will definitely do this again, next time I will add a little freshly grated nutmeg.

David Makes a Pot Maker:)

I saw a pot maker on the internet and recognizing it as a lathe-turned item, asked my husband to make one for me. Two hours later, voile!
First, take a strip of newspaper, non-shiny paper, double-thickness with an overhang of about 1 inch and tape in place.
Fold the ends over and place in bottom part of potmaker. Now twist.
Now you have a pot ready for seeds or transplants. I love it! This will help me share my seedlings that I need to thin out, with friends. I will also be able to start seeds indoors with reduced cost. Maybe my $62 tomato will turn into a $0.62 tomato.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009



Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Crazy Cuisine;)

What are ocas?

An Excerpt from Eco Farm:

Ocas (Oxalis tuberosa), grown commercially in New Zealand where it is known as Yam, is a tuber root crop from the Andes where it is a staple food, second only to potatoes.
Ocas belong to the Wood sorrel family.

Why grow ocas?
They are very easy to grow, give good yields, and are delicious to eat. And they even make a nice decorative border, with lots of flowers in late summer and early autumn!
They are still relatively unknown in Europe and are not grown commercially outside their native Andes, except in New Zealand, but this is starting to change. Dennis Cotter, of Cafe Paradisio fame, gives a few recipes for them in his last book "Wild garlic, gooseberies... and me", so they are a good crop to start growing now.
They store very well throughout the winter. Tubers left on a shelf in a shed were still perfectly edible in April, and grew when planted.
They are desease free, and you can save your own tuber seeds from year to year.

How to grow ocas?

Ocas are very easy to grow. They don't suffer from blight and seem to be very disease and pest resistant. The only thing required to grow oca is patience: they need a long growing season as the tubers don't start growing before the Autumn equinox. For that reason, they may not be suitable in areas where there's early frost, as this will kill them before the tubers have properly developed.
Ocas are basically grown like potatoes, although they are more shade tolerant, and in fact, will do better in partial shade. Plant them out after the last frost, at 40 - 50 cm spacing and at a depth of 5cm, and wait. After a few weeks, small stalks with clover like leaves will appear. Give them a weeding once they are big enough, and after about two months, earth up the stalks (this is optional, but recommended as it increases yields). That's all there is to do until the first frost kills the plants in November or December. Wait for about a week after the plans have died, then dig the tubers up. If you don't have early frost, let them in the ground till early December for the biggest yield. You can pluck a few leaves throughout the summer to add to your green salads.
Yields are on a par with that of potatoes.

I parboiled these ocas for 10 minutes then tossed with olive oil, S&P, placed on cookie sheet in broiler til cripy. The flavor is the most complete of any root vege i have tasted. No seasoning needed. This vege, native to S. America, i am sure will do will in Central Texas. I want to learn to cultivate this species.

How to eat ocas?

Ocas are very versatile vegetables.
They have a slightly tangy taste and a delicious crunchy texture when raw. It is a good idea to leave them in the sun for a few days once dug, as this sweetens the flavour. The texture gets more floury, and the flavour sweeter, once they are cooked. They can be used raw in salads, stir fried, cooked in curries, stews or soups, steamed (and served with butter or honey) or brushed up with olive oil and roasted (the best way if you ask me). Oca cooks more quickly than potatoes or even sweet potatoes, so checki early on if they are done.
There's no need to peel them, just wash them (which is easy thanks to their slightly waxy skins).
The leaves can also be eaten and make an interesting addition to a green salad (although you shouldn't eat too much of them as they contain oxalic acid

More info can be found at this link.


Friday, August 21, 2009


Shopping at a warehouse store when you have a small family takes some problem solving. I love the fresh fruit and the prices at our local Costco. The only problem is finshing all the fresh fruit before they go bad. I thought I had the perfect solution. I would swap fruit with my friend who also goes to this store and has a small family. Even then, I still felt rushed to finish the fruit so instead of enjoying the fruit, it was more like a chore. An idea struck, why not pour the fast-ripening fruit into a pie crust and call it dessert! I had 6 peaches and about 2 cups of very, very ripe blueberries and raspberries. I searched All Recipes for a pie recipe with these ingredients and came up with this recipe. I re-named it for my purposes:)
This recipe came out runny so I would suggest adding maybe two more tbs of flour. It was a perfect combo of sweet and tart, especailly with vanilla ice cream. Will definitely save this one!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Kohlrabi is a root vege in the cabbage family. Also known as a cabbage turnip, this root vege is a cool season crop. I will be planting these little-known veges this fall and am looking for interesting recipes that include them. They are frequently sliced and used in salads but I think they have more potential. In this blog post, Rosa Jackson, a Canadian transplant in Paris, shows a unique version of a classic Rosti recipe.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Craftiness Update

This fountain pen is made of cactus set in resin. This pen blank is very rare and only one person makes this type of blank. The cactus shows well against the black background.
David started making bookmarks with scraps of material that are left after projects. I use one now and love it:)
The real reason why I need a fence around my vege garden. Cute but impish for sure.
And her accomplice!
The owner of the two afforementioned vege garden enemies, helping me install drip irrigation.
One of two blackberry vines, Kiowa and Brazos. This one is showing new growth at the tip, notice the lighter green color than the older leaves. These vines would have enjoyed more growth if I would only remember to fertilize them more often, need to keep better records.
A promise of an onion in 106 days.
Germination!! This is huge:) I have in the past failed at germinating seeds because I didn't do the homework on how to germinate properly. I would just dig a hole with a hand spade, drop a seed I purchased from the wrong source at the wrong time, water once in a while and wonder why nothing happened. Need to read up on gardening if you want to be successful. Still have a long way to go but already feeling successful (cross my fingers). This one is Fortex Snap Pole Bean from Johnny's Seeds.

This is Black Jet Soybeans.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


The Ein Shemer apple tree took on a mystery pest. I couldn't guess what would want the non tender leaves of an apple tree. Later that day I spotted a grasshopper on the other tree. I think I found my mystery pest. He seemed to move on, too quick to catch by hand.
The Golden Dorsett is doing great. I got him at a big box store and am not dissapointed.
The butterfly garden is very sturdy. It has survived being trampled on by the tree guys that cut down our Arizona Ash tree. I thought it was destroyed but it never really died down, just bruised. It came back quick. The Esperanza is native to Texas and the Plumbago is at least an adaptive species that is found in warm climates. Both are very hardy and attract bees and butterflies which are great pollinators.
Here are five raised beds with drip irrigation installed. There are more beds around the corner. I filled them with good quality Hill Country garden mix from the Natural Gardener.
Here was an empty spot I put an impromtu bed in. I have extra soil and a bunch of bricks that weren't doing anything. It's a shallow bed, I think I will plant chives here.
Here is the original vege garden, this will mostly be herbs but also I have room for left over seeds. The herbs from last year have survived nicely.
The lemon grass really loves this spot. I will plant potatoes in this large pot. According to Garden Plot 41, they grow well in pots.
The Xeriscape in the front yard has matured nicely. It has only been in for about 5 months now. It takes very little water and has hidden an eyesore which was once a dying, struggling patch of grass that couldn't take the heat.