Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dog Days?

Thanks for all the zucchini bread recipes! If you, too, are overstocked on zucchini, check the comments in my previous post. I've tested the first recipe, and it was wonderful! I was a little skeptical at first. The batter looked different than my former glutenized zucchini bread batter. But it baked up just fine. I still fear raisins, so I added some diced fresh apple instead.

The weather is unbelieveably comfortable in Indiana just now. Now is August. We don't do comfort in August. We do sweltering days of 90+ degrees, nights that never cool us off, and serious storms. Yesterday's high was 78 degrees. My thermometer read 58 degrees when I woke up this morning. Ahhhhhh.

I took advantage of the comfortable temps to do some yard work. I was at it for 12 hours. I still had an hour of daylight, but was too tuckered to continue. I cut brush. I pulled weeds. I used my push mower like a weed whacker and cleared out some big overgrown areas. I carefully pulled up miles of poison ivy vines. I wore shoe and socks all day long. That's a departure for me.

I'm a little stiff this morning. I expect the kinks will work themselves out when I begin "Operation Mulch" after CBS Sunday Morning is over.

To take a break from the heavy work, I picked some vegetables.

Jack: I have your beanstalk. You are welcome to climb it any time.

I have steamed beans. I have sauteed beans. I have pickled beans. I have canned beans. I have frozen beans. I have made bean salad. I like beans a lot. Good thing!

These are the tomatoes I've picked in the last two days. I hope this photo helps my cousin, Kathy, remember her Indiana roots. She and her mom introduced me to tomato pie. The two of us can polish off a whole pie by ourselves. Kathy lives in Florida now. Indiana tomatoes are much better than Florida tomatoes. And the tomatoes in my back yard are better than any other tomatoes in Indiana. No, I'm not biased!

My cherry tomatoes make the tastiest sundried tomatoes. When dried, Sungold tomatoes (the orange ones) are sweet like a dried apricot. But I like red and yellow ones, too. I think they are all pretty together. I put them on pizza and use them for a GREAT layered dip with goat cheese. When these tomatoes are done, I'll make some and post the recipe.

Here is my technique for drying tomatoes: I wash my tomatoes and get out my dehydrator when the 11:00 news starts. You don't need fancy equipment. I bought this dehydrator for $20, over 20 years ago.

I leave an empty tray as the bottom layer of the stack. I slice my cherry tomatoes in half and place them cut-side-up on the tray. I hold the filled tray over the sink and generously sprinkle the tomatoes with sea salt. When my trays are full, I put the lid on top and go to bed.

In the morning the bottom layer is done, or nearly done. I check all the trays, and put the done ones in a bowl. I move the least done tray to the bottom layer and put the lid back on. During the day, I check the trays several times. I take out the done ones, and leave the rest. When they are all done, I put them in a zip lock bag and store them in the freezer. They keep for years in the freezer!

Don't agonize over perfectly matching dried tomatoes. After I put them all together in a bag, they seem to even out in texture.

This is a Baby Bubba okra. It's a new variety, for me. It's more bush-like than stalk-like. And so far, it's a good producer. Good flavor, too! I pick okra every day because they ripen fast. I've used my okra in gumbo, and I've pickled some. It's also nice, steamed and cooled, on a veggie tray with some dip.

I'm going to dry some of these. They thicken soup. And the water I cook them in is positively gummy. I'm going to grind some dried okra and add a little to my bread dough. I can't use xanthan gum, and I hope this will be a good substitute. I'll let you know if it works. The weather is too good to come indoors for baking just now.

I've got chiles! Salsa soon!

Here's a visitor to my garden. The cool temps let the bumble bees relax. They slowed down enough for photo ops.

And here's the Lily of the Day: Surprise! They're Suprise Lilies!


Gluten Free Steve said...

Please share which recipe you tried for the bread! I'm headed to Southern IN this week - no time to make it up north to meet you, hopefully next time!

Gluten free Kay said...

Hi Steve,

Eat some Indiana tomatoes while you're here. If you can eat corn, try some of that, too. Too bad your time is limited. I'd take you to the State Fair.

The zucchini bread recipe I tried is the one in the comments (on the zucchini bread post) from His Tender Mercies. Here's the bad news: I think I'm allergic to baking soda. Can you believe it?! I'm going to try the same recipe with yeast and see if it works. Yet another science fair project . . .

Sarah said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my picture with my cousins. We really do have a great time together. I so blessed to have a sister and three cousins so close to me in age!

Rachel said...

Awesome photos of your beautiful garden produce and flowers, as usual. I have a new dehydrator so I am so happy that you posted about drying cherry tomatoes.

Vittoria said...

Kay, thanks for the visit. I LOVE your garden. In NYC I barely see green things but I can dream! *sigh* Carol over at Simply...Gluten free has a grain free zucchini bread recipe which I just remembered.

Ginger Carter Miller, Ph.D. said...

Hi Kay - that shallot salt you asked me about was a gift from gluten free Steve, but they also sell it at Penzeys, as well as the dehydrated shallots. I use those things ALL the time...

I wish I had your garden...or could come visit it and bring home a bag full of goodies. Growing season is about over here in Georgia...

Anonymous said...

Whoa! Thanks a lot for the tomato porn, Cuz! :o)

Claude found some (sorta) decent FL tomatoes the other day...I finally found a no-carb pie crust I like (using that almond cracker recipe I sent you,) so tomorrow is TOMATO PIE DAY!!! I still have to run out for fresh basil...and apparently gas, water and batteries since we have some big weather heading our way. *sigh*

Anyway, I thought you might be able to use this recipe for "Doritos" made out of Zucchini! (I hope you have a cheese that agrees with you.)

It's amazing the lengths we'll go to in order to satisfy those cravings, no?

Cousin Kathy

Gluten free Kay said...

Thanks, Cuz!

I'm really short on legal snack foods. I miss snacks.

I hope Hurricane Fay misses you!

Ginger - I'll have to take a field trip to Penzey's soon. In the meantime, I found some shallots at the farmers market. I think I'll try fresh ones (with salt) for now.

The Indiana growing season got off to a late start. And we seem to be cooling off early. I really hope my growing season lasts a little longer!

Rachel said...

Hi Kay:

I just tagged you for a meme about your five favorite kitchen tools over at the Crispy Cook if you want to play along. I'm sure the dehydrator makes at least your top ten list.