Hops

If anyone remembers earlier this grow season my hop plant nearly died on me.  However, it is back with full strength.

Hops are used to bitter beer.  I found this link that provides information on hops and uses.  It is getting about time to get the Brown Bottle Brewery up and running again.  Stay tuned for pictures of the brewing process.  I thinking in about two weeks I should have a batch going.

 

Here is a picture of my plant producing buds.  They should double in size before harvesting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Off to the Muff to cook for the people. Check this song out from Trampled By Turtles.  Go Duluth MN!

Manly Corn on the Cob Recipe

Yes that golden goodness is ALL BUTTER

Here’s a method for preparing corn on the cob sure to please the manliest of men. You only need ten ingredients – corn, salt, pepper, and the last seven are all butter.

I was at a street fair celebration extravaganza in Hermosa Beach about a month ago. Among the vendors was a corn on the cob stand. They grilled decent cob. It was worth the four bucks they charged me. But they also lathered it with like fifty non-essential seasonings, i.e. mayo, sirracha, salt, red pepper flakes, blah blah blah. It was nothing like what my dad used to make as described below.  All those other stupid ingredients are so unnecessary when you load up on the one topping that actually matters; of course I’m talking BUTTER. 3 pounds of it to be precise.

This is how my dad grills cob, and my dad could kick your dad’s ass. When I was a kid, my family and bunch of other families we were friends with would go up north in Minnesota to Park Rapids for a week and rent cabins at this place called Isle O’ Dreams on Bad Axe Lake. http://www.isleodreams.com/

This place is heaven on earth – fishing, tubing, beach, video games and pool tables in the lodge, an open tab for ice cream, etc. Cannot recommend this joint highly enough if you are looking for somewhere to vacation and don’t have your own cabin.

Anyway, a memory came back to me when I was eating that cob at that stand in Hermosa. I remember my dad would drive into town each year and get one of those huge sacks filled with a 100 ears of corn straight off the farm. Then he’d get this huge grill fired up while the annual shuffleboard tournament was going on, and he’d start doling out the best cob anyone ever tasted. Here’s how it’s done. Without further ado, I give you the Agridude guide to roasting the perfect cob.

Step One

Buy 2x the amount of corn you think you want to eat. You and anyone else sampling your cob will consume at least two ears. The fresher the better. Advantage Midwesterners. The cobs must have the husks on.

Step Two

Soak the corn in water for a bit, maybe fifteen to thirty minutes. This will prevent the corn from burning up when you grill it, and help it steam a bit. No skinny dipping and no shucking yet.

Step Three

Fire up the Grill and drink beer, hopefully while playing shuffleboard, dummy board / cornhole, or ping-pong.

Step Four

Grill the corn with husk on, probably something like fifteen to twenty five minutes depending on how hot the grill is, turning frequently. You’ll know the cobs are done when they start to get blackened on the outside. But don’t let them get too dark.

While the corn is grilling, put 3 lbs of butter in a cast iron pot or something else that can go right on the grill. We used to use a coffee kettle thing that had a removable top. Ideally your butter melting vessel will be capable of fitting an entire ear of corn in it(foreshadowing). The butter should melt almost instantly. Make sure to stir the butter constantly because it will burn fast. Then pour it all into something like in the picture above or leave it if it is suitable for the upcoming described dunking procedure.

UPDATE – After reading this my Dad, a real OA (original agridude), was ashamed. I royally screwed up the buttering aspects of the recipe. He told me the real method is combining 1 lb of butter and water in a boiling vessle. The butter will melt as the water gets hot and then float to the top in a layer. So when you dunk, you dunk the tip down through the butter and into the water, but as you pull the corn back out, you pul it through the melted butter layered on top of the water. This leaves the corn totally buttered as before, but doesn’t waste precious butter that could otherwise be used as a topping for things like veggies, steaks, bread, etc. Also, he suggest using an empty coffee can with label removed and putting it right on the grill.

Step Five

Grab the corn off the grill. Yell in pain as your fingers are scorched. Shuck the corn. Grab corn by unpeeled husk. Then, dunk the WHOLE cob into the melted vat of golden goodness. If you don’t want to die instantly from heart trauma, hold the ear above the vat to let some of the butter drain off a bit.

Step Six

Season with enough salt to raise your blood pressure by at least ten points, then add a pinch of pepper.

Step Seven

Repeat steps five and six until you are ready to explode or you run out of corn.

