Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pork green chile stew

I know you were expecting Christmas 2011 - Part 2 and that's the post I had expected to make, but you know what they say about the best laid plans.  Got most of the lights up outside, but have some spots where the lights aren't working and I've spent around 2 hours so far trying to get the problem corrected.  Might have to buy one of the gizmos they're advertising on TV that fixes bad lights.  To make matters worse, my frog tree broke tonight as I was plugging in the lights, but the good news is none of the ornaments were damaged.

Now, on to the subject of today's post. Yesterday I decided it was time for some of my fabulous pork green chile stew and it was delicious as usual; my daughter came over today to score a big batch for herself.

Pork Green Chile Stew:

3-4 lb pork butt, bone-in
1.5 lb green tomatillos
5-6 cloves garlic (peeled)
1 tsp dried oregano (Mexican preferred)
1 Tbs fresh sage
2-3 bay leaves
1 fresh Habanero pepper
1 fresh Jalapeno pepper (medium sized)
1-2 fresh Anahiem peppers
1 fresh Yellow Hungarian pepper
1 fresh Poblano pepper
1/2 Tbs kosher or sea salt (add more later to taste)
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
3 14 oz cans of chicken stock (recommend use one w/o MSG)
1 onion (optional)

Trim fat from pork butt and cut into 3-4 large pieces, put in stock pot and add chicken stock, garlic, herbs and seasonings and place on stove over low heat; cover.

Put skillet or flat pan on high heat and once it's really hot, roast the peppers to blacken the skin and add a smoky flavor to them. Sliced the blackened chiles and remove the seeds, then add to stock pot. NOTE: this makes a fairly hot batch of stew, so unless you really like hot food, start with 1/4 of the chiles and add more to adjust to taste after several hours. DO NOT eliminate any of the chiles, as each adds its' own unique flavor to the dish.

Husk the tomatillos, rinse them and remove the part where the stem and husk were attached to the fruit, then quarter them and add to the pot.

Cook on low heat for 4-5 hours, then shred the pork and remove the bone and any fatty tissue. The chiles, garlic and tomatillos should have cooked down to the point where they are liquified. If desired, add more chile to taste and season to taste at this time. Cook on low for another 2-3 hours, then serve with rice and/or corn bread.

Bon appetite

Hopefully, I'll get the light issues fixed and will be able to post the second installment of Christmas 2011 soon.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas 2011 - Part 1

Started decorating the house for Christmas yesterday and got the main tree where we put all the presents, the fireplace and the frog tree done.  The main tree is done all in silver and gold, with ribbon and bows and classic ornament shapes. It also has ornaments from places we have visited, such as the Empire State Building and Alaska, as well as silver initials for each family member, 12 in all, representing 4 generations.

The fireplace hearth has a firescreen of the 3 wisemen, flanked by gold colored grapevine angels.  The mantel has a lighted swag of "pine boughs", gold and silver stockings and a lighted western village.  The chimney has a giant wreath surrounding a smaller wreath of bells.

Since I love frogs, especially Kermit, I have a 4' tree dedicated to all of my frog ornaments that goes up in the living room each year.

Tomorrow, Christmas - Part 2

Thursday, November 24, 2011


I've been battling a head cold for the past few days, hence the lack of new posts. I did manage to repair my vintage Ranch Oak platform rocker, which was completely falling apart and required regluing of most of the joints and the replacement of one of the dowels.  here are pictures of the chair clamped up for one of the regluings and the finished chair.

I set the table for Thanksgiving today, anticipating 10-11 diners, and only ended up with 6, as half bailed at the last moment due to conflicts with other obligations.  We had turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, sausage cornbread stuffing, rolls and cranberry sauce.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pilgrim Larry

 Here's Pilgrim Larry bringing home Thanksgiving dinner.  His outfit was made using a sweat suit ($15) and hankerchiefs ($5) from Target and the hat was $2 @ Party City.  The belt was borrowed from my wife and the buckle wrapped in aluminum foil.  You may recognize the turkey and shotgun from American Sportsman Larry.  May your Thanksgiving be filled with family, friends, good food and good times; I know mine will, even though this will be only our second Thanksgiving without the in-laws in 31 years; hopefully they'll be here for Christmas.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Clean up day

