From Garden To Kitchen: Blooms, Beasties, &Amp;Amp; Blackberries! - The Sensibly Organic Cook Blog at - 279988

The Sensibly Organic Cook

From Garden to Kitchen: Blooms, Beasties, & Blackberries! 
Jul. 20, 2012 1:02 pm 
Updated: Aug. 6, 2012 7:39 pm
It seems to me that every since the early days of joining AR and making some wonderful friends they have been urging me to share my gardens and gardening knowledge in a blog or blogs. Quite honestly, I thought their confidence in my abilities rather misplaced. Yes, 20 years ago I did see this cow pasture where we built our home as a blank slate. I was so sure I could create a garden area that would not only be beautiful but also furnish herbs, fruits and vegetables for our table. No, I never paused to consider that those large picturesque gardens I've seen on TV neither have a staff of 3 (me, myself and I) nor were they built on a skimpy shoestring budget. That didn't stop me from forging ahead and starting one garden then another and another... I even became a Master Gardener in my pursuit of the perfect garden. A title that doesn't mean I know everything just that I'm supposed to know where to look for answers or whom to ask for answers to those plaguey problems that I always seem to run across. I do have a few reoccurring ones as well as new issues cropping up every year. So what to share of my garden to kitchen adventures? First, I tried looking through the eye of my friends at the gardens to see if any on thing stood out. From a culinary standpoint, I do grow a large variety of fruits, herbs and vegetables or I should say attempt to. Take the herbs; there are roughly 70 some scattered around here. Nope, no typo I'm counting everything classified as an herb that I've planted. Granted, I still don't know what to do with each of them but I'm learning. This year with the help of friends and quests on the Buzz, I have tried several new AR recipes and finally used some formerly unused herbs. Still where to start, which garden and its bounty or lack there of. Finally, I found the decision an easy one once I stopped worrying about trying to share any excellent gardening or culinary tips. After all Google is fantastic for fact-finding, Organic Gardening is on FaceBook and we all have AR to help with the rest. I decided it was really about coming along with me through the gardens and seeing what ended up in the kitchen. My original garden is first up along with my foray into the blackberry jungle and the resulting blackberry creations.

Yep, this is how you get to it. I keep thinking that bridge will go at anytime. Years ago on this little island of land, I started my main gardens. Getting water over there was always a challenge and as the gardens around the house grew, the island went by the wayside.

That's what it looks like from the island side.

The necessary attire for the job even though it was a humid 85 degrees with an expected high in the upper 90's later. Sweating profusely, in order to have most of your hide left intact resulted in that lovely outfit. Yes, I know there are thornless cultivars but when I planted my patch, I used plants from my grandfather's farm and 10 purchased plants. They used to be in carefully tended rows but now look like this.

They were loaded this year despite the heat wave. It must have been the early rains that got them off to the right start.

They certainly got tall!

I found these unexpected blooms from an old flower garden. I'm surprised the glads were still there. I guess the heavy grass cover keeps them from freezing to death in our winters. I know I certainly wasn't freezing on the days I picked. Yes, you have to go several times because the berries don't ripen all at once. Always something to look forward to, more opportunities to impale yourself on thorns. Let me tell you blackberry thorns are as vicious as fishhooks.

It was while I was extricating myself from one bush that I noticed I was not alone on the island. Yep, I could hear something farily large moving around in the brush. And me with my vivid imagination could just conjure up all kinds of possible beasties. Deer have been using the island as both restaurant (there are 2 apple trees) and shelter but we have had bobcat and cougar sightings in the area. What were the odds some large fanged feline would be stirring in this heat just to get my hard won blackberries? With dogged determination, I kept picking and my unseen companion settled down.  Thank heavens because I really wanted to try a new recipe with some of my berries. I'd been waiting for a couple of summers to try it. Patience is a virture when dealing with Mother Nature.

First, you have to clean the berries of all the extras that managed to get in the bucket. Did I mention it is rather hard to pick with heavy leather gloves on but it beats the alternative of shredded fingers.

