Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sonny's Real Pit BAR-B-Q

My husband and I frequent Sonny's Real Pit Bar-B-Q, established in Gainesville Florida 1968, and we enjoy every morsel of the the St. Louis Cut Ribs or the Bar-B-Q white chicken. This is real home cooked food and we also enjoy the friendly service from the staff.

These are the Senior Lunch Specials:  sliced or pulled pork, chicken, beef brisket and smoked turkey.  My husband prefer the Baby Back Ribs or the St. Louis cut Ribs.  The meat is served with two sidekicks such as baked beans, corn on the cob, green beans, and many more vegetable dishes.  The meal also comes with hefty pieces of garlic bread or moist sweet corn bread.

If your eyes are bigger than your stomach or you are hungry as a bear, a help yourself, all you can eat, salad is available.  Before you are seated, take a look and decide for yourself.

Sonny's also serve the best tasting iced tea with lemon in huge cups, no refills needed.  They even fix you up with a large Styrofoam cup to go and in this heat, it is a treat.  The tea comes with the meal but beer is also available at an extra price.

We talked to the manager today and he told us that the meals at the regular prices were just as large as the senior's.  Sonny's also provide for take outs:  call in and come and get it.  They also cater:  if you're going to have a big party and don't want to cook.  In addition, Sonny's also provides an attractive family meal served in their restaurant at a reasonable price.

The meals for the seniors are served Monday - Saturday between 1:00 and 5:00 pm.  This is quite fine, if you have a late breakfast and have things to do during the morning.  There may be fewer people eating at Sonny's at this time so linger and enjoy the meal.

Sonny's is a south east establishment, located in Georgia and Florida, but if you are in the neighborhood, check them out.

Drink water!
Thank you for visiting my blog.

Friday, July 25, 2014

My late July Garden

The grass is growing very nicely and greenly after we recently put down fertilizer with 16% nitrogen.  St. Augustine grass is greedy and thirsty and it has a tendency to travel.  My husband and I try to get up early in the morning and do some yard and garden work, but we must have coffee first.

We have just pulled up the corn stalks.  It's no need for them to sit out there and tempt the nematodes.  For a change, we had a good crop of healthy and full corn cobs.  I froze some of them after shucking, blanching, and cooling in cold water.  Some of the cobs weren't quite full so I cut the corn kernels off, blanched them too and put them into the freezer.

Since we have a year round garden, there is no time for solarization which takes too long, about six weeks under clear plastic to be effective.  Instead of solarization, I sowed black eyed peas to cover the areas that we have harvested.

The peas provide nutrients to the soil; the beans are easy to pick and shell; and freeze well.  It doesn't matter if we don't get any peas, the greens can be turned into green manure when the garden is tilled for the fall season.  It also prevents weeds such as the dollar weed to completely invade the garden.

The Sieva butter beans are producing a mega crop and we are picking as fast as we can, shelling, blanching, and putting into the freezer.  I also planted Mezcla pole butter beans which some say is a replacement for the Sieva.  In my blog, the jury is still out on the Mezcla.  They look the same as Sivea and the texture and size seem to be the same; however, tasting the uncooked Sieva, it is sweeter and Mezcla is nuttier and less sweet.

We are also getting a fair amount of green peppers.  I am told that if the peppers are cut lengthwise in strips, it may be put in the freezer without blanching.  I have done just that in previous years, but I prefer eating them fresh.  They do have a fairly long shelf life in the fridge.

A stray pumpkin also appeared in the garden and we let it grow.  I put a Styrofoam tray under it to keep it from rotting.  I just cut it in half, seeded it, and cut it into yet smaller pieces, and put them in a pot of water to boil them until soft.  I will remove the flesh, mash it, and put it into the freezer, and make pumpkin bread at a later date.

Tomorrow is another day and we plan to remove the tomato vines too.  Then we can turn the soil over in that garden plot and spread compost over the area.  Ah, that reminds me:  I have to turn the compost too otherwise it will mat because it consists mostly of grass at this time.  A gardener's work is never done.

