I just received this hilarious video and had to share it with my readers. Does it sound familiar?
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No tomatoes showing yet, but my tomato plants have grown quite a bit from the 3 inch size they were when I first published pictures of them. They are now about 3 – 3 1/2 feet high. I water them everyday and put Miracle Grow fertilizer in the sprinkler can, once a week. They like lots of sunshine and they get that here in Florida. I’m glad that I can grow at almost any time of the year. I can’t wait until the first little flower shows up.
It looks like some of the plants have outgrown their pots already, so I’m going to re-pot them into the largest containers I can find at the Home Depot. I just replaced the 3 ft. stakes with 6 ft. stakes. I think the plants might get that high. I use twine to tie around the stems as they grow. I cut a strand of about 9″ to 12″ and loosely wrap around the stem and the bamboo stake, making a very loose double knot to keep it in place.
Something interesting I just learned about bamboo. It’s really “grass” . I like to use natural products when I can. BTW, I purchased my heirloom seeds from http://seedrack.com. Every seed grew. I listed some other online seed companies in the “Links to Resources” category (button on top of page).
Back to the growing tomato plants. Since this is my first “container garden”, I’m learning as I go along. Hopefully, you can benefit from my experience and mistakes. Plus, I’m building my supply cabinet with all the necessary equipment for the next crop. I’m going to add “pole beans” to the mix then. For sure I won’t be able to step out on my porch. It Will look like a jungle. lol
Some plants need to be polinated by bees and other insects but I’m not about to let them onto my screened porch, so if need be, I can “self-polinate” them using a cotton swab on a thin stick (like a Q-Tip). I was told to touch the inside of the flower, then touch the inside of the next flower, just like a bee would transfer the pollen on it’s little feet. I was amazed at hearing this. I’m growing “grape” tomatoes so I’d be a bit busy, lol. If anyone reading this polinated their flowers or vegetable plants themselves, I’d like to hear about your experience doing that. With your permission, I’ll add your article to this blog as a guest post. You can hit the “contact button” at the top of any page to send a message or send me an email at: Grandmainthekitchen@gmail.com.
I will keep everyone up to date on the tomatoes progress and as always, if you have any questions about information in my posts, hit the contact button on top of the page. Thank you for visiting Grandmainthekitchen.com.
The difference between Sea Scallops and Bay Scallops is size.
Sea Scallops are about the size of a half dollar, or about 1 and 1/2 inches across. Bay Scallops are about the size of a nickel, or 3/4 of an inch across.
Both taste great when browned in olive oil and a little butter.
I make sure they are defrosted and rinsed well under cold running water. I let them drain a few minutes, then drop them into a warmed fry pan to which I have added extra virgin olive oil and about 2 tablespoons of butter. I bring up the heat under the pan so the scallops are at a low sizzle.
These need to be watched and turned over until they are opague in the center. They cook fast, in about 5 to 7 minutes. If they are over-cooked they will be chewey and rubbery.
I sprinkle a little “Old Bay” seasoning on them as they cook. If you don’t have Old Bay, you can use a little ground pepper and paprika. If you like the taste of garlic, a little garlic powder adds a nice flavor too.
One thing about scallops or any type of seafood. They should defrost in your refrigerator overnight and be rinsed well in a collander before cooking. Don’t leave them out on a counter to defrost. They need to remain cold until they are cooked. They can spoil.
They should NOT have a fishy odor if they are fresh or have defrosted properly.
Grandpa and I like them served with spaghetti and tomato sauce. Some restaurants serve them with rice and black beans, sweet potatoes and/or cole slaw, along with a bowl of clam chowder (Manhattan or New England style). Either way, sea scallops are a good and delicious source of protein.
Of all the shell-fish I have eaten, my absolute favorite is scallops. Those small bite-sized tender morsels that grow in fan-shaped ridged shells but are already shucked and come in large plastic bags in the supermarket. I like them pan-fried, or broiled, with a little Old Bay seasoning sprinkled over them. I like them plain, right out of the pan or sprinkled over a nice plate of spaghetti with tomato and basil sauce, yum!
I buy them frozen and rinse them in a colander under cold water until they defrost. They are small so it doesn’t take very long to defrost them this way. I leave them drain in the colander for a minute, then drop them into a pan lined with paper towels. After the excess water has been blotted away, I put them into a warmed, olive oil coated, non-stick fry pan, on a low heat, just hot enough to make them slowly sizzle. Occasionally I will broil them in my toaster oven.
Once in a while I will coat them in an egg mixture, roll them in fine breadcrumbs and fry them in butter or olive oil. Either way, they cook in 4 or 5 minutes, so I stay next to the stove and flip them over several times as they cook. If over-cooked they can become tough and chewy so they need to be watched. When they are done, I sprinkle a little lemon juice on them.
