Mama Weinstein’s Bombay Burger…

So, on Friday, as we were having a family dinner, I made the best burger that I’ve ever made.  They were awesomely nummy-goodness-sex-in-your-mouth.

So, without further ado, here’s the recipe.

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seed
  • 1 tbsp tumeric
  • 2 tbsp McCormick’s Montreal Steak seasoning
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 3 eggs

Mix with your hands and pat into patties.  Grill on high until mostly done (bottoms are charred and cooked all the way thru).  Flip and grill for 3-5 more minutes.  If you want, add a slice of American Cheese for a cheeseburger. 20150627_120657[1]

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How to eat the whole radish. Recipes!

Let me count the ways I love radishes…

Ok, so I know most of you really don’t like ’em.  They’re small, strange, and spicy.  But…I recall them as the thing to eat when at a family gathering on my father’s side.  My grandparent’s house was tiny.  It was originally the stable for a rectory and not in a great part of town.  When converted, the first floor consisted of a living room, dining room and kitchen.  Sometimes, when the whole family came, the kids had to eat in the kitchen or stretched out along the wall, because we didn’t fit at the table.  Anyway, I digress.  There were two camps, the TV camp, with my grandfather in the living room, mostly watching things like “CHiPs”, and the kitchen, where all the women went.

Sometimes, we kids were allowed to watch tv on the 12 inch black and white in there, and then, oh, then, we ate vegies.  Alternately, we were allowed to hang out with the older ladies, because the really old ladies (my great grandmother and great aunts, hadn’t come)  Anyway, Radishes with salt, celery sticks, (also with salt) and the occasional (not really, my grandmother made this every time we came) sherbert punch.  O. My. Goodness.

So, I assocate radishes with happy times.  Because of this, and because my kids and husband *don’t* like them – oh the horrors!, and because they grow literally anywhere and are entirely edible,  I’ve been on a quest to make great radish dishes.  So, with that preface, here are two.

The radish bake.

  • Pull up your radishes. (Save the greens!  They’ll come into use later.)  I used about 12.20150612_112640
  • Clean and cut them into halves.  20150612_16125820150612_161302
  • Peel 4 carrots and slice them.
  • Put both into a baking dish
  • I added about 6 garlic scrapes and a few chive blossoms for color and flavor. 20150612_11305220150612_164226
  • Spray with Pam or add a couple of table spoons of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • I added (and the spicing here is completely up to what’s available in your garden) Rosemary and Oregano.  I’ve also previously used Thyme, Lavender, Marjoram, – use what speaks to you in the moment.
  • Cook covered at 375 for 30 – 45 minutes or until the radishes look wrinkly. 20150612_164717

Even the kids nummed this up!

And on to the second dish, for which, apologetically, I don’t have pictures, as we were all too greedily eating dinner.  Radish greens, so good for you and so … not known! And easy.  Did I mention this one was ridiculously easy?

  • 8 oz of ricotta cheese
  • 1-2 teaspoons of salt, and pepper to taste in the cheese.
  • Radish greens (for this, I mean the leaves without the stems) I took them off the central stem and roughly chopped them.
  • 3 sprigs of mint, rough chopped.

Mix up cheese, salt, pepper and mint.  Let sit while cooking greens.  Put 1/4 a cup of water in a frying pan and heat.  Add radish greens and cook, turning until *just* dark.  Drain. Add to mint and cheese mixture.  Mix and serve.  Ooo…so very good and good for you!!!

And who knew you could eat the whole radish?

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Sewing machine – some basics and a bit of a life ramble

It occurs to me, as I have spent the better part of my “time off” either sewing or reading since January, that sewing is fast becoming a lost art.  I’d like to be working with my kids to change this, but while they’re interested (read as have the patience to sew a 3 inch seam by hand in under 5 minutes), I’ve got to get some costuming done for our big event, and have a newly minted (and growing) teen boy.  He’s grown so much, in fact, since our last event that he doesn’t fit anything that used to be his.  Ergo, mom needs to sew him some new stuff.

