Thursday, August 17, 2017

Garden News; Mexican Fiesta; New Cheeses!!


Life is giving me lemons! :) This year I'm stunned with 4 lemons turning yella already. I got this little tree a year ago and the first lemon it produced was ready this past spring and it was SO SOUR...😲 I'm very pleased that the tree is producing lemons already - despite the cool nights!


Tomato land: Cherry tomatoes, regular tomatoes and Romas...growing bigger but still green! I have to cover them each night now with poly-tarp because the nighttime temperatures are down to the 10's Celcius now...fall is just around the corner. At this point I have no clue what's going on in the pumpkin patch, I can't see in there lol...it's just going to have to surprise me in a few months! I may be harvesting my potatoes soon too, I have to look up some more information about that!


Happily due to an overabundance of cilantro, last night we had a Mexican Fiesta! I made my Papas Fritas with a Cilantro Dip and homemade tortilla chips. I don't have a recipe for the dip, I kind of winged it by throwing together some cream cheese, sour cream, LOTS of cilantro, lime juice and S&P. It was pretty good! I hope I can remember how to make it again!


Speaking of using things up...I had all that curd cheese in the fridge from the failed Mozzas! I've mentioned previously that Alex and I celebrate all of the little things as well as the big celebrations. Well, last week was our 4 years and 5 months "anniversary" so I made a special poutine with Toulouse sausages and we shared a bottle of white wine. The sausage in the poutine was SO DARN GOOD...we had a side salad to get some greens in there (really Mama Pea, we DID!) 😁 I always try to make the 14th of each month special in some way - usually with dinner!


And once again on the suggestion of my dear friend Sam, I acquired some watercolour pencils! I've been playing around with them to see what they can do and they are so much fun. I used to draw with a regular pencil, but hated that it showed sometimes in my paintings. This solves it! I can use the pencils to sketch my design, then add water and they really look like they've been painted on. Thanks Sam for the suggestion! I hope to get a few paintings done before the end of the month!


Now for some fun! Here are my aging babies!!! The two original Cheddars on top; and two new cheeses on bottom. On Tuesday I had a cheese making insanity day and I made a red wine infused Cheddar; AND a Dry Jack!! (More detailed post on Rainy Day Cheese Making) Thirteen hours in the kitchen...sounds grueling but my gosh I was enjoying myself to bits...and might I say...what failed Mozzarella? Hee hee...well, we'll see - the sting of failure is now gone (hopefully for good!). Tomorrow it's going to rain all day so that'll be my fourth (and final?) attempt at making Pizza Cultured Mozzarella. I may age the red wine Cheddar for a year, and the Dry Jack will be ready on May Day of 2018. I LOVE cheese making!!! I can't wait to taste these beauties!

If there is something you want, go for it. You might find challenges, failures and struggles...but my gosh, sometimes you find strength, success and passion at the same time! Life is too short for regrets and self-doubts! I jumped back on the cheese horse and I'm so glad I did!

38 comments:

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

Hi Rain, You are such an ambition and creative cook! Those look like beautiful pencils. I am not good at Art but have a couple granddaughters that are. Gardens are always giving us new surprises along with the disappointments! Nancy

Fundy Blue said...

I'm fascinated by your cheese journey, Rain. Do you have a little Québécoise in you? Poutine is such a big deal there, and the craze for it has traveled all over Canada in the past few decades. Yours looked delicious! I love your colorful watercolor pencils, and I appreciate Sam's tip. Time for art is next on my list once I get my maddening memoir written. It will be fun to hear what turns up in your pumpkin patch!

Jenn said...

Such great dishes you prepare! I am not a fan of cilantro..I try to give foods a chance but I can't with cilantro.
I hope you'll share your paintings with us.

Mama Pea said...

I am sitting here smiling and shaking my head in wonder. You are somethin' else, girlie. I know you've been through a lot of ugly-buglie-ness previously in your life but you're also living proof that you can come out on the other side and create a wonderful life for yourself. My hat's off to you . . . and I wanna be like you when I grow up.

I, too, can't bring myself to like the flavor of cilantro. But I do love to grow it in the garden because of the lovely flowers when it blooms.

I'm proud of you for making sure you and Alex get your nutritious, delicious greens(!) along with your oh-so-luscious looking gourmet cooking creations. (Health is wealth, right?) Cilantro is supposed to have lots of good stuff for us in it, too.

