I have been meaning all year to send you to my husband's blog. This idea started in January. He is meant to be journaling (at least) weekly and recounting his garden adventures. Prep work. Planting. Growing. Harvesting. Cooking. Canning. And, bless his heart, we thought for two months this spring we might be moving and the garden went in late, then family came to visit twice and summer is his busy season at work. Oh, we are still gardening, and he has taken copious pictures, but the writing part has been a bit neglected. I think he still loves the idea, and maybe with mobile blogging he'll post more regularly.
After an amazingly successful dinner tonight I decided it was time to post some of this stuff myself. Here I am, complete with the Florence Henson hairflip, the 1950's apron made lovingly by my mother. And barefoot. But decidedly NOT pregnant. Probably I'm just loaded up on good food.
For the 4th of July, the kids did their second annual produce and goodie stand. Jedi Knight worked in the garden for a couple of hours to help Plantboy get everything harvested and ready to go.
This is before the sale. I still have tons of onions, garlic and shallots drying on the back patio that I just use whenever. Because it has been hot this summer, our peas and beans didn't do nearly as well as they normally do, and the potato plant tops died off early, so while there are potatoes in the ground, they aren't really growing. Still, with all the sunshine and heat, the tomato crop is looking to be a bumper one. Every year brings a different experience and new things to learn. I think part of the reason Plantboy enjoys the garden so much is for the challenge of it.
This was last Sunday's dinner offering: Crockpot roast, balsamic pesto, string vegetables over farfalle pasta. The roast was cooked in Plantboy's Italian style stewed tomatoes that he canned last fall. The pesto was made with basil and shallots from the garden. I used a cool shredder tool on three colors of carrots, zucchini and yellow summer squash (all from our garden) for the pasta. The pesto went on top of the pasta and veggies, but they were too pretty to photograph with anything covering them. When you add the vinegar to your pesto it loses some of that pretty green color, but it gains a huge amount of flavor. There are also red peppers in with the veggies, but not ours yet. We still have a couple of weeks to go on peppers.
This next meal is Plantboy's fresh caught salmon with two types of quinoa. The veggies include carrots and orange squash (cubed, purchased) that I roasted together in a pan with a teaspoon or two of brown sugar. There is also asparagus and roasted beets. This year we planted nearly all yellow beets because they can be cooked with other food without making everything turn purple!
This next one is so pretty I could hardly stand to eat it. The meat is from my crockpot cookbook and is called chicken Provencal. Cook the chicken in a can of stewed Italian tomatoes (again, I used Plantboy's) and a can of paste. Add salt, pepper, onions and garlic to taste. About an hour before serving throw chopped red and yellow pepper. In the middle are Israeli couscous. Good luck finding these bad boys, but I think they are worth it. Market of Choice used to sell them in bulk, but this time around we had to buy them in a bag and they were pricey. They are just like huge couscous. They are awesome with Mediterranean food or to make into a lemony-pine nut pasta salad. Hot or cold. Whatever. The veggies here are shredded zucchini and yellow squash topped with fresh Parmesan. I sauteed them in olive oil for about three minutes. Fresh basil. Of course.
Padawan has taken to calling this pie Pentaberry Pie, rather than the traditional Razzleberry pie because it has FIVE different berries. Marion, rasp, blue, straw and black. Awesome. Just awesome. I followed the recipe I posted here before but used a deep dish pie plate and added about 50% more berries and corresponding flour and sugar. I also made a regular dish . . . which, truthfully baked up a little better. But honestly, there were two solid inches of berries in this thing when it was cooled and cut. It was so pretty I wanted to cry.
This next meal is boiled garden potatoes--two varieties, just whatever we had, fresh blueberries (picked at a local farm; our garden doesn't produce a lot all at once), green beans locally grown and Plantboy's salmon grilled with a hint of brown sugar and purple onions. His dipping sauce is one we found at Costco. Habenero something or other. I made my pulled pork in the stuff last weekend and it was pretty much the best ever.
How is a dinner list complete without breakfast-dinner? Eggs and bacon NOT grown in the backyard. Not a real animal person here. Fingerling potatoes boiled for a few minutes and then fried in butter and olive oil with fresh shallot and rosemary. The waffle is a to-die-for liege waffle topped for dinner and not dessert--avocado, strawberries, and feta. There was a drizzle of reduced balsamic and/or olive oil for the waffle too. And if you've never had berries and feta in reduced balsamic, well, then, you aren't a true foodie yet.
I end up with about ten of these pictures every year. Plantboy gets his carrots all harvested, cleaned and lined up and can't help but take pictures. If you are already growing carrots, then get a packet of COLORED carrot seeds next year. Really. It will make you so happy. And if you aren't growing carrots, then, seriously, get on it. What are you waiting for? These beauties are actually no bigger than my index finger. They were the ones Plantboy pulled up when he had to thin the crop. I didn't peel them (too small); I sauteed them as-is. Tops and everything. So lovely. That is a bit of spinach hanging out over on the side. In April and May we had garden salad just about every night.
The only thing from the garden here is probably the purple onion . . . we made these a little early in the season for them to be from our garden. Those are sweet potatoes (or yams or whatever you call the red garnet ones), not carrots. I boiled the s.p. and the red potatoes for a couple of minutes before skewering them. It is okay to point out here that somebody with skewers this organized probably has obsessive-compulsive disorder. Yeah. I know.
An early strawberry harvest. During June we were picking almost this many about every three days. We picked up at a local u-pick farm also so that there were plenty for jam and smoothies for the next several months.
Okay, okay, these next two have absolutely nothing to do with the garden, and everything to do with processed sugar, but they are just so cute. I discovered a new kind of food coloring called color gels that are so much better than regular food coloring. The colors are more vibrant and there is no bitter taste. The Youngling got an Oregon Ducks cake for his birthday and Padawan took a Cookie Monster cake to the Blue and Gold banquet. The best part about Cookie Monster is that he was just as blue inside!
This little creation is called Jarfait. Plantboy and I had this at a delightful restaurant in Newport in June, and then I came home and made up my own version. It is basically a personal trifle. I layered angel food cake, homemade custard (not too sweet) with blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries from the garden. Oh, yeah, everybody loves a Jarfait.
The kids are getting to be better pickers. This was our u-pick haul in about 45 minutes at the farm. Plantboy found out when they were going to be the most "on" and he came home at lunch one day to help us. Freezer jam for a whole year, baby!
This has been a wonderful year for our harvest. In every way. Although I'm beginning to feel the pressure that comes from beginning a new job and making life changes, I'm also feeling enormously blessed for the life we have here in Oregon. There is so much to see and do and love here. Happy eating!