Monthly Archives: October 2010

Fall Garden

My garden is still thriving, at a snail’s pace that is! With the suns current position on the ecliptic plane my row of trees (which are a beautiful shade of red-orange) happen to be blocking most of the afternoon sun.

I took this into careful consideration last Spring when staking out my garden’s perimeter. Since it is my first year at this location all I had to go on was my best educated guess, but I think I did well, especially since it is almost November and I am still picking my dinner on a daily basis! I have plans to extend the garden next year and instead of just expanding West I may make a shift to the North as well. I kicked around the idea of an “L” shaped garden last year, guess I should have went with my instincts.

We experienced our first light frost last week. Fortunately everything survived despite my not having built the hoop houses. I could call it procrastination but it is more like a big fat case of the “fuck-its”.  Honestly, I’m wiped. This season has challenged me with a myriad of gardening obstacles. Spring was cold, wet and moldy. Then it got hot, like real hot real fast. Next we had a horrible drought followed by and onslaught of crop munchers and then a case of devastating bacterial wilt. Now I think I may have some powdery mildew going after my second planting of cucurbits.

The following pictures were taken earlier this week.
Bok Choy
Beets
Broccoli
Purple Cauliflower
Rainbow Chard
Egg Plant Blossom
Green Beans
Green Bell Peppers
Ancho Peppers
Purple Beauty Peppers
Peas
French Breakfast Radishes
Black Radishes
Romanesco Broccoli
Mesclun
Baby Mesclun
Sweet Dumpling Squash
Hillbilly Tomatoes
Zucchini
L-R  Beans, Peppers and a few tomato plants.
B-F  Peas, Radishes, Beets, Cauliflower, Egg Plant, Butternut Squash and Sweet Dumpling Squash.
Same as above just reverse the order and add zucchini.
L-R  Peas, Bok Choy, Mesclun and Beets.
L-R  Peppers, Beans, Mesclun and Tomatoes.
I’m not very hopeful in harvesting any winter squash. I got them into the ground way late this year. My whole planting schedule was off. Having to restart my garden from scratch took longer then I had anticipated which pushed everything back by about a month! I still had green tomatoes when everyone else had juicy red ones! My peppers were finally ready for picking only about a month ago. I’m not counting on much of a brassica crop either. The days are short and the nights are long which does not make for fast growing conditions.
I’ve started getting ready for next year though, seed catalogs have been ordered. Now I’m just anxiously awaiting the start of the new year when they hit the mail! I’ve also set aside some non-garden area for more herbs and greens. I have tons of perennials scattered about the property, which is nice because I don’t have to think about planting flowers. The remaining designated spaces will hold edible landscaping and sunflowers. Lots of sunflowers!

Images and content copyright © 2009-2010 Danielle R Limoge.

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Wordless Wednesday – Radishes

Images and content copyright © 2009-2010 Danielle R Limoge.

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Monday Morning Musings

I so need this on a t-shirt!

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Hook ‘Em While They’re Young

Today I spent the afternoon with my niece. Grammy took us out for lunch, then we went to the park and spent several hours climbing around the wooden castle playground. (I forgot my camera. DOH!) I was painfully reminded how nauseating the merry-go-round is after the age of 10! We then headed back to my house for a bit of post play garden-grazing.

Earlier in the week I had a conversation with my niece about my garden and what was still growing. I told her that if she wanted to we could eat some peas in the garden. Well, she was more than excited over the idea and reminded me today of our plans.

Cecelia is a fruit and veggie lover! I’ve never met another three-year old who passes up the dessert table at a party for a banana or cup of fresh summer fruit. Seriously, I could not be more proud! She is so going to spend her summers with me in the garden!

Yum Aunt Dee-Dee, your peas are good!
Inspecting my french breakfast and black radishes.

Images and content copyright © 2009-2010 Danielle R Limoge.

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Rosemary Infused Olive Oil

Rosemary is one of my all-time favorite herbs. I love the way it tastes, the way it smells. I even like its poky protruding needles. Too bad I kill it. For some reason I can only grow herbs outside. Believe me I’ve tried a myriad of indoor herb gardens and techniques, but alas, I fail miserable every time. My green thumb is strictly for outdoor use, unless you’re a peace lily, spider plant, African violet or philodendron, then you stand a better chance of survival.
Several weeks ago I purchased an absurd amount of really really good olive oil. You know, the kind found in the gourmet isle where you would swear it is actually liquid gold and not oil. But I guess in some strange round about way it is. My plan, to make infused oil with my organic herbs.
Rosemary Infused Olive Oil
2 cups really good olive oil (if you’re gonna do it, do it right!)
a large sprig of organic rosemary (rosemary is pretty potent so you don’t need much)
Wash rosemary and allow to dry completely. Heat oil over med-low heat making it warm, not hot. Do not allow your oil to boil! Place rosemary in bottle and add warm oil. Allow to cool before sealing.
You can keep the rosemary in the bottle or take it out. I leave it in for about a week and then remove it because it ends up making the oil cloudy.
Next on the list, basil!