A little background here – das husband and I used to run a business called Belt and Bodice, where he made the leather stuff and I made the clothing, for sale.  I’ve done a LOT of sewing over the years.  I was also the back up costumer for a renaissance fair.  Like I said, LOTS of sewing.  Much of that was done on a treadle.  I happen to like treadles better than electrics for several reasons.  They’re steel geared (never break on you) and can run thru pretty much anything you throw at them.  They’re also more controllable.   All sewing machines are driven by one of two things – a belt or a hand crank.  Hand crank machines were much more common in Europe and cities, so finding them can be like hens teeth if you live rurally.  They also tend to be expensive.  You’re much more likely to find a  wheel and belt driven treadle machine.

A word on treadles – in our previous lives, das husband and I used to regularly visit the local auction.  We’d buy cheap treadles and I’d rehab them for sale in the business  I can’t even say how many treadles have passed thru our house.  I can say, however, that at one point, I think we owned about 7…that number is now down to 3 and one hand crank.

Treadles are fairly simple to operate; pump the pedal, the wheel moves the belt, which turns the hand wheel, which moves the needle. The needle does the sewing.  Here’s a little diagram for you to look at. treadle diagram  If you are interested in these machines, there’s a very nice group of folks who mostly do quilting, but who also rehab machines at http://www.treadleon.net/  They’ve got an awesome list serve that can answer most any question and used to pony express machines across the country.

That said, most folks think electric when they think sewing machine.  I’m fond of the post war steel geared machines that, like treadles, are indestructible.  They were also the height of non-computerized machine tech.  Personally, I like Morse and White brand machines. Your mileage may vary if you end up getting addicted to sewing machines!  These are typically available very cheaply – just last week, I saw a knee activated post-war White with cams (discs you stick into the machine for a pattern) and a double needle (needed for things like jeans) for $50 in a local resale shop.  A similar, but modern, computer based machine with plastic gears will start around $300.

So now that you’ve chosen a machine, what do you do?  Well, you try to sew something.  Start simple.  Even so, you’ll likely mess it up.  Keep going – sewing is one of those places that even when you know what you’re doing, you still regularly mess stuff up.  Buy a pattern and follow the directions.  Take a class at your local fabric store.  Experiment.  Watch You-tube videos.  Try something new.  Like anything, sewing takes regular practice.  It’s frustrating, but proper prep (using pins, cutting things correctly etc) makes the actual sewing of the seams work right.

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How to make your own (cheap) grow shelves

Much of this post is a repeat from one I did a few years ago, but here, in the great, cold north, we’ve not even begun our starts yet because it’s been too cold.  So I give you how to make your own grow shelves, revisited:

What did we do?  Well, out of our stock of ridiculously random things in the basement, we pulled a single, lone four foot light fixture.  The other fixtures we bought from Lowes, to give us a grand total of 4 light fixtures.  They are called “T8”.  Each shelf needs two fixtures.  The fixtures must be on chains or some other system that allows you to raise and lower the lamps close (by close, I mean within an inch of the starter pots) to the pots.  If you don’t have two fixtures, some plant’s will get light and others?  Nada.

Then, we got 2  four foot long boot trays.  I got mine from my local Gardeners Supply (gardeners.com).  These make watering much easier if you don’t have the ability to let stuff drip; I don’t, my light shelf is in my kitchen and serves as a catch-all for much of the year.

Two cute, and much, much smaller, girls in a boot tray.

Pics..Each fixture has both a “warm” light bulb and a “cold” light bulb.  This doesn’t refer to the heat coming off the fixtures – this means that one has more blue coming out of it and one has more red.  The bulbs each give something to the plants and the plants need both ends of the spectrum to thrive.

I don’t get to plant out until mid-May at the earliest, so while I’m biding my time, albeit anxiously, I’m reliving past glory and trying not to make the same mistakes as previous years, wherein I started things in oh…February. These very early starts tended not to do so well – ok, excepting the 65 tomato plants (I had some little helpers spreading a lot of seed, lol).  The tomato plants that year ended up with blossom end rot, so it’s a good thing we had all of those plants – we actually got a few tomatoes!!!

