July 29, 2008

Salmon Cakes with Wasabi Sauce

Made a great "Quick and Easy" dinner tonight. The classic Salmon Patties from my youth. However when I suggested to Todd that we have this for dinner, his first response was "Okay, what else is there to eat?". I then explained that we would be dining on "Salmon Cakes with a Wasabi Horseradish dressing" and won the deal to make it.

So here's the super easy recipe.

"Salmon Cake" Ingredients: 1 can salmon, 2 eggs, 1/2 c. panko (bread crumbs), 1/4 c. chopped onion, salt and pepper to taste, a good splash of Angostura Bitters (I was out of worcestershire - 1/2 tsp).

Directions: Drain the salmon, using two forks, break the meat into small pieces, remove any bones and skin/bone-things (feed to the dogs, it's good for them...) In a bowl, add the meat, beaten eggs, onion, salt, pepper and panko. Mix well by hand. Make into four patties or cakes. Set aside.

Wasabi Sauce Recipe: 1/2 c. mayonaise, small container of low-fat yogurt (about 6 oz), 1 tbs of wasabi powder or 1 tsp of prepared horseradish, 1/2 tsp of Dill weed (we used fresh from the garden) and black pepper to taste. Set aside and keep cool.

Cooking: Bring a non-stick skillet to medium heat. Melt 2-3 tbs. of butter, Add the Salmon Cakes, turn up the heat and cook each side about 5-6 minutes until brown on each side and cooked through.

Finishing touches: Parsley leaves, Cholula Hot Sauce and fresh lemon slices - Drizzle wasabi sauce over salmon cake, add a couple of drops of hot sauce and fresh lemon juice. Use the same sauce on the salad -

VoilĂ !

French Marigolds - so pretty!

This little french marigold bloom is so lovely. It's the first marigold I've planted in my garden since I was 13. I've always kind of dissed them because when I was a kid, marigolds were planted in every yard, windowbox and planter in the neighborhood.

But I saw these at the nursery this spring and thought the single petals were more like a coreopsis than the big-headed stinky flowers of my youth. These are great bloomers as well. They've been blooming since May.

July 27, 2008

Stinky Boy Dogs

It's high summer in Wisconsin. that means, lots of flowers in the garden, mosquitoes, hot sunny days and really stinky dogs. This summer, Teiko, my 5 year old German Shepherd (and one of the loves of my life) smells to high heaven. Yesterday, I talked with Dr. June, Teiko's vet and the best dog doctor in the city. Part of the problem is that he has fur (duh, he's a dog...). He's not a poodle and can't get his hair cut every six weeks. The other problem, he's an intact male (uhhhmm, he can still make babies....) That means he smells like a "boy" animal.

Let's suffice it to say, the boy needs to smell better. So Dr. June suggested some enzyme-based shampoo that cuts the smell. Guess what it is?

The same shampoo you'd used for a dog that had an unfortunate encounter with a skunk!

Dr. June told me that in her practice and in many veterinarian practices, they just don't deal with non-neutered males very often, so they not familiar with the odorous issue at hand. However, she used to work with wildlife and encountered several male foxes during her practice. Guess what? Bingo.....same smell.
So, armed with skunk shampoo, I went on a mission. Teiko got a great bath yesterday as pictured above. The water hose (which he loves to attack), a great massage to work the shampoo, his frisbee to reward him for standing still, all assisted the Mama in shampooing his stinky self. Finally, we let the sunshine dry the boy.

The outcome: Now he doesn't smell like anything. Which smells great!

July 26, 2008

Ring around the rosies

After a couple of emergency water infusions for the new roots, the flowers are budding like crazy this weekend. Not wanting to inundate with too many photos, here's just a couple of the beauties. The colors are just so rich.
The native wildflower, Liatris, seen below (also known as purple gay flower) is blasting its flowered spikes in the garden as well. When I was taking the photo of the flowers this morning, I had two monarch butterflies land on my shoulder and then go straight to the flowers.Got to love flowers.

July 24, 2008

Sunrise in Wisconsin

Taken at 5:33 am this morning, just seven minutes before the actual sunrise. The sky was just beautiful and awe inspiring.

July 23, 2008

Summer Delight - fresh veggies

Ahhhh, the first Wisconsin sweet corn of the season has arrived. Stopped by the local farmers tent on Tuesday night and picked up corn and a beautiful red tomato for dinner. I had some ground turkey so made turkey burgers for Todd and I. The sauce for the turkey burgers was made with low-fat yogurt, fresh mint and a touch of honey. Umm Umm Good!

July 21, 2008

Roses in the garden

Spent a good portion of Saturday and Sunday out in the gardens weeding and fighting off the hordes of mosquitos while I worked. I also put in several new perenials and 10 new rose bushes to the side garden. My favorite greenhouse, Jung's had a great sale on roses at 50% off. So I figured if I lost half of them to winter kill, there'll still be some flowers next summer. Right now the new flower bed is starting to look filled in - yay!

While I was working, sweating and basically being eaten alive by the 'squeeters, I had several humming birds come to the new flowers I had just planted. And right after that, butterflies arrived. And that made it all worth while in my book.

