FLOWERS IN THE GARDEN
For the past several years when planting my vegetable garden, I have been including some marigold plants along with the vegetable plants. A friend told me that marigolds would keep away bugs, so I was all for that. It turns out that this year there was some kind of bug that actually liked them because they almost got eaten up! But eventually whatever bug was out there moved on to greener pastures and the marigolds got a chance to make a comeback. Now they are absolutely gorgeous! I also like the fact that I can plant them along the soaker hose in areas where there aren't any vegetable plants. That way the water isn't going to waste. And they do attract bees to the garden, so that is an additional benefit. But most of all, they are beautiful!
|Marigolds in the garden|
A NEW BEER TO TRY
Even though I love my gin & tonic on the weekends, I also have a fondness for a good craft beer every now and then. I am always on the lookout for a new beer to try, and I especially like what the local craft breweries here in Yakima have to offer. There are quite a few breweries here and it seems like more are opening up every year. It may have something to do with the fact that 75% of the hops grown in the U.S., and a third of the hops grown worldwide, are grown right here in Yakima County. Hop Nation Brewery (click here for their website) provided the beer at the Wags to Riches fundraiser dinner a few weeks ago, so I had the opportunity to try out their beer. On our vacation trip to Leavenworth back in June we tasted some amazing IPA beers at another local brewery, Blewett Brewery. Ever since then I have been wanting to try out a Yakima IPA. I always thought that IPA beer was too bitter for my taste, and some of it is. But what we sampled in Leavenworth had my taste buds intrigued. So this week I decided to take the plunge and buy a 22 ounce bottle of an IPA, just to try it and see if I liked it. For this test I chose EGO India Pale Ale by Hop Nation Brewery, since I liked their beer at the fundraiser. Believe it or not, I actually liked this IPA very much! I don't know if the logo picture for their brewery influenced me any, but you have to admit it is pretty awesome. It is a red Phoenix Bird with a hop flower making up the body of the bird. If you live in the Yakima area, I highly recommend that you give Hop Nation Brewery a try.
|My new favorite beer|
|Hop Nation Brewery logo|
There was some excitement in the garden this past week. I checked on my little Hab plant one day and was surprised to see some flower buds popping out all over it! Even though they are still tiny, I was overjoyed to see those buds. I was skeptical that this plant would be able to produce buds since it got such a late start. However, after we got past the week of mostly triple-digit temperatures, it settled down and like the rest of the garden, got down to business. Here is a picture I took this afternoon and if you look really closely, you can see the flower buds. I may actually get some Zavory Habanero peppers after all this year!
|Little Hab has some buds!|
|First potato this year|
RECIPE OF THE WEEK: ZUCCHINI RELISH
If there is one thing I can count on each year to be an over-achiever in the garden, it is the zucchini plant. We are going crazy trying to keep up with eating what it produces. So when I saw a Facebook friend mention that she had just made some Zucchini Relish, I jumped at the chance to get her recipe. A big thank-you goes out to Linda Burkett, one of my friends from the Facebook rock painting group, Yakima Valley Rocks. She was gracious enough to share her recipe with me, one that was handed down to her from her mother. I so enjoy it when people pass on their family recipes. You know they will be good because they have usually been tested for generations. Since I had four very large zucchini staring at me from the refrigerator, I decided to give it a try this morning. In making this recipe I also got to use some Candy Sweet onions from the garden and also a few of my Banana Peppers and a California Gold pepper. Here is her recipe:
Zucchini Relish by Linda Burkett
10 cups zucchini
4 cups onion
5 Tbsp salt
2 1/4 cups vinegar
5 cups sugar
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp turmeric
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp celery seed
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 each or more red & green peppers, chopped finely
Grind or shred the 10 cups zucchini and the 4 cups onion, add the 5 Tbsp salt and mix in. Let stand overnight (I put mine in the fridge--Peg). The next day, drain and rinse in cold water.
To that add the rest of the ingredients and cook for 30 minutes. Let cool and put in jars.
Note from Peg on storage: Since I don't do shelf-stable canning yet, I always keep anything I jar up in the fridge or freezer. If you know how to do shelf-stable canning, you can absolutely use that method for storing.
This recipe smells wonderful while it's cooking. You probably won't be able to resist having a bowl-full of it as soon as it's done. Mine got done right at lunch time, so I added a nice dollop to the top of my salad. It was delicious!
|Making you hungry?|
It's hard to get a picture of Summer Girl doing anything other than lazing around this time of year. To her, this is the "Cat Days of Summer." At least she does vary her nap venue from time to time. Here she is after I woke her up from her afternoon nap beside the patio.