Well apparently I'm not the only one who's having trouble with garden varmints. The story about my raccoon problem brought out some interesting reactions from Crab Nation. People shared horror stories and tips on how to "address" the situation.
Most of the comments fell into the "spread this - spray that" category. Of course, this being the internet, I also got some more, ummm, aggressive suggestions. Some of you feel that I'm being too nice to my furry invaders. That the only real answer is to pursue a strategy of elimination with "extreme prejudice".
There was the offer of a pellet gun with scope. The selling point being that it had already eliminated 24 squirrels. I'm not sure how many notches you need on your pellet gun before you become a Squirrel Ace, but I'd hate to interrupt your march to 25 , so I think I'll pass, "DeathFromAbove", but good luck on your quest.
There was one reader who was appalled that I was being so easy on the little buggers. She suggested instead of pistachio nuts I step up to rounded, tapered edge stones. While it's probably more effective, I'll pass for now, though thank you for the tips on getting blood stains out of the deck, "GrandmaBarker".
Gathering darkness, pellet guns, sharp stones and Crabby with half a bottle of wine in him. Not exactly a recipe for success do you think? Folks I appreciate all the help and suggestions, but they're just a couple of baby raccoons. I put them in the danger-entertainment category right next to last year's Tomato Death Stand. I'm just not quite ready to step up to the nuclear option.
Speaking of recipes, let's move on to today's. The local blueberries are starting to show up in the stores and the paper ran an article about Blueberry Ketchup. Well I'm all in favor of trying new things, so I gave it a whirl. It wasn't bad, but it also wasn't quite what I expected. I think it needs either less vinegar or a touch more brown sugar. Fell free to experiment with it and update us all with your results. Enjoy...
by Chef Jim LaPerriere via the Detroit Free Press
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 clove chopped garlic
1 small shallot, minced
6 TBSP brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 TBSP lemon juice
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Mix all the ingredients in a medium sized saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.
Reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened and syrupy, about 25-35 minutes.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Push the mixture through a fine sieve. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
That's it. Everything went just fine, but the result just didn't taste very blueberry-ee. The ketchup was much better the next day and I believe it would be a spectacular sauce for duck or venison, though it was quite nice with our grilled pork chops. Give it a shot and play with the proportions.
Alright, I'm done for today. Back to Raccoon-Watch 2009. I think they're pretty safe, unless they get at Boonsta's cucumbers. Then the furry SOBs won't know what hit 'em.
Until next time, remember, you can do it, you can cook.