Thursday, January 24, 2013

Today I picked some Brussels Sprouts from my winter garden for lunch. They survived the 25 degree F temperatures we had this month without any protection. The plant starts were set out in the garden on August 9, 2012. The sprouts will be steamed and served with butter, salt and pepper.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Last evening was Mexican food for dinner guests. I made three dishes: Enchiladas Rojas, Refried Beans and Spanish Rice. They were served buffet style with shredded lettuce. I had lots of leftovers that can be frozen and used at a later date.

These recipes are from my soon to be published cookbook Dad's Home Cooking, Traditional Recipes for Preparing Healthy Family Meals.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Its time to order seeds for this year's garden! I typically plant about 60 different garden vegetables that includes generally 12 varieties of sweet and hot peppers and 7 varieties of tomatoes. The first step is to inventory all the seeds that I have on hand from previous seasons and determine which ones are in sufficient quantities for this year's planting. I toss the few that are past the "use by" date. I try to buy in quantities that can be used by the "use by" date. Some seeds are good for only 1 year but most are good for 2 to 4 years. I then list all of the seed and mark any that I need to buy. I buy primarily from 2 different catalog seed houses, plus potato seed and onion plants from 2 more suppliers. Most of the seed I buy has been field tested to suit my marine climate. This is very important to plant varieties that will grow in your area. As an example I only grow "Maestro" shelling peas as they are resistant to enation and powdery mildew. Planting any other variety in my area will result in total crop failure. Since my area has moderate summer temperatures, I limit plantings to varieties that will mature in the shortest time possible. The seed catalogs provide the maturity dates so if I see a variety that has a 100 day maturity I don't buy it, but instead try to find something under 80 days or less. I always check the seed catalogs for new varieties that I may be interested in trying.

This year I needed to buy only 12 seed packets and I  have ordered 2 varieties of seed potatoes and 4 varieties of storage onions. Since the potatoes and onions are both "live", I gave both suppliers a "ship date" so the ordered items arrive at or near the time of planting. When to ship is important especially with onions as your planting latitude and time of planting is very important to growing successful crops.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Need something tasty on a cool winter day? One of my favorites is Caldillo (Mexican Stew) served with pinto beans and warm buttered flour tortillas. The stew and beans take awhile to cook so start 3 to 4 hours before serving.  Leftovers can be frozen for use later when a quick meal is needed. Both of these recipes are in my soon to be published cookbook Dad's Home Cooking, Traditional Recipes for Preparing Healthy Family Meals.