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Where for art thou, oh my potato brush?

Potato brushes.  Everyone’s seen them and they’re in every grocery store in the continental US and Canada, right?

Sigh.  So I thought too.  But the lowly potato brush is nowhere to be found.  No grocery store in town has them.  Nor the hardware stores.  Nor the drug store…yes, I did look in my quest.  It makes me sad, as my best beloved, das husband, has, grumble, used mine in a way not intentioned by the manufacturers, and flattened most of the exterior bristles.  (This, IRL, is where I grimace, frown and scowl.)  He seems to have been in the one percent who had never seen a potato brush.  I know not how I will easily scrub the potatoes that I’ve grown without one.  I am wroth, cross and irritated that these once, ridiculously common brushes are no where to be found.

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Steig Tattler jar lids

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If you’ve never seen these, they are a re-usable jar lid that takes approximately 3 uses in order to break even.  In other words, if you used 3 metal, non-reusable lids, you’d pay for one of these.  I jumped into these about 3 years back with both feet, and though I’ve had a few stumbles, am finding them, overall, very worth the expense and extra bother of using them.  And, of all things, THEY HAVE A NEW BASE COLOR!  They’ve had other colors in the past, but you always pay extra for them.  The green is now a standard.  Squee!!!

The lids come in two sizes, quart and pint, and in two pieces, the plastic lid and the rubber.  You provide your own ring.

The pro’s: Never replace your lids unless broken or damaged.  YAY!!!  I have enough lids in the basement to never have to make the 9 pm run to the hardware store and find them walking away from the locked door.

The con’s: When you’ve canned enough to use all your lids into current circulation, you must buy more.  Also, they’re a little touchy to work with.  Not terrible, just different.

My experience with these says that they are better suited to pressure canning than to hot water canning.  The problem that arises with these jars is, that if you are not careful and do not follow the instructions exactly, lids don’t seal.  This is not a problem until you’ve tried to seal something twice and failed.  By then you are swearing and giving the lids the hairy eyeball, cursing the tar sands they rolled out of.  The answer is very simple.  Remove the lid and rinse it.  Put it back on according to instructions – tighten the lid reasonably tightly, they say “finger tight” – I say don’t try hard to tighten, because my “finger tight” is very different from say, my husband’s, who hammers rivets on an anvil at least 8 hours a week.  His finger tight is more like my “Thor has tightened this down and it must now be removed with Mjolnir” tight.  Which usually involves slapping said tight lid onto a rocky surface and then prying the dang thing off with a spoon…

Where was I?  Oh yes, anyway, if you can easily back the ring off the jar, you are usually good.  Tighten until you start to feel it stop.  Then back up a quarter turn.  Can them.  When you pull the jars out of the canning pot, don’t take the rings off!  Let the jars cool down until the next day.  THEN take the rings off.  If anything doesn’t seal, take the lid off, rinse an put it back on.  You may also want to run a clean, wet, paper towel over the glass sealing surface and try again.  If it doesn’t seal a second time, you may want to try a third, but this is usually when I give up and put it in the fridge.  If you’d like to continue, feel free!  When you are done, you get this goodness, all sorts of great looking jars on your shelves!  (These are beans, btw, which I’m doing in batches of this size from dry.  This is about a 4-6 month supply for us.)

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The new year, salsa verde and peppers…

Words of wisdom for the new year;  if you are making salsa verde because you couldn’t handle the super abundant supply of your tomatillos earlier in the year and froze your tomatillos until you had time to handle them…wear gloves when you seed the peppers!  Otherwise, you’ll spend the afternoon with your hand in a glass of vodka trying to get rid of the capsacium oils.  Ouch!  (Foolish foodie move here!). I used a close variant of this recipe, but she did such a nice job with the pictures, I didn’t feel the need to reinvent the wheel.

http://www.theyummylife.com/roasted_salsa_verde

This blog also has a brand new follower, lol, me!

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