Saturday, July 31, 2010

All-star Party 2010


I thew together the All-star bball party dip a little late..the crappy photo seems appropriate, since this year it looked like a kid threw it together. And yet, it still held up to its reputation. Gotta respect a homemade dip with this many ingredients. For my previous All-star dips and ingredient lists: check it. Hey, the NL won!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Berry Picking

A few weeks back, we went berry picking down at Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown RI. We started in the raspberry patch, and ended among the blueberry bushes. Something like Narnia, but very hot. A hot Narnia. Sweet Berry has a gorgeous view, and great ice cream, but errs on the pricey side, so we probably wouldn't repeat the trip. Last year, E & I went to the much less commercial, cheaper, and still charming Harmony Farms (blog post here). With sweet berries stacked in the freezer, I'm set. Time to re-do my favorite fruity chocolate treats (here).
Raspberries at Sweet Berry Farm, 7/11/10.
C. hunting for raspberries.
Blueberry bushes.
Jess & Eliz
Haven't been able to figure out what these flowers are...
Almost like colored Queen Anne's Lace flowers.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Garden on the Deck: Only the Misnamed...Zinnia

At the SCLT plant sale, Chris picked out an "Only the Lonely" plant, or Nicotiana. A few weeks ago, we get this gorgeous flower popping out of it. Flowers inside of's striking in my very green-heavy garden. But when I look up "Nicotiana Only the Lonely" I can only find these trumpet flowers (here). After a little digging I find out that this beauty is a Zinnia (Zinnia elegans), with Dahlia-like flowers. Someone calls it a "Red Beauty" Zinnia. Not very exotic or highly fragrant, like the Nicotiana I was expecting, but still gorgeous.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Garden on the Deck: Fruitful Fruiting

A while back (here) I bitched about the death and destruction in this summer's garden, caused by squirrels and my mistakes. But I have had wonderful successes in the garden, as well. Triumphs include an abundance of basil, chives and mint, and brand new experiments, like lettuce (SO EASY...I'll do again and again), lemon cukes (below), and flowers, which happen to be useful pest deterrents and they're pretty.
I've harvested one beet (woohoo), carrots are still growing, and peppers are on their way. Today, I had a big surprise...
Holy Shit. It's an EGGPLANT!!! 7/21/10.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Link-share: Newspaper Gift Bag

Link-share for you:
How to make a gift bag out of newspaper (by How About Orange).

Recipe Rursday: Not-Your-Every-Day-Hummus

Beet Hummus, fit for a unicorn, 7/18/10.

Yes, it's hot pink hummus (made from roasted beets) and it's still sitting in the fridge. I'm afraid I didn't love it and will be pawning it off to a co-worker. But it was worth the try. Eating it on/with cucumber rounds (recipe suggestion) may be the solution, but I'll leave that experiment up to you. Recipe: Beet Hummus (from Simply Recipes). My only alteration was that I threw in a can of chickpeas to dilute my heavy hand with the lemon juice. Taste tests before and after the chickpeas: "well, it's not terrible." Maybe I couldn't get over the color.
Note: Co-workers loved it and beet hummus is a great sandwich spread. I give in.
Classic Hummus with Jalapeno-Cilantro Pesto, taken 6/30/10.

The original recipe, "Hummus with Jalapeno-Cilantro Pesto," is from the cookbook, Blue Eggs & Yellow Tomatoes (amazon, and it's a winner. We've even had requests from family for a repeat. The pesto: jalapenos, cilantro, garlic, green onions and parsley, + olive oil & S&P. (We tried another recipe from Blue Eggs... last year - check it.)

And because I know you didn't get enough of the unicorn's one for the road:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

North Hampton Best Weekend Ever

Long weekend in Northampton, and me with a brand new camera phone (all pics in this post!). A friend recommended the town, and I am grateful for it.

This fall Chris & I will have been together for 9 years, and I don't think we've been on a trip by ourselves since..since... uh. 2004? We're both happy to spend our vacations with our family and friends and wouldn't do it any other way. At the same time, the long weekend reminded me that we have to get away just the two of us, at least once in a while.
Northampton, 7/3/2010.
On Smith College's campus, 7/3/10.