Since we had been invited to a July 4th BBQ, blackberry pie was the first of my berry experiments. The BBQ was buffet style and I thought making mini pies would be better than having to slice and serve big ones. Just because I had never made mini crusts nor the fact I can't seem to make pretty piecrust no matter how hard I try didn't stop me. I just hopped on the Buzz and asked away. Marianne sent me to a pie making video. Then Mother Nature opened her oven door so no bake pie filling seemed ideal to keep from having my oven on as much. My thinking was if I could just get the crusts down on a cooler day then I could make and fill them the day of the party. So back to the Buzz and old Betty Crocker (I have Mom's 1956 edition) for consults. Thanks everyone for your help!

My crusts were light & flaky and tasted great. I use butter only, chilled vodka in place of water and AP flour. As you can see, I still didn't master the fine art of pretty crusts. Deep sigh. The pie filling I did do on the stovetop using sugar as needed, cornstarch and whatever additions I thought necessary for the fillings such as cinnamon, vanilla and lemon juice. After all, why stop with one filling when I could do 3? Despite the lack of rain, my peach tree yielded small but some of the best tasting peaches ever. My sister sent several bags of her strawberries after cleaning out her freezer so I figured I would use them up too. All in all everything worked out pretty well and they did taste good.

This ice cream was a by-product of THE recipe I really was looking forward to making. I just wish it had been a little clearer on using the resulting soused fruit. It said don't throw it out but save for use in sauces. After watching the AR video of the easy homemade ice cream, I thought I would whip up a batch of homemade blackberry ice cream by tossing some of that fruit in. Unless you really enjoy a particularly crunchy ice cream, the blackberries really need to be sieved and the remaining juice sans seeds used as the flavoring. See, I may not have any great tips garden or culinary wise to share but I am confident I can ALWAYS tell you what not to do!

Now for the recipe I had been waiting so long to make, Homemade Blackberry flavored Brandy. Every since reading Mother Ann's heart warming story of her family sitting around drinking blackberry brandy left over from making their special cranberry sauce and sharing stories, I have wanted to make my own. Why? Because I figured it would taste better than store bought and I really like Mother Ann's special recipe< . My whole family agrees that cranberry recipe is the best they have ever had. I think the homemade blackberry brandy is excellent. I even made some blackberry flavored vodka which is really good. It is so easy to make too.

1 quart blackberries to 750 ml of alcohol

You need a clean 2-quart container (I didn't have one so I used a quart mason jar and a pint jar). Carefully wash and pick through your fruit. Add to jar and then mash berries with a fork. Add alcohol to cover and seal tightly with plastic lids. You do not want any headspace; oxygen can cause fermentation, which you don't want. I found that older not perfectly in their prime fruit can too. Yep, talk about percolation in a jar, not pretty. Store jars in a cool, dark place and gently stir or shake jar ever day or two. You will see the color change and you can sample to see if your alcohol has reached the infused flavor you want. I stopped one batch after 7 days. I have another still infusing at 3 weeks. When ready, filter out the fruit. You can use paper towels, coffee filters or cheesecloth to achieve a clear liquid. This takes time! I ran out of patience so my liqueur isn't going to be crystal clear. You can add sugar at this point if you want, using a simple syrup to make an after dinner liqueur. Honey or brown sugar can be used also but the resulting liquid will turn cloudy says the recipe. Return the liquid to its original bottle and store away from heat and light. The longer it ages the mellower the flavor will become. Honestly, I find it quite good after 3 weeks and I didn't add any sugar!