Kooms Garden – Introduction to my Patio Garden in MN

Agridude - Kooms Patio GardenMy name is Brian and I live in the northern suburbs of Minneapolis.  I have a small patio that I have been growing a few plants on since I moved into this condo two years ago.  I am a chef at Muffuletta in the Park in St Paul MN.  My co worker and I have saved some heirloom tomato seeds and sprouted over 200 this year.  I gave six seedlings to another Agridude, Sam, for his work garden.  I also have two on my patio, along with hops, basil, thyme, and some lettuces and spinach.  I haven’t grown hops before but I do brew my own beer so I am hoping to get some off of this plant so that I can use it in my beer.  I am trying to start a micro brewing company called Brown Bottle Brewery.  I will be blogging this season to show what I am able to grow.

These pictures are from May 12th.  Paul was in town and we had a perfect early summer day to hang out and catch some rays while having some brews.  We invited some of our friends and Paul’s family over to hang out too.  Here are some pics:

Agridude - Tomatoes and HopsThe two pots closest to you are my tomatoes.  I am growing two heirloom tomatoes that we sprouted from the restaurant.  I can’t remenber what types they are, but I know they will be small cherry like tomatoes

I made the trellis by myself to grow the hops on.  I bought the root from my local home brewing store  and I was told to only let two sprout.  One of them did not make it so next year I’ll try something different.  These are supposed to grow 2 feet per week so I should have some great updated photos for you guys in a few weeks.

Agridude - Lettuce Spinach HerbsHere are some other planters that I planted lettuce, spinach, basil, thyme and two peppers.  I started these from seed as well.  My wife won a small green house at a work event raffle.  I am looking forward to having these at my disposal for cooking at home and work.

 

 

Here is a picture of Paul’s cousin Andy and our other friend Wyman playing bags/cornhole in the side of my yard.

Agridude - Cornhole

Sam’s Work Garden – Introduction to my work garden plot

Agridude - Sam Larson Work Garden 3My name is Sam and I live in MN.  I have been working for Minnesota Rubber for over 10 years now.  Two years ago, the company decided to turn part of the grassy area on our land into a community garden for it’s employees.  I jumped on the opportunity to get some extra space to garden.  This year I was fortunate to receive a 20×23 plot.

I have been gardening for a long time.  As a family, we used to rent plots at community gardens with some friends.  As the years went on, I eventually put a garden in my backyard.  That space has now turned into a strawberry and raspberry patch, and I planted a grape vine that goes around the garden.  I will be posting pictures of this soon.

Agridude - Sam Larson Garden 1Here is another Agridude, Brian, helping me plant all of my seedlings.  He gave me 6 heirloom tomato seedlings that he and his coworker sprouted earlier this year.  I can’t remember all the varieties, but there are some cherries, white tomatoes, and grape tomatoes.  I also purchased some beefsteak and early girl tomatoes.  I have a total of 16 planted, so I should be having tomatoes galore this year.

Agridude - Sam Larson Garden 2Here is another Agridude, Paul, who is my son, planting watermelon and cantaloupe.  I learned that you need to plant these in mounds, so be sure to do that if you are putting them in your garden.  These plants also need space to grow so make sure you give them plenty of room.   I ended up planting 3 cantaloupes and 1 watermelon.  In years past, I have tried to grow giant pumpkins for fun and also so that I could get a picture with my granddaughter on it for Halloween.  I have been unsuccessful though due to deer eating them.  This year my work is going to put up fencing around to keep them out of everyones garden.

Agridude - Sam Larson Work Garden 4Here I am digging the holes for where I will be planting.  Brian is in this picture doing the planting.  Brian, Paul and I planted everything in about an hour.  We really had a good system going.  I am fortunate that my company has this plot tilled each year.  The dirt is full of clay and would be tough for the plants to establish a good root system.

Agridude - Sam Larson Work Garden 6

This is Paul and Brian putting the last few plants into the garden.  Paul looks very Agridudish with those gloves on…yikes.  They are putting in 12 peppers that I bought.  I have some Purple bell peppers and California wonders.

 

Agridude - Sam Larson Work Garden 7Here are the Argidudes picking up the plastic pots that I bought the plants in.  I forgot to mention that I also planted 2 zucchini plants.  They are also sprawlers like the melons and cantaloupes.  Brian mentioned to Paul that the blossoms are edible and often used as a fancy appetizer at nice restaurants.  I will try to pick a few and have Brian post a recipe with them.

Overall, we had a great time working outside in the garden on a beautiful Minnesota early summer day. I will be posting updates as often as I can and I hope you enjoy the pictures.

 

MN Spring Mix

These greens were picked on May 30th. The spring mix has been doing great in my garden. They are super tasty and saves me money by not having to purchase bags of lettuce/salad at the grocery store.  With a week of highs in the 60’s coming up, there should be no chance of it bolting anytime soon.

Fresh from the garden.