Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Artichoke Flower

While it's annoying that we didn't harvest most of our artichokes in time, 
I will say, the flowers are really beautiful.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Garden Tour - August 13, 2015

While we were away visiting the folks, the garden really took off.

For the record, I did not plant cherry tomatoes. Ying and Yang love them, but they never want to spend the time harvesting them.  Unfortunately, my garden is spiteful and likes to grow random cherry tomato plants all over the place.  The Tyrant has actually been helping to pick them this year, so I guess it all worked out.

The regular tomatoes are growing nicely, but I feel like there aren't as many as last year.  I guess starting all the seeds late really did make a difference.

My mom gave me these bean seeds, I have no clue what kind they are.  Two plants supplied us with beans for many, many meals.  They turn green when you cook them!

Every year I grow basil and something goes wrong.  I never wind up with more than a few handfuls.  This year, I think I went a little overboard.  I know, that's an understatement...

No bell peppers, just bell pepper plants.  All the cilantro bolted before I used any of it.

I love all the eggplants!  I have to grow more plants next year.

Something ate the leaves off of the broccoli and cauliflower, as well as lots of the beans.  I'm guessing it's the groundhogs.  I thought they were happy with the pears, I guess not.

I feel like the cantaloupe are taking forever to ripen.

Same with the watermelon.

Most of the cucumber plants are shriveled up and dying, but there are a few still growing. 

The kale is going strong.

My beautiful white onion flowers are now all black seeds.

 I only made one batch of lox before the dill flowers dried up and turned to seed.

We only ate two artichoke.  Someone, who will remain nameless, never cut any while I was away.

See!  A million pears!  Why couldn't the groundhogs just be happy with them? Our squirrel and our cardinals seem super happy eating them.

It's good the wildlife can eat them, because they started getting these weird dark spots and never get soft or sweet anymore.  Granted, the tree is over twenty years old, so it is what it is.

I started a new batch of cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower seeds.  Hopefully the groundhogs will be hibernating by the time they go into the garden.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Book Review: A JEWISH BAKER'S PASTRY SECRETS by George Greenstein

A Jewish Baker's Pastry Secrets, Recipes from a New York Baking Legend, for Strudel, Stollen, Danishes, Puff Pastry and More by George Greenstein with Elaine Greenstein, Julia Greenstein and Isaac Bleicher offers a collection of recipes and tips for a variety of classic pastries.

At first glance, I will say at this price point, it should be a bigger book.  Cover included, it's maybe an inch thick.  Second, there are no pictures.  In fairness, I have a lot of good cookbooks without pictures.  Finally, many of the recipes call for the use of nonfat dry milk powder.  I know a lot of bakers use it, but honestly, it's so darn expensive and you have to buy these huge boxes when you buy it.  So not only would I have to find a home for that big box, but it makes recipes with it less cost effective than just going to a bakery and buying whatever it is you were going to make.

Okay, I'm done complaining about nonfat dry milk powder, maybe it's cheap where you are...

Those three points aside, I actually like this book.  The first chapter talks about equipment, tools and ingredients along with notes that I think a beginner baker would find helpful.  For example, "Bakers prefer to use cream that is at least 2 to 3 days old.  Many claim that it whips up both thicker and with extra volume."  Who knew?  The second chapter has a lot of the basic fillings, icings and whatnot you'll need for other recipes.  The next eight chapters begin with a master dough recipe, Bundt, Babka, Gugelhopf, etc. followed by recipes using those doughs.  Most of the directions seemed easy to follow.  Others could have used a picture to help illustrate the directions, for example the Cinnamon Babka Loaf had some complicated rolling and twisting directions that I'm going to have find a demo on youtube if I want to have it look right.
WOULD I BUY IT?  I will give it a tentative yes, to be updated at a later time.  It's 90 plus degrees out and the idea of baking doesn't appeal to me right now, so I haven't had a chance to try any of these recipes.  But the ingredients, other than my nonfat dry milk powder aversion, are simple to find, the recipes are easy to follow and with George Greenstein's glowing reputation, I'm sure all of these recipes in A Jewish Baker's Pastry Secrets are going to be amazing.

I received a free copy of this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.  There was no obligation to give a positive review, and if you read my blog, you know I'm a tell-it-like it is kind of girl.  I mean what I say and say what I mean, that holds true for my review.