Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Look out North Idaho Fair, Here We Come...

These are the pictures I wanted to post last night. The family garden is totally on its way. I shot the photo above from the back of the garden this time. You can really see the difference on the size of the corn. (double click pictures for a larger view).

We started a few strawberry plants this year and we are tickled to get a few keepers. We put them in the raised beds and the plants are bigger than we've ever had them before. Our goal is to train the entire raised bed with off-shoots this year. Next year we will cold frame them early and hope a for an early yield.

The extended Bent family is very likely to ritualistically sacrifice this straight-eight cucumber this Fourth of July weekend. It signals pickling season. Will trade pickles for jars!

We did a couple of varieties of broccoli with differing results. The Pacman variety from Park Seed appears to be doing the best (pictured above). It is slow to bolt. We planted another variety but it flowered and bolted in the center too quickly.

My award winning BBQ'd Jalapeno Poppers will be in ample supply soon. We have several plants that Sunny grew from seed that are loading up. She has a whole variety of peppers (about 100 plants) ranging from red hot chili peppers to sweet banana peppers.

I'm not much on cabbage, but I have to admit, I can't remember the last time I tried garden fresh cabbage, and these look awesome. I will be giving it a try in a few dishes this summer.

The Romas are always early but slow to ripen. I want to say this one will be red by July 11. We have a bunch of cherry tomatoes on too. It'll actually be a toss up between which variety ripens first, but one thing is certain...it will be soon.

Compare these photos to the photos in the post below and you can see the difference one week makes. (BTW, the photo above is taken from the exact same perspective from a similar photo in the post below for direct comparison).

Monday, June 29, 2009

Producing produce prolifically

I wish I had last weekend's photos of the family garden. It's amazing how its grown so much higher in a week. We have cucumbers (well one at least) that'll be ready this upcoming weekend. I'll bet we'll have a ripened Roma or two in the next week or so and the pepper plants are loading up nicely.

We ate a bunch of broccoli out of the garden last night and we've had countless green salads. And I had nearly forgotten just how good fresh steamed spinach tastes.

We have small harvest coming up soon, anyone have any canning jars they want to get rid of?

These photos were taken on Father's Day. Corn (In the back left) was knee high in these shot, but some of it is already waste high. The corn in the forefront is "baby corn." It is about knee high now.

I thought I would post these today and when Daisy Girl gets home with the camera I'll download last weekend's pictures a for comparison.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The garden is going crazy...

We weeeded our tails off this weekend in the family garden. It is growing like mad with all of this hot weather. We have some tomatoes and strawberries coming on and everything is flowering now. We are loaded with salad greens and spinach. Check out the slide show above that is a progession from April 1st to Saturday.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Let the party begin...

The beer is in the bottle and it's all up to nature now ... well, I guess it's actually been up to nature all along, but now it's all up to the yeast to carbonate and condition the beer. It will be ten days in the bottle by just in time for the "Taryn A Hecker Photography & Bent's Beer Garden's Inaugural Summer Cook off" Here on Facebook. You should should come if you have the time. It's all free and there is going to be some fantastic food, as well.

BTW, all my bottling pictures turned out crappy, so I just threw a bottle of Bloody Marion in the freezer to cool down while I write this so Daisy Girl can shoot a picture for this post -- plus I like trying these beers young. The flavors are defined and just starting to blend at this point. (Update: Man, that is a good beer. It tastes like it did everything I wanted it to do. Nice.)

I spent about eight hours bottling yesterday. I got 10.5 cases in all. I made 10 gallons of Telepathy, a nice and smooth European pilsner; 10 gallons of Apple of My Eye, an apple infused European Lager, a nice and light beer with apple notes that are not cidery tasting; but only about 5 gallons of Bloody Marion pictured above, a wheat beer (or hefe) infused with Marion berries. It's great summer beer and it's red bloody-mary-like tint makes it look pretty cool with a slice of orange floating in it. (Update 2: I need to make more of this right away).

This BBQ is going to be great, BTW. I am doing my spin on a Chateau Briand with a nice sauce (which I perfected tonight), and I'll have a couple of surprise side dishes. Others HBO bloggers are cooking as well. MIA is grilling a leg of lamb. Taryn's step father is doing chicken. Phil is doing his "War on Terror" ribs. Kerri Thoreson is doing a proven cook-off winner, which I suspect may also be ribs, and I think KeithinCd'a is going to lay some of his killer tri-tips on us.

AND THEN Herb has already put up a ton of his famous potato salad. Florine has a killer roasted veggie dish. Taryn's Grandma will make her famous Deviled Eggs, and Geez, I know I am missing something here, but you get the picture...

This party is going to be legendary, I believe!