I hope you enjoyed today's journey through my garden and into my kitchen. Until next time, may your garden whatever size it may be help set your table!
Jul. 20, 2012 2:09 pm
Hi Cat, I'm a novice gardener and i feel better about it after reading your blog :) thanks for sharing. I can only imagine how hot you must be in the Missouri heat and your protective gear-- you're a better person than me, in that heat I would leave the berries for the birds :-o) My son's favorite ice cream is blackberry. I use the reduction from this PW recipe and add it to a basic vanilla Philadelphia style ice cream recipe.
Jul. 20, 2012 2:33 pm
Now I don't believe we got the tour of that particular garden. Hmmm....just didn't want us to know where you kept the blackberries hidden I guess. Love blackberry pie! Your pics look great and I can actually hear your "deep sigh". If I had some blackberry brandy too, I'd raise my glass in the direction of Kansas City.
Jul. 20, 2012 3:13 pm
AllieGeekPi, I am always learning! You've helped me with some Buzz questions so you know :) I did figure out the reduction pretty quick LOL! It is hot enough here the DH doesn't care though he just crunches along! Did I mention he loves sweets?
Jul. 20, 2012 3:15 pm
Well, MB, if you get back here before I "use" it all, I'll share :) You did take a close look at those photos didn't you? You weren't going to ride in the Rhino again, just imagine crossing that rickety bridge and then fighting your way through the tall grass LOLOLOL!
Jul. 20, 2012 3:47 pm
Oh, my goodness! I absolutely LOVE blackberries, and anything made with them! I loved reading your blog. My mother and I picked blackberries at her friends farm. The heat was awful, and the thorns nearly killed us. Now I call blackberries "the devil's fruit", because I am certain that if the good Lord wanted us to eat them, they wouldn't be soooooo hard to get! Worth every moment. I had a wonderful, huge cobbler, made two batches of jelly and have a freezer full. Thanks for sharing!!
Jul. 20, 2012 4:02 pm
What a great garden! Makes my little patch of earth look pretty lame. I remember picking blackberries as a kids - those berries were delicious despite the shredded hands and clothes, they are worth it! Lovely blog, Cat. Thanks for sharing with us.
Jul. 20, 2012 4:36 pm
Mason's G-ma, thank you for knowing exactly what I went through to get those little stinkers. Devil's fruit, absolutely!!!! They do make thornless cultivars now, I'm not sure how well they grow but you can mine were doing fine despite attention :) I with you, I love their flavor. I'm glad you enjoyed the blog!
Jul. 20, 2012 4:37 pm
there is supposed to be a see between can and mine LOLOL sorry for the typo
Jul. 20, 2012 4:38 pm
Baking Nana, you originally thought I could give you a good herb blog but this one just happened to come first :) I'm glad you liked it and could share memories of blackberry picking. Darn, they really are good if not hard to get!
Jul. 20, 2012 6:28 pm
Cat - their are so many herbs - I would love to know how to use more fresh herbs. I stick to the basics - sage, thyme, rosemary, cilantro, basil, oregano, mint (in a pot) chives are not really herbs but I have an assortment of those too.
Jul. 20, 2012 6:29 pm
sorry - THERE ARE - not....their...
Jul. 20, 2012 7:52 pm
Wow...that makes my pot garden look pitiful and those little pies look awesome:) YUM!
Jul. 20, 2012 7:53 pm
Love the outfit! Puts me in mind of my family excursions for wild blackberries along the Natchez Trace in Tennessee. The only thing we listened for was the sound of that rattle from rattlesnakes. Best berries ever! Maybe if I can dig that old photo out I'll post it. If I get some plums from the neighbor this year I think I may try some plum liquor, I actually found a recipe on AR. Lovely pics, made my mouth water!
Jul. 20, 2012 8:02 pm
Indeed! That would be my first tip on an herb blog keep that mint potted! Ah ahh ah, chives are a member of the allium family and are classified as an herb. There are trees classified as such too. Like walnut and hawthorn. I've gotten the rule written down somewhere that states how things are classified but walnuts are really good for you and hawthorn is used to treat some heart ailments. Herbs were our first preservatives too. So much I still don't know about them. It is a good thing one can always learn :)(:
Jul. 20, 2012 8:07 pm
mauigirl, not as pretty as your pie but I really did try. I think I may be destined to only make tasty food not pretty and tasty. Now how does a jungle complete with rickety bridge make a nice non treacherous garden look pitiful? I'd do the heart thingy but I still haven't gotten that one either
Jul. 20, 2012 8:11 pm
sassyoldlady, I have never worried about rattlesnakes here but the neighbor swears he has killed several. I thought the outfit rather dashing but my DS when he took the picture was muttering something about "certifable". Plum liquor hmm. I tell you that brandy is really tasty. I just hope there is some left for the cranberries by Thanksgiving :) Glad you liked the pics!
Jul. 21, 2012 1:04 am
I absolutely love blackberries! Blackberry brandy did me in years ago, it goes down so easily you forget it has a kick. Blackberry ice cream sounds like a wonderful idea. I have used bourbon on the cranberries when I had none of the brandy, I used about half as much since it is stronger. It is different, but good. I'd love to see more pictures of the rest of the gardens Based on Mike's blog and Magnolia Blossom's they sound lovely.