Those colored pencils were an ingenious idea!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I hope you'll post some of your art with the watercolour pencils!

Goatldi said...

I have a no fail Mozz recipe I have been making with goat milk for 25 plus years. Holler if you want it and a place to send it.

Treey said...

A nice post Rain. Some great-looking photographs too! It all looks good. Congratulations to you and Alex on your anniversary. You're such a nice couple. Hopefully, we''ll see some artwork from you so we can see what you mean when you say they're different. You have an artistichttps://youtu.be/40zqsPvGTfw streak for sure. It''s 10.33 and not a single drink has touched my lips. I've not had a drink since Feb 2013. So, it's been a good blogpost abe I'm glad to see something has happened with the lemons. We never grew anything in our back garden so you're doing well.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

I love all your enthusiasm and how much you enjoy the little things in life. We'd make great neighbours. You are going to be our cheese expert blogging pal. I'm an awe of your creations but I will admit that I wouldn't have the patience for it. I guess we all have our passions :) Please share some of your art from the watercolour pencils. I'd love to see it!

Nicole Thomas said...

I should plan a trip to Quebec for may 2018 ;) what a beautiful collection of cheeses. I bet they will be all sooooo good !!!!
Your tomatoes looks like mine :)

Sunnybrook Farm said...

Wow amazing that the lemon is growing so far north, you must be taking great care of it.

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

Covering up your tomatoes already! That makes me sad. We had a VERY rainy day again today, but I'm not covering up the garden quite yet. Your cheese making is fantastic! Cheese is my husband's first love. (He doesn't make it, just eats it). I've never used water colour pencils - tell us how they turn out. -Jenn

RO said...

Every time I look at your garden, I want you to move next door to me, so I can get lots of pointers. I've never known anyone with a lemon tree, and it's super cool. Lemons and limes are so needed for cooking these days. All those tomatoes are so wonderful as well! Kudos! RO

Leigh said...

Wow, lots of good things going on at your place! So happy to see your garden looking so good.

And congrats on the cheeses! I'm pretty certain you've finally reached the cheese-making addict stage, LOL. Cheese is such a fascinating thing with so many nuances resulting from who knows what! Glad its working well for you.

Kristina said...

I hope to be back in my kitchen today, because the family has had upset stomachs (take home food). We have to be so careful with anything with cheese now too. I have one daughter who can't stomach the cheap stuff. We have to buy organic all the time now. I sure miss my dairy goat milk. You reminded me to go check on my pumpkins today. I know my popcorn is not ready yet, thankfully.

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

You are amazing!!! :) Those cheeses.....mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! I wish I lived closer - I would bring homemade crackers!

We have been eating red tomatoes, not many but they are coming. My pumpkins have invaded my yard.....its like The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown in my back yard. I may sleep out there and wait for the Great Pumpkin.

I can't do cilantro but love parsley! I find cilantro such an odd taste!

Blogoratti said...

Really incredible, your garden and the food. Congrats to you and best wishes!

Tammie Lee said...

So fun that you are making cheeses. I might have to give it a go some day.
Your garden looks wonderful. Getting chilly at night here too, but not freezing yet.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i hope you have pumpkins under all of those leaves. your cheeses look perfect! one of these days i might have to try to make cheddar. i've made other cheeses but never cheddar. you sure have a short summer. it seems like your winter was just over!

Rain said...

Hi Nancy :) Thanks! :) I'm really enjoying all the creating. It makes me feel good :) I wish my garden was doing a little better, but nothing is perfect right?

Rain said...

Hi Fundy Blue :) Well, I live in the mountains north of Montreal and was brought up there. We love poutine! That's a dish we never tire of, though I'm trying not to make it more than once a month now to make sure we always love and crave it! There are so many poutine restaurants in Montreal but for me some of the variations are just overkill, an egg on a poutine? I love the classics with just a little stuff added here and there! The pencils worked out nicely! I'll post about that today!

Rain said...

Hi Jenn :) I will definitely share my paintings :) We love cilantro, we eat so much Tex-Mex and the flavour is so good with that type of dish!

Rain said...

