Planting Lemon Seeds

The other day I read something about growing different vegetables/fruits that you purchased, such as green onions, celery, ginger and a few others.  The one that piqued my interest the most was about growing lemons from seed.  My Meyer lemon trees were quite generous this year in the fruit they produced so I thought why not try using seeds from one of them.  And that’s what I did.

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I already had a few lemons that I picked a few days earlier, not sure if it’s going to make a difference that they were not fresh picked.

DSC_0781[1]I picked this nice bight yellow container for obvious reason…

DSC_0782[1]The article I read said to put the seeds in your mouth and suck on them until all flesh was removed from the seed.  Um…no.  Instead I rinsed them under water while using my fingers to remove anything from the seed.

DSC_0783[1]Next, I watered the soil in the container then planted the seeds about 1/2 an inch and covered with some soil.  One point they made several times was to not let the seeds dry out at any time as that could stop the sprouting.

DSC_0784[1]I finished it off by placing the container in a little dish, then covering with plastic wrap that I poked a few holes in with a toothpick.  I’ll put them upstairs with the other seedlings since it’s nice and warm, another tip they gave, keep them warm.

Nobody could really give a good germination time, it ranged from 1 week to 2 months, I’m guessing it depends on how warm they are kept.  So now I’ll try and be patient and see what happens.

 

 

 

 

Simply Sensational Seasoning Salt

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In my house I have several different homemade seasonings that I use for different purposes.  This particular seasoning salt I use pretty much everyday, except for beef (I have a different one for that).  When I measure each spice I do it by weight rather than teaspoon, tablespoon, etc…I find it to be more consistent each time.  A lot of the spices I use I purchase whole then grind myself.  To store, you can use a recycled spice container that has been thoroughly washed, or a glass jar with a lid.  I even make my own labels to get all creative and pretty.  The great thing about making your own seasoning salt, you can adjust to your own taste.  Want it more spicy, add more cayenne, not a fan of fennel (can’t imagine that), then omit, etc…

For the Recipe:

4 oz. sea salt

1 oz. garlic powder (not garlic salt)

1 oz. black pepper

1/2 oz. coriander powder

1/8 oz. cayenne

1/4 oz. fennel powder

3/4 oz. onion powder

1/2 oz. turmeric

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl then put them in a container.  How easy!!!

Enjoy!

Fa La La La La Falafel

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I don’t know what it is about falafel, but I love it so much.  It’s delicious, easy to make and very inexpensive.  I know some people use dried beans that they soak overnight, but I use canned and always have wonderful results.  Maybe one of these days I’ll use dried beans…

The first few times I made these they didn’t turn out.  The taste was fine, but they never cooked correctly, they were burnt on the outside and goopy on the inside.  My issue?  The amount of oil I was using to fry them, I wasn’t using enough.  Once I increased the amount of oil from trying to fry them in a skillet with just enough oil to go up the ball partway to using a heavy bottom pot with enough to be able to drop them in the results were exactly as they should be.  Nice and crispy on the outside and soft (not goopy and uncooked) on the inside.

For the Recipe:

1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

2 tbsp. onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1/4 c. cilantro, chopped

1 tbsp. parsley

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. cayenne, adjust to suit your taste

1/4 tsp. cardamom powder

2 tsp. lemon juice

2 tbsp. flour

Oil for frying, I use grapeseed

Put all ingredients, except the flour and oil, into a food processor.  Pulse a few times to get the ingredients mixed together just a bit, then add 1 tbsp. of the flour, pulse until the mixture looks like course meal.  You do not want it to be too moist or it won’t keep together when you form the balls/patties, add more flour to get it to a consistency you can work with.  Try not to over mix or you will end up with hummus!!  Once you have enough flour, let the mixture rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Heat the oil.  In order for them to be cooked properly on the inside the oil cannot be too hot or you will burn the outside and leave the inside uncooked.  They will need to fry for about 5-6 minutes and end up a deep golden brown.  Adjust the heat as you cook to make sure you get a nice result.

The falafel can then be used in a pita, on a salad or as is with some nice saffron rice.

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Today I used mine on a salad.  So delicious topped with some raita or a nice cilantro dressing.

Enjoy!!

A Little Weekend Gardening

This weekend was so beautiful out, there was no way anyone could stay indoors.  I decided to snap a few pictures of the progress my garden, it’s really starting to come alive.

 

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The flowers are coming out like gangbusters!!  Perennials, gotta love them…

 

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The remaining peas are still trying to grow.  Most were gobbled up by the birds, my procrastination did them in.  I kept saying I was going to go out there and cover them so the birds couldn’t get to them, but I didn’t.

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These beauties are my Chinese chives I planted last year in one of my herb boxes.  They are so tasty and really easy to grow, definitely give them a try.

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However, not all was good…this pile is all that remains of my beautiful artichoke plant. The picture on the right was from last year…sigh…..

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And what garden is complete without a purple flamingo?

How are your gardens coming along?

My First Terrarium

I must be getting antsy to garden more because I really had an urge to make a terrarium.  Yesterday while the twinadoes were at preschool I headed to the nursery to look at flowers.  I came across this area they had set up specifically to get you to build a terrarium, which included their $89 glass jar.  There was no way I was paying that much for a glass jar that looked like several others I already had at home.  What I would buy were the cutest ever little plants that were perfect for my project.

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Are these not the cutest little plants ever?  Their containers were no more than about 1 1/2 inches tall.  I could have bought even more, but I controlled myself.

So me and my little plants headed on over to pick up the twinadoes so we could head home to start our project.