Today was a clean up day for the most part, but I did plant some snow pea seeds and 2 dozen alliums.  The rest of the afternoon was spent trimming the grass around planters and cutting down the vine that was climbing over my wall from one the neighbor's back yards and cutting back the other neighbor's grapefruit tree that was severely overhanging the back wall.  Saturday I'll have to get out the chainsaw to finish the job, as I plan to add vegetable beds in the corner that the vines and grapefruit tree were overtaking or shading.  I'm planning on acorn and spaghetti squash, onions, garlic, broccoli, radishes and beets.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Propagating roses from cuttings

Went to the in-laws for the weekend and my father-in-law was planning on cutting back his roses the following weekend, so I decided it was a perfect time to take some cuttings to root at home.  I went to Michael's and bought 4 packs of floral water tube picks (4 per pack, $1.49 ea.) to transport the cuttings home.  I took 2 cuttings each from 8 different roses; hybrid teas in pink (2 different roses), scarlet, medium red, white and candy striped, and floribundas in yellow and red.  I forgot to bring my camera, so I don't have pictures of any of the parent plants.

To the left is a photo of two of the floral water tube picks with cuttings inserted through the cap and water sealed in the tube.  Each tube was marked with a permanent marker noting the bloom color unless the varietal name was known (7 out of 8 were unknown).

Once I got home, I prepared a potting mix of equal parts potting soil and vermiculite and filled 8 3" plastic pots with the mixture.  I removed the first paired cuttings from the tubes and using an Exacto knife, made a new base cut at a 45 degree angle leaving about 6"-8" of stem.  Next I held the knife at about a 5 degree angle and removed 1/2" of the bark above the top of the base cut, as shown in the next photo.

The cut end was dipped in a bottle of rooting hormone, the excess was shaken off, then it was pushed into one of the prepared pots.

 A "greenhouse" was made for each pot using a gallon plastic freezer bag with the zipper cut off and a bamboo skewer for a support pole.  The plastic bag was placed over the skewer and secured at the bottom with a rubber band.

The potted cuttings were placed on a plastic tray so they can be watered without having to remove the "greenhouses" and in 6-8 weeks I'll know if they successfully rooted or not.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fall blooms and planning for Spring

Now that the weather has cooled down, the roses are starting to bloom again, as evidenced by the photos (from left to right) of Climbing America, Blue Moon and a miniature red rose.  I also planted bulbs for Spring today; 18 Purple Passionale Triumph Tulips (Liliaceae tulipa 'Passionale') and 12 Blue Grape Hyacinths (Muscari armeniacum) in beds in the front yard and some Paper Whites (Narcissus tazetta) in a planter on the front porch.  Tomorrow I need to find a place for the irises I got recently before they dry out, or else I'll have to put them in the frig for a while.  I'm going to Yuma to visit the in-laws for the weekend, plus it's supposed to rain all weekend, so something has to get done tomorrow one way or the other.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Larry honors America's veterans

In honor of America's veterans, Larry's wearing an authentic 1950's-60's era Army uniform.  Larry is proud to honor and acknowledge the sacrifices of the members of all of America's Armed Forces; Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy, both full-time and as members of the National Guard, who have served and continue to serve, especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that we may enjoy the freedoms many of us take for granted.  From the citizen soldiers of the Colonial Militias who fought for freedom from British tyranny to the volunteer soldiers currently serving domestically and overseas, this country's citizens have a proud tradition of military service to defend not only American soil, but in defense of citizens of other countries threatened by the yoke of tyranny from their own government as well as foreign invaders.  

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Veggie happenings

Finally got all the Halloween decor packed up Friday, and just in time, as it rained for several hours that night.  It was too wet to do anything on Saturday, so I didn't get back into the garden until today.  I decided to do something different with the window boxes, so instead of planting flowers, I planted a variety pack of leaf lettuces in one and spinach in the other.  I also planted a couple of heirloom tomatoes, picked more okra and some peppers.  In looking over the yard, I found a small tree growing right next to the back of the house, so I dug it up and potted it until I can decide what to do with it.  I think it's a mulberry, but have no idea how it got there; perhaps I'll take it to my daughter's house and plant it in the front yard.  Tomorrow's forecast calls for more rain, so I'll probably start some seeds for the raised planters I've decided to put in the back yard.