Even though I put my garden in late this year, it is starting to catch up. I’ve been busy putting up green and yellow beans. My first pea crop didn’t do so well. I inadvertently planted two rows of peas with a row of sweet corn. Mark used his corn planter to plant the corn in the garden. I planted it by hand last year and had too high of plant population. It was very thick, so he thought he would help me out. It was a great plan, but I mistook a planted row for the marker row. Oops. I call it my succotash row. I thought the peas would enjoy climbing up the corn stalks. They didn’t. They don’t like all the shade either. Note to self: only make succotash in the kitchen.
    It is turning out to be a blessing that Mark planted six rows of sweet corn in my garden patch. He noticed the sweet corn in the field should be ripe this week. He wasn’t the only one watching the development of the crop. We have some very fat and highly wanted raccoons. Apparently the corn was just right, and they ate every big ear in one night. The only corn we have left is in the garden. Guess I won’t need as much freezer space for corn.
    Fortunately my beans have been doing very well. When I was growing up, my favorite salad at the family reunion picnic was my great aunt’s three bean salad. I found a recipe where you can process this salad for cold winter days when you want to taste a bit of summer.
    Of course it isn’t summer without pickles. I tasted these pickles at a party a few summers ago. Pat shared her very simple recipe with me. These are some of my favorite pickles.
    I was talking with a friend about favorite summer treats – creamed new potatoes and peas or fresh green beans with bacon and onion. She mentioned her mom would always make fresh creamed garden soup. It sounded like a great dish and she let me share it with you. Truly country cooking at its best.

Pickled 3 bean salad
1 1/2 cup cut green beans
1 1/2 cup cut yellow wax beans
1 1/2 cup canned, drained and rinsed red kidney beans
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion (1 medium)
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery (1 stalk)
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper (1/2 pepper)
1/2 cup. white vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup canning salt
1 1/4 cup water
Yield: 5-6 half pints

    Blanch green and yellow beans for 3 minutes and cool immediately in cold water. Drain. Combine vinegar, lemon juice, sugar and water; bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Add oil and salt; mix well. Add beans, onions, celery and red pepper to solution and bring to a simmer. Remove from stove and transfer to a large bowl. Marinate 12 to 14 hours in the refrigerator.
    Now you can eat the salad or continue processing to store for winter.
    To process, heat entire mixture to a boil. Fill clean hot jars with bean mixture. Add hot liquid, leaving ½-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process in hot water bath for 15 minutes.

Refrigerator pickles, from Pat Tax
1 gallon pickles sliced (4-6 onions sliced optional)
3 cups vinegar            
1 tsp. celery salt
4 cups sugar            
1 tsp. celery seed
1/3 cup salt            
1 tsp. turmeric

    Mix until sugar dissolves. Pour over cold pickles. Keep in refrigerator

Creamed fresh garden soup, from Veronica’s mom
1 pound carrots, sliced
15 new baby potatoes or 6-8 medium/large potatoes, diced
4 cups green beans, snapped
1 quart half and half
1 stick butter
12 oz. bag frozen peas
Salt and pepper to taste

    Add all veggies, except peas in a 5-quart kettle and cover with water. Cook until veggies are tender to your liking. Drain half the water off and add the half and half. Cook on low until warm again. Thicken like a white sauce or gravy with cornstarch and milk. (Dissolve 3 Tbsp. cornstarch in 1/2 cup cold milk as a starting amount. May need more thickener.) Once the soup is thickened, add salt, pepper and a half stick of butter or 1 full stick. Mom said the more butter the better. Rinse the frozen peas under warm water and add last. Simmer or put in to a crockpot so it doesn’t stick. Mom always made a big batch and it was even more delicious on day two.

    Oops. Thanks to Ann for catching this blunder. She was having trouble making my sister’s hot fudge sauce because I forgot to list an important ingredient: 1/2 cup milk. Here is the corrected recipe.

Hot fudge sauce, from Nancy Dowell
1 cup sugar
4 Tbsp. cocoa
4 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. light corn syrup
1/2 cup milk
Dash of salt
1 tsp. vanilla
    Mix first six ingredients in heavy bottom saucepan. Heat to boiling, stirring frequently. Boil vigorously for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool; beat in vanilla. Great over ice cream. Can reheat in microwave. Can also add powdered sugar and a couple tablespoons of milk to make fudge frosting.
    Natalie, Mark and his brother Al, farm together near Rice, Minn. They milk 100 registered Holsteins under the RALMA prefix. Their four children are grown up and all involved in agriculture with hopes of someone returning to the farm. For questions or comments, please e-mail Natalie at mnschmitt@jetup.net.