Corn Patch Mower Ramp

I thought of this while looking at the weeds in the corn patch back in August – maybe I could build a ramp to make it easy to get the push mower over the electric fence. When the corn is small, I can hoe the patch easily. Once the corn is getting tall, and well ahead of the weeds, I’d rather just run the push mower between the rows.

sketch-corn-patch-mower-ramp

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First blog post

This is the first post, but it’s not the oldest post. I am moving some posts from another blog to this one. The other blog is about programming and technology. This blog is about personal stuff like gardening (where the bugs are actual insects) and food. I think recipes belong here, though they could be considered programming – scripting for cooks.

I may clean this place up, eventually…

Corn and Black Bean Salsa

This is an easy favorite of mine, and all it takes is four cans and some seasoning.

Corn and Black Bean Salsa

1 – 15 oz can Whole Kernel Sweet Corn (drained, mostly)
1 – 15 oz can Diced Tomatoes
1 – 15 oz can Black Beans (drained)
1 – 4 oz can Diced Green Chiles (mild or hot, use jalapeƱo for more hot!)
1/2 tsp – Salt
1/8 tsp (more or less) – Ground Black Pepper
1/2 tsp – Ground Cumin
1/8 tsp – Ground Cayenne Pepper (unless you don’t want any hotness)
1 Tbsp – Red Wine Vinegar

Note that the cans may not be exactly 15 oz, but close to that.

For a single batch I use a 2 quart pot. I leave a bit of the liquid, not more than 1/4 cup, in the corn and add the corn first. I bring it to a boil over medium heat, turn the heat down a bit, and let the corn cook about 5 minutes before adding the remaining ingredients.

After I stir in the other ingredients, I bring the heat back up to medium and stir occasionally until it begins to boil. Then I lower the heat and let it simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. I usually stir, and maybe lower the heat a bit more, and let it simmer another 15 minutes – sampling along the way, of course.

Additions and Alterations

If sweet corn from the garden is available, I will use about a pint, cut off the ear, instead of the canned corn.

I usually use Del Monte or Red Gold diced tomatoes with Garlic and Onion.

Diced onions and/or garlic can be a nice addition.

I sometimes add about a tablespoon of olive oil.

When serving, you can melt as much cheddar cheese in it as you can stand.

I like it with cottage cheese as well.

Enjoy.

Chicken Fajita Seasoning

Here is the recipe I use for seasoning chicken fajitas. It has been on a 3 x 5 index card in the recipe box since I found it on the web about ten years ago. I can’t recall the exact source – probably some web site that came up on the first page of Google results at the time. I was looking for something to replace those Fajita Seasoning packets you can get at the store that seem kind of expensive for a bunch of corn starch and some spices.

1 Tbsp – Corn Starch
2 tsp – Chili Powder
1 tsp – Paprika
1 tsp – Salt
1 tsp – Sugar
1 – Chicken Bouillon cube (crushed)
1/2 tsp – Oregano
1/2 tsp – Onion Powder
1/2 tsp – Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp – Ground Cumin
1/4 tsp – Ground Cayenne Pepper

I mix the seasonings in a bowl before I start cooking the other ingredients. I have a small mortar and pestle in the kitchen that is handy for crushing the bouillon cube.

We usually prepare refried beans and Mexican rice to go with (or in) the fajitas. I may as well describe the rest of the fajita-making process.

3 or 4 – Boneless-skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into strips (about 1/2 inch)
2 or 3 – Bell Peppers – green, yellow, and/or red
1 large (or 2 small) – Onions

Heat a tablespoon or two of olive (or canola) oil in a nonstick stir fry pan. Add the chicken and cook over medium heat until it is browned.

Add the peppers and onions, cover but stir often, cook until they are starting to get tender.

Add 1/2 cup of water and stir in the seasonings. Heat to simmering. Turn the heat down and simmer, covered, for a couple minutes.

Serve with tortillas, salsa, and sour cream.

Chicken Dip

Since I mentioned “chicken dip” on Twitter I suppose I should share the recipe.

CHICKEN DIP

2 Cups – Cooked and shredded chicken breast.
1 Pkg. – Cream cheese.
2 Cups – Sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded.
2 Green onions, chopped.
1 Tomato, chopped.
2 Tbsp (or more) – Cilantro leaves, chopped (or snipped with scissors).
1 Small can – Chopped green chilis.
1/4 Cup – Salsa (Pace works well).
1 tsp. – Salt (or start with less and salt to taste).
1 tsp. – Ground Cumin.
1 tsp. – Chili powder.
1/4 tsp. – Ground black pepper.
1/8 tsp. – Ground Cayenne pepper (to taste)

Two large boneless skinless chicken breasts make about two cups. To cook, boil for 20 to 30 minutes until not pink inside and will shred easily with a fork.

After the chicken is cooked and shredded, place all ingredients in a large pot. Heat on low-medium setting, stirring often, until hot and cheeses melt and blend. Serve with tortilla chips.

Also good as filling for Jalapeno peppers: Cut peppers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Place on a flat cooking sheet or shallow baking pan. Fill with the chicken dip and bake at 350(F) for 15 – 20 minutes.