Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Recent Food Stuff Ending in Crock-Pot Potato Soup


This is the last really big haul I did from the garden at the end of August.  I've since brought in even more tomatoes and quite a few carrots.  The carrots are still going strong, so we bring some into the house every few days.  The Lipstick peppers were super-flavourful, and I'm sad I couldn't encourage the plant to put out any more of them before the weather turned.


This is the result of our most recent visit to the local farmer's market.  Clockwise, from left to right we have eggplants, cheese & herb sourdough bread, nectarines, eggs, sweet long peppers, artisan pork sausages, wild blueberries and strawberries.

In addition to this, we are still receiving our local produce delivery basket.  In short, we are still drowning in produce, even though it is now fall.   Root veggies are starting to appear as well, and we have had a surplus of potatoes.  I haven't even bothered to dig any of the potatoes I planted earlier this year, since we've been getting so many in our deliveries, although I'm going to have to do it soon.

Combine the abundance of potatoes in our life with the fact that both partner & I have managed to get ourselves the first colds of the season at the same time, and the end result is crock-pot potato soup.  I did not take any photos, because I didn't think to do so before dinner, and there was none left afterward.

To make some yourself, you will need:
3-4 large potatoes, washed & cubed
1 large carrot, diced
1 medium handful of chives, finely chopped
1 vegetable bouillion cube
1/2 tsp ground rosemary
salt & pepper to taste
milk (approximately 1-2 cups)
sour cream & more chives to garnish, should you so desire

Put everything in the crock-pot except for the milk.  Add enough water to cover the vegetables, turn the crock-pot to low, and walk away.
When you return home from work/errands/lounging on the couch/etc, 6-8 hours later, blend the soup up (I have an immersion blender.  If you are using a regular blender, be sure to do it in batches and keep an eye & a hand on the lid).  Add milk until you get the consistency you like.  If necessary, warm gently until heated back to your desired temperature.
Serve with the garnishes of your choice.

I know it is similar to the potato & leek soup I've posted previously, but this version requires so much less effort.  I hope you enjoy!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Random Internet Amusements - Sept 2014

I realized today that it has been five WEEKS since I lasted posted anything.  I haven't even been really updating my Facebook feed that much.

The killer thing is that I haven't been doing a lot (with a few exceptions, including attending a lovely wedding).  My life lately has mostly just the routine items needed to keep things going generally smoothly.

I have, however, found a few things on the internet that have kept me amused, so I thought I would share a few links with you (keeping in mind, that these websites have no idea who I am, I just think they are neat).

A Mighty Girl - this website is full of awesome, kick-ass things.  Tons of books and movies with strong, female characters, and a great assortment of clothing in all sizes.  The clothing includes super-hero items in the colours the superhero wears in the comics/movies/other media (anyone who has stood in a store/looked at an e-store and yelled something along the lines of "BUT BATGIRL DOESN'T WEAR PINK!" will get me on this one).  I have yet to purchase anything from this site, but only through an effort of will.

In a similar vein, Her Universe is a clothing website for those of the female persuasion who appreciate some of the more major fandoms.  Currently, they are carrying items for Star Wars, Star Trek, Walking Dead, Marvel, Dr. Who, and Transformers.  I have also not purchased anything from this site, largely because of the shipping to Canada costs, but the Han Solo dress looks amaze-balls.

The food blog Amuse Your Bouche has a ton of vegetarian recipes, with Pinterest worthy photography.  Most of it sounds and looks really, really delicious.

Lastly, this video made me laugh really hard.  At work.  Fortunately, it was my lunch hour.



Tuesday, August 5, 2014

2014 Garden Update: August Tomatoes

Well, it is a new month, and I thought I'd give a garden update.  I'm only going to talk about my tomatoes though, because reasons.

The Mountain Princess beefsteak tomato plant has not loved life.  It caught some sort of tomato plant disease and mostly turned yellow & withered up.  It was very sad.  I did get a handful of fruit from it before it gave up the ghost.  They were tasty, but not special tasty.  I don't think this is a variety I'll grow again.

On the other hand, the Isis Candy cherry tomato plant is growing like mad and starting to take over the raised bed.  The tomatoes themselves are really sweet & have a lovely variegated red-orange-yellow hue.  See?  Cute AND tasty!


The nasturtiums are also growing like crazy, and have managed to avoid aphids so far.  They got planted near the onions and escaped spearmint, which helps I think, since bugs generally don't like mint or alliums.

Oh, and I am finally getting sunflowers!  They are a lovely pale lemon yellow colour - almost the same colour as my kitchen.  Since the pack was a variety pack, I can't wait until the rest of the blossoms open so that I can see their different colours.

How are your gardens doing?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Banana Pear Bread

So far, today has been a lovely day.  There is a nice breeze keeping it from being too hot & sticky outside, I got up in time to have breakfast (which partner cooked) before going to yoga class, and I may have treated myself to a tiramisu gelato on my way home from said class.

Then I noticed that there were 4 overripe bananas & 2 overripe pears sitting in the fruit basket.  This immediately led to the decision to make banana-pear bread.  It turned out pretty awesome.


You will need:
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 eggs
4-5 medium ripe or overripe bananas, mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vanilla or plain yogurt (about 1 single serving container)
1/4 cup cooking oil or melted butter
2 medium ripe pears, finely diced

Preheat oven to 350F, and grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients, except the sugar.
In another bowl, combine all the wet ingredients and pears.  Make sure they are well mixed.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened (it is supposed to be lumpy).
Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan and bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a wooden tooth pick inserted near the top centre comes out clean.
Now, the hardest step:  cool 5-10 minutes before attempting to slice.  I lasted 3 and got slightly burned fingers for my efforts.

I hope you enjoy!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Grilled Garlic Scape Pesto

Our produce delivery has been really lovely the last while.  Part of that, I'm sure, is that things are coming into season here, so we're getting lots of super-fresh, local items!

Not too many baskets ago, we received a pile of garlic scapes.  For a long time, people thought of them as compost, since you need to snip them if you want nice, fat garlic bulbs.  However, in the last few years, they've come back into fashion, which means that they are often quite expensive at the farmer's markets!  It was lovely to get some in our basket at no extra charge.

We weren't quite sure what to do with the scapes, and since we were planning on barbecuing the following day, we decided to toss them on the grill too.  We tossed them in a tiny amount of olive oil, with just a light sprinkling of salt & pepper to season and grilled them for 2-3 minutes.
They were not too shabby prepared that way, but we could only eat about one each with all the other items we had grilled.  So I made them into pesto!  (I love pesto, if you had not yet guessed from all the other pesto recipes in this blog)
I think grilling them gave them a softer flavour than if I had just made the pesto straight.

Here is what you need:


A blender
About a dozen grilled garlic scapes
parmesan cheese
olive oil
hulled pistachios (I got mine at the bulk food store)
salt & pepper to taste
maybe some water, depending

Roughly chop your garlic scapes and toss them in the blender (I did not do this, and it took forever to blend everything down.  Don't be like me, and chop your's first!).  Add in 1/4-1/2 cup pistachios (I didn't measure, I just tossed in 4-5 handfuls).  Give a good solid few shakes of parmesan, a little salt & pepper, and pour in 1/2 cup of oil to start.
Pulse away, and add more oil as needed.  I think I ended up using about 1 cup of olive oil, but I also added about a cup of water to mine, to make it more sauce-like.

If you are not using it right away, you can pour it into an ice cube tray to freeze, or stick it in the fridge for a bit.  I had so much, I managed to have a full ice cube tray and a 250ml jar full!


I used some of the jar in tonight's lasagna, and it was quite tasty.
If you find some garlic scapes for a good price and decide to try this recipe, I hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Garden Update: July 2014

Now that we're in July, I thought I'd do a quick update on the garden - especially since I got my first serious haul of produce into the house the other night (as opposed to the little smaller bunches of stuff that I've grabbed).

Sugar Snap Peas, French Breakfast Radishes and a mess of green beans!

I have pulled up quite a few radishes & eaten a lot of sugar snap peas before this photo - these are just the ones that have largely made it into the house unscathed.  The peas especially are lucky to have made it this far - I find them extra delicious right off the vine.

Here's the main veggie patch.  


I know that it largely looks like a big green mess, but from left to right, you can make out: potatoes, in a light beige pot, sweet peppers, in the plastic terra cotta looking pot, broccoli (the dark green leafy thing behind the peppers), snap peas, carrots & dill all mushed together behind the broccoli,  the cherry tomato in the pink cage in the centre, the white rectangular pot of lettuces, celery, radishes & beans to the right of the cherry tomato, and in the last tomato cage, the beefsteak tomato plant.  Also, lots and lots of weeds . . .

The beefsteak tomato is not loving life this summer.  Most other things at this end of the garden seem to be doing okay though.


Here's the left side garden.  The blasted daylillies are taking over again.  However, the white patch in the front is my lovely thyme, all in bloom.  The chives are also doing really well. The oregano is still struggling along in the middle of the patch.  The far end is where the sunflowers ended up, and so far, so good with them.  We'll see what happens when we finally get some flower heads - especially when they get seeds.  I suspect I will have it out with the neighbourhood squirrels again.

  
The right side garden.  The daylillies on this side are largely containing themselves.  Between these guys and the hostas you see in the background, the strawberries are doing okay - they did not fruit very well this summer, but they are everbearing varieties, so I may get a better crop in August.  The onions seem to be going along alright, as is the nasturtium I got.  The spearmint from last year escaped its pot and somehow got into this patch, so, that will be a forever struggle to keep it under control.  


Finally, the deck pots.  I have two of the rectangular pots - the other is just out of frame.  They both contain the watermelon radish seeds, and neither is doing well.  Too much rain, and the squirrels have been digging in them.  Rosemary and lavender are also performing decently.  The cinnamon basil (the dark green pot) however is also not loving life.  I can't figure out why.  On the upside, at least it is giving me (and the bees) a decent amount of flowers to look at.


The globe basil to the left is doing awesome.  I love it.  Really, you have no idea how excited I am for pesto making.

That concludes today's tour.  How are your gardens growing?  Have you harvested anything yet?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Bodies Are Confusing

Lately, I have not been feeling so great about my body.

Working a job where you sit for most of the day, combined with a cold Canadian winter where you want to stay cozy indoors has led to an issue with shorts and skirts fitting this spring & summer.  Boo and urns.

Since I generally do more running around in the summer months, I'm sure that at least some of these items of clothing will eventually come back into rotation, but for the moment, my jerkbrain is making me feel kinda yucky about the whole thing.

However, that being said, my body still manages to surprise and amaze me.

The last two yoga classes I attended, I managed

a) to get into wheel with no assistance

b) stay up in wheel for the length of time the instructor was having the class do wheel/bridge!!

So, while my butt might be having issues with wanting to fit into some of my comfy summer clothes, my core, shoulder and arm muscles are doing an awesome job of reminding me that I can be strong like bull.

I hope that you are feeling awesome about your body, or at least have something to appreciate about it.