Jul. 21, 2012 6:08 am
I am going to do that Blackberry vodka. That sounds deVINE....pun intended LOL!
Jul. 21, 2012 8:38 am
BigShotsMom, I know EXACTLY what you mean! That brandy is so smooth. If I knew anything about mixed drinks, I bet a great drink could be made with the vodka. I have been urged for a long time to show the gardens but I could never figure out what stories to share. I'm always learning so I rather feel inadequate about trying to share tips. It was the blackberries that made me think it doesn't matter which garden I pick because no matter whose garden it is, there is always something to be enjoyed, shared or learned from each other and each of them :)(:
Jul. 21, 2012 8:40 am
maurigirl, I do not know much about mixed drinks but I am so thinking that blackberry flavored vodka could make a stellar drink if you just knew what to put with. Me, in a pretty little glass works fine without anything :)
Jul. 21, 2012 9:49 am
WOW! and it is SO HOT here, did you see any snakes?
Jul. 21, 2012 11:05 am
It is hot here, Perri! I knew you would appreciate decking out in fallwear on one of our "nicer" days. I think it is too HOT for the snakes to be out during the day. Just certifiable gardening cooks go out LOLOL!
Jul. 21, 2012 1:35 pm
Cat. . .are these ripe right now? I have "some" kind of berry that looks like what you have here, but they ripen early! May/June except this year. We had such hot weather early (March) that they bloomed and set and then we got a frost and killed most of them (I think I got exactly 3 berries). . .BUT, the canes have done some MONSTER growth since then. I expect MANY berries next year. . .unless the same thing happens again. . .sigh. . .
Jul. 21, 2012 1:39 pm
Mine came on a little early but if you have wild ones they are earlier than the domesticated ones. They almost look like raspberries here but they aren't. I keep hoping the Master Gardeners want to do a pruning class again. I will volunteer this place because I know you are supposed to prune them but I never get it right. I can never tell which are the 2nd years that need to go. My berries due to the heat are probably gone. They came on before 7/4 and I picked for 2 weeks.
Jul. 21, 2012 6:31 pm
I have worn outfits not NEARLY as chic as yours, just to feed and milk in! I am waiting on my blackberries...the meaties did a number on them this year, so I have at LEAST another year before we get any good stuff from them
Jul. 21, 2012 7:18 pm
petey, it is so nice to know there are others that don't instantly think I'm certifiable :) I'm guessing though it is a little cooler than 85 when you are doing your chores. Now you know why I like having roundups here, I get to wear clean nice clothes for a change :) The DH mowed my blackberries hence the 2 year wait for the recipe! He thought he was helping. Deep sigh.
Jul. 21, 2012 10:02 pm
Ummmmm, Blackberries! Those little gems grow wild all over our state. You see folks picking along side the road all the time. In fact, they're almost like a weed here, that's how prolific they are. We generally make Blackberry Jam and of course Blackberry Cobbler. But, now you've got me to thinking about Blackberry Liqueur. Great blog Cat. BTW, I love your BB picking outfit too. I always say, "A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do." At least went out and picked 'em.
Jul. 22, 2012 4:30 am
Wow Cat, great blog! Those blackberry bushes took me back 40 yrs to picking berries with my grandpa! It was fun but a hot sticky job! Our berry bushes yielded little to no berries this year. Maybe that was a good thing since we had a bear pass thru our yard. Had there been berries he may had decided to hang around awhile!
Jul. 22, 2012 5:10 am
Candice, but boy do I wish I had all those blueberries you picked! I believe I mentioned how determined I was to make that liqueur. It is really tasty :) LOL! I think the next time I make the ice cream it will be much better without all those seeds!
Jul. 22, 2012 5:12 am
Mother Ann, no kidding! Thank heavens we haven't had any of those sighted in this area!! Glad you liked the blog. I can remember picking with my dad and grandpa but those canes were in nice neat rows not a jungle!
Jul. 22, 2012 5:25 am
Hi Cat: Just a quick stop in and read your blog. What a wonderful garden indeed. I am impressed of your determination and vision so many years ago. My opinion is that you are being kind to the land by growing all of that wonderful bounty. Gardening for me is to plant my window boxes and planters every summer, not so hard, but enough for me, lol. The tarts look amazing, vodka in place of water? Who would have thought? Take care!!!!
Jul. 22, 2012 5:52 am
Hey, Janet! I was just thinking of you the other day! I haven't chatted with you for awhile. I think it is dogged determination and lack of vision that has made the place what it is. LOLOL! If I'd had vision I would have planted ONE garden with a tidy blackberry patch, ONE grape vine and 3 or 4 fruit trees and put them all around the house where a hose could reach them. I like window boxes you can do all sorts of things with them according to the magazines I read but mine never look that nice :) I saw the vodka on a cooking show and then Good EatNZ told me about it. I'm wondering what would happen using the flavored vodkas in the crusts. I really like a good crust sometimes better than the filling. You take care too!
Jul. 23, 2012 8:08 am
