Thursday, September 30, 2010

Stinger in the Eye!

Well, first things first... my honey man has had something in his eye for the past couple of weeks and has gone to the doctor twice about it. They finally sent him to Kingston yesterday to get the serious eye treatment. He had actually been stung on the eyelid several weeks before but it took awhile for the stinger to work its way through to make contact with his eyeball. There it was, scratching away and causing all kinds of grief. He's so happy to have it out of his eye he was singing during breakfast.
I also have more photos of honey bees on flowers. The white daisy like flowers are wild asters which are all around us now and looking lovely. The bees and wasps like them a lot and are partying together as they get drunk on nectar. The mint is still flowering too and attracts a lot of attention from the bees.
This mysterious machine dangling from the tractor bucket is my new hammermill. I bought it on ebay back in the spring and it's taken this long to get a new motor and a switch installed. It's for chopping and grinding the herbs for our teas and seasonings. I haven't actually been able to use it yet but it is now installed outside under a tent so we don't fill our house with herb dust. It will make our lives so much easier- hooray!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Good Food

I recently made this tomato pie from a cookbook which is so well loved in my family we call it 'the book' in hushed tones. It's 'Simply in Season' recipes that celebrate fresh, local foods in the spirit of More-with-Less. I grew up on the wholesome food from More-with-Less and was delighted when I received 'Simply in Season' as a gift from my mom. My mother-in-law is the one who started calling it 'the book' and we all enjoy our different favorite recipes. It's available at all Ten Thousand Villages stores and the Ottawa Mennonite Church has an annual Ten Thousand Villages sale for the month of November. I also love all the Edna Staebler classics - 'Food That Really Schmecks' etc. - especially for the chatty writing style and the liberal use of butter. Anyway, here's the recipe for Plum Tomato Goat Cheese Pie:

11/2 cups/375 ml whole wheat pastry flour
7 Tbs butter
cut together until crumbly

1/3 cup/75 ml extra sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
3-4 Tbs water
1/2 tsp salt
Add and mix until dough just comes together, adding more water if necessary. Turn onto floured surface and quickly bring together into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 min. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface into a circle about 15 inches/38cm in diameter. Wrap pastry around rolling pin and carefully lift onto a greased baking sheet.

1 egg yolk (lightly beaten)
3 Tbs dried bread crumbs ( I grind stale bread in the coffee grinder)
2 pounds/ 1 kg fresh plum tomatoes (sliced thick)
Brush most of yolk lightly over pastry. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top, then arrange tomato slices so they overlap in a circle, leaving a wide border.

4oz/125 g goat cheese or feta cheese (crumbled)
Scatter over top of tomatoes. Turn edge of pastry in over tomato filling and brush with remaining egg yolk (mix with a little milk if there's not enough egg left). Bake in preheated oven at 350F/180C until pastry is golden, 30 min.

2-4 Tbs olive oil
handful of fresh basil leaves (chopped)
Remove pie from oven and drizzle with olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper. Scatter basil leaves on top of pie and serve.

This was a big hit with the adults around here but the kids still insist they only like pumpkin pie. I'll post that recipe once I make one. I made my colourful cole slaw to go with the pie. It's just grated carrot and purple cabbage with apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil and some toasted pumpkin seeds. I also season with salt and pepper although my kids don't like pepper and can tell if there's any in there so we add our own pepper.
The Open Farms tour was yesterday. I included this colour version of the logo since I designed it and I like the way it turned out. We had about 15 car loads drop by and tour our house and garden. That was less than we expected but was a relief since we were so exhausted from Milford Fair the day before - not to mention all the house cleaning all week. It's really nice to have a tidy house now though. I think we will do it again next year.
This photo of a praying mantis eating a yellow jacket is for all you people who are being bugged by yellow jackets this time of year.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Happy things

To start with today I have a special link. I found this amazing series about insects by Isabella Rossellini called Green Porno. This one is about the honey bee. They are all hilarious and I wish I had made them myself. She is brilliant! The way she uses paper is especially nice.
Also, this photo of bales of hay in a field of flowers makes me happy.
This picture of our display is at Vicki's Veggies annual tomato tasting which was packed with people all weekend. We had a great time - sold lots, tasted lots of tomatoes and saw lots of friends. I painted this banner a year and a half ago and am really enjoying it. I put grommets in the corners to tie it up. It's an old sheet and is painted with acrylic paint. I used a projector to enlarge my logo and some of my drawings of flowers and bees.
This lovely fuzzy plant is mullein which I use in all our lip balms, our queen bee's luxury lotion and some of our healing salves. It is wonderful for healing the skin and folklore has it that first nations people used the leaves as insoles in their moccasins when they had sore feet. The beauty of it is the leaves come in all foot sizes - you just have to pick the best one for you!