Saturday, March 15, 2014


Got a shipment from Burpee today:

Canteloupe: Sweet N Early
Tomato: Bloody Butcher Heirloom
Pepper: Hot Mixture
Cucumber: Supremo Hybrid
Herb: Fennel (Florence)
Tomato: Ensalada Hybrid
Radish: Black Spanish Round Heirloom
Tomato: Stupice Heirloom

In the meantime, the snow is dripping and melting, the temp is finally above freezing.  Yesterday it was in the 40's and today it is 38.

Just a few mornings ago it looked this this:
but today there are a few patches of greenish brown showing on the  high places on the lawn.  The birds have been decimating the seeds in the bird feeder, yesterday I saw a red-headed finch playing in a puddle as if it were a bird feeder. 

I will be so glad to get outside and plant some seeds! March 17,  St. Patrick's day is just around the corner, my Irish-ancestry mother always tried to get potatoes and peas planted on or near St. Paddy's. I have to remember that she grew up in Florida - here in Michigan perhaps I can have a little leeway.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Seed starting - garden log

Two weeks ago I could no longer wait to see something green so I started a tray of Mesclun. 

It was Burpee "Gourmet Salad Blend" consisting of four varieties of lettuce and two other salad herbs, the seed was packed for 2014:
  •  Black Seeded Simpson
  • Red Salad Bowl
  • Lollo Rossa
  • Royal Oak Leaf
  • Rocket (Arugula)
  • Raddichio Red Verona
The seed germinated nicely, but is get a little leggy looking out my south living room window.  It is still too cold to put it under lights in the garage, with nighttime temperatures well below freezing here.

Today I started another tray of veggies with two varieties.  One was Ferry-Morse Barbados Hybrid Broccoli (packed for 2009) which filled up 30 spots in my 72-cell tray, and the other was Page's Liberty Garden Early Snowball Cauliflower.  This filled the other 40 cells, and I spilled some of the seed 3 or 4 per cell.  This seed was packed for 2006.  So the dollar store brand of seeds had more seeds in the package than the home improvement store package.  It will be interesting to see what kind of germination rate I get.

Friday, March 07, 2014

By request, posting the family pierogi recipe.

This recipe was originally published in the Farmgirl Connection cookbook by a group of Mary Jane's Farmgirls in 2006.  "My mother-in-law's family was Ukrainian and for that side of the family, it isn't Christmas until we've had our Pierogis.  My husband and his brother always tell the story of carefully choosing the pierogi when they ate at their grandmother's house - sauerkraut [filling] was the best, cheese or mashed potatoes were acceptable, but they absolutely hated the prune pierogis - if they took one they had to eat it!  Now we just make plain sauerkraut ones.  Goes well well with Polish sausage and cooked wheat with honey."

2 eggs
2 cups flour
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp salt

Mound dough on kneading board and make hole in center.  Drop eggs into hole and cut into flour with a knife.  Add salt and water, and knead until firm.  Let rest for 10 minutes, covered, in bowl in a warm place. 

Divide dough in halves and roll thin.  Cut circles with a large biscuit cutter for half-circles, or just cut in 3-inch squares for triangular pierogis.  Place a small mound of filling a little to one side on each piece of dough.  Moisten edge with a little water, fold over and press edges firmly together.  Be sure they are well-sealed to prevent the filling from running out.  Drop the pierogi into salted boiling water in a large kettle (чайник). Don't crowd.  Cook gently for 3-5 minutes.  They will float when ready.  Lift out of water carefully with perforated spoon.

Notes:  The dough has a tendency to dry out while you are working.  A dry dough will not seal completely.  Never crowd or pile pierogi.  The uncooked will stick, and the cooked will lose shape and lightness.  Pierogi can be frozen after boiling and they keep well. 

Serving:  After boiling, we serve hot, tossed with onions that have been sautéed in butter and seasoned with salt and pepper, with a dollop of sour cream on the top.  Some people fry in hot oil, but not us. 

Fillings:

Cheese:  1 cup dry cottage cheese, 1 dash salt, 1 tsp. lemon juice, 1 tbsp. sugar, 1 egg, 1 egg yolk.  Mix ingredients thoroughly. Fill Pierogi

Cabbage and Mushroom:  1 small head cabbage, 2 cups mushrooms, 2 tbsp. sour cream, 1 small onion chopped fine, butter, salt and pepper.  Quarter cabbage and cook in salted water for 15 minutes.  Drain, cool and chop fine.  Saute onion in butter, add chopped mushrooms and fry 5 minutes.  Add chopped cabbage and continue to fry until flavors meld.  Add sour cream and cool.  Fill Pierogi.

Sauerkraut and Mushroom:  2 cups sauerkraut may be substituted for cabbage in above filling.  Rinse and chop sauerkraut.  Proceed as above. Onions, mushrooms and sour cream are optional.

Potato: use leftover mashed potatoes.  Can add cheddar cheese if desired.

Cheese: cheddar cheese

Prunes: 1 cup cooked prunes, 1 tsp. lemon juice, 1 tsp. sugar.  Soak prunes overnight.  Cook with sugar and lemon juice.  When cool, remove pits (stones) and fill pierogi.  Serve pierogis with bread crumbs browned in butter.

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