Below is a shot of the same flower bed, right after Todd built it in May and after we put in four new Arbor Vitae. Since then I've slowly been added other flowers as you can see in the photo above.

July 18, 2008

Getting your money's worth

If you really like a good return on an investment, Orchids are the real deal. Yes, I love my summer perennials in the yard, they give a great blast of color for a couple of weeks, Orchids on the other hand are just the gift that keeps giving. The orchids pictures above are two and three years old. This year, the flowers started blooming in about March and have been going strong ever since. It's the middle of July now and these beauties still have several weeks of blooms. Wow!

Blooming in the garden

July is a great month for the perennials in the backyard. Over the past couple of years, I just been dividing the flowers and spreading them across the yard. As you can see in the above photo, I have a lot more space to cover. Thanks to Todd's re-landscaping this past spring.
The red flowers above are a perennial favorite of mine called Bee's Balm, and you guessed it, the bees love and flock to this flower. The flowers are past their prime already, but I liked the contract they provide with the hostas, cone flowers and day lilies.
The Ellis Nelson sculpture above balanced the the height of the flowers in this garden bed. There are several sculptures throughout the yard and you can see several of them in the photos.

I really like to work with native flowers for a couple of reasons. One is cost, it's cheaper in the long run to buy the plant once, let it mature and then divide it to put in other spots in the garden. Two, they are tolerant of the summer conditions and can often go without additional watering. While I have my rain barrels now, I don't have enough to water everything.

Well, I'm headed back to the garden to pull weeds, fight the mosquitoes and enjoy the flowers.

July 14, 2008

Happy Birthday G-Boo

It was my Grama Boo's birthday on Friday - Hooray! This weekend, Uncle Bear had fresh lobster flown in from Maine! Here's a slightly surprised G-Boo probably deciding how she's going to eat the gigantic creature. On a side note, Grama is looking fantastic 8 weeks after a total hip replacement. You go Girl!!!!!

The concrete has been poured

Last weekend we left Beatons with the floor of the future sauna waiting for the concrete. This past Friday, the new floor was poured. Yay! It looks great and really motivated Todd and I to work around the structure this weekend. Hauling rocks and boulders from all around the property, we were able to shore up the earthen walls around the sauna and build in a stairwell down to the pier. We did most of the rock hauling and Terra forming on Saturday with the last rocks being placed on Sunday morning before our drive home. She-Ra and He-Man heaved a couple of tons of rocks this weekend. Boy, did we sleep well on Saturday night after a day of heavy labor! Even the pups were exhausted. Pictured below are Teiko and Cita, sound asleep after a hard day of chasing sticks, swimming and digging at Beatons.

July 7, 2008

Progress at Beatons Lake

Work on the new sauna house at Beatons was delayed this month due to heavy flooding in the Midwest, or so our lumber yard told Todd. The Douglas Fir timbers coming from Oregon are expected to arrive sometime around July 12 if the truck can make it.... We hope/plan to get the timber frame built this summer, roofed and closed in before winter comes to the northwoods. Picture above is the back side of what will be the sauna house which is about 50 ft. from the lake shore.
Even without timbers, lots of work did get done last week. With our good friends, Peter and Paul, lots of organization took place in anticipation of the timbers arriving next week. Picture above is Todd showing off one of three new work benches the boys built. Also done was pier building, forest clean-up and power tool organization.

The sauna house will be the first structure built at Beatons. Above, you can see the plumbing that Todd and Peter put in to the ground. Next week, our concrete guys will pour the new floor right over the dirt and plumbing. From there we'll be able to put in the timber to create the building's shell. We'll build the actual house in a couple of years. Last fall, we had the outside foundation and timber post support sections poured. The house sits back further from the lake, as per state of Michigan code. Once the plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems are in place, we have this floor poured as well.

Me being the great house builder, that I am, showed up at beatons about 5 days after everyone else. I did help a little. I planned with Todd and Peter the general layout of the sauna house (where the shower and stove should be..) And I also mowed some nice paths to the lake inlet along our property. That was about it for my work. Otherwise I just enjoyed the beautiful weather, the lake, the woods, friends and walks with Teiko.....

I'll let Todd explain the greatness that is timber framed construction, but I can say, the timbers really show within the building. Timber framed buildings last for 100s of years. And the wood detail is amazing within the house. It will be a labor of love over the next decade to get this baby built. But we'll enjoy doing it.

July 2, 2008

When you say WISconsin...

Why does it seem that everyone outside of the state of Wisconsin pronounces our state name incorrectly? This is what is heard - "Westconson" (sometimes with a mysterous "T" but not always...)

The correct way - Say it with me "Wis•con•sin" (with stress on second syllable). Remember "There is much wisdom in Wisconsin".
Here's a little extra dialectical delight: We "Sconnies" actually pronouce it "Wi•SCON•son". And when we're in ma'waukee, we'll either quaff a beer, grab a pop or a drink right out of the bubbler.
Gotta love a "sconnie" girl!
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