A few minutes from the house is an old blueberry farm. It was once a large blueberry farm. The county bought it for a power station. But he told them that they could only buy it if the left up a portion of the bushes so that everyone who wanted could enjoy them. True to their word, they have left the bushes and haven't fenced any of it off. No one takes care of it though so it's becoming overgrown with wild berry brambles, and trees. The bushes are so large that they are starting to grow together and you have to shove your way through them. I didn't think any would be ready but I just wanted to stop in on my way home to get a feel for how they are coming along.
I walked around and right when I was getting ready to turn back, I spotted a bush with some large ripe berries. There weren't a lot but I eagerly gleaned what I could. I passed a few more bushes with several berries ready to be picked and some not quite ready but ready enough for me to take anyway. I managed to pick about 1 pound. I was hot and sweaty (it had gotten over 100 degrees with very high humidity)and my arms were scratched up. I didn't have a basket to collect them in so I was carrying them in my shirt, in a little pocket I made by folding it over and holding it with one hand. It made picking a little harder one-handed but I managed ok. When I got to the car, the only thing I had to put them in was Adam's hat so that's where they went. They are so good! The best part of berry picking is that you can eat as many as you want. ;o)
Then after I got back, I got busy making dinner. I have an electric skillet and a little toaster oven so cooking takes longer these days. I can only bake one thing at a time and I had two things to bake and 2 things I needed the skillet for...so I was in the kitchen most of the evening.
I had some things in my fridge that HAD to be used up: the last cucumber given to me by Anne, some potatoes given to me by Lanette when she realized she couldn't use them all before they went bad, most of a bag of spinach, a red bell pepper and a couple tomatoes. I had enough leftover roast chicken and gravy that I didn't have to cook but I hate to throw food away so I froze most of the chicken. This is what I came up with.
Cheesy Veggie & Chicken Bake
I sauteed chicken and some garlic in oil, then added some spices. Then I put that in the baking dish. I then sauteed the bell pepper and spinach together. After that was done, they went i the baking dish too. While the potatoes were boiling in the skillet, I melted some cream cheese in a small bowl, using the water as a double boiler. I poured the melted cheese over the chicken &veggie mixture and mixed them up. When the potatoes were done boiling, I poured them into a colander and used the skillet again to quickly heat up the chopped tomatoes. I poured them over the other mixture and topped with the last of my parmesan and baked it for about 20 minutes.
Then, to use up the rest of my produce, I decided on a cucumber & potato soup.
Gurken Und Kartoffelsuppe
1 medium cucumber
4 medium potatoes, Peel And Dice
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups cold water
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1 green onion, Grated
1 teaspoon dried dill weed or 1 tablespoon fresh dill, Chopped
1 Peel the cucumber and slice it lengthwise.
2 Scoop out seeds with a spoon and discard.
3 Dice cucumber.
4 In a heavy 2 1/2-quart saucepan boil potatoes in salted water until the potatoes are very soft.
5 Pour potatoes and cooking liquid into a sieve or food mill set over a large bowl.
6 Force potatoes through.
7 Return to the saucepan.
8 Stir in pepper, cream, milk, grated onion and the cucumber.
9 Simmer gently about 5 minutes or until the cucumber is tender.
10 Add dill and season to taste.
11 Serve hot.
I just mashed the potatoes with a potato masher. I omitted the green onion and added some crushed red pepper flakes.
The whole house smelled so good while the cheesy bake thing was cooking and it tasted even better than it smelled. And the soup was really good as well.
I also made some sourdough cornbread but that was baking while I was eating so I only had a taste of it. I think it will be delicious in a bowl with honey and milk for breakfast...and maybe some blueberries thrown on top. ;o)
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