November 26, 2011

Gobble Gobble

Hopefully everyone had a great Thanksgiving. We spent ours with our friends the Trahey's at their house in Colorado Springs. Food was eaten. Wine was drunk. Fun was had. Gobble gobble.


November 12, 2011

Save The Harvest!!!

In addition to Operation Save the Tomatoes!, I went into crazy Save the Harvest! mode this year. I was compelled to save all that I could before the first freeze wiped out our garden which is strange since I eat mostly fresh food and turn up my nose at things in the cupboard and freezer. I still have leftover pesto and tomato sauce from last year for crying out loud. But preserve I must. So here's what I whipped up.

I made the same Mario Batali recipe I made last year but this time I used my own garlic and man that shit is strong! Be prepared to smell it on your hands for a week no matter how many times you wash them and no matter what fancy tricks you employ. Pesto takes a crazy amount of basil, luckily I grew a crazy amount of basil. I made a 4x batch - some went in the fridge, some into the freezer. Still haven't eaten any.

Food&Wine mag had a French Classics issue and my heart was all a flutter. What better way to use the garlic I grew than with this garlic confit recipe? I'm not sure why I thought it was a good idea to whip this up the morning before an international flight, I guess I'm not happy if I'm not rushing for the plane. I had to bring Bernie in to help peel all the garlic. I cannot wait to try this. 
6 heads of garlic, cloves peeled (2 cups)
6 thyme sprigs
3 small bay leaves
3 dried red chiles, such as chiles de arbol
2 cups pure olive oil

1. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan and simmer over low heat until the garlic is tender but not browned, about 30 minutes. Let cool.
2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic, herbs and chiles to three 1/2-pint canning jars. Pour the cooking oil on top, seal and refrigerate for up to 4 months.

also from the Food&Wine French Classics issue.  
use it as an herb rub on meat or mix in with a little butter and Garlic Confit, yum
everyone take note - I used my food processor TWICE this week!!!

1 cup rosemary leaves (1 1/2 ounces)
1 cup thyme leaves and tender stems (1 1/2 ounces)
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

In a food processor or blender, pulse the herbs and garlic until chopped. Add the salt and pulse until finely chopped. Add the crushed red pepper and pulse to blend. Spread the mixture in an even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet and let stand, stirring occasionally, until dried, about 2 days. Transfer the mixture to a jar or manual spice grinder. The herb salt can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 year.

Roasted Tomatoes via David Lebovitz
(keeping with the French theme)
I bagged these and froze them to add to pasta or pizza this winter
don't know what confit is? yeah, me neither

We are still eating fresh tomatoes although that will be coming to an end soon. I've got one more batch of swiss chard in the fridge. The two basil plants I brought in are hanging in there thank god because I can't live without a lot of basil yet I don't really want to pay $5 for a mini pack at the store. So there you have it - the end of our 2011 garden. It feels like it is paying for itself but who knows.






November 6, 2011

Versailles

One of these days I'll get through all of the pictures from our trip to Paris. Here are a few from our day at Versailles. The excess in which these kings lived is unimaginable. We didn't come close to seeing it all even after walking for hours. It rained most of the day but at least our time in the gardens was dry. I can't wait to go back and spend a day just wandering the gardens.
the main gate shot from inside the ministers' courtyard 
egg & dart crown molding just like we're doing in our home, très chic
Chapelle Royale 
 can you imagine living here looking out the windows each day? I die.
 every room in this hall was a different colored damask
I guess this makes our dining room très French
 the hardware had such detail
and so did the ceilings
 a little break for lunch at Angelina's before heading out to the gardens
 Fountain of Latona
 The Grand Canal
 the gardens behind the Grand Trianon
the Grand Trianon was my favorite - those gardens!
and you can't go wrong with pink marble
 sometimes I just can't help myself
a bientôt!

November 4, 2011

Grow Dammit Grow

As if the update on the North Garden wasn't excitement enough…I present the slightly less exciting, yet still productive, South Garden. The garlic was the big star here. At first I thought maybe it wasn't worth the time and effort but I was way wrong. The quality of home grown garlic is unbelievable. The South edge of our yard gets the least amount of sun so I planted things that can tolerate some shade - green beans, kale, chard, lettuce and basil.

April 18
May 30
 July 3
August 1
September 24
We ate beans a whopping one time. Won't be growing those again anytime soon. And as much as I like the idea of planting lettuce to eat whenever we want instead of buying it (and throwing it out half the time) we hardly ate any lettuce. There was something spicy in the seed mixes I used which I didn't like in my green juice. So the lettuce just kind of sat along with the beans. The kale however, just kept on coming. I don't think I've bought any kale, chard, cucumber or basil since at least June. So I had awesome green juice for the last 4 months and it hardly cost me anything. I would fill the entire sink with kale and chard for each batch and my supply never once ran out. I cut the remaining kale and chard before Wednesday's snow which will last me for 5 more green juices. I don't know if juices is even a word, whatever. I'm sad to have to go back to the produce section at the store, it's just not the same. Next year I need to look into getting a cold frame.

If I could grow apples and citrus I would have all the juice ingredients right in my own back yard. What month does one plant apple trees anyway? 





November 2, 2011

Save the Tomatoes!!!

Operation Save the Tomatoes is finally complete. Supposedly we're going to get our first real freeze tonight and lots of snow tomorrow. I'm sure they've already cancelled school even though there isn't a single flake to be seen (yet). Bernie brought in all the tomatoes he could gather last week when we got our first frost and I grabbed all that was left this afternoon. We had so many green tomatoes and we all know they taste better when they ripen on the vine so I left them out until the last possible second. Last year the tomatoes I had leftover rotted so this year I'm trying something new - I have a 3 phase ripening plan. You heard me.

Phase I - green tomatoes start to ripen on
the sunny yet cool back porch
 one last rose tomato was hiding on the vine
 Phase II - almost ripe tomatoes head to the
kitchen windowsill which isn't too sunny
 Phase III - ripe tomatoes hang out in a dark corner 
and wait to be eaten or roasted
It might seem crazy, but so far it's working.

update - looks like operation Save the Tomatoes happened just in time!
we woke up to cold, snow and no power

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