Homesteading In The Pacific Northwest

Monday, May 30, 2011

Harvest Monday ... Salad and Ribs!

My harvests have been more salad greens including a big batch for a salad to be served at our holiday BBQ on Saturday...

The Menu:
Chips and Salsa from "The Local Guy"
Renee's "Awesome Ahi Sashimi "with dipping sauce
Jo's  "Original Antipasto Skewers"
FitzGyver's "Famous Hot Crab Dip" (the recipe for this could be divulged ...think bribes ...think chocolate : )
Mary's "Bountiful Baked Beans"
Mom's "Make It On Memorial Day" Potato Salad
Deb's "Fresh From the Garden" Green Salad
Mary's "Oh So Garlicky Bread"
Deb's "Evil Ribs"
Dorothy's "Don't tell anyone there's zucchini in there" Chocolate Cake

My Jack Daniel's BBQ Sauce

Cook a bunch of chopped sweet onion in a lot of butter.  Add equal amounts Kraft Original BBQ Sauce and catsup.  Add a couple handfuls of brown sugar and a few blobs of honey.  Add a few (or more) glugs of JD ...cook over medium heat for a while ... this one isn't rocket science ... once you add the Jack Daniel's no one cares what else is in there ; )

I'm joining other bloggers over at Daphne's Dandelions as we share our weekly's fun to see what others are harvesting and what they are cooking up with it...check it out!


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Trying Something New ...

Click the photo or the link in the navigation bar above to go to my new tutorials page....



Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wordless Wednesday ... Mist

You can hear the footsteps of God when silence reigns in the mind. 
Sri Sathya Sai Baba


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Visit To The Candy Store ...

I was at Bark and Garden in Olympia yesterday.  I needed some Sluggo Plus and some Tanglefoot and a few more herbs and ground covers.  It was like walking through a candy store ... and the shopping list went out the window ... first I found these ...

"Fuchsia Firecracker"

And I knew exactly where I was going to put them ... the shade garden next to the back door ...

Two of them up next to the pink hyacinths ...and one beside my pretty ferns ...

Next I found these ... 

"Pesto Perpetuo Basil"

A variegated foliage basil!  So of course I  had to buy the rest of the variegated herbs and some annuals for the wine barrel planting ...

I got back to my shopping list, found my ground covers and the Sluggo and Tanglefoot and was heading to the checkout stand when I saw it ... like I said; it's a candy store ... and I'm hopeless when it comes to candy : )


Monday, May 23, 2011

Harvest Monday ... and Warm Quinoa Salad

I'm joining other bloggers over at Daphne's Dandelions as we share our weekly's fun to see what others are harvesting and what they are cooking up with it...check it out!

I'm going to have to ask for a ruling from Daphne to see whether this constitutes a valid "harvest"  ...

I did use my garden trowel to dig up the worms I used for bait  ... and then dragged the worms behind my paddle boat on the lake right in front of my house (how's that for "local" ? : )

The rest of the menu did include some spinach ...

...that I used in the "Warm Curried Quinoa Salad" ...


2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
2 cups cooked red quinoa
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cashews
1 tsp curry powder
2 cups fresh spinach

Place the oil in a pan over medium-high heat; add the onion and cook briefly.  Add the next 5 ingredients and stir to combine the ingredients.  Cover the pan, turn the heat down to low and cook for about 10 minutes.  Place 1 cup of spinach on each plate and put the warm quinoa mixture on top.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Walkabout ...

I did a walkabout in the garden this morning ... enjoying the *gasp* sunshine!!  Yes ...we have sunshine!  Four days in a row now!

My experimental  Dakota shelling peas are enjoying the warm weather ... 
they are about 2 1/2 feet tall now ...and ...

...that arrow is pointing at a pea pod!!  

The experimental snow peas are feeling pretty good, too!

They are almost 4 feet high and covered with blossoms ...  both types of peas are ones I experimented with by starting them early in soil blocks under lights.  I think that effort paid off; the peas that I sowed directly are way behind these ...

The potatoes are growing well ...

