Watching the ever-changing weather has everyone wandering, "When will it actually be spring and a safe planting time?" I am not the best person to follow any planting schedule that will guarantee success with no freezing plants, however, the last few years I have waited until the middle of March and then I check the weather on the computer and look at the long-term forecasts. If I see two or more weeks of non-freezing temperatures, I'll take a chance on planting but I am prepared to cover things "just in case." And with the winter we have had, anything is possible.
Last week, we tried out a few new recipes that were changed up just a little to make the dishes feel brand new. We liked the oven potatoes, our Sausage Quiche, and our most loved salad - the Greek salad. For dessert, I made the layer cookie bars.
Thompson's Greek Salad
• 1 large head Romaine lettuce-leaves washed, dried and torn into small pieces
• 2 medium tomatoes-cut into 1/2 inch wedges
• *1 large cucumber-sliced thin
• 5-8 radishes-sliced then
• 1/2 purple onion-sliced thin
• 6 ounces Feta cheese-crumbled over the top
• About 12 Kalamata olives-sliced in half
• 2 avocados peeled and pitted and sliced into wedges
1. Combine all ingredients and gently toss.
2. Add Feta last on top of salad.
3. It can be served on the side if someone does not care for Feta cheese.
4. Follow up with your favorite dressing. A suggestion may be:
Whisk 1/2 cup olive oil, 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped oregano, and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Mix together and pour over salad right before serving.
*I like to rinse the cucumber, slice off the ends, and score the cucumbers lengthwise with a fork. Then I slice the cucumber very thin.
We like the English cucumbers, as they are very tasty and light tasting.
Thompson's Sausage Pie
Call it a pie, or call it a quiche-we love this one!
• 1 pound Italian sausage-remove meat from skin. We used mild sweet sausage.
• 6 eggs-beaten
• Two (10 ounce) packages of spinach-thawed and drained
• 1 pound mozzarella cheese-shredded
• 2/3 cup ricotta cheese
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon pepper
• 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
• One 10-inch unbaked pastry shell
1. Brown, crumble, and drain the sausage.
2. Combine all ingredients except pie shell and mix well.
3. Spoon mixture into pie shell and bake at 375 degrees for 60-75 minutes until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
4. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
This is delicious with the Greek salad!
Chocolate Five Layer Bars
• 1 1/2 sticks butter
• 1 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
• 1/4 cup Hershey's cocoa
• 2 Tablespoons sugar
• 1 can-14 ounces sweetened condensed milk-NOT evaporated milk
• 1 cup Hershey's Semi-Sweet chocolate chips
• 1 cup raisins OR 1 cup raisins, OR 1/2 cup dried chopped apricots, OR 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
• 1 cup chopped pecans
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place butter in a 9 x 13 baking dish or pan.
3. Heat in oven until melted. Remove pan from oven.
4. Stir together: graham crackers crumbs, cocoa and sugar; sprinkle evenly over butter.
5. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and raisins (or other choices), followed by nuts on top; press down firmly.
6. Bake 25-30 minutes until lightly browned.
7. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
8. Cover with foil and let stand at room temperature 6-8 hours.
9. Cut into bars.
This makes about 30 bars. I have frozen them also; does fine.
I walked through a Wal-Mart a couple of days ago and was amazed at how many new things are coming in and ready for our gardens. I picked up two packages of the small or short cannas in a pretty yellow blotched bloom as well as blood meal for the pansies. All the new patio chair cushions were so colorful and tropical. I may got back and snag four of those before the print is all gone.
Have a good week and keep planting ideas going on.
Be sure and circle Sat., June 7. I'll be mentioning a free event you will really enjoy in my next column.