Strawberries and sisters.

My sister Fauna and I went berry picking today. She utterly shocked me by stating that she’d never been strawberry picking beside when we grew our own eons ago. She DID grow up in the same house I did, so I’m not sure how she missed out on that. It’s true, mom doesn’t care for it because even though they are fresh and ‘real’, farm berries still are not the same as home-grown*, so I guess she wouldn’t have taken us, but I’ve been a number of times with our aunt or friends.

We got enough to freeze some, eat loads fresh and I also want to experiment with chia-seed jam. I keep seeing very interesting recipes, and since I am not a sugar-user in this time of my life, I have hopes that this stuff might be amazing. IMG_0009

There’s a farm in VT with great strawberry beds, not to mention a great view across the lake of the NY mountains. We alternated between being fried by the sun and hearing thunder in the distance the entire time we were there.

IMG_0010

 

IMG_0014

As I was saying… it was hot… and very sticky. Kneeling in the straw was a bad idea.

IMG_0015

I think the heat is getting to her…

IMG_0012

The fruits of our labor! The picking was good, and we had nearly 30 lbs of berries in about 1 1/2 hours. Now… we are enjoying the cooler temps. that a thunder storm has brought us, and we’ve planned a Bleak House marathon while hulling strawberries the rest of the afternoon.

Have a loverly Monday, all.

*I wish I could remember what variety we used to grow, but they were soft and sweet and had so much flavor, and would practically melt in your mouth. Most varieties available now focus more on being firm so they are easily transported. Basically, strawberries as I knew them growing up, did not crunch. At all. They were incapable.

Advertisements

Green Juice #1

green juice

 

My apologies for the horrible, horrible photo. It’s 11 pm and I just realized about 20 minutes ago that I wanted to have green juice ready for my breakfast in the morning, on the fly to work. So, I made a batch of what has become my personal favorite juice, bottled it, (dotcha like the bottle? Isn’t it adorable? T.J. Maxx. $4.) and wanted it share it with you. I just stuck a pad of newsprint paper behind it to block the other, more hideous clutter from view. I wanted to illustrate just how GREEN this stuff is. I love it! This is what The Jolly Green Giant drinks for breakfast, I’m pretty sure. He sits around with The Hulk, discussing how to get more kids to eat their vegetables.

Continue reading

Planting Garlic

Every summer when I see local farm stands advertising fresh garlic, I wonder why I didn’t grow any myself. It’s supposed to be easy. The thing is, I’ve been told to plant it in late fall, and I don’t typically plant anything but tulips that time of year, so I simply forget. This year, I managed to remember in time! Sadly, all of my efforts to find local garlic came up empty, and I ended up buying a few heads of garlic at the grocery store. I know that some garlic is treated with some chemical to delay it’s sprouting, so I’m just hoping that this is not that garlic. Whenever we buy it for cooking it certainly doesn’t seem like it has a problem sprouting. 😉
I’m not a garlic expert, so I’m not going to pretend I am and tell you just how to grow it. I will fill you in on what I did, according to what I gleaned from books and friends.*

I found an area among my herbs that was the perfect size (planting it in the middle of your regular garden is a bad idea when your dad’s favorite thing about gardening is hooking the plow up to the tractor and obliterating everything.), and using a potato fork I cleared all the weeds and roots and broke the soil up, since it hadn’t been tilled in a couple of years. Then, using the corner of a hoe -a la my grandpa- I scratched 3″ deep trenches about 4″ apart.

Forgot to take my camera with me, so I’m reduced to internet thievery. This is not my picture, but it gives a good idea of what I did. And honestly, a blog post with no pictures is boring. 😉

My foster siblings had all discovered me outdoors by this time, so with my directions they planted the cloves 3-4″ apart, sprinkled a light layer of dry cow manure over them, and pushed the loose soil back over the rows. Then we shook hay loosely over the rows to mulch (I know from other crops that a good layer of hay keep the ground warm, and the root vegetables keep growing, or at least keep from freezing, even with a foot of snow over them. Digging carrots in January, people. Think about it.) And that was it! I was really pleased that the kids all wanted to help, hopefully it’s just the beginning of an interest in gardening for them. And we shall see what my grocery-store garlic does over the winter months! Hopefully by spring I’ll see signs of life.

*Something that occurred to me recently is how our source of knowledge on every topic is becoming more and more reliant on the internet. I have two shelves full of gardening book, so this is completely silly. I’ve pledged to myself that when I have questions, I will check my books first. And if there’s time, I will also ask experienced friends; after all, a huge part of the pleasure in friendship is discussing things like that. The internet is an amazing and useful resource, but I want to keep my sense of ‘real life’ wide awake.

Jamie Oliver: My New Foodie Nerd-Crush

 

As a friend of mine, who cheerfully gushes along with me, says “He’s so adorkable.”

Just this past week I stumbled across Jamie Oliver’s TV show Jamie at Home. I don’t even remember how I found it, but I’ve been watching about ten episodes a day ever since. Love it. He’s a lot of fun, has a lot of passion for what he’s doing, so down-to-earth, and most importantly, his food is real. The very fact that a good part of his show occurs in his garden immediately made me see him as a ‘real’ person.

I’m afraid he’s already made me into a bit of a cooking-show snob, because when I decided to give The Pioneer Woman’s show a try, it lasted about15 minutes and I couldn’t take it any more. Sorry, Ree… you are a wonderfully entertaining writer, but in front of a camera is not where you were meant to be. I love you anyway. Someday, I will win a free Kitchen Aid from you.

Back to Jamie. He’s been around for quite a while, right? I’m pretty sure I’ve even cooked some of his recipes from Food Network’s website. I think I had heard of his efforts to get healthy meals into the schools. Did you know he owns a restaurant where they train teens from rough backgrounds into chefs, and give them the chance to actually work there after they are done training? Pretty cool. And also, if you need a good laugh, look up the names of his children. But don’t judge. He claims his wife named them.

And now I must leave you… softlyyyyy… (Ten points to the first one who knows why I just did that.)

Time to go check the mail.

Because I ordered two of Jamie Oliver’s cook-books. And.. and… they just might get here today. *grin*

As a parting gift, I give you Jamie Oliver, making English Onion Soup. The best part is his monologue whilst crying over the onions. Totally made my day.

 

Summer Harvest

 

 

Mom planted a mix of zucchinis this year. I like it! The yellow is pretty funky. Yes, it IS yellow zucchini, not summer squash. Behold the stem end. See? Nothing is not zucchini. Anyhoo. Four hills are giving us four zucchini a day currently, so I’m playing with a number of zucchini recipes! Most of them I love so far. Some to come shortly.

 

Click through for more summer yummies.

Continue reading