Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My Favorite Finds #4

For the last 3 seasons, I have been growing my own garlic. It's actually very easy! There is plenty of "how to" information out on the Internet and plenty of websites that sell different varieties of garlic. Here are 2 sites that I have purchased from and was very happy with their product and information......The Garlic Store and We Grow Garlic. Here in Wisconsin, you plant it in the Fall (usually sometime in October). You cover it with a blanket (actually, a layer of mulch or leaves, etc.). Then in the Spring, they start to emerge and by mid-Summer, they are ready to harvest. The store bought perfectly white garlic you buy in the grocery stores were bred for a longer shelf life, so according to the garlic experts, they are not the best for growing your own. Besides, once you check out the on-line stores, you'll be very surprised at how many varieties are out there and all the different "flavors" they come in! And even if you don't have room for a garden (or in your garden) you can even plant them in containers! My family loves garlic, and now that we grow our own, we have been enjoying it in many forms! And may I add that garlic has many health benefits, as well, that can include lowering blood pressure, LDL Cholesterol and blood sugar. Garlic.....it's not just for warding off devils, werewolves, and vampires anymore!

Here's a simple recipe for garlic that makes a wonderful spread to use as an appetizer or as a seasoning for meat:.

Baked Garlic

Whole garlic bulbs, dried thyme or oregano (optional), olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°F. Peel loose, papery skins off garlic bulbs, but keep garlic bulb whole (do not break down into individual cloves). Slice top of each head (pointy end) so that the flesh is exposed. Arrange in a baking dish or garlic baker and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with herbs. Cover with foil or baker lid and bake for about 45 minutes until the garlic is soft and golden. Cool before serving. Squeeze soft garlic out of skins and spread on meat or French bread. Serve toasts with remaining oil.

Recipe courtesy of: http://www.garlicfestival.com/recipes_bakedgarlic.php

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Favorite Finds #3

This is one of my FAVORITE apple pie recipes of all time! A local church would have their annual craft fair in the beginning of Fall, and their members would bake hundreds of these to sell as a fundraiser (you had to get there early to get one because they'd sell out everytime!). A recipe would always be attached to each pie. It was also published in their fundraiser cookbook. I always end up baking a few of these every Fall when it's apple season around here. So the next time you're at the grocery store, be sure to ask for "paper" and save them for this wonderful recipe! If you choose to make the single-serving size, brown paper lunch bags are the perfect size! And for those of you that don't have the pie crust thing down, this crust is a "pat in the pan" recipe!


1 ½ cup flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
½ cup oil
1 Tbsp. milk

Mix Crust ingredients and pat in pie plate. (For small pies, divide into 4 equal parts.)

6 large baking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
½ cup sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
2 tsp. cinnamon

Mix Filling ingredients together and pour into unbaked pie crust.

½ cup sugar
½ cup flour
1/3 butter, softened

Mix Topping ingredients and pat on top of pie filling. Place pie in a large brown paper bag. Fold ends under and staple bag. Bake on a cookie sheet for 1 hour at 425 degrees F.

For small pies, bake 30 minutes and use small brown lunch bags. Make sure that the bag is not touching any part of the oven. Yield: 1 large pie or 4 small pies

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My Favorite Finds #2

I plant tomatoes every year because they are so easy to grow and there's always a guarantee I will have plenty to go around and there's nothing like a home-grown tomato! I usually grow three types......"regular", plum and a grape or cherry tomato. Here's a simple yet delicious recipe for them! The recipe calls for large tomatoes, but you can replace them with grape or cherry tomatoes sliced in half. I first got to taste this recipe when I attended an Italian-American club meeting with my Italian friend from work. What a treat!

Tomato Onion Salad
4 large tomatoes, sliced
2 medium sweet onions, thinly sliced and separated into rings
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon finely chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Layer tomatoes and onions in a shallow serving dish. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the remaining ingredients; shake well. Drizzle over salad. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Yield: 6 servings