Monday, June 27, 2011

How Does My Garden Grow?

It's growing quite well.  The plants seem to be flowering quite nicely.  How it's fruiting is another story.

The two tomato plants (both Brandywine - one red, one pink) flowered like crazy.  I was quite excited at the thought of having beau coup tomatoes at my disposal in the future.  Apparently, it's not to be.  The pink Brandywine continues to have blossoms set, only to wither and drop before the fruit can be formed.  The red one started out a bit better and has two small fruits on it, but now appears to be suffering the same affliction.  I believe a call to Dad is in order, though I'm not sure if they can be salvaged at this point or not.  Dad will know.

Most of the peppers - sweet and hot - are doing better, with the exception of the red bell.  It seems to be content with its lone fruit.  While it's disappointing, I honestly can't be too surprised given that I have no idea how long this soil has been in these planter boxes and it may be long past its usefulness.  I need to run by the Neighborhood Co-op and see if I can find some organic fertilizer.  What I've seen so far isn't really organic when you read the label. 

Speaking of reading labels, this is something I need to start doing a bit more.  Last week I attempted to make something called latik, which is basically coconut milk cooked down until it separates into solids and coconut oil.  The "coconut milk" I attempted this with was anything but coconut milk.  I had picked up a brand I don't ordinarily buy without reading the label.  When I noticed the latik didn't seem to be working the way it should, I fished the label out of the recycle and proceeded to be disappointed:  coconut extract, water, guar gum, polysorbate something and a couple of other things I couldn't pronounce.  Obviously, it didn't work correctly.

My second lack of attentive label reading was in regard to oatmeal.  I like to keep a box of instant oatmeal around for mornings when I'm in a hurry, but need something rather substantial for breakfast (or occasionally a snack on a chilly evening).  My favorite is maple and brown sugar, which is what I thought I was buying.  While I actually looked at the box of maple and brown sugar, I grabbed the box of cinnamon swirl.  Not my favorite.  So now what do I do with the rest of the box?  Make instant oatmeal cookies.  A lot of them.  My daddy will be getting some more cookies this week.  And they were even good enough that the hubs ate a some.

Instant Oatmeal Cookies
This makes a lot of cookies.  If you don’t have a six quart mixer, I recommend cutting the recipe in half.

1 cup dried currants (or raisins)
2 cups (6 packets) instant oatmeal
2 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Line a baking sheet with a silicon baking mat.  (I tried using my tried and true parchment paper, but these cookies stuck to the parchment even after cooling.)  Use multiple baking sheets/silicon mats if you have them.

Place the currants in a small bowl and cover with hot water.  Cover the bowl and allow to steep 10 – 15 minutes, then drain.

Combine the instant oatmeal, flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and whisk together.

Cream the butter and sugar on medium high for 3 – 5 minutes, scraping the bowl and paddle occasionally.  Lower the speed to medium and gradually drizzle in the beaten egg, no more than a tablespoon at a time, allowing each addition to become fully incorporated.  Stop and scrape the bowl and paddle about halfway through.  Add the vanilla and the drained currants. 

On low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients.  Mix only until combined.  Make sure to scrape down to the bottom of the bowl to make sure all dry ingredients are fully incorporated. 

Scoop the dough on to the prepared baking sheet with a cookie scoop or two tablespoons, spacing about two inches apart.  Bake 10 – 11 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown.  Allow to cool 1 – 2 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  If necessary, let the baking sheet cool slightly before reusing.  Store baked cookies in an airtight container with a piece of parchment between layers of cookies. 

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful garden! I can't wait to read about what you bake from it this summer!


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