Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Parental Visit

Mom in Italia, 6/18/10.
I've been remiss about posting photos from our last two weekends (garden photos are easy to pop up here). So, here are a few from the weekend when my mom visited. We took another venture on a scrapbook bus trip hosted by Right at Home (in North Attleboro, MA), and spent the day riding around in neighboring states on scrapbook missions. I'm not sure where exactly we went (Mass., maybe CT?), damn did we cover a lot of ground. The time with mom was great, as it always is.
Chris & I drug mom all over the place - to some of our favorite spots and even to a new one. She cheered on Chris at his softball game (below) and watched movies with us late into the night. As far as visitors go, Mom is incredibly easy and I love that she can chill out in our Providence-pad.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Garden on the Deck: Cat Grass

Cat and her new 'cat grass,' 6/12/10.
(purchased at a farmer's market in Exeter, RI)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

New CSA Share: Four Friends Farm

CSA Week One, 6/15/10.

We're trying a new CSA this year, Four Friends Farm, which we pick-up each Tuesday down in Cranston. We purchased a single share and a dozen eggs every other week. Already, I feel better from eating all of these greens. The red lettuce (Lollo Rossa?) and snap peas have led to interesting salads. Officially...we have summer.
Green Egg, 6/15/10.

Chris is psyched about the new multi-colored, organic eggs (a green egg, above) from free range chickens running around in Johnston, RI. According to the Boston Globe (those crazy chicken-egg experts), the varying colors are due to a difference in genetics among different types of chickens. Araucanas tend to lay green & blue eggs. These eggs are possibly from Araucanas, Black Australorps, Rhode Island Reds and Bantams.
CSA Week Two, 6/22/10.

New additions this week included patty pan squash (above) and Chinese broccoli (below). I need to read up on patty pan squash. If I can't roast it, not sure what to do yet...
Snap peas & Chinese broccoli.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Goodbye Red Couch served me well for 10 years. I bought you and your companion chairs at a garage sale in St. Louis in 1995. You went to college with me, back to St. Louis, to Boston, to the Bronx, to Manhattan, and then to Providence. If the bottom hadn't fallen out of your left side over a year ago, I would've held on. Thankfully, someone carted you away, before the sanitation people came. I hope that you will be rebuilt and reupholstered in all of your great red velvety-ness.

Love Pug Recycles

Link-share for you:

...found through Elsiecake.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Recipe Rursday: Garlic Scape Pesto Pasta

Garlic Scape Pesto Pasta, 6/14/10.

Bill & Erin served us a delicious dinner recently and I was inspired by their basil pesto pasta because the add-ons kicked it up a notch (sun dried tomatoes, oil cured olives olives, and other good stuff). After re-discovering a batch of last year's garlic scape pesto in the freezer (and being inspired by the fresh scapes at the Farmer's market, I pulled together my own version of Bill's pasta.

Garlic Scape Pesto Pasta

  • Garlic Scapes
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Almonds (or walnuts)
  • Olive Oil
For Garlic Scape Pesto, see last year's recipe. With our next batch, I'm using almonds instead of walnuts. Maybe.
  • Penne Pasta
  • Sun dried Tomatoes
  • Black Olives
  • Artichokes
Chop sun dried tomatoes, black olives (ideally oil cured, but we used olives from a can), and artichokes. Add them to the pesto and let sit so the flavors can meld. Prepare pasta and add to the pesto. Toss with Parmesan. Grill a few side veggies, and have Chris make you his new Gin & Tonic with fresh lime juice.
Note: After a day thawing in the fridge, the rediscovered garlic scape pesto was just as fresh as if I had made it this year. After successfully freezing whole tomatoes, and now pesto, I need to find more ways to freeze our summer CSA dishes.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Garden on the Deck: Squash Family

Eggplant flower, 6/12/10.

Two more newbies this year -- an eggplant and a lemon cucumber plant. Both are from the SCLT plant sale and both are doing well. Last summer the garden was very green, until the end when tomatoes and habaneros appeared. This year, I'm reminded that even fruiting veggies can add color with their flowers. Mental note: keep planting things like this.
Lemon cucumber vine, 6/12/10.

I took a stab at starting both from seed...I planted 3 lemon cuke seeds (direct-seeded), alongside the starter. After 4 weeks, there's still no sign of seedlings. Too bad. One eggplant seed (started indoors) survived the many deaths of its neighbors. Its leaves don't look like the other eggplant, so I'm not 100% confident that it's an eggplant, but it may survive (see below).
Mystery plant (eggplant?) 5/31/10 & 6/14/10.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Garden on the Deck: Lettuce Havest

Lettuce, first batch. 6/12/10.

This is the first year we're growing lettuce in the garden. I'm not as familiar with lettuce heads, but loose greens, like a salad mix, grow quickly, easily, usually produce 2 good crops per plant, and can be direct seeded into the garden in cycles, every 2-3 weeks if you have the space.

Sadly, Chris isn't a fan of lettuce or, for that matter, any raw greens. But he agreed to eat greens grown in the garden (or from a CSA), so tough luck for him. For the future, I need to find an entire seed pack of the lettuce we had last year in our CSA (butterhead, or oak leaf buttercrunch, or whatever it was). It was the best, softest and sweetest lettuce we'd ever tasted.What I harvested today was lettuce grown from starters purchased at the SCLT plant sale. My first round from seed died at only 1/2" tall. My second round is making a go for it, but they're still only 1/2" tall. Who knows when it will be safe to transplant the new little ones.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Recipe Rursday: Spaghetti Squash "Pasta"

Spaghetti Squash (Try #1), 5/31/10.