I love to garden, and I bet I could spend HOURS in yours, Cat Hill! I grew up picking and eating wild blackberries...they are so good! We have black rapberries in abundance here, but they didn't do well this year due to drought. But since Wiconsin is experiencing a definite summer this year, the rest of my garden is doing quite well. I have a small area, so I'm able to water. I've been toying with the idea of becoming a master gardener, and you may have just pushed me to commit. : )
Jul. 23, 2012 11:01 am
wisweetp, oh how I wish you could! Believe me, I could use all the help I can get :) There are days I wish I'd stuck with a small area but it is nice when I can just sit outside and look at it. I have learned lots from the Master Gardener program. I think the one thing I appreciate the most is how diverse each gardener and their gardens are. Find out what kind of volunteer hours you have to put in first. Our county isn't too bad but Kansas City's ask a lot from their volunteers! I hope the weather cooperates for you and your garden grows well!
Jul. 23, 2012 2:09 pm
The photos are beautiful. No more gardens for me as I live in a town house. My patio tomatoes and herbs are doing ok on my balcony. Watering every day in the drought is tedious but worth it.
Jul. 23, 2012 7:37 pm
CJ, thank you! I am trying to have better photos & also recipes. I'm afraid I will be up at 5am watering tomorrow. Animals and plants. This is the first year I am down 1 foot in my water garden. I had someone tell me one time that cherry tomatoes weren't real tomatoes but I beg to differ. They will grow well on a balcony and IMO they are just, if not better, as good. Thank heavens, herbs are happy pot dwellers. Do you have any tips for keeping potted plants cool in this heat?
Jul. 24, 2012 3:37 am
Blackberry ice cream, blackberry brandy, blackberry anything is pure Heaven! Your wonderful blog has made me rethink a situation I have here. I have a small herb garden against an old shed but it is constantly invaded by the wild blackberries along our fence line. We have done everything to keep (kill) those thorny plants out of the herb garden but to no avail, the berries keep sneaking in and attacking me as I try to gather some fresh herbs. Maybe it's time to relocate that herb garden....
Jul. 24, 2012 4:06 am
Wyattdogster, I'd say given the lack of care my brambles have received and just how well they have taken over, it might be easier on you to move the herbs. What do you have in your herb garden? The only herbs I have had trouble moving are fennel, thyme and mint. In my zone and yard the first 2 found places they liked and didn't want to leave. I rue the day I put mint near any of my gardens, it rather has a blackberry-like nature. Can't get rid of it no matter how hard I try :)
Jul. 24, 2012 1:50 pm
ROFLMAO, I have that same coat and that is how I dress on cool spring mornings getting ready to pick asparagus or in the fall when I am grabbing potatoes and carrots. Not certifiable at all, I call it the chilly morning look and I would be proud to walk the runway with it. I even have those boots;P Now in 90+ degree heat, well doing anything but swimming in a pool in that heat is certifiable, IMHO. Now onto the berries. We do not get black berries here, they are in BC in abundance, but I get tonnes of raspberries and the thorns on the raspberry bushes used to scratch up my arms terribly. A couple of my neighbours had non thorny raspberry canes and I graciously collected any plants they were trying to get rid of. I now have 2 patches growing and producing in mass amounts. On average 4 gallon pails/picking, 4-5 times picking/season. Then it tapers from there to 1 gallon pails at a time. I am happy to pass on new shoots to other women in the neighbourhood to start their own patches. I make jam, fruit and juice with the raspberries, freeze a few bags for desserts in the winter and we fill our bellies for a month with fresh berries off the cane. Love this time of year.
Jul. 24, 2012 1:54 pm
I have a herb book that talks about many herbal medicines, and how to use them. So many herbs grow wild here almost like weeds. So much still to learn about them
Jul. 24, 2012 2:14 pm
RNG, LOL! What can I say? Sheer dogged determination! I so wanted to make what I did that I was willing to SWEAT and not be punctured :) Those boots keep me from being drained alive by chiggers! I would LOVE to have thornless cultivars of ANYTHING! Raccons took all my raspberries but mine don't seem to bite like those darned blackberries. Hey, almost snagged your email off of something Lady Sparkle sent me to ask you a question but I thought that might be bad manners but I would sure love to hear anything about the herbs you have growing your way! I find I am ALWAYS learning in the garden :)
Jul. 24, 2012 2:36 pm
snag away, I was not sure who all I was replying too;) Some names I could recognize, others I could not, but you know I am opinionated and besides, it was like a dare or a challenge to respond for me:)
Jul. 24, 2012 3:45 pm
Here's an idea, Cat. Prune those plants back!!! LOL. But still wear your blackberry pickin' outfit.:o) :o) :o) I would like to see your flower gardens too sometime. I'll be jealous but still.....
Jul. 24, 2012 4:16 pm
RNG, I liked and agreed with what you said! But I had a question that I thought you might be able to answer. I have been in the heat so long, I may have forgotten what I wanted to know but I knew you'd know the answer :) I've spent 7 hours hauling water out to the orchard and gardens and it is 102 actual temp. UGH!
Jul. 24, 2012 4:21 pm
LOLOL! With what! The DH pruned them with the brush hog and that didn't do them any good! Had to wait 2 years for them to recover from that. You did look at that bridge didn't you? I was getting me some berries this year by golly but I hate going over it anymore than I must! It is a 14' drop if it goes. 'Fraid you wouldn't find the flower gardens anything to envy. They are crispy! I am going to make some more garden to kitchen blogs just for friends like you, cheepchick! I just hope you like them :)(:
Jul. 26, 2012 1:26 pm
Hey there Cateer...:) So glad I finally got a chance to drop in and read your's wonderful (as usual). Those tarts look delish - everything does tho' really, and I'm really diggin' your pickin' outfit! Keep on bloggin' girlie!
Jul. 26, 2012 1:53 pm
LOLOLOL! They were good! Now are you ready to come back for some wine tasting followed by a little blackberry brandy? LOL!
Jul. 26, 2012 1:54 pm
Glad you liked the outfit :)
Jul. 26, 2012 2:01 pm
You name the time, girl! Boy am I ever ready!
Jul. 26, 2012 6:40 pm
Did anyone email you about this weekend? It is supposed to be a secret but the DH stinks at those. Perhaps, we could have a mini roundup like we talked about. I am experimenting with drink concoctions and I think I have got a good one :) We have some nice wineries in this are and coocar has seen most of them. Remember the wine she brought?
Jul. 27, 2012 10:47 am
Cat, thanks so much for sharing! I'm flat out jealous! I can't keep a thing alive at all in the summer, and "winter" isn't much better! Maybe time to think about starting more cuke plants, or something... As I read your blog, and looked at the pics, I was right there beside you, from picking berries to chastising myself that the pie crusts weren't store bought perfect looking! Who wants that, though? Homemade is from the heart! Wish now that my bitter oranges were useable... we're running low on marmalade! Be well, friend, you gave me a great (needed) lift!
Jul. 27, 2012 1:10 pm
Ah, Steve I have been sending positive thoughts your way! I'm glad you stopped in. After talking about the blackberry brandy with you, I kept thinking "Steve will love this cause he gets the recipe and to see the finished product". Then I didn't see you around and it made me wonder what was happening. I hope you get well soon!! Or at least get the problem resolved!
Jul. 27, 2012 5:57 pm
Thanks, Cat... at this point, and distraction keeps me from fretting about "worst case!" I am feeling better tho (not so crazy...) Be well, and keep in touch!
Jul. 27, 2012 6:49 pm
"worst case" might not even happen. I am glad you are feeling better! When I see you around I will definitely drop in so now you have to get better so you can keep giving us blogs! BTW Did you do an onion soup that you really liked? I'll have to go look and is if that was "O".
Jul. 27, 2012 9:29 pm
I'd LOVE some of that blackberry brandy, Cat... now, about that outfit. Kinda "flashy" if ya' know what I mean.;)
Jul. 28, 2012 4:25 am
LOLOL! Yeah but there was no one around to flash!
Jul. 28, 2012 12:55 pm
Great story Cat. Can I just brag that it was MY 4th of July BBQ that those wonderful creations came to. There was not one left in the house when the lights were turned out that night. Thanks,Cat, so much for the effort you put into those tasty, cute little pies and sharing the adventure. NOW, I"m keeping my fingers crossed for some blackberry liquid refreshment.
Jul. 28, 2012 1:06 pm
Let me just say, it is a good thing I picked plenty! The DS was right about me needing to make 2 bottles. I am trying to perfect a drink with the brandy. I'm almost there and almost out of the first bottle of brandy! Those tarts were pretty good :)
Jul. 29, 2012 4:43 pm
I am downright jealous! You have a treasure trove of goodies all around you. Those little pies looked delicious! I know how much work and love (not to mention blood, sweat and tears) you have invested in your gardens and they are beautiful because of it. We have a nice size garden but it might as well be a huge farm for all the work it takes! I hate to weed, (UGH! do I ever) but I love to pick everything and love it even more to share our veggies with the neighbors. I am allergic to something in the leaves, especially the tomato plants, and wear something similar to your outfit, LOL. So worth it to mot break out in hives every time I want to pick a little tomato for dinner! We expanded our garden this year and have had success with most things but there were a few failures. I am learning though and the kids are always wanting to try new things so they are encouraging... but when it comes to weeding I never seem to get as much enthusiasm from them as I did when we planted everything! I find it immensely satisfying to make a salad we picked from the garden or cut fresh herbs; that is my favorite item, the fresh herbs! Love it. We have corn that is almost ready to pick, in maybe another week? That was new for us this year and we marveled at how fast it grew. Cant wait to try some! I cant believe you made blackberry brandy! You are fearless! How awesome is that?!
Jul. 30, 2012 6:10 am
So you approve of my first garden blog :) LOLOL! You know exactly how I feel about the gardens so much time but when you get the fresh ingredients for dinner or lunch or breakfast..PRICELESS! And now I can have fresh tomatoes and eggs for breakfast :) I blast you an email about your rash problem. I have some tips for the weeding too :)
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Cat Hill

