Friday, February 26, 2010

Dark Days Challenge Week 15

I love the look of chopped red cabbage. Also like the way it tastes with my dressing on it.

This week there have been several meals that qualified for the challenge but all are things I've made and pictured before. I figured you didn't need to see another photo of flank steak or beef short ribs smothered in my BBQ sauce. We also had Butternut squash soup with chard and bacon.

I slow cooked a pork roast in white wine with Yukon gold potatoes and carrots.

So I did a lot of cooking but nothing seemed to stand out for a photo, except the red cabbage.

We are flying to St. Louis tomorrow for five days to see Mark and Julia. Looking forward to seeing their house and their new city. I will be back to finish the Dark Days Local Challenge, but I am looking forward to spring and summer vegetables. Aren't we all.
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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Signs Of Spring At My House

The pink blossoms are on our miniature peach tree, which rarely produces peaches but does a heckuva job of producing beautiful flowers.

Not quite sure what the white flowering trees are. Some are on our property; some on the neighbor's land. I took the photo from our back deck near dusk so they look pretty ethereal.

This, to me, is the best part of living in California. We don't have to wait too long for the spring blooms to appear. These photos were taken on Feb. 24. Every where I look there are blossoms.

The sun is out so it's time for some more gardening. Yesterday I fertilized my bulbs and trimmed a few things. Today I turn my attention to our orchard. It's only three trees, two apple and a pear that produces four kinds of pears. Anything more than one tree, in my mind, becomes an orchard. We get two days of rain after that so it's a good time to fertilize.
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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New Purse And iPhone

I love the purse and the phone. The purse means I still don't need a wallet. I still have plenty of room in the front pocket, under the heart, to store my new iPhone. It's not much bigger than my last Brighton bag that I had for five years.

Len waited on me again at the AT&T store. I reminded him that I was the person who had to find a new purse before I could get the phone. I showed him the purse; he thought it was excellent. Who knows what he will tell his wife tonight. We made sure the phone fit in it and then I bought it. Haven't spent this much money in one day in a long time.

Now I need to spend some time setting up my phone, which is also an iPod.
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Another Art Quilt

This one is another Rose Hughes pattern. It's 24 x 48 inches. Now that I've done two of her patterns, I'm ready to branch out and design one myself. I've been working on that about a week. The working title for that one is "Lily pads." It's 48 by 38 inches and is an abstract view of a pond (without algae for those of you who know what our ponds are like).

I was going to work on one depicting a cottage and its garden in the Cotswold but decided it was time to do my own thing.

If you click on this one you should be able to see more detail in the beading and embroidery.

Quilting Bee this a.m. and then off to search for the perfect purse for an iPhone, which I have yet to buy. Hopefully I'll find the purse and then get the phone.
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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dark Days Challenge Week 14

It was so wonderful to find asparagus at our farmers market on Saturday. At first I wasn't sure that I was seeing right. I looked at the sign over the vendors head...yes, local and, yes, organic.

So our Dark Days Challenge dinner featured the first asparagus of the season (simply steamed) along with barbecued flank steak smothered in homemade barbecue sauce.

Pretty simple meal but that's what being a locavore is all about...simplicity.

Went wine tasting today at a local winery. One of the owners is on the Placer County Ag Commission. We talked a lot about being locavores. This is not a huge winery. Both husband and wife have day jobs.

Met a woman there who didn't know about a local fishmonger who brings salmon, crab, shrimp and scallops fresh from Alaska and Baja. No farm raised fish. I recently heard that a South American fish farm (don't remember where) had some kind of disease. You know things are bad when even the fish are not healthy.

I think of the first asparagus as the harbinger of warm weather. And being a locavore is a harbinger of meeting many new people and sharing information. I'm glad we have year-round farmers markets.
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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Farmers Market Purchases

And yes, that's asparagus grown locally and organically. This is just one more reason to live on the West coast. Those slender little darlings will be part of our dinner tonight. Also got chard, leeks, carrots, apples, broccolini, popping corn, and red cabbage. This time it's a small cabbage so we won't spend a whole week eating it. The egg lady was sold out again; she gave me her phone number so I can call her next Friday to reserve a dozen eggs for Saturday.

I didn't include Kerry's purchase in the picture; he bought Kettle Korn. Mr. Diabetes bought a boat load of carbs.

It's cloudy here with a promise of rain and clouds for most of the week.

Monday we order our meat from the meat club. Gotta check the freezer to see what we need. I think I'll get my eggs there. Next Saturday we are flying to St. Louis to visit Julia and Mark so won't get to the market. Looks like a heat wave in St. Louis while we are there; highs in the low 40s.
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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dark Days Local Challenge Week 13

Up until this week I had fixed cabbage two ways: raw for cole slaw and boiled with corned beef.

Last weekend there was this beautiful green cabbage at the Farmers' Market that was calling out to me; I brought it home.

One of the recent Dark Day entries wrote about sweet and sour cabbage. Sounded really good. You are supposed to make it with red cabbage but all I had was my beautiful green one.

So I made it anyway; it was a little blah looking but it tasted great. I used bacon from Coffee Pot Ranch, cider vinegar, leeks and Splenda (not SOLE). Kerry recently has had some not very good glucose numbers. He had slipped back into his old eating habits so we have started cutting back on all things sugar. His doctor upped his meds, and now he's testing daily. I just hope he doesn't slip back again.

We had brined and BBQed pork chops, which were also from Coffee Pot Ranch, to go with the cabbage.

A great dinner with leftovers to feed us the next night.
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Friday, February 12, 2010

Fabric Art Quilt

I've shown parts of this before, but now it's hanging on the wall in my sewing studio. I have another one I've just finished but haven't hung yet.

Now I'm striking out on my own; my pattern not one from another quilt artist. This is so much fun. I love fabric.
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Sunday, February 07, 2010

Dark Days Challenge Week 12

Risotto is one of my favorite comfort foods even though it takes a lot of stirring to get it right. This one was made with homemade chicken stock, locally grown Kale, mushrooms, leeks and garlic, plus Parmesan cheese from Glen Canyon Creamery.

The bread was my first loaf using my new bread making book. Mark had told me that each batch is a bit different. The second loaf was denser but still delicious. Probably won't bake the third batch until tomorrow.

So that's Week 12. Taking Mark to the airport soon. Then Super Bowl festivities with friends.
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Friday, February 05, 2010

My First Loaf

The top photo shows it resting before going into the oven. The bottom photo is after baking for 30 minutes at 450 F. on my baking stone. Now it has to cool for a couple of hours; then we can taste. I'm just amazed at how easy the process is. The lop-sided nature of the finished bread is because I didn't make deep enough cuts in the dough on that side.

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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Easy Bread Making

The headline for my blog, I thought, was an oxymoron. I had tried to make bread and been very unsuccessful at it. But I still really wanted to make bread; it's the most nurturing thing you can do with food.

Mark and Julia (son and daughter-in-law) talked to me about a book they had discovered that made bread making easy: "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day."

Then they sent me a copy for my birthday. I read the book, agonized over it, and finally made my first batch of dough today. It was way too simple, I told Mark (he's here for a few days). But then the dough rose like it was supposed to. No kneading. Now it's in the refrigerator; yes the cold refrigerator.

Tomorrow morning I will break off a hunk of dough about equal to a grapefruit (1 pound for those of you with a scale) and put it in the oven. No pan, just a baking stone with lots of corn meal on it. I'll let you know what happens.
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