What You Will Need:

  • some kind of clear glass container to house your terrarium, look on Pinterest for some really good ideas (I was originally going to use a 2 gallon glass jar, but changed last minute)
  • charcoal
  • sand or rocks
  • potting soil
  • plants, remember they are going to be in a moist environment so think ferns, succulents and those types
  • moss or rocks, if you want to put it on top of the soil for a little extra pizzazz

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First add the charcoal then the rocks on top.  Top with the potting soil, enough to properly plant your plants.

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Arrange and bury the plants.  Try to not disturb them too much once you plant them, they just don’t like that very much.  I set them in the terrarium, still in their pots, to see where I wanted them and how they would look before I actually planted them.

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I placed rocks on top of the soil, I’ve seen them without and they looked fine.  It just appealed to me.  Be sure to water, and the first time you can give it a little extra.  After that, just watch the soil to see if it needs watering.  Remember, the terrarium will retain moisture so you won’t need to water as much as say a houseplant out in the open.

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Tada!!  A terrarium.  It might look a little empty right now, but you need to take in account that the plants will grow and fill out.  I think I might make another one…

 

 

Chicken and Waffles…Oh and Some Maple Gravy…

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As many things as I’ve eaten in my life chicken and waffles has never been one of them.  I really don’t know why, I’ve had the opportunity but it just didn’t strike me as something I would like.  Boy was I wrong!!  Today I just got some idea that chicken and waffles would be good for dinner, and it was.

Normally I would make my waffles from scratch, but I had some of the mix in the pantry that needed to get used.  In usual Real Housewife style I did change it up, I substituted half of the water for buttermilk.

I asked my hubs if you were supposed to put syrup on the chicken and waffles or what.  And that got me thinking, it needed a gravy, but one with maple.  I’ve never made a maple syrup gravy so I was kind of winging it with how much syrup to add.  I didn’t want it to be super sweet, but I also didn’t want for the flavor not to be present.  The end result was soooooo delicious.

Let’s just say I will be putting chicken and waffles on my menu rotation.

For the Recipe:

Waffles, I used a premade mix

Fried Chicken:

1 whole fryer, instead of cutting into 8 pieces I did 6, then de-boned the breast and cut it into 1″ thick pieces

seasoning for the chicken, I just used a basic seasoning blend

buttermilk

2 c. flour

1/4 c. cornstarch

Oil for frying

Season the chicken well, put in a bag and cover with buttermilk.  Let sit for a couple hours.  Heat oil to 350 F in a heavy pot.  Mix the flour and cornstarch.  Shake off the excess buttermilk from the chicken and dredge in the flour mix.  Carefully place the chicken in the hot oil, do not crowd the pot.  Drain the chicken when it’s done cooking.  I placed the chicken in the oven on a baking sheet lined with paper towels on 315F to keep warm while I made the waffles and gravy, which didn’t take very long.

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For the Gravy:

4 tbsp. butter

4 tbsp. flour

2 c. chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, this amount gives barely a hint of heat

1/2 c. maple syrup, please use real maple syrup

In a saucepan melt the butter, then stir in the flour.  Continue stirring until it’s completely mixed and starts to turn a little golden.  Slowly add the chicken stock, be sure to stir while doing this.  Let the gravy thicken, about 4-5 minutes.  Taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper to your liking then add the cayenne pepper.  Reduce the heat to low and add the syrup.  Cook for a minute or two.

Now you are ready to plate up.  Place a waffle on a plate, next top with a piece of chicken, and drizzle with the syrup.

Enjoy!!

 

 

Cultured Butter

To be honest, I’m a big butter fan…the phrase “everything’s better with butter” has been said by me MANY times.  So when I read an article about cultured butter I knew I had to investigate further which then led to me attempting to make it at home.  With only two ingredients, heavy cream and either buttermilk or crème fraiche it seemed easy enough.  Though most of the reading I did led me to understand you could pretty much use any quality heavy cream with a minimum of 40% butterfat, most strongly suggested finding it from grass fed cows.  That is where I had to do a little hunting, but I did find it.  The buttermilk or crème fraiche, whichever you choose to use, should be very easy to find.

Chefs that make this for their restaurants have gotten quite creative in making their cultured butter.  Some put cheese rinds in the cream/buttermilk while it ferments, others infuse with herbs, and one covered his in ash for a week then washed it off.  This go at it I’m just doing the basic cultured butter, however, if I find this to be worthwhile I will get a little more creative.

For the Recipe:

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1 quart heavy cream, 40% or higher of butterfat

1/3 c. buttermilk

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Combine the cream and buttermilk in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit 24-48 hours.  I let mine sit for 30 hours.

WP_20140316_002After sitting it will start to get a little bubbly and smell a bit off, don’t worry, this is exactly what should be happening.

After the24-48 hours put the mixture in the bowl of a mixer.  I highly suggest using a splash guard because once the butter starts to separate from the buttermilk it gets messy.

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This is what the separated liquid looks like.  The butter will be able to be formed into a ball at this point.

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Time to drain the mixture.  Then give it a quick rinse.

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Next you will want to work in batches, forming balls out of the butter.  Squeeze out the buttermilk and rinse with extremely cold water.  You will want to give each ball several squeezes while rinsing to make sure you get all the buttermilk.

WP_20140316_007Look at that beauty!

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I ended up getting one pound of cultured butter from this amount.  Now, this probably isn’t the butter you want to slather your kids’ pancakes with, rather, use it where you will get to fully enjoy the taste.

Next time I am definitely experimenting, not only with flavors but also with regular heavy cream.

Enjoy!!