Especially the experimental ones that I started early with a germination mat under the box ...

Here's a peek into the greenhouse ... also known as the
"Paradise Cove Tomato Resort"...

I have drip irrigation in the individual pots and the electric box is for the heater and lights (which I hopefully won't need anymore this season).

The kales, chards and tomatoes in the terrace garden are sunbathing today ... are the lettuces : )

And last, but not least, the strawberries in a "vintage planter box" on the deck are starting to blossom!

I'm going to go back outside now and enjoy the sunshine before planting some cucumber seeds to replace the plants that, as my friend Dorothy put it, "committed suicide due to weather induced depression".


But wait!  Late breaking news!  The all new "Pepper Palace"  : )


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Seasonal Cooking ... Artichoke with Easy "Aioli"

I'm not growing artichokes and probably never will ... I don't have a spot that is warm enough, early enough to grow the quality of artichoke that I would want.  I'm spoiled ... because "The Local Guy" gets these artichokes from California and they are the best ever!

The Ingredients

I'm going to refer you to "Simply Recipes" for a pictorial on how to prepare, cook and eat an artichoke.  This is exactly the way I do it except I've never added the garlic or a bay leaf to the steaming liquid; I might try that next time.  I also don't bother with all the pretty presentation trimming unless it's for company.

For the aioli:
2 cloves garlic
A couple of pinches of sea salt
1 cup mayonnaise
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp grated lemon peel
A pinch of cayenne pepper

Using a mortar and pestle (I use my molcajete, you could use a bowl and the back of a spoon) smash the garlic with the salt until it forms a smooth paste.  Add all the rest of the ingredients, mix well and chill (I said it was easy : )

Serve the artichoke leaves with the chilled aioli.


Wordless Wednesday ... Escape Attempt!


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Seasonal Cooking ... Thai Beef Salad

You are going to be seeing a lot more recipes appearing on my blog now that my garden is getting into production mode ... I hope you don't mind : )

I have a lot of lettuce ready to harvest ...

... and I have beef left over from last night's dinner; so it's "Thai Beef Salad" for lunch ...

The Ingredients

For the dressing :
1 tsp grated lime peel
4-5 Thai chili peppers, finely minced (I used the pickled ones I grew last summer)
Juice of 2 limes (about 1/4 cup)
1 tbsp Thai fish sauce
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

Mix the lime juice, fish sauce and sugar in a small bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves.  Whisk in the canola and sesame oils to form a vinaigrette and stir in the minced chilies and lime peel.

For the salad :
Lettuce for 2 servings of salad (leaf or romaine)
4 radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, peeled and sliced
5 or 6 Thai basil leaves, shredded
8 ounces thinly sliced beef

Place the lettuce on a plate and top with the onions, radishes, cucumber and shredded basil.  Arrange the beef on top of the salad and add dressing or serve it on the side ...


Where There's A Will ...

I thought I might explain a bit about my weather rant in my Sunday post.  I've lived in the Pacific Northwest for 20 years ... you either learn to live with the weather or you move back to California.  I've done a pretty good job of making  "The Farm" impervious to the weather ...

But "The Garden" is another story ...  this area is my "edible landscaping" ... edibles mixed with ornamentals in a garden setting.  It is on the lake side of the house and gets the brunt of the wind and rain and is not as easily protected as "The Farm".  I had the top two beds of the terrace garden covered with low hoops ...

... but the tomatoes it the top bed were getting too large ... they needed some support and protection from wind and rain ....

So what's a Northwest gardener gonna do?  Grumble about the weather for a while ... sit and think for a while ... wait for the first break in the rain and then grab some wire, and some bamboo stakes ...

...and some plastic sheeting and some twine ...

...get all three tomato plants caged and covered ...

... and then run for cover because it's getting ready to rain cats and dogs again!

So now I'm sitting and thinking about how to cloche the "Three Sisters Plantings" in the wine barrels ...

I suspect it will have something to do with a lot more wire, plastic sheeting and twine ... the local hardware store should start giving me a "frequent flyer"discount!