After all that fuss yesterday, about how much I wanted to win a first place blue ribbon for one of my jams or jellies at the Jam, Pie and Chili Contest of the Santa Cruz Mountains Harvest Festival, I must still do without! Not only did I not win the ever elusive first place blue ribbon that I so desperately crave, but for the first time ever, I did not win second or even third place!
However, it is not as disappointing as it seems. There were no ribbons to win. There was only the same single prize for each of the three categories, which is a winter pass for the hot tub and sauna at the Bear Creek Recreation and Community Center of Boulder Creek. Although it is not the blue ribbon that I can flaunt and brag incessantly about, it is a fabulously generous prize.
What was more disappointing was that the Contest was canceled. For the Jam category, there were only two other contestants with only a few submissions, and neither showed up! How can that even happen? My six submissions were the only six to compete! It was even worse for the Pie and Chili categories, with only one contestant bringing pumpkin pie and two types of chili!
Yes, it was disappointing, but only briefly. No one minded that there were only identical pumpkin pies to vote for in the Pie category. In fact, we all easily agreed that they were the best pies in the Contest! Selection of the best of two types of chili in the Chili category was slightly more challenging only because no one wanted to say that one chili was less excellent than the other.
I still crave the elusive first place blue ribbon, but can easily do without it too.
There are not many things that will grow in my zone that I will not at least try to grow if I have the space and resources to do so. I really like to grow fruits and vegetables, particularly those that I am familiar with from when I was young. They are just as productive now as they were then. The only problem is that I do not know how to cook. I can freeze, can or pickle large quantities of produce, but cooking is something that I leave to experts.
I notice that almost all garden columns or blogs include recipes for the produce grown in home gardens. Mine does not. Except for a few recipes for pickles, jams and jellies, I just do not have any recipes that I would share.
When I get big winter squash, I really do not know what to do with them. I sometimes give them away to those who will cook them. Sometimes, I just cut them up, cook them, and then freeze what I can not eat. They are fun to grow, and I really like how I can keep them around for such a long time before I get around to cooking them; but they would be so much easier to work with if they were small like summer squash.
This weird squash was on the kitchen counter for a long time. Before it was cooked, it was very smooth, without any lumps, bumps or beady eyes. It was not ridiculously big. In fact, I only cut in half and ate it in two days. At the time, I was in a situation where I had a microwave oven in which to cook it, so I did so for several minutes. With a bit of butter, the first lower half was quite good, and separated nicely from the outer skin. I cooked the upper half in the same manner on the second day. It was making weird noises as it cooked, as if it were very unhappy about something. It was hissing and spitting for the several minutes that it was in there.
When I opened the door, this is what I found staring back at me from a small puff of steam! It looked angry! Apparently, it did not like to be cooked that way; or perhaps it was just a hateful squash. Regardless, it was rather creepy, and difficult to enjoy. I peeled the outside away and discarded it, but could not help to think that it was still watching me from the trash can with those beady tan eyes and crooked mouth! I do not think that I will be growing this variety again.