Monday, January 21, 2013

September 2012: Vermont

 We joined Chris' parents for a weekend in Burlington at the Willard Street Inn.  They set us up in the Tower Room (below) that had a view out to the water from our windows

In the back of their property, the owners' son had started a garden, with playful raised beds and a trellis that allowed him to string up his tomatoes and peppers. (The Tower room where we stayed is above, at the top).

Even the way he planted salad greens (in a circle) was interesting - I have to steal this idea.

Mike and the hostas in the shade.  

Spirit of Ethan Allen III Boat Tour on Lake Champlain.

 North Breakwater Lighthouse.

Face-like rock formation on the Appletree Bay side of Long Rock Point.

We missed the changing of the leaves by a few weeks, but saw its beginnings on the way home.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

August - September 2012

AIDS Walk Rhode Island in late August. This is our second year participating.  I wouldn't miss it.

Springsteen rocking out at Giants Stadium in August. 

His performance of Wrecking Ball felt like a communal grieving.  In a stadium of tens of thousands of people, I couldn't imagine the pain that this group alone had carried. "Bring on your wrecking ball. The hard times come, the hard times go.  Bring on your wrecking ball."  A call to keep fighting.

Summer PawSox game with Bill's family. Love it.

Ollie.  Sleek.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

August 2012: In the Garden

The lone Delicata Squash that graced the garden.
Black Krim tomatoes, with dark red/purple insides.
First flower garden in bloom.

Squash leaves and an unidentified squash along the back fence.
Big Jim Hot Peppers.
The funny umbrella-shaped pepper (bottom)  is a Balloon Sweet/Hot Pepper - I loved these.  Also above are red chili peppers (left), (long) Jimmy Nardello Peppers (bottom curled), Early JalapeƱos (right), and the long Big Jim Hot Peppers (top).  (And a random tomato.)
Keystone Giant Sweet Peppers.  We only got 2-3 peppers from this plant, but they were perfect.

Monday, January 7, 2013

August 2012: Tomato, Corn, & Cheese Galette

Tomato, Corn, & Cheese Galette, 8/23/12.
Galettes are simple and elegant.  Perfect appetizers.  And this is lighter than the Tomato & Goat Cheese Tart.  I used tomatoes, grilled corn, and basil--all from our Farm Fresh Veggie Box (A less-individualized CSA program, where numerous farms chip in on weekly shares and those shares are delivered in boxes to your workplace).

More directly, this is a simplified version of a recipe from Alexandra's Kitchen's (taken from Fine Cooking Magazine).  She makes one or two large galettes, but I liked the idea of smaller individualized pastries. One large galette may work better an appetizer.  

a white or yellow onion, diced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
a small bunch of basil
corn kernels from 1 ear of corn (about 1 cup), grilled (we always grill the extra cobs and keep in the fridge for later, but you could saute the corn with the onion)
frozen pastry dough (thawed in the fridge)
1 - 2 ripe tomatoes, sliced and drained on paper towels
a few ounces of shredded cheese
1 large egg yolk mixed with 1 tsp. milk or cream
1. Sautee the onions, season with salt and pepper, and add the corn and garlic when the onions are almost done. Chopped basil can be added at this point, as well. Set aside to cool.
2. Heat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet, preferably one without sides, with kitchen parchment.
3. Roll the dough on a floured surface into a 15-inch round or into cut into small rounds, lifting the dough with a metal spatula as you roll to make sure it’s not sticking. If it is, dust the surface with more flour. Transfer to the lined baking sheet (roll it onto the rolling pin for easy transfer). The tomatoes can make the pastry fairly moist, so make sure the pastry isn't too thin in the center.
4. Spread the onion and corn mixture over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border without filling. Arrange the tomatoes in a single layer over the onions and season them with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the cheese over the tomatoes. Lift the edges of the dough and fold them inward over the filling, pleating as you go, to form a folded-over border. Pinch together any tears in the dough. Brush the egg yolk and milk mixture over the exposed crust.
5. Bake until the crust has browned and the cheese has melted, 35 to 45 min. Slide the galette off the parchment and onto a cooling rack. Let cool for 10 min. Stack the remaining 10 basil leaves and cut them into a chiffonade. Cut the galette into wedges, sprinkle with the basil, and serve.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

August 2012: Chickens and Community Gardens

Spicy and Coach foraging.
Clover treats.

 Elizabeth's plot in her community garden.  Amazing.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

July 2012: Mystery Squash Pizza

This year was supposed to be the year of the squash for me.  I haven't had much luck in the past with squash, so I planted a variety of squash seeds: seeds saved from heirloom pumpkins, cucumber seeds from Johnny's Seeds catalog, and a few seeds that popped up on their own (volunteers) in soil taken from the composter.  I had 6 or 7 plants started, the majority of which succumbed to powdery mildew.
Two of the squash plants, however, made a hearty go for it.  I was sure they were cucumber plants, but instead, they produced a light green striped squash.  I harvested a few early on and threw one on the grill (sliced, and lightly oiled with salt & pepper).  We used it as the main ingredient on one of our first charcoal-grilled pizzas (one of our best).  Later that summer, the same squash climbing up our garage turned a pale yellowish-orange, almost peach.  And then I realized, I had been growing BUTTERNUT SQUASH all along.  Lesson learned: unripe butternut squash is really good on pizza. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

July 2012: In the Garden

Every year the garden is one giant experiment, housing lots of little projects guided by a bit of reading about gardening and your run-of-the-mill trial and error.  New plants, new gardens, and new kinds of soil and compost.  The Elfin Thyme doubled in size, but spread slowly.  A dream ground-cover, but not very practical for cooking, and too expensive to pull off as a rug for the yard.   
July 2012.
 Magic Carpet (it has other names as well) was a colorful success from July through the late fall.  It began with red and yellow flowers, followed by orange and neon pink flowers.  It has the feel of a succulent and spreads well.

 The Swiss Chard was beautiful but not plentiful enough to use.  I lost half of the plants to some kind of well-fed worm.  Update below: the nemesis was a leaf miner.  And I'm sure he's fat and happy.

The squash seedlings shot up after a few weeks of hibernating, and followed the trellis of the new back wall garden.  If I could just get more squash to survive.  The back wall plants produced fruit that shriveled from powdery mildew and may have succumb to squash borers.  

 Gold Dust was another new ground cover that I picked up from a local nursery.  It spread all summer and always brightened up the garden.  It's only downfall was how it tangling every passing leaf and twig in its mesh, requiring me to repeatedly pick it clean.

 Small Red Onions in last year's corn patch.

And then there are the experiments gone awry.  Lots and Lots of them. The worst included these two.

Evidence of the leaf miner that destroyed some of the Swiss Chard starters.
One day I'll figure out how to permanently stop powdery mildew from killing my squash.  I can only assume it's from too much humidity, not enough breeze because of our fences, and not buying powdery-mildew resistant seeds.