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Blueberry Bran Muffins

I have a dirty little confession to share with you.  I like muffins.  I’m talking really like muffins.  I know you’re thinking “yeah, so what, lots of people like muffins”.  Which is true, but I haven’t told you why I like them so much.  Muffins are actually little. naked. cakes.  And I love cake.  All cake.

Low Fat Blueberry Bran Muffins (adapted from allrecipes.com)
1-1/2 cups wheat bran
1 cup 1% milk (use soy milk to make this vegan)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 flax egg
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries
Preheat oven to 375°F.  Grease muffin cups or use paper muffin liners.  (I used cutesy Halloween themed liners I found hiding in the back of my cabinet.)  Mix together wheat bran and milk; let stand for 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix together applesauce, flax egg, brown sugar, and vanilla.  Beat in bran mixture.  Sift together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Stir into bran mixture until just blended.  Fold in blueberries.  Scoop into muffin cups filling 2/3 of the way.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tops spring back when lightly tapped.

These turned out so good; this recipe is definitely a keeper!  The wheat bran gives them a slightly chewy texture, which I enjoy.  I think next time I’m going to try making them with strawberries!

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Creamy Hummus

I’ve had an ongoing love affair with hummus that dates back to the mid 90’s. While in high school I worked at Bubbies, a family owned bagel shop. At this quaint little eatery we made everything from scratch, including a delicious assortment of gourmet cream cheeses and spreads. Sally (the owner’s mom) was usually in charge of hummus. Hummus (like baba ganoush) is a forgiving food that can be played around with as long as you have the basic ingredients!


Creamy Hummus
(my recipe makes a whole lotta hummus, cause that’s the way I like it!) 
2 cups dried chick peas (garbanzo beans) re-hydrated
3 cloves garlic (I used farmer Josh’s monster Italian garlic. If you have regular garlic I’d use 5 cloves)
2/3 cup tahini paste
3 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
Soak your beans. Somewhere I read to soak chickpeas in an added slurry consisting of salt, flour and baking soda. Combine 2 Tbsp salt, 2 Tbsp flour and 2 Tsp baking soda with enough water to form a paste, add to the water that your chickpeas are soaking in. I’m not sure why you do this I just do. I’m assuming that it may have something to do with the rate of re-hydration, but I can’t back that up. Allow beans to soak overnight.
Drain and rinse your beans. Place them in a large sauce pan and cover with several inches of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until soft (usually 35-45 minutes). You want your beans to be firm not mushy. Drain. Place garlic in a food processor and mince, add chickpeas and remaining ingredients and blend baby blend! If desired you can serve with a drizzle of olive oil on top or add ground hot pepper, paprika or a bit of basil. I like using my rosemary infused olive oil! Experiment, your options are limitless! I also really enjoy my hummus served with fresh homemade pita bread, which can be found here!

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Whole Wheat Pita Bread

These homemade pitas blow store-bought out of the water! Seriously, you need to make them and see for yourself. I will never go back to packaged premades again!

Whole Wheat Pita Bread
2¼ tsp. instant yeast
1 tbsp honey
1¼ cups warm water (105˚-115˚ F), divided
1½ cups bread flour, divided
2 cups whole wheat flour, divided
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. salt
Cornmeal, for sprinkling

In a medium bowl combine yeast, honey and 1/2 cup warm water, stir gently to blend. Whisk 1/4 cup bread flour and 1/4 cup whole wheat flour into the yeast mixture until smooth.  Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and set aside until doubled in bulk and bubbly, about 45 minutes. Remove towel and add in the remaining 3/4 cup warm water, 1 1/4 cups bread flour, 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour, olive oil and salt.  Knead approximately 8 minutes.  Place the ball of dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat, cover and let rise in a warm draft-free place, about 1 hour, until doubled in bulk.

Place an oven rack in the middle position and preheat to 500˚ F. Once the dough has risen, transfer to a lightly floured work surface, punch down the dough and divide into 8 equal sections.  Form each piece into a ball.  Flatten one ball at a time into a disk, then stretch out into a 6½-7 inch circle.  Transfer the rounds to a baking sheet or other work surface lightly sprinkled with cornmeal.

Once all the rounds have been shaped, loosely cover with clean kitchen towels.  Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, until slightly puffy.

Transfer pitas, one at a time, onto a pizza stone.  Bake 2 minutes, until puffed and pale golden. Gently flip the pitas over using tongs and bake 1 minute more. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Repeat with the remaining pitas. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days or place in freezer.

adapted from Annie Eats

**Original recipe called for 1 1/2 cups wheat flour but I found the dough to be too sticky to work with so I increased it to 2 cups.**

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Fall Planting

Several weeks ago I managed to sneak away from my chaotic canning kitchen and start sowing my fall crops. This is what my garden looked like the beginning of September.
beans
beets
peas
my fall peas were planted with seeds I dried from the spring harvest 🙂
radishes
spring mix
sweet dumpling winter squash

zucchini

Waltham butternut squash

Images and content copyright © 2009-2010 Danielle R Limoge.

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