Thursday, June 17, 2010

Garden Update!

Although our food producing garden is not what we wanted this year, there's something about an overworked husband and a pregnant wife that prevents things from getting planted, we do have a few plants that have the promise of bounty.

Our raspberries have finished blooming for the spring season and there are little green raspberries forming!!

We now have a rhubarb forest growing along the garage, although it's not really red yet...does anyone know how long it takes to get red? Does it even need to be red (I've heard of green varieties)? Is it too late for rhubarb?

And our plum tree, although looking a little sickly, has green plums getting bigger for now and purple later in the summer. Does anyone know about plum trees? Ours seems to have fewer leaves this year. Does it need pruning? Fertilizer? Love?

I hope to keep this blog going now that the quarter is over...but we all know my track record...Daniel has vowed to make me keep writing ("for practice", he says).

Happy gardening!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Chick Peas and Salad Greens

It was the last week for plants from some vendors at the farmer's market! Even though I can't plant them in the garden I got these two tiny starts:

Now I will, hopefully, have my own red russian kale by summer's end and a pile of delicious and hopefully spicy salad greens.

I was also able to get pea shoots (so good fresh in salads), red mustard greens (a little bug eaten around the edges but still delicious), strawberries (those didn't last long), and my usual suspect... So delicious!!

I soaked up some garbanzo beans last week and have them stockpiled in the refrigerator in hopes that I can do minimal dinner prep this week, there's something about finals that makes me not want to do any extra work.

So, it's green salad with garbanzo beans and a simple vinaigrette (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a little mustard and salt and pepper) for dinner. Yes!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Spiciest Chili on the Block

This quarter I took Whole Foods Production a great class that focused on utilizing whole foods to make balanced, nutrient dense, meals in about 2 hours. For a final project we had to design and execute a meal using a meat or bean and grain drawn from a hat. My group got lentils and corn. I immediately thought of a recipe I found on for a vegetarian lentil chili that I had made once before for my family. It was a hit, so I suggested it to the group. The rest of the menu was built upon this recipe.
We added Firecracker cornbread also from 101cookbooks, rhubarb crisp, and a leafy green salad with a delicious avocado based dressing.


I think the meal was genius. Although the chili was a little too spicy. I ran out of store bought chili powder and used the same amount from some Ghanaian chili powder I have that packs more of a punch.

I still think the meal was perfect for late spring in the NW when some days feel like fall but there is an abundance of fresh spring greens filling the markets.

I didn't take photos of the actual meal but here's one of a reheat at home:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ice Cream!!

I'd like to think that Ice Cream is a whole food...but sadly with so much sugar added I don't think I can go that far. I do love ice cream and I would love to really learn how to make it.
My sister makes ice cream, of course, and the flavors she comes up with are delicious. I think my favorite of last summer was the raspberry...yum! I am a sucker for berry ice creams, maybe it's the idea that I'm getting some phytochemicals with my sugar.
So, my goal this summer is to have my sister teach me how to make ice cream...what should the first flavor be? Cocoa cherry? Strawberry? Irish Car Bomb (would that even be possible)?

Ahh well, to tide me over I always have my trusty Sunday Market vendor the Whidbey Island Creamery cart, or Bluebird, or our most famous shop, Molly Moon's.

Here in Seattle we have this phenomenal ice cream shop, Molly Moons. This week I found out that this summer, Molly Moon's is taking their ice cream on the road with an ice cream truck! How amazing is that?! I have yet to lay eyes on this mythical creature but I have signed up for e-mail updates and hope to hunt it down soon.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The farmer's markets this week were a fresh veggie lover's paradise! I managed to get to two, Bellevue on Thursday and Ballard on Sunday.

At the Bellevue market I bought the most beautiful bouquet of lettuce. It was deep green and ruddy purple with two varieties mixed together. My extended family benefited from this lovely show with a tossed green salad and there was still some left over!

On Sunday I went a little wild at the Ballard Farmer's market. I bought red russian kale, a personal favorite because it's sweet enough to put on a sandwich raw but hearty enough to stand up to cooking. Then, because the Full Circle Farms booth was still running their 4 bunches for $10 deal I also bought purple radishes, white turnips, and baby bok choy. All that and I still had room, and cash, to buy some grass fed beef burgers from Skagit River Ranch and some pastured eggs from another local farm.

The burgers were cooked up right away and didn't last long enough to get a photo and none of the salads and sandwiches I made with the greens are recipe or photo worthy, but I'll work on that for next week!

The most exciting find this week were the strawberries!! I didn't get any because these were water damaged and being sold by the bucket (and I have no time for jam making right now) but it does signal that strawberry season is here!!! Woo hoo!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Comfort and Joy

Well, it's been a rather long week, already, and I'm just plain out of ideas for seasonal dishes. This week's take at the farmer's market, baby bok choy, purple radishes, and mini turnips have only gone to serve as salad fixings. I did discover that a baby bok choy salad is rather refreshing and delicious.

In the interest of not sharing a salad recipe...mostly because I think if you read the last sentence you have it, I will share with you a family staple and a recipe that many people have been asking for. The Livermore Family Spicy Tofu recipe. This is my edition and this recipe exists in many forms, my mother and uncle also love to make it although each of them has a slightly different version.


Spicy Tofu

The cooking time of this recipe depends on the type of tofu you choose, the more water it is packed in the longer the sauté step will take. Coriander and cumin give this dish a distinct flavor, the other spices in the recipe are my personal favorites; amounts and types should be changed to suit your personal needs. I like it best served with rice or pasta with a generous douse of Jamaican made Pickapeppa sauce to give it extra spice.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium garlic cloves sliced into think rounds
2 12-ounce packages of extra firm tofu, cut into cubes
2/3 cup large flake nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried dill weed
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon chili powder
¼ cup tamari

Heat oil, in a well-seasoned medium to large cast iron pan or other skillet, over medium heat. Add the sliced garlic and sauté, stirring, until lightly browned. Add the tofu and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the tofu is browned on all sides.
While the tofu is browning mix together the nutritional yeast, coriander, cumin, dill, turmeric, and chili powder. Set aside.
Add the tamari and stir to coat the tofu. Turn off the heat and allow to steep for a minute while stirring. Shake the spice mix over the tofu and stir to coat. Scoop over rice or pasta and serve.

Preparation time: 30-45 minutes
Makes 6 – 4-ounce servings

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mothering Sunday

This past weekend the market was all about mother's day flowers, leeks, and garden starts. It seemed like these were the only things for sale. Even the usually well stocked Nash's and Full Circle Farms were looking pretty sparse.

It is definitely the time to purchase garden starts and there were tomato, lettuce, and herb plants for sale at most of the booths.

I wish gardening wasn't forbidden this year because every time I see those flats of starts I want to put in a great big vegetable garden. There is nothing more local than the food you grow yourself. Even if you only have a balcony you can plant herbs and lettuces in large pots and have half a salad at your finger tips.

I can't plant anything new this year but my efforts from years past are starting to pay off. The raspberry canes we planted last year are bushy and healthy and have started putting out buds so we will have berries later this summer!! Hurrah!

I am still hoping to get a pot of basil going in my kitchen for later this summer and I would love to get some of those juicy tomato plants...maybe I can convince Daniel to get his hands a little dirty.

It's planting get out there and grow your own food.