Botanical Gardens at Smith College, 7/4/10.
Crazy succulents.
never ending greenhouses.
an outdoor garden.
Kathy's Diner.
Off to fireworks in Springfield MA, 7/4/10.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Garden Recipe: Lemon Cuke & Beet Greens Pizza (II)

Harvested our 3rd lemon cuke (above). And since one of our beet plants looked huge, we harvested our first beet (below) this weekend. Both for another lemon cuke pizza. The books say our beets have been planted long enough & are ready to harvest. We chose this one because it had the biggest leaves (a guess), but it turns out this clump is three beet plants, meaning I didn't thin them out like I should have. The one I pulled up has a beet the size of a 1/2 dollar. Too bad. Note: If you still hate beets, I've been through that too! Try roasting beets from a farmer's market and pair them with goat cheese on a salad. You'll love them.
First Beet Harvested, 7/16/10.

We cleaned and chopped the beet "greens"/leaves, sauteed them with onions (I heard they're edible), and added them to the pizza (where they were unnoticeable). For the recipe, you can follow either of the others: Garden Lemon Cuke Pizza, or Zucchini, Basil, & Goat Cheese Pizza. And you may think this is to salad-like, but I promise's heartier than you'd expect. Trust me.
Lemon Cuke & Beet Greens Pizza, 7/16/10.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Recipe Rursday: Garden Lemon Cuke Pizza (I)

Return to the same.

We keep circling back around to the same pizza. The original inspiration was an Eggs on Sunday recipe post (Zucchini, Basil & Goat Cheese Pizza) and absolutely is my favorite. Last summer, our version used roasted lemon cucumbers (cukes) from our CSA and I instantly fell in love with these squash. They're mild and more mellow than zucchini. I'd say cool and unusual, as well. Lately friends walk into the garden and ask "what is that?" while pointing accusingly at our freakish little yellow cukes. I grew only one vine this year, and it has produced 3 fruit so far. Well worth the investment, if you ask me.
Lemon cukes from the garden, 7/5/10.

Roasted Lemon Cuke & Zucchini Pizza

  • 1 lb. pizza dough or a store-bought crust
  • squash (zucchini, yellow summer squash, or lemon cukes), thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • a pinch of hot pepper flakes
  • (optional) a small handful of basil leaves, torn...
  • shredded cheese (we used an Italian mix)
  • 2 ounces goat cheese

Roasted the squash first in a preheated oven (425F). Brushed with oil & sprinkled with salt & pepper, I roasted them for about 20 min., turning 1/2 way through. Don't over oil.

For this pizza, the store was out of dough balls & we used a premade crust. But if you do use a dough ball, crank up the heat and cook your dough 1/2 way through before loading it up. Then layer on the shredded cheeses, then garlic, hot pepper flakes, roasted squash slices, torn basil leaves, and crumbled goat cheese on top. Bake until golden brown about 7-10 min. Let it rest. Even if for 3 minutes. Let it rest.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Garden on the Deck: Death & Destruction

Last year the deck garden went really well. Except for inconsistencies in watering certain plants, I basically grew a jungle on the deck. This year, not so much. I've had natural infestations, recurring destruction at the scratchy little paws of squirrels, and early bolting. (Left, above) Red aphids made thousands of babies...all over one of my lettuce plants. (Right, above) The Brussels sprout plant was eaten up by white aphids or some kind of white bug. I never should have brought home from Lowe's (I'm embarrassed to say), since it means I had no idea where it was from or what it was carrying). Then there have been the squirrels, who repeatedly snapped the prettiest flowers right off their stems (above) at snacktime......and ripped the almost-ready-to-be-gorgeous-rainbow-flowered Mina Lobata vine right out at the roots. (You can see the vine hanging below the planter dying of thirst, after being snapped off at the roots).
...and their new fascination with the roots of Chris' pansies, which they continue to dig up.
Finally, and this one is my fault, because I started the spinach too late: after growing about 1", the spinach decided it was time to bolt (go to seed). E said it must have happened because it got too hot, too early. I say I'll never plant spinach from seeds again--how could they compare to starters from a farmer's greenhouse? Remember spinach from last year (here)? Soon to come...good things in the garden.