Have a great weekend.
Drink plenty of water.
Thank you for visiting my blog.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

What to do with an Eggplant

Early this summer, I planted four plants of Black Beauty eggplants at the edge of a sunny garden.  I have always made Eggplant Parmesan where I have sliced the eggplant, added diced onions and peppers along with browned ground beef and tomato sauce.  I used the microwave oven to cook this mixture for about 15 minutes, added shredded cheese and microwaved for 5 more minutes.  This is a hearty summertime meal.

What else could I do with an eggplant?  I always slice the eggplant to soak in water to remove the bitterness.  This time, I added some milk to a beaten egg and prepared a plate with white flour, parmesan cheese, and grated bread.

In a large pan with heated canola oil, I deep fried the slices of eggplants after dunking them in the egg mixture and then coating them with flour.  I fried them on both side until golden brown and this does not take long.  The slices of eggplants are ready to serve when they are brown and soft.

I have used these slices of eggplant instead of meat and I have served them with oh, such sweet Sieva butter beans, also from the garden.  Slices of tomatoes also go very well with this meatless meal.

Since it is only the two of us, what do I do with the rest of the eggplants?  My granddaughter did not eat them while she was here but she helped me prepare a basket with the Black Beauties and peppers for her grandfather to take to the senior citizens at his Silver Sneaker's group.  They appreciated it and I did too.  The eggplants are not wasted.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pole Beans or Butter Beans

We didn't know what kind of butter beans we were going to get this summer:  pole butter beans or bush butter beans.  One thing for sure is that we wanted Sieva butter beans, also known as Carolina butter beans.  In the last few years, these particular butter beans have been difficult to obtain.  Some seed providers say it is because the beans were too susceptible to disease and/or nematodes and therefore have been replaced by Mezla butter beans.

This year, we are having a bumper crop of Sieva butter beans and we have picked, shelled, and eaten as fast as we possibly can.  We have been out there picking in the early morning hours to avoid the sun at its highest but it is difficult to avoid the humidity.

As soon as the beans have been shelled, the pot has been on for boiling water.  The beans will be frozen within hours of picking:  from the garden to the freezer in a short time.  So far, we have put three (3) pounds of beans into the freezer for use and enjoyment sometime during the winter months.

When the water starts to boil, I empty the bowl of shelled beans into the pot and let the water come to a simmer.  I then empty the water and the beans into a colander and let cool tap water chill the beans or at least stop the boiling.

Some people give the blanched beans an ice bath; that is, adding ice to a bowl of water, draining the beans, and then dunking the beans into the ice water to stop the boiling.  Go ahead, if you feel so inclined.

When I can comfortably handle the beans, I put them into quart size plastic bags and into the freezer they go.  It is a rather short process and what can be fresher?

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Peach Jam without Pectin

The other week, we went to the Farmer's Market and bought half a bushel of firm South Carolina peaches.  I had to leave the peaches out for a few days to soften.  My granddaughter helped preparing the peaches for jam.  She washed them and scrubbed them in tepid water and that was a great assist.

We got free stone peaches.  This means that when the peaches are cut in half, the stones are easily removed.  In other words, the stones don't cling to the fruit flesh.  It's the best kind to get.

Some people insist on peeling the peaches.  This is easiest done by putting the peaches in boiling water for about 30 seconds, chill immediately, and peel.  I prefer to use the peel in the jam.  It will be cooked and quite jammed up, still providing the most vitamins, fiber, and color.

My granddaugther and I made simple jam without pectin and here is the recipe:

7 cups of finely cut up peaches
2 1/2 to 3 cups of sugar
Lemon peel, finely cut, from 1 lemon

We let this cook for about 50 minutes.  Then we poured the jam into various clean jars, sealed the jars with hot wax, and screwed the tops on.

