Saturday, September 27, 2008

Charolette's Web

For a while, we had our very own Charolette's web in the corner of our roof just outside our deck door; the spider was with us for a good month, if not longer. We had a number of days with rain, where she would go and hide, but always returned to spin her web after the rain cleared. Charolette was so cool, and spun her web fast and with precision.
video

Here are some stills:
One day, she never returned. That was a bummer, because watching her spin her web was just so real and so amazing, a true part of nature that was very fullfilling.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Eggplants

My CSA is at about week 12, I think. The eggplants have been abundant!

In honor of this big bulb of a veggie, I've been making Baba Ganoush. This is very easy to make. It basically is hummus, but made with eggplant instead of garbanzos.

The first step is to poke holes in the eggplant, all around it.

Second, roast the eggplant either in the oven or grill. Use a medium heat (375ish). I used the grill and roasted the eggplant indirectly.

The eggplant will start to shrivel up and when it's good and shriveled, pull it out.

Wait for the eggplant to cool a bit, then cut it open and pull out the pulp (I put it right into a food processor).

Next, add some garlic; how much depends on how much you want to stink (in a good way).
Add some sesame tahini. Sesame tahini is sesame seed paste. Delicious, confirmed.

A squeeze of lemon juice, and the zest of the lemon, some S+P, and process away.

I do not add olive oil until the end, when I drizzle it on top.
Eat it as a dip or spread or just off a spoon.......

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wheatberries

Have you ever eaten a wheat berry?
If not, you must, and soon.
I love whole grains and the wheat berry, by far, is the best. Well, when I say wheat berry, I'm lumping in spelt berries and kamut berries as well. Spelt and kamut are also whole grains and in the "berry" form contain both the bran and the germ, making them nutritional power houses.
Here are the berries uncooked:


Wheat berries take a bit of time to cook, but with a pressure cooker, cook up in no time. They also freeze well, so it makes sense to make a mega batch and freeze some for later use.
Here they are cooked:

The wheat berries are chewy and a bit crunchy. They can be eaten mixed in a salad or in soups and stews. They can be mixed into a dough to make a delicious whole grain bread. You can process them with beans and veggies and make veggie burgers. You can even mix them into oatmeal to make a hearty porridge. So, you see, they are very versatile.
I made some recently and mixed them with yellow tomatoes, basil, lemon juice and zest and some extra virgin olive oil, S+P. Yum.
Here's the dish:
I ate the salad throughout this week, topping it with different proteins: tuna, salmon, chicken as well as some avocado. Excellent.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

My own little garden

So, this summer I decided to try my luck at pot gardening (no, not gardening pot!!!). I planted peas, cluster cherry tomatoes, yellow pear tomatoes, red peppers, thai hot peppers, watermelons and pumpkins, as well as a variety of herbs.
I've done surprisingly well with all of it.
My tomatoes are growing out of control - I guess you could say I have my own method of keeping up with them. Here are some pics:

The Tomato Conglomerate
After the rain has fallen
A bunch that I picked yesterday
My peppers are doing great as well and they are just starting to turn red. Here are some pics:

Here are the Thai hots; they are supposed to turn red, but there is no indication that they are turning or that they are going to turn. They do smell very fragrant and I bet they are going to burn.


Now, the "piece de resistance": my watermelon!
I know, it's huge.
I didn't even think I had any melons (hah, don't go there)....the pumpkins did not come out. They flowered, but never grew any fruit.
I thought the same of the watermelons, and then one day, this little guy popped out. I'm going to keep him on there to see what happens.
I am inspired enough to try planting in the ground next season. I'll just have to do some heavy duty squirrel proofing, as well as deer, rabbit, turkey, you name it, we've got it proofing.
I'll let you know how the melon turns out....

When life gives you tomatoes, you make Marinara

By this point I am swamped with tomatoes, and man, are they are good!
I decided to make Marinara sauce.
I had a purple onion so I used that and 2 heads of Stillman's garlic from the CSA. Their garlic is so sweet and tender, it just makes the dish you are using it in that much better.

I sauteed them in some olive oil until soft.

Then I added the chopped tomatoes and let them melt away.

Last, I added fresh, chopped basil and let it simmer for 5 more minutes - just enough time for the basil to release it's fragrance.

YUM; I froze half of it. It was good and it will be nice to have it mid winter when the tomatoes suck.