Home Town
Kansas City, Missouri, USA

Member Since
Aug. 2009

Cooking Level

Cooking Interests
Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Frying, Stir Frying, Asian, Mexican, Italian, Southern, Mediterranean, Healthy, Gourmet

Gardening, Camping, Walking, Reading Books, Wine Tasting

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About Me
I live in the middle of the U.S. in a farming communtiy. Gardening, reading and cooking are the things you'll mostly find me doing. I also enjoy horseback riding & my many pets. A husband & teen, I have 1 of each.
My favorite things to cook
Bread & BBQ are 2 of my favorite things to cook. I do enjoy a food challenge. Last year it was curing my own brisket for Corned beef & pastrami & porkloin for Canadian bacon. This year sausages & scratch cakes.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Bread and brittle. I learned to bake bread with my Mom. It was her favorite thing to make. My Aunt made the best peanut brittle ever. She'd stopped making it in the later years but when I told her how much I enjoyed her brittle, she opened the vault ,gave me the recipe & handed over the brittle torch to me.
My cooking triumphs
Anything that turns out the way I wanted it to or exceeds my expectations! Like my homemade bratwurst.
My cooking tragedies
Let's not go there! I prefer not to think about my kitchen disasters besides my child can gleefully recount all of them.
Argentina  |  Australia & New Zealand  |  Brazil  |  Canada  |  China  |  France  |  Germany  |  India  |  Italy  |  Japan  |  Korea  |  Mexico

Netherlands  |  Poland  |  Quebec  |  Russia  |  SE Asia  |  United Kingdom & Ireland  |  United States