Archive for August, 2011

I have been cooking No-knead bread for a couple of years now and feel dangerous enough to experiment with different creations. I made two loaves tonight. Just a plain loaf that the kids wipe out in no time and a sun dried tomato version that was tasty, but not quite what I was looking for. The plain version is very simple. Just be sure to not add too much water. Stir in only what is needed to get a barely sticky ball of dough. I have not used a cup and a half on occasion due to the flour used or environmental conditions.

You can get more information from here. There is a nice video to show the steps.

No Knead Video and other useful information.

3 cups all purpose or baking flour.

1.5 Cups water

1/4 teaspoon of instant yeast

1.5 teaspons of salt.

Mix the ingredients in a bowl and let sit for 12-18 hours. Take the very sticky mess out of the bowl and flatten it out and fold into thirds.

Let the bread rise or proof another 1.5 hours and then cook in a preheated dutch oven or baking dish for 30 minutes covered.

Drop the temp to 450 and cook 15 minutes uncovered.

Here is the final product.

No Knead Bread

Your basic loaf of No-Knead Bread

I did not take pictures of the sun dried tomato loaf when finished. I did not mix the bits of tomato well enough into the loaf.  Made for a weird loaf that is for sure. Here is a pic of the loaf proofing before I throw it into the dutch oven.

No Knead bread sun dried tomato experiment. Although tasty, not what I was looking for.

I use a 10 inch cast iron dutch oven by Lodge. It is a 5 quart DEEP oven. Not the regular 10 inch oven. You can buy baking dishes but they need to have a tight cover. The bread gets a hard artesian crust because it is steamed inside the baking dish. I will sometimes double the recipe and use a Lodge 12 inch deep oven. I do sprinkle some corn meal on the bottom of the dutch oven for some extra texture and to aide in the loaf not sticking. Notice the baking sheet under the dutch oven? It helps deflect the heat so the bottom of the loaf does not get dark.

This cast iron dutch oven is preheated to 500 degrees to ensure that the bread has a nice crispy crust.


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Do you remember this photo? You really need to double-click on the photos to see the incredible detail. 🙂

Natchez Blackberry not happy!

I decided to pull this plant out of the ground and replace it with a potted Triple Crown Blackberry. When I saw the root ball, it looked liked it had some life left, so I put it back in the pot with some fresh potting soil. Now we have a happy plant again.

Natchez Blackberry making a comeback.

There is a new leaf bud higher up on the cane.

New Natchez Blackberry Leaf Bud located in the middle of the photo. Double click to zoom in.

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I saw two of these tarantulas around my house last night. I think they are males looking for females. At least that is what my research has indicated. There are up to four varieties of tarantulas in San Diego County. Don’t ask me which one this is. I have no idea. Black and hairy and larger than my hand.  Click on the photo for disgusting detail. 🙂

Spotted this one above my front door. There was another in front of my house crossing the street.

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Well it is mid-Agust and I have had some successes and failures in my berry selection. The three triple crown plants are going nuts. I did not expect them to thrive after planting them in the heat of July. I was expecting a little die back, but that did not occur. In the spring, these plants should send up 6-8 new canes and they will be monsters with established roots systems. The pictures below show little one gallon plants that started off as little sticks. You can click on the photos for added detail. If you click twice on the same photo you get BIG.

This is the most impressive plant with a cane that is nearing 10 feet. I have pinched the tip on this cane twice to encourage lateral shoots, but this plant is stubborn. The cane on this plant is larger than pencil thick.

I finally uprooted my ailing Natchez" Blackberry and added my last potted Triple Crown in this location. Don't worry about the Natchez, I am trying to save him. See photo below.

When I pulled this plant, the root ball seem very small with no visible new growth on the plant or the roots. I repotted him in potting soil to see if I can bring this plant back to health.

Some new growth on the Black Satin Blackberry indicates that it is healthy, but it is not nearly as vigorous as the Triple Crown Blackberries.

It appears that one of my "Baba Raspberries" died. It wss hammered with bugs and the sevin dust most likely killed the tender shoots. I will still water and wait to see.

The other Baba Raspberry is thriving. At least one plant made it. I plan to nurture this one to full size and plant in the fall when the temps are not so harsh.

The Oauchita Blackberries are showing new growth in their temporary home. They will be planted in the fall.

I will plant the Marionberry in the fall, on the opposite side of the property.

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I found these two tiny Ouachita Blackberry plants on a clearance bin at Lowes. Can you believe that they were a $1.50 each?  They came in tiny 4 inch pots so I placed them in a larger temporary home until fall. When they go dormant, I will plant them in the ground. I think that the heat might stress them too much if they were planted now.

This berry happens to be another University of Arkansas offspring. It ripens around mid-June and will produce berries until the end of July. If all goes well, I should have blackberries for two to three months when these plants finally are in full swing with my Triple Crown blackberries which produce mid-July through August.  This berry is an erect variety which means the canes should be topped at 48 inches and they will need little or no trellis support. Click on the pictures for more detail. a double-click brings you in real close.

I saved these little guys from a Lowe's clearance bin for a $1.50 each. They were in tiny 4 inch pots.

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I have been pampering these Baba Raspberries since I purchased them from Cedros Gardens, by hand watering them each day and giving a little shot of organic fertilizer. I want these plants healthy so I can get them in the ground by late fall. Here is the “Before” shot of the second plant. As stated before, you can click on the pictures to bring up some fine detail. If you are not familiar with the Bababerry, see my original post in July 2011.

A much healthier looking berry plant. Let's hope that the bugs stay away from this one.

Three weeks later is the “After”:

Look at the amount of change after 2 weeks of care.

The first Bababerry has had some challenges. I had a leaf hopper eat the thing on the first night that I brought it home. Even though the caption states the bug was a “no-see-um”, I found the 1.5 inch bug and squashed it in the dirt so you could not “see-um” anymore. See the “Before” picture below:

Here is the first Bababerry plant with major damage from the "no-see-ums".

Here is the “After” shot. I think it is too soon to tell if this plant will make it yet.

Some progress but the Sevin Dust burned the tender leaves.

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This Ultra Dwarf Golden Delicious Apple tree is on it’s second year and it is not doing so well with apple production. Our Anna Apple has been a big producer even as a one year old. This tree is going on it’s second year and it has not produced a bloom. I will give it a couple more seasons, but I suspect that their could be a “chill hour requirement” that we are not meeting. Only time will tell. This tree should not get much bigger than it already is. Let’s hope for some apple blossoms next spring.

Has not produced a single bloom in two years. Not enough chill hours?



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