Tuesday, July 26

A Refreshing, Easy, No Cook Summer Recipe: Gazpacho!

Refreshing easy no cook gazapcho (chilled tomato vegetable soup) - FarmgirlFare.com
Tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers, onion, and garlic, oh my. (recipe here)

The tomatoes in my kitchen garden got a late start this year, so the only ones that have ripened so far are some sweet little volunteer cherries (three cheers for volunteers!). But as soon as all the bigger tomatoes out there turn red, I'll be mixing up a batch of my favorite quick and easy gazpacho.

Packed with nutrients and full of flavor, this low fat chilled vegetable soup is the perfect thing to keep in the fridge during sweltering summer days when nobody feels much like eating, let alone cooking. There's no need to blanch, peel, seed, or force anything through a sieve, and all of the vegetable goodness ends up right in your bowl.

If you've never had gazpacho—which some people refer to as liquid salad—I urge you to give it a try, even if, like me, you're not a big fan of cold soups. My version is basically a thick juice, which can be sipped rather than slurped—and easily made thinner—if desired. A celery stick and splash of vodka are optional.

Since I've recently gone crazy for Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce (and I'm not usually a hot sauce fan), this year's gazpacho will likely be liberally doused with it.

This gazpacho will fill you up without weighing you down, and it just might be the most refreshing way I've found to beat the heat—except for a big scoop of ice cream of course. But that would be for dessert.

How do you like to make gazpacho?

© FarmgirlFare.com, always vine-ripened, usually worth the wait.

Saturday, July 23

Saturday Dose of Cute: Slow Speed Ahead

The farm is full of turtles this time of year.

So we have satellite Internet connection, and for some mysterious reason it's now downloading at just .05 mbps instead of the 'up to 1.5' mbps our special pro (read high dollar) rate says we should get. That's extremely slow. Like too slow to do pretty much anything online.

Since we were already planning to relocate the satellite dish to the new house, we're going to skip a special service call for this problem and just go ahead and move it. But that won't happen until the brand new, already broken air-conditioning system over there is back up and running, which will probably be at least another week because we're waiting on an out of stock part.

Why am I boring you with all this? In the superstitious (or crazy) hope that as soon as I publicly explain our predicament, the slow speed will miraculously fix itself, which the tech guy said was actually possible since there seems to be nothing causing it in the first place. Hey, whatever works. And it's definitely cheaper than scheduling a service call.

Maybe this will somehow get that a/c part here sooner, too.

In the meantime, want to see some more turtles?
5/12/06: Damn Turtles!

© FarmgirlFare.com, where the 'slow moving' is also true for all of us critters dragging around the farm in this insufferable and relentless heat and humidity. There's nothing like watching a bunch of chickens walking around the farmyard panting to make you feel even hotter than you already were. Time for popsicles all around!

Tuesday, July 19

Recipe: Quick and Easy Homemade Lowfat Buttermilk Ranch Dressing and Dip

You'll want to eat your veggies with this simple, scrumptious dip. (recipe here)

In the two years I've been making my own lowfat buttermilk ranch dressing, I can probably count the number of days there hasn't been any in the fridge on one hand. It's good stuff to have around.

And it really does make eating your (or your family's) daily dose of vegetables easier, especially during summer when the long awaited celebration of seasonal garden bounty like cherry tomatoes and cucumbers is in full swing. (You can read about growing my favorite gourmet lemon cucumbers from seed here and miniature white cucumbers from seed here. And In My Kitchen Garden readers and I share our favorite varieties of heirloom tomatoes to grow here.)

I know I'm much more inclined to pass up the pretzels and reach for a healthy snack of sweet red pepper strips and carrot sticks if there's homemade dip on hand. Of course it's good with pretzels, too—and potato chips, and tortilla chips, and practically everything except dessert. I've even put ranch dressing on pizza.

You can dress up this recipe with everything from paprika to parsley to parmesan, to a handful of chopped fresh herbs, but what's nice is that you don't have to. After two years, I still like the basic version, which is flavored with onion, garlic, and dill, the best.

No time to cook up a vegetable side dish or toss a salad together for dinner? Just slice up a pretty plate of fresh veggies, add a dish of dip, and you're good to go. I serve this several times a week in summer. The most beautiful addition to the plate? Easy to grow, gorgeous to look at, and great tasting Dragon Langerie bush beans.

To make a thicker dip simply use less buttermilk. Enjoy!

Can't just live on dip? You'll find links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

© FarmgirlFare.com, where we dip it, dip it good. (Sorry, couldn't resist. Yep, the song is going through my head now, too.)

Monday, July 18

Monday Dose of Cute: Stampeding Toward the Donkey Treat Bucket?

Sheep stampede for treats - FarmgirlFare.com
It sure as sheep looks that way.

Life on this farm revolves around treats. Don't believe me? Just click here and here. (All the people treats are here.)

© FarmgirlFare.com, where it's a lot easier to get the sheep to go where you want them to if they know they're headed toward troughs full of treats—so it's a good thing we bought 400 pounds of them while out and about today.

Sunday, July 17

Sunday Dose of Cute: A Baby Bird (and The Whole Picture)

Baby bird 1
A wayward little phoebe in the farmyard

Early Friday afternoon I was walking across the farmyard over to the new house (that would be the one with the newly installed air conditioning system that has already temporarily gone kaput) and found a baby bird sitting in the grass.

And then I found a second one. And then I noticed the frantic mother bird swooping around and chirping up a fit.

More photos and The Whole Picture below. . .

Thursday, July 14

Tuesday, July 12

Tuesday Dose of Cute: Going Vintage Green Again

Green Vintage Quilt Love 1 - FarmgirlFare.com
The newest addition to my well loved and well used vintage quilt collection

Back when I lived in northern California, I spent a number of years as, among other things, a part time antiques and collectibles dealer. I love all kinds of vintage stuff, and the business was a fun way to fund my own slightly-out-of-control collecting habit.

These days I'm mostly on the buying end of things, but no matter which side of the business you're on, there's one important rule to always keep in mind: If you love it, you'd better snatch it up right now, because otherwise it'll probably disappear.

More photos and the rest of the story below. . .

Sunday, July 10

Friday, July 8

Friday Dose of Cute: The Daily Donkey Takes a Vacation

Bert in Donkeyland - FarmgirlFare.com
But I don't wanna leave Donkeyland  (photo taken 3/22/11)

You brayed (and e-mailed), and we listened. More donkey pictures! you pleaded, and The Daily Donkey, which began back on February 6, quickly became one of the most popular features on Farmgirl Fare. Thanks so much for all your wonderful feedback and support during the past five months.

More below, plus The Daily Donkey 140. . .

Tuesday, July 5

Tuesday Dose of Cute: Peep! Peep!

Mama hen and her two day old chicks 1

Lots more photos, a chick report, and The Daily Donkey below. . .