Red Dirt Farm and Studio

Living a creative life artist farmer dreamer

Ok – do you know the difference between a gratin and a casserole?

I had to look it up because I wasn’t sure if it was just some snooty word that meant casserole.  Turns out there is a difference.  Casserole is a recipe that you  bake all in one dish which may or may not contain cheese.  A gratin is a dish that contains cheese.  And just incase you aren’t confused enough lets throw in au-gratin.

Recently around Coral Cottage, a little of this and little of that has been going on.

We smoked a pig.

This old rusted junk heap has done us proud for a lotta years.  I bought it at an auction at least 15 years ago, paid $5.00 for it.  One of the best $5.00 investments.


For the past several years we have used a tree branch as a handle for the top.  Now the side handles are all but gone too.


The gauge has been stuck on Ideal for a number of years too.


I made a dry rub of brown sugar,salt, pepper, hot paprika,garlic, fresh turmeric and I don’t remember what else.  That marinated on the butt, for about 14 hours.


Adding the rest of the pan drippings after about 3-4 hours


close the lid


1-IMG_4556 1-IMG_4560

About 6 hours later. I pulled it off the smoker and wrapped it with foil and let it sit for an hour or two.  Then it was ready for pulling.  I made both a sweet tomato based sauce and a vinegar with fresh herbs and garlic.  I like to mix the two sauces.

Once I pulled the pork, I put on a dish of baked beans.

They were on the smoker for an hour or two.


I have to admit, I’ve never done the beans this way before.  I don’t know what I was thinking, but this bowl used to be white.  The smoke completely covered the outside of the dish I thought it was ruined.  The beans turned out excellent and the next morning when I came down to see the aftermath, Mr. Cottage had worked magic on that bowl and you would never know it had been used in the smoker.


Smoked Pig = Luau  = tiki party

Actually we have had so much rain that we are now growing mosquitos and the tikis are burning full flame what seems all the time.

I don’t know if they help or not.

Really, I’m not complaining.

Okay, yes I am.  We have had TOO much rain.

Our high hopes of a big harvest this year have been dashed in so many ways.  Many of our plants have died from the rain and or have rot/mildew and other undesirable issues.

Breaks our hearts.

This week we will have too much heat and humidity and I’ll be complaining about that.

Bounty from the vegetable garden.

Squash and cukes

Squash and cukes

For every squash, and cucumber I’ve managed to pick I’ve done a little dance.  I will also admit they have been very good.

She sugar snap peas, Yum I stand in the garden and eat them straight off the vine.

As is often the case, I had a lot of squash ready all at one time.  I’ve cooked many squash casseroles over the years – they are usually pretty much the same.

Here is a recipe that I got from Cook’s Country – my new favorite recipe source.  This one is different, and not soggy.

Summer Squash Gratin.

Summer Squash Gratin

Summer Squash Gratin


Mr. Cottage does not like olives, I know, what is wrong with him?  When I made this, I omitted the olives.  The second night, I put aside a smaller serving for myself and added the olives – WOW amazing what it does to this dish.  So if you are debating if you should bother when them or not and you like them, do add them.  AWESOME!

The tiki burns into the wee hours of the night!

The next day, I turned the smoker into a planter.

smoker turned into planter

smoker turned into planter

See you later Bye!


16 thoughts on “the next day I turned the smoker into a planter

  1. artsychicksw says:

    I’m coming for dinner at your house! Wow, that ham and beans look so delicious…I can almost taste it from here. Love that you turned the cooker into a planter…I’d say it was high time. Are you getting another? Peace, Sara


    1. I’m not sure a new smoker is in the budget right now. I guess I need to go to another auction. 🙂


  2. artsychicksw says:

    Also, I love all that vintage fabric at the right of this post…wowsers! I don’t sew with a machine, but this is one of those times I really wish I knew how. I use some fabric in my jewelry and mixed media art, and do a bit of hand sewing, but I have way too much fabric for someone who doesn’t really sew LOL I have a large vintage suitcase full, but always love vintage bits and pieces. If you end up with cast off pieces after cutting could you put some aside for me? I’ll be happy to pay postage to get them here. Speaking of sending things…thank you so much for your offer for the scanner. We tend to have problems with printers and scanners…probably because we usually do take seconds or buy really cheap because that’s what we can afford…and they just seem to never work out, or just work for a short time. So, I think we’ll pass, but I want you to know how much I appreciate your offer, my dear internet friend! xoxo


  3. Carol Cook says:

    I love your new planter – it would look perfect in my garden. It sounds like you had a lot of fun with that roaster before it was re-purposed.

    When we lived in Jamaica, my husband got his students together and we roasted a pig, in a pit they dug in the yard. It was wonderful. The time they had us buy a goat and roast it was not one of my favorites. The kids were so proud of themselves and when everything was done, they presented me with the goat skin. I tried to be excited, like they expected me to be, when they presented the goat skin to me. Yuk!


    1. Oh my word! Yeah, I can only imagine having a skin presented like that. I don’t even want to ask about the slaughter. I bet you have a lot of stories to tell like that from living in Jamaica, how exciting.
      We went to Aruba many years ago and we met up with a local that took us off the beaten path. We didn’t want to do touristy stuff, we wanted to do like the locals. This guys was very accommodating and so for lunch he too us to one of his favorite places, which looked like a shack on the side of the road. I was a little um apprehensive, shall we say and then when the goat ribs were presented as my meal I was, lets say less than pleased – husband thought they were great. So much for me being adventuresome and doing as the locals do.
      Thanks for popping in.


  4. says:

    You have a big ole cook out and you don’t invite me? Heavens to Betsy, I’m crushed! I really wanted to taste that squash casserole. Never thought of putting brown sugar on the butt. And just why did you turn a perfectly good smoker into a planter. You had already fixed the handle problem.


    1. You are so invited to the next one, of course it’s a long drive for dinner! LOL The flaking rusty metal that was falling down on the meat when we smoked it, left a less than desirable after taste. Time for a planter. 🙂


      1. says:

        Okay, that makes sense but I don’t think you mentioned the flaking rusty metal. You gotta give us all the facts, ok?


  5. Debra says:

    awww-I loved the ole cooker with its burnt out handles and rusty butt. Your food looks amazing!!!


    1. Debra – the food was good and the smoke helped keep the mosquitos away for a few hours. Really it was time to retire the old thing though and hopefully I’ll find another one, probably not for $5.00, but the hunt is always fun.


  6. Winter Owls says:

    Your planter looks smokin! Love the photos of your work, fish, and vintage fabric on the side too!


    1. Thank you Jen. There I am again, with more fabric I can’t bring myself to cut…


  7. Anonymous says:

    Do you cook the wine or drink it???


  8. Oh My God I am STARVING now! Boy, can you ever create an inviting scene 🙂 …. I’m going to go raid the fridge, now….


    1. Happy raiding! 🙂


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