Posts Tagged ‘strawberries’

The Garbagepail Garden Shall Rise Again

Tatties

A few weeks ago (some time around Mother’s day I think) I took my 1 pound box of mixed potato species and Carman sunchokes and planted them in last year’s winningest idea for a planter; the garbage can!

Only this time, I remembered to drill holes in the bottom because the gross bog of rainwater that was left in the bin after all this spring weather really did not need to be repeated next year.  As you can see, the warm, almost summery weather we’ve been having lately has had quite the effect on my potatoes.  In only 2 short weeks I’ve gotten sproutlings that are already several inches tall.  I’d say this bodes well for an even better harvest than last year, which I didn’t start until much later in June.

The Beginnings Of A Salad Bowl

Also growing on the roof are some shoots that will soon make it into my salad bowl.

Beet Sprouts

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Mission Mile High

Interior Shot

The August 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers’ cookbook Kaffeehaus:  Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

So, this month’s Daring Bakers challenge was quite an adventure.  As the header says, the hosts selected a dobos torte, which a) is something I’d never heard of before, and b) was yet another recipe from this Kaffeehaus book (as was the strudel I made a few months ago).

At first I was a little bummed that we were doing another recipe from the same book (variety, people!) but after reading through the recipe a few times, I realized that the techniques required were quite different and would be somewhat challenging.  I threw myself into this one wholeheartedly, all the while anticipating wonderful results.

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Another Way To Get Your Strawberry Fix

The Finished Loaf

As I may have already mentioned, I really really love banana bread.

My recent experiments with chocolate fig bread convinced me that I could successfully recreate the strawberry lemon loaf that the Everyman loves so much from the farmer’s market.  By the time we get to that market on Tuesday nights, they’re always sold out of the breads, so trying to find an alternative really made sense.

Strawberry Puree

I used my base recipe for banana bread as a guide, and then began making substitutions.  The fun thing about this bread is that because it’s slightly acidic from the berries and lemon, when you mix the wet and dry ingredients together, they start foaming like crazy.  It’s like high school chem class all over again, and in pink!  The end result was slightly moister than the market version, but the flavours were spot on.  I’ll probably tweak this a little more over the next few batches, but the recipe as is makes a pretty damn fantastic bread, too.  Enjoy! (more…)

On The Go

Just a quick pictorial to share what I’ve been working on with you…

Smoky Poblano and Pork Sausage

It’s hard to make raw meat look sexy (doubly so when it happens to be sausage) but these juicy links of homemade smoky poblano and pork sausage are just crying out for a grill and some Mexican-inspired menus. Tequila anyone?

Roasted Tomato Foccacia

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There’s A First Time For Everything

A Flaky Slice Of Heaven

The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

Browsing through the foodporn-ish content on Foodgawker and Tastespotting last month, I came across submissions from a cadre of bloggers who belonged to The Daring Bakers.  At the time I didn’t think too much of it, but as I delved further into the archives, I began to see a common theme; recurring weekly or monthly challenges.  It turns out that the weekly challenges are hosted by another web group called Tuesdays With Dorie, who concentrate on preparing one recipe a week from Dorie Greenspan’s delectable cookbook.  The Daring Bakers (and Cooks) by contrast choose one recipe per month (per group) and then mass-post the results online on a pre-set date.

I was initially drawn to Tuesdays With Dorie (mostly because their photography was so enticing) but when I tried to register I learned that membership was closed for the time being.  I then investigated The Daring Bakers, and was intrigued by their dual challenge options, featuring both sweet and savoury iterations.  Erring on the side of caution for once in my life, I decided to only register as a baker at first, in order to test out the waters and complexity of their challenges.  Unfortunately, by that time the April challenge had already been announced and was in progress, so I had to wait until May to join in the fun.

