Thursday, June 22, 2017

Gardens & Pepperoni Rolls

We planted our big garden a little later than we normally do, but we already have a bumper crop. It’s far too early for tomatoes, but at least all the plants are still alive. The pepper plants, too, have adapted nicely to the northeast corner of the garden. The beans are just popping out of the ground along with the popcorn, sunflowers, and a few pumpkin seeds.

Tomato and pepper plants waiting to be planted

So what could we be harvesting so soon? Well, for starters, rocks. We have so many rocks that we can’t pick them all. The children and I have removed buckets and buckets of rocks of all varieties-- big and small and all sizes in between. Sometimes we discover a piece of glass or metal or a fossil. Once my eldest even found an arrowhead. But always there are more and more rocks. 

From the middle. . . See the rocks popping up?

Our rock pile. . . all from the garden

This past week we had rain, and that means our next crop will soon be ready for picking. Tiny weeds are coming up everywhere. I’ve already pulled out wild brambles, milkweed shoots, indian hemp, crabgrass, and prickly horse nettle. I don’t know the names of all the weeds, but I attack them all equally.

Of course, if I could conquer the rocks and weeds, I would still have to contend with the critters. The deer have already nibbled some corn, and the guineas have dusted themselves in a hill of squash. Who knows what the bear will do when the pumpkins and melons get big.

From the zucchini hill corner

Sometimes I wonder, with all the hard work we put into our garden in the hottest weather of the year, why we even bother with it at all. In the end, I find my garden is like childbirth. When all is said and done, and I’m enjoying the fruits of my labor by biting into a perfectly ripened tomato or by watching the kids spitting watermelon seeds, all the hard work and rocks and weeds are just a distant memory. The reward is so great that I’ll gladly do it again.


Like my current garden, this week’s recipe has no vegetables. I’ll make no promises that pepperoni rolls are healthy, but unlike gardening, it’s easy, especially if you buy frozen bread dough. It’s a perfect grab-and-go meal or snack.

Best of all, there are so many variations that it’s really hard to mess up. Use whatever type or amount of pepperoni you want in each roll and make each roll the size you want them to be. Because variations in size change baking times, the biggest danger is letting the pepperoni rolls burn, so keep an eye on them.

Pepperoni Rolls

bread dough, store-bought or homemade
pepperoni (slices, sticks, or chunks)
melted butter

If you make your own bread dough, allow dough to rise once before shaping pepperoni rolls. If you buy frozen bread dough, follow package directions for thawing and rising. Tear off the amount of dough you wish to work with and roll it out with a rolling pin (or just smash it into a rough circle with your hands). Lay pepperoni out on bread dough and roll the dough up, jelly-roll style. Pinch the edges of the dough together to seal and lay the rolls, seam side down, on a greased baking sheet. Allow to rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375℉ and bake pepperoni rolls for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. When you remove the rolls from the oven, brush immediately with melted butter.

*This column ran in the Hancock News on June 21, 2017 (without pictures and captions).
**This post was shared at Strangers & Pilgrims at Home for The Art of Home-Making Mondays.

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