The granddaughter wanted to give some jars of jam to her parents, so we added fancy cloths onto the top.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hydro-Cooled and Waxed Peaches

When we recently visited the Farmer's Market with our granddaughter, we bought half a bushel of hydro-cooled and waxed South Carolina peaches.  I have not really paid that much attention to peaches but I asked the farmer if he had any (soft) peaches ready for making jam.  He shook his head and said that peaches like that wouldn't keep a day out in the heat.

The peaches in the plastic lined box did feel "hard" but I was assured that if I left the peaches out for a few days, they would soften up and be ready for making jam.  The hydro-cooled and waxed peaches lasted for five days and only one peach had to be discarded because of a minor bruise.

I understand that fruit waxing is not a new process.  The peach fuzz is first removed from the peaches by brushing and then they are partially waxed.  There has to be enough circulating within the peach to circulate and eliminate the natural gas but still retain its juice/moisture/water.

It is also my understanding that waxing will prevent, to some extent, water from the hydro-cooling process to enter the peach.  From "Harvesting and Handling Peaches" posted on line by the University of Georgia, "Hydro-cooling is popular because of its efficiency and speed."  It is 20 times greater than air, depending upon the relative flow rates of the water.  15 to 30 minutes is generally sufficient if the water temperature is 35 degrees F, the article states.

In the Southeast, the traditional method of choice is hydro-cooling.  During hydro-cooling, "Heat is removed from the pit and interior pulp to the surface by a process known as conduction and from the fruit surface to the cooling medium by convection."

There is so much more information available about pre-cooling and hydro-cooling in the University of Georgia article on the Internet.I found the article interesting and it explained how the peaches could keep so smooth and fresh while shipping and lasting several days at home.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Bird House Project

Our granddaughter continues to keep us busy with her swimming lessons, library visits, and in between we are doing arts and crafts projects.  While she was looking for something to do, she found a bird house kit in the hall closet and putting it together involved all of us.

First step in building a bird house from a kit is checking that all the parts are in the kit.  My young builder laid the roof, the floor, the sides, the screws and hinges out on the table and matched them up with the list in the instructions.

Next step was to decide what colors to use for painting the bird house.  The first page of the instructions had a drawing of the bird house and it was easy for our young summer guest to color with pencils.  This gave her and us an idea of the finished project.

I had plenty of various acrylic colors in tubes and small bottles that I had tucked away in a box.
The granddaughter was able to match the colors rather well with her planned colors with the exception of orange.  She had to make a change order:  she switched from orange to a bright yellow.  Other than that, she used bright bold colors.

Acrylics are durable for outdoor use for such a small project.  Another advantage with acrylics is that a small amount goes a long way.  Furthermore, it dries rather quickly and best of all, the cleanup is easy.

Continue to have a great summer.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Lemonade and Sparklers

The heat is on for the upcoming long weekend and a few refreshing drinks may be in order for us all.  The other day, we went to the Farmer's Market with our granddaughter and I gave her five dollars to figure out how many lemons she would get if she got five lemons for one dollar.  She solved the problem and we got home and made the following delicious lemonade.

First we made a simple syrup by dissolving one (1) cup of sugar and one (1) cup water.  We heated the water with the sugar and stirred until the sugar was melted.  We set aside the syrup to cool while we juiced the lemons.

We used eight (8) medium sized lemons to make one cup of juice. We cut the lemons in half and squeezed out as much juice as possible and we are saving the spent halves for other use much later.

Finally, we combined the juice and the syrup,  added four (4) cups of water, decorated with a sprig of rosemary, sweet basil, or mint, and poured over ice.

   How refreshing!

For a sparkler for adults, mix one (1) tsp of lime juice, two (2) tsp sugar, and 2 to 3 ounces (about 2 jiggers) of rum.  Add ice and stir, decorate with mint leaves, and top with club soda.  This makes one serving.

Enjoy the holiday and I don't have to tell you to drive carefully.

Be mindful about the weather.  Cover up and use sunscreens.

Be extraordinarily cautious with and around explosives and sparklers.

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