On May 1st I logged in to the covert challenge section of their site, and there it was… my very first Daring challenge!  When I initially read the recipe I was a little let down, if only because I’m not an apple strudel fan.  It turns out that the Everyman is though, so I jumped in wholeheartedly and decided to try my hand at it that weekend.  At worst it would be a chance to improve my craptastic pastry skills and leave me with plenty of time for a do-over if I failed, and at best, it meant I’d have dessert for a few days.

Ingredients

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Thymes, Glorious Thymes

It’s getting to be about that time of year when Foodie and the Everyman morphs from a food, restaurant and review blog to an obsessive compulsive gardening rant.  Though I should point out that I’m growing mostly food, so there is a (somewhat tenuous) connection.

I promise this year I will try not to bore you to tears with my garden leanings so much, it’s just that as a neophyte, I like to document what I’m doing so as not to make the same mistakes twice.  And where better to document my successes and failures than on my own tiny soapbox blog?

I visited Urban Harvest last night to finish selecting the rooftop bounty.  The Everyman was quite conniving, knowing that I had somewhere else I had to be a short while later, and also about my penchant for browsing at garden stores for hours.  He practically ensured that it would have to be no more than a quick in and out pitstop by continually following me around (as he often does when he shops with me – I think to annoy me into submission).  During the 7.5 minutes or so that I was allowed to shop, I managed to pick out a dozen lovely Alpine strawberries (which I grew last year and were amazing little cones of flavor).  I also grabbed several peculiarities that I’m looking forward to working with; a lavender thyme and some lemon thyme.  I love thyme on principle, so variations on the theme are always welcome in our home.  I’d hoped for a lavender plant proper, but they were all sold out, so lavender thyme seemed like the next best thing.  I also snapped up another of the Chinese 5 color pepper plants, because they were eye-poppingly pungent and delicious last year and they make a killer chili salt.  The Everyman’s constant vigilance ensured that I did not get stuck in the trap I like to refer to as the tomato conundrum.  Every time we’ve visited Urban Harvest in the past I’ve made bad choices and purchased more than I could possibly grow on our small stretch of rooftop.  This year, thankfully, I think I’ve made it past all of the temptation and that is not going to happen.  I’ll post up some pictures once I’ve fluffed everything into some semblance of beauty.

The Strawbs That Stole My Heart

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Anything Goes…

Every day that passes brings the gardening season that much closer (fingers crossed that we’re done with snow).  To while away the time I’ve become hooked on something I read about over at You Grow Girl several months ago… Gardening Mama!  It’s a game from the people who making Cooking Mama, which I also obsessively love, but more than that, it keeps my hands busy while I’m waiting for the universe to hurry up and warm up outside already…

Though I may have let the past few months pass in relative silence on the garden front, you can be assured that I’ve not been dormant.  From taking my seed catalogs with me on Christmas vacation so I could pick out my new projects (yes, I am a garden dork and I was mocked mercilessly about it the entire vacation), to harassing the people at West Coast Seeds when an order didn’t arrive, to finally breaking out the potting soil and mucking about in my basement laundry room, the last 3 months contained their fair share of preparatory activities.

Project Sustainability 2009 is well underway, with approximately 60 seedlings chilling out on the grow tower.  Considering that last year was my first attempt at growing anything more involved than a cactus, I was pretty impressed with the end results.  There were definitely lessons learned, and notes made about plants I wouldn’t bother to grow again (read: corn and those weeds I thought were beans).  But this year, along with bringing back favorites and successes from 2008, I also picked a bunch of new plants to try.  As our diet becomes increasingly varied, the memories of how explosively flavorful my completely organic, fresh picked produce was last year inspired me to try my hand at even more.  I can never replace Bob (our organic delivery guy) or our CSA farmshare from Zephyr Organics, but being able to combine two of my all-consuming passions is just too good to pass up.  Plus, creating your own tiny microcosm means being able to experiment with more unique and just plain bizarre produce that larger growers might not bother with.

So far on the rooftop roster this year we have:

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