Hi Mama Pea :) Aww, thank you :) You've always been so supportive and it's very much appreciated! xx Health is wealth!!! It's very true! I love having lettuce fresh all the time, it's always giving us a good excuse to eat it daily...so I can make my ooey gooey stuff lol! The pencils are really nice! I need to get a bigger set though!

Rain said...

Hi Debra :) Nice to see your comment, I hope you're having a nice vacation! :) Yes, I'll post some of my paintings!

Rain said...

Hi Goatldi :) I will give you a holler...I need something that is no fail that's for sure! I'm still having trouble.

Rain said...

Hi Terry :) Thanks for the congratulations! :) I will be posting my painting today. I started painting in 2013 actually, started with oils, then moved to acrylics. I did watercolour after that because frankly, it was cheaper, the paints last longer and you don't need expensive canvas. But I've come to love it! I hope the lemons continue to get yellow! Even 3-4 will give me some pride this season. Funny...it's been a cool summer and I have lemons growing but no peppers or cucumbers.

Rain said...

Hi Martha :) Thank you :) I will share my paintings! I have in the past, I'll put a link in case anyone wants to check them out. I really hope the cheese making continues to flourish! I actually think I might need a bigger "cheese cave" fridge now lol...

Rain said...

Hi Nik :) Ha! All that cheese...I can't wait to try it out! I saw a wee bit of red on a cherry tomato this morning...I hope I wasn't seeing things!

Rain said...

Hi Gill :) Thank you! I'll be honest, I just put the lemon tree in tomato land and it just took care of itself, though on cool nights I've been covering it with the poly-tarp. It stays inside by the window all winter too. I was very surprised to see so many lemons!

Rain said...

Hi Jenn :) I know what you mean...our summer has sucked hasn't it? We finally got some sunshine in August, but the nights are too cool...I don't want all my tomatoes to die out...And thanks, I am really enjoying the cheese making!

Rain said...

Hi RO :) Actually this is my first real garden! I've planted herbs...and last year I got the lemon tree and it only produced one lemon, I really thought I killed it over the winter! I've basically gotten pointers from all our Blogger friends because I was a little green at first with the garden! I'm learning a lot as I go though.

Rain said...

Hi Leigh :) Lol I HAVE reached the cheese making addict stage lol! It's so true...I keep getting more milk...making more cheese...getting more supplies...reading more recipes...I have to stop at some point lol. I'm still struggling with the Mozzarella though.

Rain said...

Hi Kristina :) Oh gosh, we cannot eat most of the grocery store cheese either. Anything that isn't Cracker Barrel makes us both sick. And Cracker Barrel isn't what it used to be that's for sure, we find it all so tasteless. I hope to get to a point where I'm making one cheese each week so we always have a nice homemade supply. I'd love to have a cow for this! But right now, it's grocery store milk and it's not too bad.

Rain said...

Hi Dianna :)) Oh thank you! :) Aah, homemade crackers...that should be on my list next! Lol..I might sleep out in the pumpkin patch on Halloween too...if I could get in there. Those stems are "ow-ee" with all those little thorns. I think I might get some nice little pumpkins this fall. I'm so excited to see what's under there!

Rain said...

Hi Blogoratti :) Thank you! I was hoping for more from the garden, but this is just my first year, I had to see what would grow well in this climate. But I am going to try a winter garden too this year, that's going to be interesting!

Rain said...

Hi Tammie Lee :) It's quite chilly at night here, we have to put the heat on some nights or we freeze under 5 blankets. But then last night we were melting from the humidity. August in the Laurentians! I hope you try some cheese making! It's very addictive! :)

Rain said...

Hi Joyce :) I did see a few little squash looking creatures when the wind was blowing the other day lol...so I'm hoping they do turn into pumpkins! I think they'll be ready just in time. :) Winter...my gosh you're right, it just ended in May, but I'm really hoping for an extended summer, last year we had a really hot September. We went swimming in the lake every other day. I hope you make some Cheddar! It's really a lot of fun! :)

Rachel said...

A lemon tree! What a dream! I would also love to plant some cilantro, it's one of my favorite things, and no one around here seems to like it!:) I hope you show us some of your watercolors. You have so many lovely projects to keep you busy!

Rain said...

Thank you Rachel :)) I'm keeping happily busy! :) I think if you have a nice sunny window, you can grow cilantro indoors successfully, just keep the curious pups away or they might eat it all lol!