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Monday, June 14, 2010

On May 22, 2009, I took a photo of our first (and only) artichoke plant.  Here is a picture of it at about a month old.

As you can see from the post before this one, it's gotten huge this past year!  It seems to love its corner of the yard.  We ended up taking out the rose bush behind it, and I do have to circle it with snail bait powder once and awhile, but other than watering and the occasional fertilization, I don't do anything else with it.  This year already I've harvested about 15 artichokes.  Pretty good!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Artichoke

Such an amazing artichoke. We've been watering it deeply and often and it's responded so beautifully.  Can't see the 10 artichokes, but they are there!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Solar and Wonder Oven cooking

Tonight we're having chili, which I tried to make both in my solar oven and wonderbox oven. It didn't work, which is good to know. The day isn't hot, it's mild, but the sun should have gotten the chili hotter, however, the more volume there is in liquid the longer it takes to cook sometimes, and there was a breeze that was wicking away the heat, so it's not unusual.

The breeze died down enough to put bread into the solar cooker, and although I only left it out 1.5 hours (should be 3 or more), it baked enough that it just needed 10 more minutes in the oven.

I'll try the chili again when it's hotter, probably this coming weekend as temps are going up to 93 degrees, and do it during the middle of the day.


Here are some photos of how I put the chili together.



Raw hamburger with raw onion and spices...


Then add the beans...and put it in the solar oven "Cook-IT" for about 4 hours or so.  The extra liquid in this means it must be cooked a bit longer.

Safe Food when Power is Out

After leaving out stew meat all night because I forgot to defrost it properly (I just took it out of the freezer and laid it on the counter while bringing together the other ingredients.  What I neglected to do was put it back!), this morning I looked up the USDA chart for when food is no longer safe outside of freezing/refrigeration.

I wanted to print it here for those of us who may have forgotten how crucial it is to keep food cold!  Remember, if power goes out, you are going to lose any food that you can't safely cook using your barbeque, solar oven, or other such method.

ANY food that IS HELD AT 40 degrees for more than two hours: (MEANING YOU HAVE KEPT IT COLD FOR MORE THAN TWO HOURS, BUT AT A HIGHER TEMPERATURE THAN REQUIRED)
MEAT, POULTRY, SEAFOOD

Raw or leftover cooked meat, poultry, fish, or seafood; soy meat substitutes

Discard

Thawing meat or poultry Discard

Meat, tuna, shrimp,chicken, or egg salad Discard

Gravy, stuffing, broth Discard

Lunchmeats, hot dogs, bacon, sausage, dried beef Discard

Pizza – with any topping Discard

Canned hams labeled "Keep Refrigerated" Discard

Canned meats and fish, opened Discard

CHEESE

Soft Cheeses: blue/bleu, Roquefort, Brie, Camembert, cottage, cream, Edam, Monterey Jack, ricotta, mozzarella, Muenster, Neufchatel, queso blanco, queso fresco

Discard

Hard Cheeses: Cheddar, Colby, Swiss, Parmesan, provolone, Romano Safe

Processed Cheeses Safe

Shredded Cheeses Discard

Low-fat Cheeses Discard

Grated Parmesan, Romano, or combination (in can or jar) Safe

DAIRY

Milk, cream, sour cream, buttermilk, evaporated milk, yogurt, eggnog, soy milk

Discard

Butter, margarine Safe

Baby formula, opened Discard

EGGS

Fresh eggs, hard-cooked in shell, egg dishes, egg products

Discard

Custards and puddings Discard

CASSEROLES, SOUPS, STEWS Discard

FRUITS

Fresh fruits, cut

Discard

Fruit juices, opened Safe

Canned fruits, opened Safe

Fresh fruits, coconut, raisins, dried fruits, candied fruits, dates Safe

SAUCES, SPREADS, JAMS

Opened mayonnaise, tartar sauce, horseradish

Discard if above 50 °F for over 8 hrs.

Peanut butter Safe

Jelly, relish, taco sauce, mustard, catsup, olives, pickles Safe

Worcestershire, soy, barbecue, Hoisin sauces Safe

Fish sauces (oyster sauce) Discard

Opened vinegar-based dressings Safe

Opened creamy-based dressings Discard

Spaghetti sauce, opened jar Discard

BREAD, CAKES, COOKIES,PASTA, GRAINS

Bread, rolls, cakes, muffins, quick breads, tortillas

Safe

Refrigerator biscuits,rolls, cookie dough Discard

Cooked pasta, rice, potatoes Discard

Pasta salads with mayonnaise or vinaigrette Discard

Fresh pasta Discard

Cheesecake Discard

Breakfast foods –waffles, pancakes, bagels Safe

PIES, PASTRY

Pastries, cream filled

Discard

Pies – custard,cheese filled, or chiffon; quiche Discard

Pies, fruit Safe

VEGETABLES

Fresh mushrooms, herbs, spices

Safe

Greens, pre-cut, pre-washed, packaged Discard

Vegetables, raw Safe

Vegetables, cooked; tofu Discard

Vegetable juice, opened Discard

Baked potatoes Discard

Commercial garlic in oil Discard

Potato Salad Discard

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Artichokes


We returned from our two week vacation (where I fretted about leaving our vegetable garden with only a 3 day a week, 30 minute watering from the drip hose) to find our artichoke plant had obviously doubled in size and gave us a bunch of new artichokes.  When we left, we examined all the plants carefully to see where they were "at".  The artichoke plant had one baby artichoke on it, that was it.

We returned to find at least 8 of them. I cut a bunch off and cooked them today.  Great for dinner tonight!

Here is a photo of them in a nice bowl from yesterday.  Awesome, aren't they?