Monday, October 29, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Aunt Susan in the beautifully sculpted garden of her friend's house at her 40th wedding anniversary.
The Columbine and Indian Paintbrush were in bloom in Three Sister's Wilderness. Here's a few examples of where we were and what we saw.
After the hike we headed with Josh and Joanie to the Willamette Valley and the Columbia River Gorge for a food and wine weekend. Here's their take on Blackberries. And a picture of scones:
If you ever happen to be in Corvallis/Philomath, OR when they are having a wine dinner, check out Gathering Together Farm, an organic farm that believes in sustainable agriculture. If you click on the wine dinner's area and scroll down to the 8/11 dinner you can see pictures of our dinner and the menu. MMMMMM!
Ok, more tomorrow, I may still be on west coast time, but I'm tired!!!
Friday, July 20, 2007
The basil was taking over the herb garden so we plucked about 6 cups of basil leaves and made pesto for the base. I froze the rest of the pesto, we'll be eating well this winter too. I cheated and made the pizza dough in the bread machine as it makes a phenomenal dough in less than an hour and a half. Had some lamb in the fridge that we fried up (next time we'll grill it first and slice it onto the pizza) and used fresh tomatoes and parmesan and a bit of english farmhouse cheddar that we had in the fridge. We chopped up olives and sprinkled on some smoky turkish biber spice and 3 kinds of fresh oregano from the garden for the veggie pizza and carmelized some shallots in olive oil for both pizzas.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
We made the paella on the grill. It probably took us all day to make as there was lots of shopping and prep work before we could actually start cooking. We have an electric grill which is great as we can control the heat. A lot of the ingredients were cooked seperately and added at the last minute. We got fresh peas from the bean guy at the Waverly Market, if you haven't had them they are soooo good.
Apparently the traditional way of serving Paella is to put a bowl upside down and place the salad bowl on top. We made cucumber-yogurt-mint salad which was quite refreshing with the paella and made white sangria with mango and a red traditional sangria. mmmmmm.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Monday, July 9, 2007
Friday night we made a creamy pesto with pasta and pork tenderloin. Here's what we did:
2 cups basil (packed)
5 cloves of garlic
1/4 c pine nuts
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt to taste
1/2 cup grated parmesan
a bit of parsley (the parsley is growing slowly)
Put all this into the food processer and process until it is a puree, then slowly add about a cup of heavy cream. I let it sit for about 2 hours in the fridge before using it (as that's when we ate).
We browned some rounds of pork tenderloin in butter until they were 1/2 cooked, removed them and deglazed the pan with some Pinot Grigio. Then I added about 1/4 cup of the pesto sauce and the tenderloin rounds and cooked for about 10 minutes until they were done. I boiled some shells and added some more of the pesto to that. We actually browned the pork and made the pesto around 4pm and then finished it up at 7 only taking 10 minutes or so. Presto pasta meal. Now we just have to finish the pesto, I don't think it's going to freeze well with the cream in it.
Sunday night we made a chilled cream soup with sorrel, fennel fronds (left over from grilling the fennel bulb the night before), shallot and avocado. Here's how:
Chop up the shallot and saute until soft in butter
Add fennel and about 2 cups of chicken stock (we use minors at home)
cook until fennel is tender
Add about 2 cups of chopped sorrel (removing woody stems) and let cook another 2 minutes
Turn off heat and add cream, 1 chopped avocado and a bit of lemon juice. Puree with the immersion blender being careful not to slop it all over the kitchen counter like I did. Salt to taste. Pour into bowls and chill for 1/2 hour.
The soup was still warm in the middle but cool around the edges so the dichotomy between cool and warm soup was interesting. I like mine all the way pureed but if you wanted avocado chunks you could mash it in with a potato masher, though it wouldn't be as creamy.
Next time I make something herblike I'll try and post pictures. Tomatoes please ripen!!!
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Now I don't have anything against Kudzu, except maybe that it is taking over the entire southeast. It has very pretty berries in the fall, a healthy green foliage and spreads like wildfire. If you haven't seen some of the crazy pictures out there, check out the Wikipedia article.
I spent the afternoon high on a ladder pulling it down. As you can see I now have a clear patch on the wall but still have to get up to the top and pull the stuff off the front. The Hydrangea is the vine to the right and if I had taken the picture correctly you could see that there's another hydrangea vine that goes around the front of the house. It's very slow growing so doesn't overwhelm, but with the kudzu killing it off, it needed help.
As you can see here, the kudzu is now overwhelming the trash can. :-)
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
The first is to fix up the box garden on the new patio. It looks lousy as it is always in the shade and there are daylillies planted there. What I need is a shade garden but I'm not so very big on hostas. I could plant a couple of ferns, maybe some columbine (seems to be the in thing this year), forget-me-nots, and maybe a bleeding heart and a shooting star (those are neat) but how to fill in a 1 foot by 14 foot space with a grill in front.
The second choice is to actually clean up the front yard between the sidewalk and the road. This is not a fun project. Last year I moved some of the daylillies from the back box garden and they are doing wonderfully but for the most part there is lots and lots of ivy, some withering heather that does splendidly until June hits and lots and lots of snow on the mountain (more each year in fact). Maybe I'll just leave that one for now. Any suggestions for what to do with the heather?
Friday, June 8, 2007
In one day we went from that evil looking bud to this. It was soooo bleeding hot today (96, welcome to Baltimore) that everything just went boom. The sorrel went crazy (time for salmon in sorrel cream sauce) and the herbs that I plucked are double their size.
Another view of a nasturtium. (Ok so I'm a bit nasturtium crazy this week, now we get to eat them, fun!)
So I'm busily watching my plants grow and watering them a bit, but where do I go from here? I could go help Pam's sweetie in his garden (nah) or I could trim the neighbor's wisteria and the climbing hydranga from the house. Darling, Can you help me?
Thursday, June 7, 2007
These are the Lemon Boys....mmmmmmmm tasty in 1 month. Buds many many buds on my 6 tomato plants. Watch all the tomatoes ripen in August while we are away. Who is volunteering for tomato eating duty?
Sunday, June 3, 2007
It's raining today so I have time to do this. Besides, the patio is done and Sunday is a day of repose.
Saturday morning we started by laying the string lines. This complicated process was made interesting by the fact that we only had a tiny string level and too much brainpower.
Next, you can see how we've started laying the first row on Saturday night. Much to our dismay, this all came up as day two man number three came with a lovely water level (which I did not see in motion as I was playing marshmallow shooter at the time).
Here the men show an excellent example of a screed board in motion. Notice the hose on the left attached to my flowers. You must first spritz, then screed, then tamp then smooth, then pull up the boards you are screeding on, then fill the board holes then smooth then tamp again. UGH
Believe me when I say that I know this firsthand as it was I that laid the walkway. Screed, haul, brick, screed, haul, brick, drink diet coke.
Here is a lovely demonstration of brick cutting. As you can see, we didn't have the wet saw on day two. Cut, chisel, break, start over cut chisel. We abandoned after day three and just rented.
At dinnertime, we are 1/2 done, all screeded except for the walkway and ready to eat. Good thing I made dinner the night before.
We were blessed with a lovely thunderstorm right at the end of dinner which meant sundaes inside. Now what this means is the rest of the work will be done by the two of us. OOF!
Thursday, May 31, 2007
And I thought the herb garden was bad. We are done and I'm very happy we're done. My body is even more happy as it HURTS. It only took until Wednesday night to finish the patio (I took the day off Tuesday but not Wednesday). We have no stairs, we have to finish trim work (wood trim we've decided, Chris we need your table saw) and there's a few little drainage problems that need tamping, but in the meantime, we are very happy to be DONE. We toasted with gingerale when we finished cleaning up last night at 9:30. Too exhausted to actually drink anything. We even hauled all the broken brick to the back so the yard is clean. YAAAY.
Pictures will follow when I am less exhausted at night. (We've been going to bed at 10 and sleeping straight through til 8) Just how long does it take to get sand out of the house.....?
Friday, May 25, 2007
That's a big truck!!
Monday, May 21, 2007
Wednesday we will get the wood so we can SCREED (a new word for me) the sand right into place after the stoneshooter puts it on the patio on Friday. They will bring 5 tons of sand and shoot it right into our lovely setup. Cross your fingers that the setup is done.
Before we can place the wood we have to remove everything from the patio, this includes the ugly steps which we haven't decided if we will replace or not. I'm not looking forward to cleaning under those stairs, I think there's sheet metal from years ago.
Pictures will follow on Wednesday.
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
The weather here in Baltimore has just been fantastic. We've had cool nights in the 50's and days around 65-70. It could stay like this all year round as far as I'm concerned.
The herb garden is in and I've even remembered to water it. The fennel and the sorrel are really starting to grow, unless I'm imagining things. I've put some flowers in pots around the patio so it looks nice and best of all the azaelas are in bloom.
When we first moved into the house I was charmed by our little patio, we went out and got the grill and the patio furniture and enjoyed it all summer. The next May I was shocked, amazed and pleased to see how the azaelas bloomed. We have a beautiful compliment of them. I can't take the credit, but at least I get to sit out on my patio and appreciate. :-) That's where the nice glass of white wine and the umbrella comes in handy.
Saturday, May 5, 2007
What do most people do on a Friday night? Well maybe they go out to dinner, maybe they get together with friends, maybe they mulch? I poured myself a glass of wine and proceeded to do just that.
Thursday night Ali and I went to Valley View Farms and bought all the herbs. Verrry exciting. It was hard to stop, good thing I had a list.
Friday I went for more mulch and manure. I shoveled it in and then laid the plastic sheeting on top. Apparently this is supposed to keep the weeds from popping up all over.
After laying the plastic I laid everything out to visualize how it would look. I think it looks GREAT! Here's one from the side.
Planting however was a pain because the plastic was installed. I had to move the bits of plastic out of the way, dig my hole, cut a hole in the plastic, and shove the plant through all without breaking off the stems. (Killed one of my nasturtiums this way, hopefully it will come back. Here's a few more pictures. What do you think?
The finished product. Watch it grow.