There is a larger “sea scallop”, about the size of a quarter. They are just as tasty, depending on how long you cook them and the seasonings you use. I prefer the smaller “bay scallops” as I think they are sweeter.
I’ve seen the larger scallops in restaurants, wrapped in bacon and broiled. They are very tasty when made this way but the bacon must be well-cooked. If they are broiled under too high a heat, the bacon can burn and the scallops may still not be cooked enough to eat. On the other hand, too low a heat and both the scallop and the bacon may not be cooked enough.
If ordered in a restaurant and they don’t look sufficiently cooked when served, don’t hesitate to ask your waitress if they can be cooked a little longer. Restaurants want their customers to leave happy so they will return another day.
If you have any questions about any information or recipes on this blog, please click on the “Contact” button on the top of this page, type in your name and email address and I will get back to you shortly.
Thank you for visiting Grandmainthekitchen.com.
- Has anybody noticed the price of vegetables lately? While I certainly understand a farmers need to make a decent profit for growing and harvesting vegetables, some people may find it difficult to keep up with the costs of putting a healthy salad on the dinner table each night. Since I’m always looking for ways to save money, I’ve decided to grow tomatoes on my back porch in very large pots (containers).
This is a work in progress, so I will keep you updated with photo’s and explain each step in the process, in case you would like to try your hand at container gardening too.
I’ll be concentrating on planting and growing with “heirloom” seeds. They are seeds derived from vegetables that have been grown for generations, without being genetically modified. I have been doing a lot of research on genetically modified food and I will post my thoughts on that subject soon. Watch for new blog posts in this area as I gather information.
There are several seed companies I ‘ve found on the internet that I think are reputable and will list their company names at the end of this post. You may want to check out their websites to see what interests you for your own garden, container or backyard.
I purchased a plant starting kit at my local Walmart. It has “growing pellets” that are used to start seedlings. Following directions which are included, I watered the pellets until thay expanded to look like little self-contained flower pots. I placed 3 seeds in the center of each little pot and sprinkled a little potting soil to cover them so the sun wouldn’t dry them out and burn them, sprinked water over the top of each, an placed the tray in the sun on my porch. I water every other day which seems to be enough for them. I had 2 inch seedlings in 2 weeks.
The reason I planted 3 seeds in each little pot was to make sure at least one of the seedlings would be healthy enough to grow and produce tomatoes. I used potting soil especially for starting vegetables, which I purchased from my local Home Depot store. Not expensive, especially when I expect the yield of tomatoes will pay for themselves many times over.
I should have planted only enough seeds for 5 or 6 plants but I planted all 25 that came in the package. I fully expect to go out on my porch one day and find a jungle out there! If it comes to that, some of my neighbors might enjoy a tomato plant of their own on their porch.
I plan on saving seed from tomatoes I grow, so I will have a continuous supply. I know I’m getting ahead of myself but I’ve had a garden before where I grew tomatoes and eggplant, which were quite delicious when taken right off the vine and cooked immediately. I will try to grow eggplant in a container if I am successful with the tomatoes. BTW, I am growing “grape tomatoes” which are the size of large grapes and sooooo good.
There are many seed companies online. You can Google “heirloom seeds” to find them. I am familiar with the ones listed.
The Whatcom Seed Company at: http://seedrack.com
Solutions From Science:
The Sprout People at: http://www.sproutpeople .org (You can grow sprouts in your kitchen).
Also, check out: http://www.localharvest.org for a local organic farm in your area.
Here in South Florida, the local farm in Lake Worth sponsored classes in “Growing Herbs and Fruit Trees in Containers”. They have other classes in growing, composting, etc. Find one close to you for local produce and ask about classes. They may also have a food cooperative plan where you can buy in bulk. Stay tuned…..
As a child, I remember my father and grandfather going out “deep sea fishing” off of Montauk Point on Long Island, New York. They’d leave very early in the morning to get a seat on one of the big boats that left the dock by 6 a.m. They’d be gone most of the day and always brought a fish home to the dismay of my poor mother who always got the job of cleaning it. She did so without complaint, especially if they “scaled”it and hosed it off with water before they brought it in the door.
I remember thinking “who would want to get up so early in the morning just to go out in the water to catch a fish?” The first time they brought home a Cod fish. It was huge. It was longer than the kitchen sink without the head and tail which we never saw because Dad removed them when he scaled it. Probably because he knew we would feel sorry for it and wouldn’t eat the fish if we saw it’s head being removed. Up until then, the only fish I saw was in a small fish tank. A Guppy and a Goldfish to be exact.
Mom managed to get it in the oven and baked it for what seemed like hours. We, the three oldest kids, were all anxious to see what it tasted like. Mom reminded us that Cod was the same fish the corner deli put in it’s fish cakes, (cod blended with potatoes and made into little hamburger-like patties).
