Wednesday, September 17, 2014

abundant harvest

Fall weather is already here.  Sadly, it should be since the autumnal equinox is September 22.  The nights are getting colder, there’s fog in the mornings, and the leaves have a hint of yellow and orange.  I’m not ready to give up summer.

I visited our Farmer’s Market yesterday hoping to buy some banana peppers.  We didn’t grow any this year in our garden.  It seems like 95% of them go to the compost pile anyway, so why bother when the local farmers always have piles of them for sale?  Well, there were no banana peppers for sale yesterday, so the joke is on me.  I did buy pots of beautiful mums, a pumpkin, and one of my most favorite fall decorations of all time…Indian corn.  I also bought 4 giant tomatoes and a gigantic onion.

We have plenty of tomatoes growing in our garden, but Someone is very possessive of them.  I dare not pluck one of his precious (bug-eaten, blight-mottled) tomatoes for my purposes;  Someone’s wrath is nothing to toy with.  Anyway, I detest tomatoes, but I needed some to cook with. 

We have 12 green pepper plants in our garden this year (actually, they are more-formally known as bell peppers).  In eastern Kentucky, we call these things green peppers, even if they are red or gold.  I upped the number from last year because we had space due to my decision not to plant banana peppers.  Also, I tried some Miracle Grow on them this year.  Wow!  We got the miracle.  We started getting magnificent giant peppers in early August, and they just keep coming.  They look like the ones grown in California; they’re that big.  I’ve been making stuffed peppers with them twice a week, to the point where Someone and I are tired of eating stuffed peppers.

A few peppers from our garden

Last night I picked about 30 of the largest peppers.  So today, I ran home at lunch and put a bunch of stuff into the crock pot to make what I call Hungarian Goulash.  I’d share the recipe with you dear readers, but there is no recipe.  It’s wait-and-see every time; just toss stuff in, stir it up, and let it cook.
Today’s goulash experiment:

1.5 pounds browned ground chuck
4 large skinned, chopped tomatoes
3/4 gigantic onion, chopped
Green peppers, chopped….sorry, I lost count…maybe 5 or 6 of them
3/4 of a large jar of banana peppers, plus I dumped some of the jar juice into the pot too
2 cans of white shoepeg corn (fresh white corn works…but I didn’t have time today)
1 boatload of chili powder – no idea how much I dumped in…a whole bunch of it
1/8 (what was left) of the bottle of Texas Pete Hot Sauce that’s been in the refrigerator forever
1 Large can of tomato juice

Just before putting the lid on it

There you go…the crock pot simmered for 8 hours.  This was actually my first-husband’s mother’s recipe…er, maybe she had a recipe, but I never have used it.  Usually I make a pan of corn bread to go with it, but not tonight.  I left the office at 5:10 and was on the lake with my kayak by 6:05.  It was a wonderful evening!!!!  BY the time I got home, Someone had already eaten his fill.  I won't make corn bread for just myself…too much work and dirty dishes. 

As repulsive to me as fresh tomatoes are, I will eat them if they are cooked enough that they don’t look or smell too much like tomatoes.  My grandmother always insisted everyone likes tomatoes and I was just being too picky.  She forced me to try one every summer when I was young, with the same result every time – lots of gagging.  I just hate everything about them.  In fact, I’m somewhat allergic to them.  If I handle them for more than a few minutes, I get an itchy rash all over my hands.  My grandmother told me that when my mother was pregnant with me, she stood over the sink all summer long and ate tomato after tomato.  She’d never seen anyone eat so many tomatoes.  My mother must have had a very strong craving for them.

Life is busy all the time for me these days.  I get home from work and start answering emails from my students.  Tonight, I must do some analysis of my grade book and submit reports on students who are falling behind or failing.  My general impression is that about half my students are doing very well, a few are doing OK, and the rest are just not catching on at all.  It’s not easy stuff that we are wading through, but the training provided in the simulator is very good.  I think almost any student in my class who is willing to put in time with the training simulator can do well.  Very few have used it though, despite my repeated advice to try it and see if it helps.      

My new favorite TV show is Breaking Bad.  It’s partly why my life is so busy.  I’m always trying to fit some Netflix time in with working two jobs, walking Gracie, and keeping up with the housework (and golfing, and kayaking).  I’m NOT keeping up with the housework, but just merely trying to keep things sanitary enough.  Someone does very little housework.  What I didn’t realize is how much housework the girls were doing when they lived here.  Wow…I really miss live-in housekeepers.  

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