Thursday, July 21, 2011

Just so you know, the tart cherries soaked in maraschino liqueur are not as tasty as the sweet cherries.

That is all.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What Not To Do During A Heatwave

Harvest garlic.

It was certainly a chore, but I pulled the rest of the garlic. The leaves were looking so brown and dried out, I was certain that if I left them in the ground much longer, there wouldn't be any wrappers left to protect the cloves. Because I have today off and this is the only day in the next week & 1/2 that I could possibly get the job done, I knuckled down and did it.

I planted 10 different varieties this year. I'm not sure how many bulbs I have--somewhere just under 100. They're all drying in the basement. Smells incredible in here!

Man, I'm exhausted.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Good n Fruity

Since the heat chased me out of the garden at about noon, I've been at a loss as to what to do with myself.

We have an almost embarrassing amount of fruit on hand, and I figured I'd better use some of it up before it becomes compost. This afternoon, I've made:

More Luxardo maraschino-soaked cherries

A delicious cherry cobbler

Garden Update

It's waaaay too hot for me to work in the garden any longer today, so I'll just talk about it.

I finally weeded & mulched the corn. I'm hoping there's enough mulch to keep the soil damp and to ward off the weeds while we're gone on vacation.

Yesterday, I picked the first of the green beans. I picked another fistful today. Soon we'll have enough to feed the entire neighborhood. Oh yeah, I picked the first cucumber today. There are dozens of little fruits on the plants. Soon they'll be plentiful as green beans.

No tomatoes yet. A few of the Egg Yolk cherries looks as if they're almost ripe. Might be ready by the end of the week.

I've pulled up a baker's dozen garlic plants thus far. The bulbs are looking very good. I'm both afraid to pull up the rest because I'm not sure they're ready and afraid to leave them in the ground because they might not hold until we get back from the cabin. What a dilemma! Anyway, here's a photo of some I pulled yesterday:

Inchelium Red, Simonetti, and Chesnok Red

Something has been nibbling on the edamame and green bean plants. Yesterday, I found not one but two little bunnies in the garden, so I guess that mystery is solved. Next spring we'll have to reinforce the (not-so) bunny-proof fence.

What other critters are messing with our goodies? The squirrels and/or chipmunks have been taking bites out of the young zucchini fruit. You'd think by now they'd remember they don't like it. And something--probably one of those damn raccoons--checking an ear for ripeness, has already pulled down and ruined one corn plant. Man, I really hate those raccoons. Maybe we should get a dog, feed it nothing but raccoon meat, and then leave it in the garden.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cherry Picking

I made homemade maraschino cherries. Home run! I have no words for how delicious they are.

Homemade maraschino cherries are shamefully easy to make: Put cherries in jar. Cover with (Luxardo) maraschino liqueur. Wait at least 3 days.

I made these about a week ago. I used sweet cherries--although I understand tart are preferred by some--and I left the pits and stems alone. (I had wanted to pit them and leave the stems intact, but I made a mess of the cherries, so I gave up.) I've used them in a few bar drinks--just now had a few in a rye & ginger--but they're good all by themselves or in plain ginger ale. I almost wish they didn't have liquor, 'cause they're so delicious that I could eat them all the time! I'd love to be able to snack on them at work--but I'll have to settle for the unboozed Door County sweet cherries that I so adore.

Next cocktail attempt? Maybe homemade creme de violette. (To make Aviation cocktails for my Dearest O.)


Sunday, July 10, 2011

It All Started With a Radish

Doesn't this look good?

It's not my own creation, I'm afraid. I was looking for something to make with some of the daikon radish in the garden, and I found a recipe for miso-marinated salmon with cucumber-daikon relish on Epicurious. I liked it right off the bat, and I had all the ingredients on hand except the salmon.

I didn't tweak the recipe much. I didn't have enough fresh ginger-don't know how that happened--so I used what I had, and I skipped the green onions. Still, it turned out very well. I think the leftover rice-edamame and relish will make for a decent work lunch, too.

Daikon is one of the vegetables I grow "just 'cause." In the case of daikon, I grow them just 'cause they remind me so much of Japan. (Daikon is ubiquitous in Japan and Japanese cooking.) I've been growing them for 3 or 4 years now, but this is the first year I've gotten to harvest any worth eating--skip this next part if you don't want a gross image in your mind--because the root maggots usually get to them first. (I warned you!) The ones I harvested are still small--in Japan the grow them the size of small children--but I pulled them early both to thin out the row and to make sure I got some before the bugs ruined them all.

