Saturday, July 31, 2010

That Was Some JESUS Bruschetta

So, I got 2 tomatoes from the garden. A clove of local garlic from the Farmer's Market a while back, and some purple basil from the garden. Chopped it all and mixed with some olive oil. Put it on a fresh baguette from a local bakery (bought at farmers market) and made with local wheat. I think this is the most local meal so far in my quest to be a better locavore during the summer.

I've got more tomatoes (local but not garden is only putting out one a day so far) and local onion and the herbs in the garden are doing well (along with lots of things other than the onions and beets...those were supposed to be the easy crops). I think along with the local long horn burger I bought, I can make "That which has no name" later this week.

Here is the recipe for That Which Has No Name:
Olive oil, canola, or butter to fry in. More for potatoes, less for burger.
1 lb of burger (if you don't have burger, use some potatoes cubed to 1/4")
1 medium onion or the equivalent amount of green onions/scallions etc, chopped fine
1-3 cloves of garlic chopped (as much as you like)
2 good size or 4 small tomatoes
Lemon juice
Cayenne or Paprika

Use a heavy skillet.
Fry up the burger, drain the fat.
If using potatoes, get enough oil to cover the bottom of your skillet and fry on fairly high heat. Don't mess them about too much or they get squishy. Just let them go until browned on one side and turn over.

While the first bit is frying, chop the garlic and onion.

When burger/taters are done, add the onion. You may need some more olive oil if you drained it all for the burger draining.
Let this saute for a bit whiel you chop the tomatoes.

When the onion just gets translucent, toss in the tomatoes, 1-2 T of lemon juice (if you have fresh lemons, that is best but anything works), how ever much cayenne or hungarian paprika you want. Stir it up once, turn off the heat and put a lid on it.

Let it steam a few minutes like that especially if using potatoes. You want them soft on the inside but still cubes.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with pita bread.
It's delicious. In a pinch you can used canned tomatoes but then skip the salt and test for acidity before adding lemon juice. Sometimes the canned tomatoes get a bit sour or sweet or salty.

The garden is doing well, but I will have to wait for a better connection to put up a photo. It's hard to photograph the green plants in a big jumble against the green weeds and grass in a jumble that I call my yard.

Perhaps there will be some movie recommendations in the next post.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Veritable Cornucopia of Food

As long as I mostly want greens anyway.
Here's the BIG salad I got from my garden last night for supper (and some left for lunch or supper today):

It's in a giant colander that Gram gave me for christmas which is awesome. It's almost as big as the sink (and an enamelware antique so probably worth $$ but I just use it).
Included in the salad: Red lettuce, green lettuce (with curly edges, not sure what kind that is), kale (scotch I think), chard, 2 is just a straight root, other is about 1" across), 2 radishes (they were dying in the heat...will try again when it cools off), and ONE TOMATO!!, some parsley, spinach, and probably more stuff. I thought about picking a carrot but I have so few I'll let them get bigger first. The onions are just sad so I didn't bother pulling one up.

Here are the highlights:

The tomato is a bit wee, but quite delicious. Don't know the variety, but it's some heirloom.

I also got a good handful of raspberries later in the evening.

The greens are doing surprisingly well right now. I think partly because they are shaded by the overwhelming size of the squash plant. There are three in the raised bed and I may have to cut two of them out. They are too big. The biggest is putting out those lovely blossoms seen in previous post, and starting little squashes, but they shrivel a week or two after appearing. Odd. There is another late start squash in a giant pot that I have high hopes for.

Peppers are out and looking good too. And I may get a strawberry one of these days.
The potatoes are confusing me. The tops are dying. Should they be dying already? On the 5 early pots they are dying back. On the later pots, still growing. I mulched pretty much everything with a new layer of compost last week and will do that again. The nutrients in the soil are probably pretty well gone by now. I'll have fresh worm poo in the next couple of weeks too. The smaller bin (the one in the shower, not the one on the toilet), is about finished so rather than pile on new bedding like I would in the winter, I'll harvest a good portion of the compost and fill the gap with new bedding. With canning season upon me, I'm going to be feeding the little beggars alot.

I need a new worm bin idea. If anyone has an idea for something I have lying around the house that I could make into a worm bin, please speak up. One is in an old refrigerator veggie drawer. Another is in an old plastic filing box. The recycling bin is in use for potatoes (and I miss having a recycling bin frankly). So what's next?

Anyway, I did make my first JAM this week. I picked the pie cherries across the street, pitted them with the new-to-me pitter I got at the goodwill (the kind you pound on rather than the kind you run like a syringe...I call the new on "the slapper" looks like this:

This photo is taken off the web. Not a picture of my pitter but it's the same kind, style and color.)

It works pretty well clamped to the counter. The only place to clamp it is right by the sink. Just load cherries with one hand and slap the knob with the other. (if you know British slang you'll be giggling now).

I got 2 batches of jam by adding in a cup and a half of the same cherries I picked a few days back. The trees are pretty well cleaned now of everything I can reach or could pull a branch down and get. Not as good a crop as some years but not bad at all. There weren't any to put in jars with syrup for pies this winter. I have one container full frozen from the first picking so I can get one deep pie or two shallow pies. If I stretch them with apples or something I can get 3 pies. Oh well. Here's hoping for huckleberries and other things to fill in the gaps.

The huckleberries look promising...but one never knows until the day.

As far as my experiment on how much food I can grow in the area of one parking space...clearly "some" is a good answer for now.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

At Long Last Blog...

It's been a while. Not for any good reason, it just has.

I've been triking and radioing and watching "The Office" DVDs. All good activities.
But how about a quick garden update:
Some good news: The squash blossoms are gorgeous.

I harvested a beet (1.1 inches in diameter approx) and ate the greens, then forgot to eat the beet so it's composted. The worms in one bin are doing great, the other bin is mediocre but improving. Coffee grounds from work are the new mulch (and the old black). Onions in pots look great. Tomatoes are on most of the plants now. And there is at least one pepper (I think it's a Hungarian variety). Spinach is HUGE. Kale doing well. Red leaf and some other lettuce is still doing well. I have an echinacea or calendula about to bloom (didn't bother to check variety). The herbs are doing well for the most part and the 3 mints are all well rooted. Next year I may be over run with mint. I like the tea so that is fine.

Some neutral garden news: In trying to check which tomato variety is doing best at the moment I discovered that "permanent marker" is not permanent when on a popsicle stick out in the weather. It was faded past readability. And the popsicle stick has pretty well disintegrated.

And the not so good news: The kohlrabi leaves are so bug eaten they look like lace. I haven't checked the other parts. The onions in the garden are not getting big and the tops have fallen over! Bastards. Carrots continue to be lame. Even in buckets. The potatoes suffered in the hot wind that lasted 2 days and possibly from bugs. The buds for blooms come out and then mysteriously die or fall off. Only a few have managed to actually bloom. I've seen tiny grasshoppers all over the garden and suspect them of doing some damage. I spray with garlic water (water with garlic powder in it) every couple of days to try to get rid of them and it may be helping some. There are some bees around (I know because one drowned in a water bucket...I felt bad) so at least things have a shot at getting polinated. The squash has overwhelmed at least one pepper plant. I knew it would but what can you do. At least it's a nice big plant in the garden so I look successful.

In other news: Plummer is in the midst of its centennial celebration. The parade yesterday was a thing of wonder. Like "I wonder what the hell they were thinking." Very amusing even when I saw this girl almost get killed. She was riding on top of a combine (yes, that's right) and we were screaming at her to "watch out for the wires!" but she kept staring at us. Turning back just in time to duck before hitting either a phone or electrical wire running across the intersection. Could have been tragic had she been maimed, knocked off and maimed or electrocuted, knocked off and maimed.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

My Own Private Idaho

Sometimes I look at something and realize I live in Idaho. North Idaho.

Today, I was at the farmer's market in Moscow where I got some organic rhubarb, eggs, and artisan potato bread. Then, a friend called to see if I wanted coffee (over priced espresso). I said sure. She also brought me a bucket of chicken crap for the garden.

Then I picked up my tricycle (recumbent...see last year's posts about it), and I got some obscure foreign films from the library...and a pair of "Northern Exposure" episodes. And finally I went home where I ran into the landlord who was turning on my outdoor spigots while chasing cats out from under the trailer.

It just seemed very Idaho to drive around with a 1500$ tricycle in a 1000$ car (which has 500$ worth of new tires on it) with a bucket of chicken crap riding shotgun with the movies and organic produce and fancy bread.

Yesterday's dinner was pretty Idaho as well.
Frybread, huckleberry non-dairy ice cream from my tiny maker from the thrift story, and a GIANT steelhead filet. I made everything but the frybread. The huckleberries, fry bread and steelhead were a gift. A good gift.

I used the rest of the huckleberries along with the rhubarb to make some crisp to take to work and share around (made with all organic and/or wild ingredients). It was pretty amazing with the icecream from yesterday. I only made a cup of icecream but it's so rich it's going to take me a while to eat it.

I also mixed up some tabouli. With all that, I won't need to cook for the week. This is nice, but opens up some interesting free time.

I have Monday off work and was planning to do an extra radio show but got pipped at the post (someone else took it before I signed up). This frees up all of Monday. I've been so busy lately that I'm confused by an unplanned day. What will it be? Triking? Fishing? Lying around without foundation garments watching depressing foreign films? I could clean my filthy house but we all k now that's not happening.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Potato Flowers

No pun in the title. Just another update.
The garden is changing fast at the moment.
There are at least 13 baby tomatoes...the count changes. I don't know why. They don't move but they are well camouflaged so I miss some each time I count.

One pepper plant whose popsicle stick label has pretty well faded is bearing tons of flowers and looks really healthy. The two tallest pepper plants are just looking spindly. I don't think they like it here. Oh well.

The two mints from Sally are doing well. I've been watering them daily to help them establish in the garden. They are looking like live plants so that is good. The chocolate mint plant I got previously is also looking quite good. It's spreading throughout its pot and smells delicious.

Cilantro is up now as is either calendula or's in a square where the notes aren't clear. They are both good for what ails you so no big deal. I'll be able to tell what they are when I see the flowers.

3 of the 7 potato buckets have flower buds. This is good. All the potatoes are growing like crazy. Leaves everywhere.

Same with the volunteer squash. One plant is massive. It might choke out neighboring plants.

The newly planted giant container with squash, cukes and a mellon has 2 of the three plants starting. I think it's squash and cucumbers but I'm not sure.
I got one more pot to plant. I think I'll try more cucumbers. They seem to have a short season and I do like pickles though I've never made any. Maybe I'll make sweet pickles as a contrast to my sour jam.

I'm starting to feel like the crazy old lady character from "The Vicar of Dibley"...the one who made experimental foods like cake with liver pate in it. It's more fun than just making normal food.