Sunday, January 11, 2009

Baby Oppossum!

So here is a little cutie that roamed my garden.  I actually rescued him for a bit in a box, as I was afraid local kitties would have their way with him.  

Results of Grow Bag Experiment

We had what can only be described as a strange growing season. 
Early summer fires brought overcast skies along for the ride.  Seems like none of my farmer friends had very good crops.  
By comparison with last summer, I'd say the ground had given up.  The tomatoes got blossom end rot...something I will head off this next season.
Many vines just sort of wilted away.  My current belief is that I need to let the soil rest next year, so I'm going to be either growing all things in grow bags, OR I'm going to shell out for some earth boxes, OR I'm going to get crafty and create my own earth boxes.
This all being said, I got enough good veg. to dehydrate, freeze, or cook into sauces or can for the winter.  
As to the grow bag experiment, here are my findings:

Most of the tomatoes did not produce as expected.  The one exception to this is the tomato which STILL continue onward and upward at the side of the yard.  This is the one plant which was planted in a ten gallon bag.  Moral?  Next year, larger bags.
That one plant still has about twenty pieces of fruit on it which I'm hoping will ripen up.  It's been pretty cold here in Northern California, so I'm rather amazed that this one little twerp is hanging in there, when all his brothers and sisters have keeled over.
The other veggies planted in bags produced very little.  This could be because I didn't fertilize enough, or because of location in the yard.  

Oddly, the upside down guys produced fruit from vines of two years ago right up until I yanked their spindly selves from the hanging planters yesterday!  I cut them back, and am hoping for year three of growth.

Beet Ravioli Step FOUR: Sauce

The simpler the sauce, the better on this one.   I browned about three tablespoons of butter, a bit of sage and rosemary, and some pine nuts.  When the pasta had cooked, I plated it up, drizzled the pasta with the butter mix, and topped with the pine nuts, some fresh rosemary, and mizithra, although any hard Italian cheese would be groovy, I'm sure.
The results of this were wonderful!   Great with wine, and home made flat bread....which is another recipe to post at some point!  Mangia!

Beet Ravioli Step THREE

Next, you'll want to stir one egg together. You'll use this as a binding for your ravioli shells.
I have gone through much angst and drama in the past, laboriously creating my own pasta for these critters. These days, given my schedule and time factor, I use the wonton wrappers from the grocery store. This recipe will make enough beet mix for one entire package of wonton wrappers, or for one 2 cup size of pasta dough from scratch.

I set up about eight to ten wrappers, then brush all edges with the egg mixture using my handy pastry brush. I like the silicone brushes for this process since they don't leave behind the really nasty bits of brush that natural bristles will. I find myself picking sable hairs out of my paintings, which is pain in the neck enough for me, I don't want to pick them out of my cooking as well.


Use one level teaspoon of filling for the ravioli. If you put too much in, it'll squoosh out the sides and won't hold when you boil them.

Carefully fold over the ravioli and pinch the edges. Some folks can do this on the sink, I'm a clutz and must do this by picking each one up, and pressing all edges pretty hard. If their is any leaking of filling, I find it easier to fix if I'm holding the individual ravioli.

When finished with all the ravioli, I toss them onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet with a bit of flour. I can stack three layers of ravioli, so long as I place wax paper and flour between each layer.

At this point, the whole works goes into the freezer, less the amount I want to keep out for dinner.

To cook, boil salted (teaspoon of sea salt) water to a low boil. Too rapid and it'll break up the puppies.

Drop them in gently, one at a time. If they are fresh, you'll only have to cook them about 40 seconds. If they are frozen, a little over a minute will do. They are done when the pop to the surface.