Thursday, January 20, 2011

Howdy. I'm back from space.

So, I've been missing in action...again. Sorry for that friends & followers. First thing is first- Happy New Year. I want to say THANK YOU- to all of my wonderful supporters. I got a lot of messages asking about the sudden blog disappearance, and I appreciate all the feedback and encouragement. So here I am. Back. I have so much stuff I want to blog about, and I definitely don't want to lose you, dear readers. I'm going to try to keep it on the regular around here.

In my absence, there's been some travel, some cooking, a few season changes, and of course tons of eating and hard work. I want to wipe the slate clean for 2011. New year, new beginnings, lotsa blogging. So, shall we begin? The garden. Sort of ironic to be giving the final garden update as I sip tea, my feet are literally frozen on my kitchen floor and I gaze out to a sunny, biting cold, -22, snowcovered backyard. 

Here's how it all shook down in Eden. It was a great summer- and there was an impressive show of veg out there. The squirrels were the real winners this summer. See, we got a new puppy right around harvest time (more about him in a bit)- and the little guy loved to cool down, shaded between plants, in the earth, by the tomatoes - so I had to cool it with the super power cayenne dustings as a form of critter protection... Because nothing says "welcome home puppy" like a flaming hot dose of cayenne in his baby face. 

I'm also worn down, and exhausted, by all the energy I had to spend hating on, and plotting against, my rodent fence dwellers. I need to find a way for us to all co exist, & it's time to bring peace to the battle of the backyard that I had so doggedly declared. I figured out that if I plant a ton of tomatoes (which I did)- there will be more than enough to go around for both myself and the squirrels. If you can't beat 'em, feed 'em...right? Next years plan? Lots of tomatoes (again), and a new (peaceful) plan to protect the (very few) raspberries & other high value crops (I even saw the beggnings of strawberries but they were plucked by the little rodent burglars before even turning red).  That's not too much to ask for. Raspberries should multiply exponentially by next summer, as raspberries do, but those suckers are 6 bucks a carton at the market, and since Im a berry addict, I need to salvage as many as I can from the backyard wildlife.

Enough to share

The zucchini flowers a.k.a squash blossoms a.k.a little morsels of heaven were just amazing and plentiful. They are, without a doubt- one my absolute favourite vegetables. I dream about making my stuffed zucchini blossom pasta. First, remove the little pollen bud in the center. A little chevre mixed with herbs (from the garden), a pinch of salt & pepper- stuff the flowers, twist them shut...batter those babies up tempura style, and fry  (I like to fry them in Canola or peanut oil).  Serve them with spaghetti & fresh tomato sauce, throw in a little sauteed zucchini (use zucchini that has been clipped from the flower, female flowers grow right at the tip of a zucchini, and male grow as independent flowers with stems right from the base of the plant- both are equally delicious & edible). This summer, an italian guest at one of my events, came into the kitchen to tell me my dish reminded me of how his mom used to make it for him in Italy- just the same, and perfectly authentic. A true & touching compliment for an italophile like myself. I'll post this recipe on my website soon. When these beautiful wonders are in season- I love to make them for my clients, and I do it almost every day. On pasta, on pizza, or as a crispy appetizer treat, I am in love, and it's serious. 

Eggplants (of every shape and size), zucchinis, squash blossoms, herbs, tomatoes & lettuces all fared extremely well. we even had a iny weeny little watermelon sprout up, amazing & cute (which then got half eaten by a critter, obviously). The only thing that failed completely were the artichokes- didn't see a single one, nor did we see grapes or blueberries, but because the plants are only only due to fruit next year

Watermelon!! (and look at the microscopic ones to the right!!!)

Sidebar about our puppy: Meet Roman. He's delicious & growing fast. Poor guy got his man parts snipped this week- and he isn't enjoying the lampshade as a fashion accessory.

What does the boychick eat? An important question in our house, since what and when we'll be eating next always seems to be on the brain. I cook Urban Wolf for him (more like I cook chicken, an egg, and add the Urban Wolf mix). It's pretty simple, and amazing stuff. I did a ton of research before deciding to do that, making sure it was legitimately the right choice (it is more work than pouring kibble out of a bag, so you need to be sure of the decision) and I don't regret it one bit. When I'm between UW batches, or if we're on the go with no refrigeration, NOW! puppy kibble is the next best thing I could find.  Here are some pics- I tried to pick just a few...but it's hard to narrow it down when you have 25000 to choose from. I don't know if I'm more camera or puppy obsessed- but it's a dangerous combination. So, instead enjoy a mini album ;)

 How we found him at the breeder (cooling off in a brick)

...And we became a family.


1 comment:

  1. OMG. Welcome back. I don't know what's more beautiful. Those fried flowers on that yummy looking pasta or little Roman romping with a stick in his mouth. Only someone so gentle and sensitive would worry about the critters while they devour your hard work. You're the best!