While Chris was on his cross-country baseball trip, I roasted spaghetti squash. First batch I used the recipe below. It made the squash a little more interesting and was worth a try. The 2nd 1/2 of the squash though, I roasted and saved for dinner two nights later. Try #2 was very tasty, as you might expect, since it was full of butter.

Spaghetti Squash I (from (Try #1)
  • 1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons sliced black olives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  2. Place spaghetti squash cut sides down on the prepared baking sheet, and bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance. Remove squash from oven, and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion in oil until tender. Add garlic, and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, and cook only until tomatoes are warm.
  4. Use a large spoon to scoop the stringy pulp from the squash, and place in a medium bowl. Toss with the sauteed vegetables, feta cheese, olives, and basil. Serve warm.
A few nights later, I took the 2nd 1/2 of the squash and made the following much less pretty, but much more delicious recipe:

Herbed Spaghetti Squash (Emeril Lagasse) (Try #2)
  • 1 small spaghetti squash, about 2 1/4 pounds
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped mixed soft herbs, such as basil, chives, chervil, parsley and sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Using my already roasted (and fork-shredded) squash that I had saved in tupperware (see above for prep instructions)...
Heat a skillet. Add the butter, spaghetti squash, herbs, salt and pepper and toss thoroughly but gently to heat and combine. Serve immediately or cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Garden on the Deck: Flower-hating Squirrels

5/29/10.Back on Valentine's Day I bought a small potted flower for Chris. As the pre-garden planting took off, I transferred it into a funky metal can--an empty stuffed grape leaves can, originally purchased for Saida & Ben's wedding. I like the idea of using recycled or unusual containers in a container garden, though I really haven't worked that into the garden yet. The plant died as soon as I took it outside, but eventually came back just in time for the warmer weather. This flower (above) was the first to show itself.
And the very next day, I came outside to find the flower destroyed (above). Apparently squirrels eat flowers or will bite the flower right off the top of its stem and leave it behind just to make a point. The bane of my existence I tell ya. A half a canister of garlic powder later...(trails of smelly garlic powder all over the deck to ward off the squirrels), and after having moved the flowers to the other side of the deck...presto. We now have a fully flowering pot of whatever these flowers are called (below).

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Garden on the Deck: Transplanting Seedlings


Last weekend I finished transplanting the last of my seedlings (grown indoors under grow lights). So many extras to give away, still! Above (clockwise): Spinach, Eggplant, Marigolds, and Basil. The seedlings that I moved to the Dunkin Donuts cups while Anne & Ashley were here have grown significantly. I'm sure it's not a good idea (since those cups have a plastic coating on them), but for the moment it has worked.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Recipe Rursday: Quinoa Chicory Bake

Quinoa Chicory Bake, taken 5/4/10.

Our Summer CSA hasn't started and we're already experimenting with new greens (new, for us). This recipe arrived in the March issue of Vegetarian Times and it's officially in the make-this-again section of our cookbook. While these photos aren't great, the photo in the magazine grabbed me and I couldn't resist the idea of a casserole made with quinoa.As for the chicory, I didn't even know what it was (apparently it's the same as curly endive). And while you could easily substitute spinach, the chicory had a nice bite to it.

Greens and Quinoa Pie (Vegetarian Times)
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 large bunch chicory (1 to 1 1/4 lb), cut into bite-sized pieces (bottom 1 1/2" of hard stems removed)
1 head romaine lettuce, shredded
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 medium onions thinly sliced (2 cups)
2 green onions, thinly sliced (1/4 cup)
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese, preferably Greek (1 oz.)
1/4 cup grated aged goat cheese or Swiss cheese (1 oz.)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 C bread crumbs (optional)

Place quinoa in small saucepan, and toast over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes, or until almost dry. Add 1 cup water, and season with salt, if desired. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and transfer to large bowl.
Heat large pot over medium heat. Add chicory, and cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until wilted, stirring frequently or tossing with tongs. Add romaine, and wilt 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer greens to strainer, and squeeze out excess moisture. Transfer to cutting board, and chop into small pieces. Stir into quinoa.

Preheat oven to 350*. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, and sauté 10 minutes, or until browned. Add cooked onions, green onions, dill, feta cheese, and goat cheese to quinoa mixture. Stir in eggs; season with salt and pepper, if desired.
Pour 1 Tbs. oil into 9" pie pan, and place in oven. hat 5 minutes, or until oil is hot. swirl oil to coat bottom of pan, then spread quinoa mixture in pan with spatula. Bake 20 minutes. Drizzle pie with remaining 1 Tbs. oil, and bake 20 to 30 minutes more, or until golden brown.

[Despite vigorously straining the greens, our mixture was still moist after having baked for 20 minuets (1/2 the baking time). I added bread crumbs to the top of the dish. If you have an oven with a top-broiler, you could move the dish up & quickly broil the top of the casserole.]

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Buying Art

Today I purchased my first piece of art. The artist is a talented photographer (with whom I work) and whose photos were recently featured (here). I love her non-traditional portrait photography and this will look great in our home. She graciously sold this to me...what a gift! [See Corey's website for more of her work].