June 24, 2011

lemon infused vodka

Also known as - - - limoncello. I personally associate limoncello with the summer I spent in Rome studying architecture and urban planning. Eric, however, thinks that limoncello is "probably the most cliche liquor for 'foodies' to talk about making." Great.

We made limoncello! Oh my god! It was so exciting and amazing! We put lemon peel in a jar of vodka! Actually, we did stray a bit from most of the recipes we found online. Instead of zesting the lemons, we peeled them with a vegetable peeler, hoping to make candied lemon peel with the leftovers later.

As for all of that fresh squeezed lemon juice that needs to be utilized? We threw together these lemon poppy seed muffins. There still is a lot of juice left though... Maybe we'll make lemon curd next.

2011.06_lemon poppy seed muffins

June 22, 2011

pasta with fava beans, butter lettuce, and roasted pistachios

2011.06_pasta with fava beans, butter lettuce, and roasted pistachios

Sometimes, when you have a large volume of lettuce, you start daydreaming about cooking it down. Well I turned my daydreams into reality. I searched the internet for cooked lettuce recipes and landed on this one: pasta with peas, asparagus, butter lettuce and prosciutto. Since we’re vegetarian, we subbed out the prosciutto for roasted pistachios and the chicken broth for veggie broth. And since we didn’t have all the veggies on hand, we substituted the peas for fava beans (brought to us from NM) and just left out the asparagus.


A bunch of German chamomile is growing in the pathway at our community garden--thanks Wendy for spotting it! There's a rule about keeping the paths clear of "weeds" so I did my part. It smells so good--chamomile is my favorite.

In hindsight, I should have only picked the flower heads instead of cutting off half the plant so that it would recover faster, but you can't beat walking home with a bouquet of beautiful and useful flowers.

June 21, 2011

what is a weed anyway?

Ralph Waldo Emerson says a weed is a "plant whose virtues have yet to be discovered." In weeding our garden, there's just a handful of unwanted plants that I keep recognizing. One is purslane, a succulent edible that you often see growing in sidewalk cracks. I've also seen it featured in salads in fancy restaurants. Here it is growing out the side of our raised bed:
...that's probably a $20 salad right there.

So I've been leaving it in the garden if it isn't crowding other plants too badly. I just learned from Wikipedia that:
As a companion plant, Purslane provides ground cover to create a humid microclimate for nearby plants, stabilizing ground moisture. Its deep roots bring up moisture and nutrients that those plants can use, and some, including corn, will "follow" purslane roots down through harder soil than they can penetrate on their own. It is known as a beneficial weed in places that don't already grow it as a crop in its own right.
Another common weed in our garden and around town is mallow (malva neglecta):mallow
I'm not sure if it is a beneficial companion like purslane, but it is a demulcent, so I've been picking it to make into a mucilaginous tea, which was nice when I had a sore throat recently (it's also an ingredient in the Ricola cough drops I bought recently).

June 19, 2011

chard au gratin

2011.06_chard au gratin
Our community garden newsletter had a recipe for this chard au gratin. It involved two pounds of chard, a béchamel sauce, goat cheese, and garlic-dill bread crumbs. Such creamy goodness!

2011.06_chard au gratin prep

2011.06_rainbow chard

freezing spinach

2011.06_frozen spinach
I froze some of the spinach from our garden so we can enjoy it in the winter.  After picking and rinsing it, I chopped the spinach roughly, steamed for 2 minutes, quickly transferred the hot spinach to an ice water bath, removed the cooled spinach from the water bath, removed as much moisture as I could (with a salad spinner if you have one; we don't yet so I spun the wet spinach in a tea towel round and round over my head), spread the spinach out in a freezer bag, and put it in the freezer.

June 18, 2011

oatmeal raisin cookie stout - bottled and ready

2011.06_oatmeal raisin cookie stout 
We've started to enjoy our Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Stout, the making of which was documented in the homebrew video we posted a couple months ago. Just in time for stout-weather, right? Actually it makes very delicious beer ice cream floats, especially with ginger ice cream!

June 17, 2011


Our friends Wendy and Mikey from Holy Scrap Hot Springs visited Boulder recently. And boy, did they rack up a lot of good guest karma! In addition to cooking meals and walking dogs, they brought us some awesome wildcrafted tinctures and teas, which you can find in their store.
Sesame and François had lots of fun together:
What chill dogs...