It's almost 8:00, and there's a lot of tomato-pruning, weed-pulling, bean-staking and whatnot to do today, so that's all for now.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy 4th!

I am enjoying the heck out of the long weekend. Hope you are too.

I spent a few hours on Saturday and most of yesterday in the garden. It's a slow process, but I feel I'm finally making progress clearing the weeds & tidying everything up a bit. I'll take some new photos today & post them later.

Here's what I picked for breakfast:

My favorite way to eat raspberries is in the garden as I pick them. Those that make it in the house (and aren't eaten plain) usually end up stirred in to vanilla yogurt & topped with granola. Yum!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Where to Start?

Today's top priority is tending to the tomato beds. Weeding, mulching, pruning and staking. That should take all day.

The Good Old Summertime

I just finished lunch, which consisted of fresh peas from the garden and garden radish slices on crackers. I love summer and should move someplace where it never ends.

I LOVE PEAS! Love them! Some people think they don't like peas. I'm convinced they do; they've just never had peas prepared correctly. Good peas are as fresh as possible, preferably picked minutes before out of one's own garden. After shelling, saute peas for just a minute or so in butter. (No need to worry about the butter, you'll burn all the butter calories just shelling them.) Don't overcook--they shouldn't be mushy and should still "pop" when you bite into them. Sprinkle with salt & pepper, if desired. Devour.

I like radishes okay, but I don't LOVE them. I do love what radishes mean: Good things to come! Radishes are usually the first veggie ready to harvest in my garden and are one of the first veggies that show up at the farmers' markets. When you see radishes, you know peas and strawberries--and then tomatoes, corn, peppers, etc.--are on the way. Other reasons for a gardener to like radishes is that they're easy to grow and they're ready to harvest within about 28 days of planting seed, making them perfect vegetable to plant with kids.

I prepare radishes as simply as possible. I use (very thin) raw slices to top crackers smeared with cream cheese. Sometimes I add a sprinkle of salt & pepper. That's it. (I didn't have any cream cheese today, so I used butter instead and liked it just fine.)

I've never cooked radishes, but keep reading they're good that way. For dinner tonight, I'm going to saute some in butter and top with chives. I'll let you know what we think.

Friday, December 31, 2010



The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York


Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America

The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World

Happy New Year

Well, 2010 went by quickly, didn't it? Maybe I'll try to actually blog more in 2011. If you ask nicely, that is.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Gardening = Heartbreak

That does it. I'm going to give up the garden and spend next summer relaxing at a villa in Italy.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Vacation, Day One Continues

The day started out great (in the garden) and just got better.

Late morning, Dave, Sean and I headed out for Milwaukee. Our destination?: Growing Power, a 2-1/2 acre urban community farm. Having heard and read a lot about Growing Power and its founder Will Allen, I've wanted to visit for a very long time. GP lived up to my expectations.

We took the daily tour, given by the very knowledgeable and personable Mike. (I had secretly hope that this would be one of the days Will Allen was giving the tour, but because Mike was such an excellent guide, I quickly got over my disappointment.) Mike led us through greenhouses and hoophouses and fish tanks and worm bins all working together and laid out in a sensible and aesthetically pleasing way. Outside, he introduced us to goats and chickens and turkeys, and he showed off what appeared to be his pride and joy, the largest compost pile imaginable.

Whatever I write won't do Growing Power justice. I'm not a good enough writer* to describe how cleverly these folks use (and reuse) all the resources they have in order to grow enough food on this small piece of crappy urban land**, smack-dab in the middle of an economically depressed neighborhood, to feed 10,000 people. Even so, I've read about it and heard it described but couldn't quite envision how GP does what they do.

In a word: Skip Disneyland. Take the kids to Growing Power.

* Check My Dearest O's Drivel for a writeup. He's a much better (and more disciplined) writer than I am.
**They make ALL their own soil, so don't worry about the farm being on crappy land.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Vacation, Day One Begins

It's not yet 8:00am, and My Dearest O and I have already polished off the first pot of coffee. Ah, life is good...

I was out in the garden before breakfast. Here's what I picked: