Oh look at that… I let May go right by without writing ANYTHING. Whoops. I’d like to promise that it won’t happen again, but let’s be honest… we’ve been here before. (Plus, I’d hate to lie to all five of the people still reading this blog. Ha.)
I might not be writing, but I am still cooking. I’ve acquired a new cookbook (thanks to Karen!), and the more I read it, the more I’m convinced that I could be friends with Bridget and Julia. (That’s not weird, right? I’m just cooking their recipes; not camping out at ATK in Boston.) 😀
I’m also monopolizing the library’s copy of The Perfect Cake, which is counteracting all of my summer exercise. So far, I’ve tried one of the mug cakes, the chocolate sheet cake, the icebox Margarita cheesecake, the strawberry dream cake, and the Boston cream pie. I’m hoping to make at least a couple more cakes before I hit the renewal limit in a couple weeks. 🙂
We also planted our garden! We’ve added a raised bed, so things are a little less crowded (in theory… somehow we still ran out of room), and our lettuce just started to poke up through the ground yesterday. Grow, baby, grow! Our rhubarb is up and thriving, so I’m going to start filling the freezer and make a few desserts along the way.
For the first time in five years, we aren’t participating in a CSA. Our CSA farm isn’t offering a CSA share this season, so we’re going to try their market share instead. I have mixed feelings about it, but I am excited for the season to start! (I’ll definitely miss the “grab bag” aspect of a CSA, since it forces me out of my comfort zone, but it will be nice to get to the farmer’s market regularly. And I won’t miss trying to find ways to use the kohlrabi.)
That pretty much brings us up to the present. I do have an ice cream recipe to share soon, so hopefully June isn’t as quiet here as May was!
Happy July! I hope everyone had a great Independence Day. We had a four-day weekend, so we spent part of it camping and then spent Tuesday doing stuff around home. We did responsible things (like laundry and taking care of the weed problem in the cracks in the driveway) and fun things (like a bike ride for ice cream and dinner with some of our favorite people). All in all, it was a great long weekend, and Andy and I are both counting down the days left until our next vacation. (Only two work weeks left! Wooo!!!)
Week two was had some great things.
12 ounces of sugar snap peas
1 jar of dilly sugar snap peas from Hippie Wayne
1 bunch of Swiss chard
1 head of green leaf lettuce
1 head of romaine lettuce
1 bunch of “mini broccoli”
And since July is getting away from me faster than I’d like to admit, I’m going to go ahead and share week three’s goodness with you as well.
Week three had a little less than the first two weeks, and I’m sure we can thank the weird weather for that. We received:
1 summer squash
1 bag of popcorn
1 head of leaf lettuce
1 head of romaine lettuce
1 bag of shelling peas
1 bunch of kale
I’m sure you’re wondering what two people did with all of those vegetables, right? The sugar snap peas and some of the lettuce went on a road trip to Otsego Lake State Park last weekend. The dilly sugar snap peas went to a picnic on the 4th of July, and the rest of the lettuce is destined for many, many salads. Salads are becoming my default dish for all potlucks this summer.
Half of the Swiss chard, a handful of garlic scapes, the broccoli, the summer squash and the kale from week 1 wound up in this pasta bake on Thursday evening.
We still haven’t learned to love kohlrabi, but we are big fans of dill pickles, so I’m probably going to try this method. I’ll let you know what we think!
I’m not sure what I’ll do with the shelling peas yet. I love fresh peas, so I want to find a recipe that’s worthy of their early-season goodness. I’m pretty sure that I used them in this pasta dish last year. I really liked it, but Andy thought it was so-so (probably because he’s not the biggest fan of dollops of ricotta). I could go with this one instead.
Our garden is thriving, especially the lettuce and the Swiss chard. We’ll keep eating salads, and I’m going to start sauteing the chard with some bacon grease and garlic scapes. I also need to make another batch of garlic scape pesto before the season is over!
Enjoy your weekend, everyone! I hope it’s as nice there as it is here!
In line with my “try before you buy” philosophy, I reserved a copy of “The Best Mexican Recipes” from America’s Test Kitchen a few weeks ago. As with most of their cookbooks, there was a waiting list, and I finally got the email saying it was my turn. I’ll have it for four weeks (unless I luck out and get to renew it), so I need to come up with a must try list ASAP. Andy has already requested drunken beans, which appear to be the Mexican version of baked beans, so we will be trying that soon. If I’m organized enough to get some pictures, I will be sharing them here!
In other food-related reading, I also picked up “Never Out of Season” by Rob Dunn. The tagline on the cover says, “How having the food we want when we want it threatens our food supply and our future.” It sounded interesting and timely to me, as our CSA should be starting up soon, and that’s all about seasonal eating!
Speaking of seasonal eating, our garden is all planted (minus the dill seed, which will wind up in the flower bed since we ran out of room in the garden again), and I have been harvesting rhubarb for a couple of weeks. Yay for seasonal desserts! I planted two new-to-me types of basil this year, lemon and Thai, along with the regular Italian basil. I cannot wait for the plants to grow a little more so I can start picking leaves. Our garlic is going strong, and I am ready for scapes to appear. Edible plants are the best. 🙂 Happy almost-June, everyone!
It’s June, which means that some of my favorite things on the horizon:
Another season of farm-fresh goodness from the good people at Olden Produce / Olden Organics. We pick up our first share in about 10 days, and I cannot wait. I’m hoping for asparagus, lettuce and strawberries.
Our garden is growing! Well, hopefully, anyway. Andy put seeds in the dirt on Memorial day, and we are both anxiously waiting for the peas and beans to poke their heads through the dirt. Our rhubarb is doing well, and we’re both impressed with the way our garlic looks this year, which brings me to point number three:
SCAPES!! Several of our garlic plants have scapes, and I am really excited about another batch of garlic scape pesto. I also saw a recipe for a garlic scape soup that sounds intriguing. Grow baby, grow!
Strawberry season is coming soon! Last year we picked more than 80 pounds. We ate every bit of it too, so I am a little afraid of how many we should pick this year…
Next week, Andy and I get to celebrate nine years of putting up with each other. 😉 It’s not every day you find someone who will watch PBS cooking shows, plant a garden for you and get up at the crack of dawn because you want to go strawberry picking. It’s been a great adventure, and I am excited to see what God has in store for us next. I did see that our anniversary happens to fall on strawberry rhubarb pie day, so we may have to have some pie to celebrate. I don’t think he’ll mind.
Whew. I blinked, and we’re already more than halfway through September. Where did the time go? I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been neglecting the blog lately, but I have a good reason excuse. 😀 I spent the last week of August standing over large kettles of boiling water, trying to process the produce from our garden and CSA before leaving town for two weeks. I canned two batches of green beans and one batch of tomatoes, and then made a batch of refrigerator pickles. Seriously, why does everything ripen at once??!
Then, I spent two weeks out of cell phone range. I can’t say I missed it too much. (Except for those days when we wondered what the forecast would be. And where the closest shower was. And if my football teams were winning.) Unplugging is great though. Especially when it means you can spend some quality time with the people you care about. Not only did I have two weeks with Andy, but we were able to see some good friends who in Iowa and spend several days with Andy’s brother, his wife and their three kids. Quality aunt/uncle/niece/nephew time! We loved it. 😀
I am very glad to be back though. I missed my kitchen very much. You know it’s bad when you start dreaming about food on vacation. (If you must know, it was a dream about pavlova. Chocolate pavlova. With whipped cream and berries.) The alarm clock… now, that I didn’t miss. Not at all.
While we were frolicking with the pikas and bighorn sheep, my friend Karen picked up our CSA box. She was blessed with tons of tomatoes and peppers, along with some sweet corn, cantaloupe and a few other things.
I don’t have many pictures of the weeks we were gone, but I do have pictures from weeks 10, 11 and 14. (Like I said, I’ve been neglecting this poor blog.) Who’s ready for a produce overload?
Week 10: POTATOES, green beans, broccoli, pickles, green peppers, sweet corn, summer squash, zucchini and a poblano pepper, which turned out to be the hottest poblano I’ve ever tasted. (Andy was not pleased by the amount of heat it added to his dinner.) Whoops… 😀 I’m pretty sure the patty pan squash took a road trip to Iowa, and I ended up making refrigerator pickles with the pickles/cucumbers.
Week 11: Tomatoes, grape tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, sweet corn, a Japanese eggplant, green peppers, cucumbers and pickles. We ate as much as we could before we left, and I packed what I thought would hold up well in the cooler for our trip. That left us with some tomatoes, a cucumber or two and the eggplant. Rather than leave them to rot in our fridge, I packed them (and a few dozen tomatoes from our garden) into the car and shared them with our friends Andy and Jackie in Iowa! Unfortunately, the trip in the cooler wasn’t kind to the green beans, and we had to pitch them in Colorado. 😦 We did eat the rest of the cucumbers/pickles, grape tomatoes, zucchini and green peppers on our trip.
Week 14: Tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, mixed greens, green beans, sweet corn, potatoes, green peppers and a cantaloupe. Yum! I am most excited about the greens, beans and potatoes. OK, and the sweet corn. 🙂 These tiny cantaloupes have got to be the sweetest melons we’ve ever tasted. Andy makes fast work of those guys.
A garden update: Things looked a little sad when we returned from vacation. (Apparently the rain that chased us out of Colorado didn’t make it to Wisconsin.) Our carrots look OK, and our beans are hanging in there. The beets, well… they’re pretty sad-looking. We’re considering skipping the beets next year and using the space for something that won’t have failure to thrive. Hmm. The tomatoes look OK as well. We have some green ones, so I’m hoping they ripen before we get a killer frost.
Whew! I think that brings us all up to speed, at least as far as produce is concerned. I’m going to go share this post with everyone over at In Her Chucks’ “What’s in the Box?” link party. Hopefully they don’t mind that I’m way behind! You should go check it out as well… these’s always good stuff there. 🙂
What a week! I suppose I should say what a month – I’m still not sure where the time is going. How on earth is it the third week of August already? The summer is almost over, and we didn’t get to do enough of the “fun” things on our summer to-do list.
Thankfully, there’s still several weeks of our CSA left, so not ALL good things are coming to an end right now. (And if I’m being honest, fall really is my favorite season, so I won’t be too sad to see it arrive. Especially because fall brings football. And crisp air. And – most importantly – VACATION. Two weeks off with my favorite person. Yay.) Until then, though… let’s talk about summer produce.
This was another good week for our CSA. More sweet corn (which we demolished almost immediately – shocker). Cherry tomatoes. A green pepper. BEETS! (YAY! I love beets.) And, of course, more summer squash and cucumbers. (How I wish Andy liked tzatziki.)
I sauteed the beet greens with some Swiss chard from our garden and used the greens as a side for our zucchini fritters last week. Everything else is destined for a dinner sometime this week.
Garden update: Our green beans are going like gangbusters now! We picked 3 1/4 lbs. of beans the other night, and it looks like we’ll get about that many again today. Also – THE TOMATOES ARE STARING TO RIPEN. Hallelujah.
I *thought* our blackberries were ripe too, though. Turns out that looks can be deceiving, as I picked eight beautiful berries that appeared to be PERFECT. Let’s just say that they were tarter than the strongest Warheads. Andy then informed me that you have to wait until the berries just about fall off the bush before they’re ripe AND sweet. Bummer.
The beets are looking a little sketchy, which makes me consider giving up on them next year. Andy’s carrots look fantastic though – hopefully the carrots look as good as the tops. (Side note: are carrot tops edible like beet tops?!) Our Swiss chard came in kind of spotty; I’m not sure if the shade from the pole beans stunted them, or if this variety just doesn’t have the germination rate that last year’s version did. I’m a little bummed about that, since Swiss chard is my favorite green.
Even though it’s not our garden, I’ll share anyway: Our wonderful neighbors gave us two more cucumbers (THESE THINGS ARE TAKING OVER MY FRIDGE!) and a zucchini. Gotta love summer. 🙂
And, just to prove that I’m still cooking, here’s what we’re planning on eating this week: