Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Time After Time

It sure has been awhile hasn't it? Well, I apologize for that. You'd think I'd make more time for this, being unemployed. But no matter the circumstances, there's never enough time.

So. What have I been up to? Well, we've done some serious backyard renovation and have gutted half the yard and built raised beds! I've got a gazillion seedlings getting their start and hopefully, come spring, we'll have a fatty garden on it's way to bountiful glory.

The seedlings we've got going are:
  • cucumber
  • japanese cucumber
  • zucchini
  • striped roma tomato
  • purple calabash tomato
  • san marzano tomato
  • tomatillo
  • scarlet runner beans
  • bush green beans
  • white cannelini beans
  • corn
  • rosa bianca eggplant
  • jalapeno peppers
  • poblano peppers
  • anaheim peppers
  • bell peppers
  • chamomile
  • nasturtiums
  • marigolds
  • baby's breath
  • cilantro
  • basil
  • watercress
  • and I think there are some more that I can't remember...
And... here are some pictures!

This is the field behind my house. It was just so pretty and green, I couldn't NOT take a picture of it!

This is my dad digging up the yard. I did a lot of work, too! I got this ball rolling, in fact. It was a major pain in my ass, and back. It's a lot more work than you'd think. FOR. SURE.

I found a ton of worms while I was digging, which is great! Worms = good dirt. Or at least not shitty dirt. So that's fantastic. My hands looks old ladyish too. They don't really look like that!!

We took this tumbler from my gramma so we could make our own mulch. It's looking pretty good so far. Why did gramma have a tumbler? Gawd, who knows. Her idea of gardening is telling me her flowers are dry when I go over there, soooo....

This is inside our larger greenhouse. It looks crammed right now because it's going to be raining for awhile, and we put a bunch of our plants in here so that they don't get cold and overwatered.

This is our smaller "greenhouse" where I start my seedlings. This one is a bit warmer, which is why I keep them in here. Also, since it's a bit cool these days I put plastic bags underneath the starters to help them hold warmth. I also cover some of them too. Down at the bottom is my mesclun mix. Yum yum.

Seed babies.


Pretty purple bean seeds that I just started today!

And these...

... are our raised beds! Yay!

I can't wait for Spring! I'm waiting for march to roll around so we can start planting our little goobers in the beds. woohoo!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Well, of course it's alive. It's food! Here are a couple snapshots of my cauliflower, broccoli, peas, and the carrots I just pulled this morning. :) They're so cute.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

F... .... (wait for it)... ... INALLY!

Hey... so.... sorry, it's been awhile. I've got a few things to update on, but for now I'll start with some cool garden pics. Hopefully I'll get all my ducks in a row, and you'll get to hear about how I was attacked by bees while making jam in my kitchen, and other fun tales.


These are my carrrrrrots. They've got bushy tops!

I peeled away some of the dirt so you could see my lil red beauty of a carrot! I'm pretty excited. I planted red, orange, and white carrots!

These are my peas! I ghetto-rigged a trellis out of bamboo. Yeah, it looks pretty... um... what's the word? Classy? Yeah. Classy. It looks pretty classy. They've actually just started to flower so I'll be excited to get my first peas soon!

This is another ghettofabulous creation. I needed something long to plant my arugula in, but I was out of long planters. So instead of buying one, naturally, I cut a garden pot in half and taped it together with duct tape. BOOM. INSTA-PLANTER.

My bell peppers are going crazy! They were slow-goers in the summer, but now that it's fall... they're just going wild! I've got baby bells all over that plant. It's... really cute actually. I've got the garden tape all over this bad boy because the plant is small, but those peppers get HUGE, so I have to give them some support! Like a bra. A bell pepper bra.


So, as you may have seen before in a previous post, we live right up against a giant field. So right behind our house my dad decided he wanted to plant some tomatoes. They look pretty good! We have um, green zebra, mortgage lifter, and some generic tomatoes. Everything has been going well so far! The coyotes and other critters have pretty much left them alone... so far.

So as you can see, my mom's flowers have pretty much taken over EVERYTHING. But right there in the lower right corner of this picture, you can see my spaghetti squash and pumpkin plants. what whaaaaat.

There's my baby spaghetti squash on the left, and my lone baby pumpkin on the right. GROW BUDDIES GROW!

I've also got some broccoli and cauliflower going right now, and I just saw the other day a couple broccoli heads growing. Also, I bought my mom some watermelon and icicle radish seeds and we have those planted as well. I'm pretty excited to see how they turn out.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Salsa for Jamie! aka Himee Escalante

That's right Jamie. Don't think that I've forgotten that your real name is Himee Escalante and you taught calculus to a bunch of no-good misfits. I remember. I. REMEMBER.

Anyway, we have (had) a crapload of tomatoes, and I love salsa. So I made some salsa. I've been making it all summer, and I think I've really got the hang of making some decent salsa! And this time, I even kinda measured so that you know what I'm talking about here.

SO LET'S DO THIS. (By the way, prepare for picture overload. I got a little carried away.)

Start by rinsing all of the herbs - cilantro, parsley, oregano, chives.
I like to fill up a big bowl and just... mix 'em around a bit, letting the dirt and stuff fall off and sink.

Then place them on a napkin to dry, as shown ('cause you definitely needed a picture to visualize what that means, right?)
As you can see, I have quite a bit of cilantro. IT'S BECAUSE I LOVE IT. I use a little bit of parsley just to add more of that "fresh" taste to it. And because I don't want to completely decimate my cilantro plant.

While your herbs are hanging out in NapkingLand, grab that big bowl you used to rinse off your herbs (I hope you disposed of your water by feeding a plant, instead of your sink. Plants like water!), and put into it 1/4 tbs celery seed, 1/4 tbs cumin, 1/4 salt, and a few cranks of freshly ground pepper. Why in the the bottom of the bowl? I'm not sure... That's just the way I do it.

Then you're going to need a medium-sized onion. Yellow or sweet is best I think, but white will do just fine. Or red, for that matter. You don't need to finely chop this sucker, but chop it into small pieces. Also, chop up 3-4 cloves of garlic and toss it in the mix. And now it's tomato time. I used about 4 cups of roughly cut tomatoes of all kinds. I used cherry, heirloom cherry, heirloom roma, yellow pear, orange, moonglow, purple calabash, and... yeah, I think that's it. Check 'em out, they're perdy.

Seriously, a rough chop is fine. I quartered the bigger tomatoes, and just halved the smaller ones. Then give all of your herbs a good chop (again, you don't have to mince this stuff, just a niiiiiice chop) and add it to the mix. For heat, I used 3 serrano chiles. Also, I chopped these up last because I wanted to be sure I could wash my hands and be done getting messy. I've touched my eyeball with pepper residue on my fingers, and hey guess what, IT HURT A LOT. So be careful.
To finish it off, add the juice of one lime. Mmm, lime. THEN BLEND!

I use an "immersion blender", or hand blender, to do this. I like the control of it. But you can do this in the blender or food processor if you like. Just watch it, because your salsa will turn to soup quickfast. I recommend using the pulse option on your blender and roughly stirring it up with a spoon. Get it to the consistency you like, and you're done! You can eat it right then, of course, but it will taste so much better the next day. Also, do a little taste test before you stash it away. You might want a little more salt.

But, overall, it's pretty easy... and it's way better than most of the jarred stuff you get at the store. Viva la freshness!

As a sidenote, I picked one of my anaheim chiles when I was outside gathering herbs, and was going to use it in the salsa. But when I got inside the house I couldn't find it. I figured it just fell out of my pocket somewhere and I'd go find it later. WELL LO AND BEHOLD, I found it! I kid you not, I found it exactly like this, gently nuzzled in between the knobs on the cabinet door in front of the sink. Ridiculous.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


You may or may not have noticed the lack of postage. And I don't think my gluten scare counts as a post. It was just a minor freakout. Turns out I am okay-to-go on delicious gluten delicacies, I just had a bout of the stomach flu. I didn't realize that those first few days, when I was feeling like I got run over by a truck, that I actually had a fever. SO, after a week of not eating, followed by a week of barely eating, I'm ready to get back on this food train.