Right then and there we got our first lesson in how to eat fish, shredding it between our fingers to check for tiny bones that could get stuck in our throats. Some of them were so thin they looked like white hair. But we all managed to get through dinner and we proudly told all our friends the next day how Dad and Grandpa caught the biggest fish we’d ever seen and we ate it. A true fish story.
Thank goodness the fish I buy in the supermarket are not as “bony” as I remember fish to be. If I buy frozen Flounder, it may have some hair bones but remembering what I was taught, I’m a pro at removing them with no problem.
Tillapia, being from fish farms, doesn’t seem to have any type of bones. At least, I’ve never found any in all the Tillapia I’ve cooked and eaten. I’m still careful, though. I check every bit of it before I swallow any. By now, the lesson is ingrained in my head.
When I buy fresh Tillapia, I make sure it’s fresh, without any fish smell. If it has an odor, it usually means it’s been in the cold case a little longer than it should and I’ll pass on it that day.
Before I put any seasoning on fish, I rinse it under cold water, let the water run off as much as possible and place it in a gallon size plastic bag to which I have already added paprika, salt and pepper. Sometimes I will add bread crumbs to the mix to coat the fish lightly.
I place the coated fish in a shallow baking dish or foil lined pan to which I have sprayed a little olive oil on the bottom to prevent sticking, dab some pieces of butter on top of each piece of fish or spray some olive oil over the top of the fish, so it doesn’t dry out and bake it uncovered in the oven. Sometimes I wrap it in heavy duty aluminum foil and place it on the center rack in the oven. That keeps it moist and the flavors infuse into the fish better. It’s all a matter of how you want it to taste.
Either way, 20 to 25 minutes is usually all the time it takes. You’ll know it’s done when it’s opague white inside and flakes with a fork.
You can coat and cook any kind of fish the same way. Flounder, Fluke, Cod fillet or Haddock. Squeeze a little lemon juice on those types of fish if you don’t like the taste of fish in general. I do that, except I don’t need the juice for Tillapia. It has a bland taste by itself and I find the seasoning to be enough.
Watch for my next post where I show you how I prepare Patagonia scallops, or what we used to call “bay scallops” in New York.
There are a number of ways to prepare sausage. Some people bar-b-que them on a grill in the backyard, some bake them in the oven or microwave. They can even be deep fried in canola oil. My mother’s method of boiling them first before browning them in a frying pan has been my favorite. They are very tasty when prepared this way, as I believe you will agree.
I rinse the sausage off when I take them out of the package and put them in a large fry pan. Rinsing makes sure they are free of any foreign material that may have stuck to them in the packaging process.
Fill the pan with just enough cold water to cover the sausage and put the pan on the largest grid you have on your stove. The grid should be approximately the size of the bottom of your pan, to distribute heat evenly so the sausage will all cook at the same time. Pork sausage should always be cooked thoroughly.
Set the temperature to medium-high until the water starts to boil, then lower it until the water is at a slow boil. It’s a good idea to cover the pan with a splatter screen, a very useful kitchen tool, so grease doesn’t get all over your stove but you can still watch the sausage cooking and the water level in the pan. Make sure the handles of your pan and splatter screen are always pointed toward the center of the cooktop so you don’t bump it and get burned with scalding water.
As the skin of the sausage starts to turn gray, poke the sausage in several places with a fork. Turn them over in the water and poke them on the other side also, being careful not to splash the water on you. This helps the fat in the sausage excape through the holes and winds up in the pan of water.
Continue boiling the sausage until most of the water has evaporated. It might take 45 minutes to an hour to make them this way so leave enough time before you serve them. You will like their flavor with very little fat.
Temporarily remove them from the pan and place in a bowl or on a plate, then rinse the pan out and place it back on the stove until it is nearly dry.
Lower the heat and put the sausage back into the pan to brown them, adding a little olive oil to the pan. Turn them over several times. This only takes a few minutes more but they will taste soooo good.
They are ready to eat as they are (try a slice), or you can now add them to a pot of tomato sauce where they will absorb some of the tomato flavor and soften slightly. Serve them with a bowl of spaghetti and Parmesan cheese on top.
You can also cut them in half and put them on a hamburger roll or a hotdog bun with all the toppings that you like (fried onions, pickle relish, mustard, ketchup), or just plain, as they are that good.
Serve them with brown or white rice and a helping of cut green beans, broccoli, or any vegetable you like, for a complete main dish. I know you will enjoy sausage when they are made this way.
As always, thank you for visiting Grandmainthekitchen.com. Come back soon for more great recipes and tips on how to prepare tasty food your family will enjoy, the old fashioned way, while saving money at the same time.. The holidays will be here soon and Grandma has some special treats coming your way.