During the weeks of late spring and early summer, our theme song could have been, “Who’ll Stop the Rain?” The sun seemed to be in constant hiding, and we had way more precipitation than we needed. While all that was going on, I kept wondering how July and August would be, remembering other wet springs that were followed by long dry spells.
Sure enough, our theme song changed from the one previously mentioned to “I Wish It Would Rain.” Last Monday morning’ I prayed that the Lord would water my garden. It was getting really dry, and I didn’t want to drag out the hose. I had been pouring gallon jugs of water on my squash and cucumbers to keep them going, but the tomatoes, peppers, and green beans needed help, too.
Monday afternoon, a bad storm popped up. I had checked the weather radar not long before it appeared and there was nothing showing. The first thing I noticed was a very strong wind coming out of the east, which was highly unusual. Then rain was dumping out of the sky by the bucketful. It fell so hard that it seemed like we had a dense fog. The trees were whipping around in a frenzy, and branches were flying around everywhere. I looked out the living room window and realized that the tall locust tree at the corner of my home had split in half. Thankfully, the part that landed on the ground fell away from the house. A large limb fell onto the little bridge that crosses the drainage ditch just south of my driveway.
The storm hung around for a while; it seemed like it didn’t want to move on. We had 1.5 inches of rain in thirty minutes. I debated on whether to take my cats and go to the basement but was too morbidly fascinated with the strength of the storm to do so, especially after my power went out. When it finally passed, my yard was covered with branches and leaves. The tomato plants in my garden were a sorry sight. They had been so nicely staked and tall; now they were bent over and touching the ground. My green beans were lying willy-nilly instead of standing in straight rows.
I am very thankful for the wonderful friends that came to cut up the tree limbs that fell and brought food for supper. My son Adam, accompanied by his sons Liam and Colton, arrived on Thursday to help me get more of the branches and sticks cleared away. We made several trips to my burn pile, located on the back part of my property. As we were finishing up, it was beginning to rain again. Thunder rumbled, and we knew it was time to go inside.
After eating the supper I prepared for them, Adam and the boys headed back to Zionsville. Not too long after they departed, another strong storm blew in from the northwest. It wasn’t as bad as the one on Monday; however, now there were more sticks all over my yard. And the plants in my garden, which had been standing back up (except the tomatoes), were bent over in another direction. My rain gauge showed 0.8 inches of rain from that storm. The best part was the beautiful rainbow afterward.
I was very thankful to be OK after the storm on Monday, as it was quite scary. OK, minus the O, is K. The connection between the recipes this week is that they all begin with the letter “K.” However, they are more than OK, they are all very tasty!
Kung Pao Pork
3/4 pound lean boneless pork
1 small red bell pepper
1/2 small onion (I use a sweet onion)
1/4 cup soy sauce (may use lite), divided
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons corn starch
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup unsalted roasted peanuts (I used lightly salted)
Hot cooked rice
Cut pork into 1/2-inch cubes; drizzle with 2 tablespoons soy sauce. Set aside.
Cut bell pepper and onion into 1-inch pieces; set aside.
Combine remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, water, and next 4 ingredients, stirring until blended; set aside.
Pour olive oil around top of preheated wok or large skillet, coating sides; heat at medium-high heat for about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, drain pork; add pork and garlic to wok; stir fry 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Add pepper and onion; stir fry 3 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Add soy sauce mixture; stir fry 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in peanuts, and serve over rice. Yield: 3 servings
1-1/4 cups water at room temperature
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/3 cup instant nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 cup mashed potato flakes
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups minus 1 tablespoon bread flour
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
Apricot or raspberry preserves (or your choice)
Additional butter or margarine, melted
In bread machine pan, place first 11 ingredients in order suggested by manufacturer. Select dough setting (check dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or flour if needed). When cycle is completed, turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Pan or roll into a 16-by-10-inch rectangle. Cover with plastic wrap; let rest for 10 minutes. Cut dough into 24 squares. Place a heaping teaspoonful of preserves in center of each square. Overlap opposite corners of dough over filling; pinch tightly to seal. Place at least 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Bake at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven; brush with butter. Remove to paper towels to cool. Yield: 2 dozen.
Key Lime Cupcake Pies
24 aluminum foil baking cups
Vegetable cooking spray
24 pecan sandy cookies (may use plain, if desired)
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons key lime zest
1/3 cup fresh key lime juice
3 large eggs
Garnishes: sweetened whipped cream, fresh cherries and blackberries, fresh mint leaves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 24 aluminum foil baking cups in lightly greased muffin pans, and coat with cooking spray.
Pulse pecan sandy cookies in food processor 8 to 10 times or until finely crushed. Stir together cookie crumbs and butter; firmly press on bottom and two-thirds up sides of each baking cup (about 1-1/2 tablespoons crumbs per cup).
Beat cream cheese and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Add lime zest and lime juice, beating at low speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears after each addition. Spoon mixture into prepared cups, filling completely full.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until set. Cool in pans on wire racks 15 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks, and let cool 15 minutes or until completely cool. Cover and chill 4 hours. Garnish, if desired.