Friday, September 9, 2011

Monster Zucchini!

Talk about flippin' huge! Check these buggers out! They are practically bigger than my legs.

Unfortunately, they would probably taste horrible because they tend to get really fibrous when allowed to get this big. No worries though, these two will be our seed fruit so that we will have seeds for next year and probably a lot extra to put in the Etsy shop.

It so happened that they got this big because Lee has been slacking off on his harvesting duties, which is because he's been a wimp about getting tomato leaf stickies on his skin. It makes him itch.

I do admit that the tomatoes were starting to deter me from going into the garden, too. They became these ravenous beasts that were getting way out of control and had produced a serious jungle. We no longer had garden paths, they killed the Stars and Moon watermelon vine that was minding it's own business next door by growing over the top of it, and started bending the fence which encouraged that rabbits to climb over and hop on into the garden. (Boy was it fun {not} chasing Dot through all those tomato vines last night for a half an hour!)

I decided that I would begin selectively pruning them so that Lee (and I) will go back into the garden again, the wimps that we are. I fear that we probably watered too much, because we have a lot of vine, but very little fruit. And what's up with the darned heirlooms? Nothing. We only bought the Early Girl hybrid to tide us over until the heirlooms kicked in, but Early Girls aren't much better than grocery store tomatoes. Blech. They are still tough and not super tasty. Bah. I guess the bright side perks would be that they are organic and we didn't have to pay for them.

Last summer Mr. Stripey, our one heirloom tomato at the time, tormented us and then finally had a huge blowout just before the frost kicked in. I have a feeling the same thing is going to happen with our White Queen, Black Sea Man, Black Trifele, Green Zebra, Russian Queen, Pink Oxhearts, and the others we have been waiting on for long I've forgotten the names of.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Non-GMO Corn Tortillas? Do They Exist?

Since posting my last recipe for quesadillas, and all the news buzz about Monstanto wreaking havoc with their GMO corn and encouraging a super pest to evolve (that is now resistant to their GMO corn), I've really been concerned about all of the products that we buy which are made of corn, so pardon my ranting here. As you know, it isn't just the obvious things that contain corn either, corn is in everything! Take a peek at this crazy list of things that may be derviced from corn! Talk about daunting.

You may have read my last rant about GMO's, but if you haven't and have no clue as to why they should be avoided, please take the time to learn why you should avoid them! The easiest way to avoid them is to buy organic, or trusted brands that do not use GMO's in their products. If you are cell phone savvy, get an app to make it even easier for you.

I hate to say it, but there's a 75-85% chance that the corn in your local grocery store is GMO corn. Yep, that includes the fresh summer sweet corn in the produce section, too. It's one of those sad situations where you just have to eat the nasty GMO or go without. A lot of people are choosing to go without now, unless they are growing it themselves. How very sad and depressing that things have come to this.

Even those with home gardens aren't completely safe, and organic heirloom corn could easily and very quickly become a thing of the past. As it is, it is already rare and very hard to find. I know by trial and error that if you do find some, it's hard to grow. Our corn this year was a failure. Also, since we are surrounded by miles and miles of cornfields, most likely GMO corn, it's totally possible that our corn could get contaminated. This really, really, depresses me to think that we are extremely close to not having real, non-GMO, organic corn again, ever. Once it's ruined by GMO's, it's gone. We can't bring it back, folks. We need to all take responsibility and do something now.

What can you do? Well, the simplest thing is to avoid corn, with the exception of organic. This is voting with your wallet. You can take it a step further and contact the manager or owner of your local grocery store and ask them to carry organic or non-GMO corn and corn products. If you really want to get involved, check out Millions Against Monsanto  or NON GMO Project and keep up to date. They often have online petitions you can sign and updates for events in your area. Putting the pressure on the big guys is how to make things really happen, so if you can, get involved! Even if it's just signing petitions. There are other organizations and websites out there devoted to this cause, do a little Googling.

As for those corn tortillas, I found that La Tortilla Factory brand organic tortillas are sold at a number of stores that are available all over the country. I also read that the Trader Joe's brand items sold in their stores are also GMO-free. That doesn't mean that every item on their shelves are, as they've gotten into some hot water in the past for selling non-labeled GMO items from other companies, but you can feel somewhat safe with their own brand. Also, it appears that Whole Foods has a new attitude about carrying GMO products, and I'm sure this has a lot to do with consumer petitions and the pressure that activist groups put on them earlier in the year with store rallies and educating consumers. See, when you get ticked off and speak up, those companies do listen!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Cheese-free Quesadillas

This is my favorite snack as of late, quesadillas without the cheese (and all the fat, cholesterol, and lactose.) How is that possible? Hummus. I was skeptical that it would work, but yUh-hUm-mMm! And so simple!

I just slather some hummus on one corn tortilla (flour works too, we also tried whole wheat and it was pretty good,) then slap another tortilla on top of it. Brush a little bit of oil (whatever vegetable based oil that suits you will work) on the top. I don't like super greasy food so I just use the barest amount, but if you are all about frying, by all means, go ahead and drown that sucker. Flip it into a pan, oil side down, over medium heat until it turns golden brown. Brush oil on the opposite side and flip it over and let that side get golden brown. Slide onto a cutting board. Chop that baby up into however many pieces you want, and voila! Serve with your favorite salsa.

If you want to get all fancy, make your own darned hummus and salsa. If you really think you are all that then make your own tortillas, too. Go on, I dare you. [wink]