After a weekend of 70 degree weather and hours of yard chores, I had a post prepared to celebrate the beginning of Spring. This morning we woke up to ice on the trees.
Luckily, limbs have not fallen on electric lines in our neighborhood, but many others have lost power. But never mind, it is going to hit 60 degrees tomorrow.
This was spotted on the grocery store shelf and is clearly marked Gluten Free. Instant corn flour is used to make tortillas and pupusas. Pupusas are a traditional food from El Salvador and can be filled with cheese or pork. But after researching recipes, there are many different ways to dress them up. This recipe is going to be simple and just filled with cheese.
There are many versions of how much flour and water to use. The making of pupusas is probably handed down through the generations and is made by “feel” or just knowing how much water to add to the flour. The best advice would be not to add all the water at once. Some describe the dough as having the texture of playdough but not sticky.
This recipe will make 6 pupusas
3 cups of masa
1 1/2 cups of warm water
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
1. In a large bowl, mix the masa, water, and salt Don’t use all the water at once, although more may be needed. It is advised to mix with your hands until it feels just right.
2. Let the dough rest about 15 minutes.
3. Divide the dough into 6 pieces and roll each into a ball. Make an indentation in the ball and fill with cheese then close it up. To make appetizer size, divide into 8 to 10 pieces.
4. Flatten the ball to a 1/4 inch thick, being careful to keep the cheese inside.
5. Heat a skillet or griddle on medium to medium high and lightly coat with vegetable oil.
6. Cook about 4 minutes on each side until golden brown. Serve immediately.
Full sized Pupusas make a filling lunch. They can be made smaller to use as appetizers or as a bread substitute for a meal. Pupusas can even be stuffed with Pulled Pork (a great way to use left-over pork) for a main dish. If these are to your liking, check out the many variations online.
Finally, some blooms in the garden. The few days of freezing temperatures halted the usual winter flowers. On the bright side, this White by the Gate Camellia is spectacular this year. The cold and lack of rain prevented the usual growth of fungus on the flowers.
White flowers seem to be the first to bloom. Southern snow? The Paperwhites may also have enjoyed the cold.
The Snowdrop is a reliable bloomer here. The green dots on the edges are so sweet.
Bees have been getting their food from the hummingbird feeder, as not many flowers are blooming. The Hummingbird is quite upset about this and flies from feeder to feeder trying to chase them away. The bees won’t budge!
This Red Velvet Camellia is the only color in the garden at the moment.
Frosty only had eyes for Ava.
But Ava played coy. Frosty’s heart started to melt and finally gained Ava’s attention.
Ava gave Frosty a hug and then to Frosty’s surprise, a great big smooch!
One of the edicts of the Automatic Garden, is to grow tough plants that come back or reseed every year. Here are a few of toughest that survived two freezes without a bit of burn. Above is a Mexican Hat.
This Bartram’s Oenothera grandiflora hasn’t missed a beat. It germinated last summer and has just sat and not grown much. The fungus has found it though.
The Ligularia was not fazed at all. It is under some tree limbs that may have helped.
Peruvian Lilies are considered invasive by some. In other words, a darn good hardy plant!
This Toad Lily really seemed to like the cold. It wasn’t even noticeable a few weeks ago and some critter usually eats most of it.
A happy surprise from this blooming violet. It will be interesting to see which plants re-emerge from their frozen foliage. It will be a true test to see the plants that are truly worthy of the Automatic Garden.
Clay pots make tender and moist meats and is a technique that has been used for thousands of years. If you do not have a clay pot, try using Reynolds Oven Bags to retain moisture or your favorite roasting method. This recipe is naturally gluten free and the simple ingredients can be found at any market.
Soak the clay pot according to product instructions.
1 (5-pound) roasting chicken
2 tablespoons of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of dried basil
2 teaspoons of cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
6 garlic cloves minced
1. Peel and section lemons, saving the peels.
2. Combine lemon sections and rest of the ingredients. Mash them together with a fork.
3. Prepare chicken by discarding giblet and neck.
4. Loosen skin from around the breast and drumsticks and rub lemon mixture under the skin.
5. Fill the body cavity with the lemon peels and tie legs.
6. Place in clay pot breast side up and place in clay pot and put into a COLD oven.
7. Bake at 450 degrees about 85 minutes until the thermometer reads 180 degrees. Remove skin and carve.
Serve with a wild rice blend and broccoli. The broth will make great soup later. Carefully pour it through a sieve into a freezer container and freeze for later.
Ruby-crowned Kinglets enjoy a sugary treat now and again. Usually they feed on insects, but apparently cannot resist something sweet. The Hummingbird has taken issue with the Kinglet using the feeder and has been chasing him away.
Today the feeders in the garden were very busy. A storm is coming in tomorrow and maybe the birds know it is on the way. Some new visitors were a large flock of Red-winged Blackbirds. The females did come out of the treetops to the feeders. A small flock of Cedar Waxwings were eyeing ripening red berries. Of course, the regulars were all chowing down and the feeders had to be filled twice today.