And what a great thank you/goodbye present...it's amazing what joy six pints of ice cream brings!
(made locally too)

June 16, 2011

kale chips

Here's of shot of the kale going into the oven. Where's the shot of the final product? Well unfortunately, we gobbled up the cooked kale chips before I could take any pictures.

We've actually been making a lot of kale chips recently. We've cooked them in the oven at a low temperature for a classic crunch. We've cooked them in a dehydrator for a chewier texture. We've flavored them by simply tossing the prepped kale in olive oil and salt and we've flavored them with more pizzazz by using ingredients like maple syrup, nutritional yeast, and cayenne. Do whatever strikes your fancy. It's a great way to eat a lot of green matter while still feeling like you're snacking and being unhealthy.

June 13, 2011

are we crazy?

Yes we are. But we always knew that.

This time we are crazy because in addition to having our very first garden, we decided to continue with our participation in a CSA (community support agriculture). We will have veggies coming out of our ears!

If you're unfamiliar with CSA's, all we had to do was find a local farm that offers a CSA, pay upfront for an entire seasons worth of veggies, and begin collecting our weekly installment of veggies this week! CSA's benefit farmers because they provide cash early and reliably. They benefit participants because you share in the bounty of successful years and you develop a more personal relationship with the farmer.

This year we got a CSA with Isabelle Farm. We had planned to continue with Pachamama Organic Farm but they couldn't deliver to the Boulder farmers this year meaning that we would have to ride our bikes out to the farm once a week - quite a commitment. Ah well. Based on our first week of CSA produce from Isabelle Farm, we should still have an excellent year of CSA veggies!

warm crop transition

As we've mentioned, we've been harvesting a lot of arugula, lettuce, and radishes. I think it turned out to be pretty good timing; the arugula was bolting and the radishes were beginning to get pithy--just in time for warm crops to be planted. We planted 10 tomato plants (4x Roma, 2x yellow pear, 2x Amana Orange, 1x Czech, 1x mystery) with water walls for cold/hail protection.

lessons learned for the spring crops:

-if seeds don't sprout when you expext they should, don't hesitate to replant
-using row cover seemed to help get seeds started in colder weather
-carrying jugs of water 2 blocks to the garden before water is turned on is a pain but worthwhile in getting spring plants established
-don't plant crazy amounts of arugula! plant more spinach instead
-bush sugar snap peas are growing better for us than the pole/climber version
-chinese rose winter radishes grew way too much foliage; plant more globe radishes next year (though the globe radishes had a low germination rate)

June 10, 2011

strawberry net

I built this net structure to keep birds away from our strawberries, which have been beginning to ripen. I think a rigid chicken-wire cage would be easier to work with--the net gets caught on everything and you have to pull it taught so it doesn't sag down in the middle.

We'll see how this strawberry thing goes--we might cut back on the area next time. It takes up a lot of space in our limited 100 sf.

June 7, 2011

balls! spinach balls!

We had a ball themed supper recently with friends. Everyone made and ate ball shaped food. It was a ball. (hah) One of our friends made spinach balls that were so good we had to recreate them for dinner. The basic idea is to mix together cooked spinach & onions, bread crumbs, feta cheese, eggs, and spices. Then you roll the mixture into balls and bake. The end.

June 6, 2011

broccoli rabe

What is broccoli rabe anyway? It's certainly not broccoli... It's more like kale or mustard greens. I suppose you eat it when you want to sound interesting or when you're eating so many greens that even a change in name sounds appealing...

Well, who cares, it was delicious. I followed a recipe in Veganomicon entitled "spicy tempeh and broccoli rabe with rotelle (pasta)." I would do it again. The tempeh flavoring was stellar. If you want the recipe, you should go to the library!

arugula pesto

Yikes! We harvested a ton of arugula! We have been eating it on sandwiches and in salads. We have been giving it away to friends. Now we are condensing it into arugula pesto (arugula, walnuts, parmesan, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt) and freezing it for convenient use at a later date... I like to make life easy for future me. =)

June 1, 2011

jardin esplodin

Our garden has been exploding in the past week. I've harvested two bunches of arugula and one of oak leaf lettuce, which is so delicious!

But the thing that looks the most monstrous in the garden is our radishes ("Chinese Rose Winter")--on the left in the photo. I'm a little disappointed that even though the leaves are at least twice the size of the regular "Early Scarlet Globe Radishes" (on the right), the roots are the same size or smaller. I know, the greens are edible, but not as enjoyable. Next year, I think I'll skip the Chinese Rose Winter radishes.

Left: Chinese Rose Winter; Right: Early Scarlet Globe