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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Morning chores and bruschetta

This morning I picked a bunch of cherry tomatoes for a friend. There's a great abundance of them this year, thanks to a lot of volunteer plants that I just let do their thing.  Since it was cool, and I had some time, I also did some weeding.

I think when we get back from our waffle breakfast with friends, I'll pick enough of those cherry tomatoes for us to use bruschetta for lunch.

Basically, I cut the cherry or other tomatoes into small chunks and mix them with some salt, pepper, a touch of red wine or balsamic vinegar, chopped fresh basil leaves, and thin shavings of parmesan reggiano cheese. If you like you can also put in a tiny bit of crushed garlic. I serve this on top of a good quality Italian, or sourdough bread, cut about 1/2" thick, rubbed with olive oil and toasted on both side under the broiler. You can also rub the bread with a split garlic clove before or after you apply the olive oil, if you want a more subtle addition of garlic to the bruschetta. It's so simple, healthy and delicious!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Stuffed cabbage dinner with friends

I've been doing food prep and cooking most of the day and I'm wiped; but the watermelon is cut and the dressing is made for the arugula salad, and the stuffed cabbage is all made and in the fridge, ready to cook later this afternoon. Dessert, at Jim's request, is just going to be some vanilla ice cream with two liqueur options - banana or caramel, or a non alcoholic Bailey's Irish Cream syrup. I'll suggest that they they choose either the caramel or the Baileys and save the banana for sipping after dessert. Banana liqueur is lovely after dinner and it's a good digestive.

I forgot just how much time stuffed cabbage takes, especially when you mess up the recipe, add double the salt and have to send husband to the store for another pound of ground beef, which means getting more onion grated, more rice measured, another egg beaten, etc, and twice as many cabbage rolls to stuff and wrap.  It was a good thing I had a huge head of Savoy cabbage. So now I have stuffed cabbage for 12 instead of 6. 

After breakfast I got some weeding time in the garden, which I probably should have skipped today; but I find it hard to walk past a weed and not bend down and extricate it from it comfy abode; but the problem is I can never stop at just one.  So about a half hour later, the compost pile had a new addition, and I resumed my food prep.

The kitchen is somewhat tidied, the glasses are washed and now I'm going to see if I can get Bonnie kitty in, feed her and get a bit of rest time before getting the table set and doing the last few kitchen chores and bit of living room tidying. Days like this I wish I were twenty years younger; but I'd gladly settle for ten!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A day to sow

It's a beautiful morning, so I was able to get out before breakfast just to plant a few cauliflower seeds. This Farmer's early cauliflower says it's only 40 days to harvest, so I hope it will work OK in this heat. If not, I can plant some later in the month. I'm busy with other things till later this afternoon, so I may be able to get out again after dinner if the rain stays away, to plant a few more things.

We love Indian food and one of my favorite curries is one with  cauliflower and garbanzo beans. I think I posted the recipe on my Shambhala Pottery blog a while back and there's a search box to use to find old messages if anyone is interested in trying it

I got my dried onions in a basket and now have to figure out the coolest driest place to put them. The basement may be too damp; but it is the coolest place in the house. The garage is another possibility, as long as I'm not firing my big soda kiln.

Friends are coming over for a stuffed cabbage dinner tomorrow, so I got a head start this morning and got the baby potatoes well scrubbed, and the green beans trimmed and washed. And since my dining room looked a lot like a seed store with seeds boxes spread out all over the table, I figured it was time to put most of the boxes away and only keep out those things that I'll be planting.

I checked the moon signs and it's now time (waxing moon), to plant above ground crops, so in the next couple of days I'll be planting more  things like arugula, escarole, etc. All my seedling that I planted a week or so ago are well up. I guess they really loved this heat. The bush beans are already up about 4", so I put down more bloodmeal to discourage the nightly bunnies.

When I was putting more of the bloodmeal near the corn yesterday afternoon, I saw why I'm not getting a lot of zucchinis - some critter is eating the young ones on the vine and just leaving a tiny piece where it's attached! Last year I found a ground hog/gopher (big guy), who had walked up the stone steps and was in one of the my stone terraces where I grow most of our vegetables, helping himself to dinner; and I suspect he is the current offending party. I just hope he leaves me one out of 3 zucchinis, which would be plenty for us.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Since the garden seems to be all consuming at the moment, I decided to create this new blog to report on the garden and kitchen activities this time of the year.

Right now the garden is becoming very abundant with produce that has to be harvested and dealt with on a daily basis. This past week I've been mainly harvesting bush and pole beans, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes,onions, swiss chard, zucchini, yellow summer squash and potatoes for eating, processing and  drying for storage. And of course, there's the never ending weeding and other garden maintenance. After a very long, tiring day in the kitchen and garden yesterday, with computer cleanup up being my only sit down, rest time, my old, aching body is screaming for a day off today, for which I am more than happy to oblige!

One activity I may tear myself away from the sofa for, other than making dinner, may be to get out my deer, bunny repellant spray. Some critters have gotten into my small corn patch, so this is the last year I'm going to try to grow corn in these mountains. There are way too many critters who enjoy helping themselves to this crop, so next year that spot will be devoted to other less delectable veggies that may not have such a great appeal to the deer, ground hog, raccoon, bunny, possum, and other  denizens of the forest.

I've been sprinkling blood meal which is usually a good, temporary repellant for the rabbits and deer, as well as it's usefulness as an organic fertilizer, at least till it rains at which time it has to be re-applied. But either the deer have gotten used to it, or it's a raccoon who isn't deterred by the blood meal, who's the culprit, so I'll try the spray and see if that will do the trick.

I have a compost pile behind my pottery gallery, which is regularly visited by our resident mink, one of the neighbors dogs (both of whom we caught red handed), and I suspect the racoons and possums. I don't cover over the newly dumped kitchen waste on a daily basis, which gives them a chance to munch and maybe leave the garden alone.