Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Readers Questions & Answers

A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken. ~James Dent

One of our reader's asked for an old fashioned meatloaf recipe. I found this one at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and it's a good basic recipe. The only change I would make is to use a lean ground beef like ground round instead of regular ground beef.

Classic Meatloaf

1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 cup soft bread crumbs
1 egg
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard

Heat oven to 350°F. Measure 1/4 cup tomato sauce; combine with topping ingredients. Set aside. Combine remaining tomato sauce with remaining meatloaf ingredients in large bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Shape beef mixture into 8 x 4-1/2-inch loaf on rack in broiler pan. Spread topping over meatloaf. Bake in 350°F oven 1 hour to medium (160°F) doneness, until not pink in center and juices show no pink color. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting. Cut into slices before serving.

Another reader asked me to explain deadheading a little more, as far as cutting the top only or the stem etc.

The reason you deadhead is so the plant's energy goes into producing more blooms this year or in the case of plants like the peony or bulbs- into next years blooms. Look at the plant and if there is just ONE bloom per stem, then remove the stem and the dead flower. Don't remove the leaves, JUST the dead bloom where the seed head will form and the stem that bloom is on. Some plants that have a lot of tiny blooms, can be "sheared". You wait for the blooms to pretty much finish, then gather as many as you can in your hand and cut all of the off. Continue until you've done this to the entire plant. Sweet Alyssum is an example of a plant to do this with. When deadheading you can also pinch off any brown or yellow leaves that are looking ragged. This will neaten up the plant as well. If a plant has a stem that has more than one bloom on it, then just snip off the dead flowers, and leave the stem.

Remember, leave the foliage of your daffodils and tulips alone until it turns brown on it's own, then you can clip it off. If they are forming a green bulge at the top of the stems, that is a seedhead, and you can clip that off. The leaves are soaking up sunshine, rain and nutrients which will go into the bulb for next year's blooms.

Fresh cherry recipes and tips:


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