Some of you know that I've started an internship with an Online Magazine/Community called LuxEco Living. Oh, you didn't know? Well, um... I did. So I'm writing for them now, in addition to the foodie site Eating Everywhere. I'm doing lots of free work these days. Gotta do something, right?

Anyway, I'll try and update my culinary adventures as soon as possible. But for now, here's an article that was recently "published" by me! Check out the site and see what you think, and do me a favor and "like" them on fb will ya?

Enjoy! Please?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Oh sweet baby Jesus, say it ain't so...

I might have developed a most heinous and unfortunate disease...


I really REALLY hope that I just have a nasty stomach bug, and that's the source of all my discomfort. Because let me tell you, the last 4 or 5 days... I have felt downright nasty on the inside.

I'M TOO YOUNG TO DIE!!! I mean, to stop eating bread.

Crap, this'll change everything.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Chicken pot chicken pot... oh, you know.


I wasn't going to post on these just yet because they are far from pretty, but Jamie said I should, so I am.

I started with making my own dough. It came out pretty well, I think I just need to work on a consistent thickness when I roll it out. I'm not a baker people, it's hard! Also, some more seasoning would be nice too.

5 tbs COLD "butter" (the recipe I looked at called for 6 tbs! so much buuuuutter)
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sage
about 3 tbs ice cold water

The butter has to be COLD! This part is very important. It makes the dough fluffier and flakier and more moist - it melts while it cooks, slowly penetrating (ha) the dough. So get all your stuff in a bowl (of a food processor) and slowly cut the butter into the flour. I used a fork and just smashed it until it was crumbly. Then slowly add the ice water, one tbs at a time. You don't want it to get too wet, just wet enough that everything sort of comes together and feels kind of like play-doh!

I also made a gluten-free dough for my mom using some gluten free baking mix. The same processes apply, I just made a smaller batch.

Ball up the dough and wrap it in plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for about half an hour. That way all the ingredients become BFFs and stick together well.

While the dough was chillin' (literally. get it? get it!?) I made my filling. I didn't want to get too adventurous here in the beginning so I just did a simple veggie filling. I cut up a carrot, half an onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1 yellow squash, and 2 broccoli florets. I sauteed those in olive oil on a lower heat and added a little thyme, rosemary, dill, and basil. I wanted to add potatoes (what's a pot pie without potatoes!?) but we don't have any... so, next time. After everything had softened a bit I thickened it up with about 1.5 tbs of corn starch (couldn't use flour, my mom is gluten intolerant) and then slowly stirred in veggie broth. I didn't measure... sorry... it was probably about 1.5 cups? I let it simmer for awhile, to thicken, until it looked almost like a stew.

I cooked my pot pies in cupcake trays. I wasn't sure how I was going to go about this so I tried it 2 different ways.

1. I rolled out the dough and cut it into circles about 1/2" bigger than the tray hole. Then I PAMmed the hole (ha) and slowly pressed my round cutout of dough into it, then pricked it with a knife to avoid air buildup. I made 3 this way, and baked them in the oven just for 5 minutes, sans filling. THEN, I took them out of the oven, brushed the inside of the dough cup with an egg wash, added the filling, and then made a half-ass topper to cover them. Egg wash on top too.

2. I rolled out the dough, a little bigger than in #1, PAMmed the hole, applied the egg wash, added the filling, and then kind of folded the excess dough over the top. Also, egg washed the top.

Everything was baked at 350 for about 15 minutes. I kind of lost track of the time, not going to lie. But I watched them through the oven window with vigilance.

Why the egg wash inside? I was afraid that the filling would goo up the bottom and the dough wouldn't cook. What I SHOULD have done in #1 was apply the egg wash BEFORE I par-cooked it, not after. And the egg wash on the outside gives them a nice golden crispness.

SO. What did I learn from this?
1. I need to cut the veggies much smaller.
2. I need a consistent thickness of dough.
3. Folding the dough over for a top is just too much dough. Applying a separate top, that will be integrated into the other dough, will look and taste much better.
4. More filling!

Here are my little boogers. They're not pretty. Don't judge me, it was my first attempt! The crumbly one is the gluten free one. That recipe is going to take a little more work; gluten-free is a whole different ballgame.