Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Not What I Expected

Somehow, this is not what I envisioned when I set out to grow ground cherries. I know, they're related to tomatillos and that, but still. I was all set to give up on getting anything off those plants, because all the blooms kept dropping off with no result in sight until the other morning I turned the pot around and here was this thing. Huh. Maybe after a couple years of growing stuff my dweeb-a-riffic amazement at the things my plants do will fade, but I sorta hope not. I mean, this is really neat, to get surprises. Here's another view:

Also, purple basil has purple flowers. I still can't think of any reason to eat it, but I don't care any more. It's a really strange looking plant, and that pleases me.

And finally, more pictures of my nasturtiums blooming. These things get sunburned in the heat, so I took this picture early in the morning. By the time I get home the color has all gone out of them, it's the weirdest thing.

I have a ton of green tomatoes and lentils, there's gotta be something that calls for those two things somewhere...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

a close-up of the root crop

a close-up of the root crop, originally uploaded by Chinkypin.

I grew potatoes. I truly didn't think that when I dumped the bucket out, there would be anything at all in there, but I was wrong. Hooda thunk. I need to remember to thin my carrots more though, these got a little crowded, I believe.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Neon Food! With Minty Pea Sauce!

Yes, the real reason for this post is that the phrase "minty pea sauce" makes me snicker. And I saw a picture of these pickled eggs in the paper and had to try it. Not my most inspired moment of food styling, I have to say, but hey, it is eye-catching.

I love food that appears to have an unnatural color. Mostly, if it looks unnatural, it is. Especially if its blue. (I failed to grow any borage this year, so I have no blue food, but next year...) However: this here picture shows all 100% natural coloration. And it really is all that bright, no foolin.

Remember the beets from last week? I made beet pickles, and dropped some boiled (shelled) eggs in the extra pickle juice. It makes 'em taste like devilled eggs, but the pink part is what has the pickle-y flavor.

The recipes for the yogurt and the chutney can be found on my facebook pages and the rest goes like this:

Lazy Curry Chicken

2 or 3 chicken breast tenders
1/4 turmeric
1/2 tsp curry powder, I recommend hot
salt & pepper
olive oil

If you use frozen tenders, just throw them in a bowl and coat them with the marinade, and leave them in the fridge a couple days. Turn them once or twice to get them well coated with the seasonings, and wait'll they thaw. When you're ready to use them, put a dab of oil in a pan heated to medium. Put the tenders in with any marinade/juices and cover. Cook for 3-4 minutes, flip, turn heat off, cover, ignore until the rest of the meal is done. This method works for me because 1) I use a heavy skillet and 2) I use an electric stove which takes a minute to cool down.

Bright Yellow Pilaf

1/2 cup white rice
1/2 cup red lentils
pat of butter
broth concentrate
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp paprika

Rinse rice & lentils well, add 1 1/2 c. water and the other stuff and cook as you usually would. This method makes the lentils disintegrate, if you want them to stay whole, cook the rice about halfway then stir in the lentils.

and....dun dun DUN!

Minty Pea Sauce!

It isn't really that exciting, sorry. Microwave 1/2 cup frozen peas with 1/3 cup water just barely until they are bright green and tender. Put them in a blender or mini food processor with 4 mint leaves and grind the bajeebus outta them. Add the tiniest pinch of salt. This isn't to make it taste salty, it just makes it taste more interesting. Truly, it works. The sauce will still taste sweet and have a cooling sensation, but it won't be flat and blah. This stuff is actually great with the yogurt.

Here's the eggs again, just because they look neato. Oh and those bright orange things in the other picture are nasturtium petals... They were just..orange, ok?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mango For You

Another salad. What th'heck was in it....ok.

A Radish

Dressed with a tablespoon each lemon juice, cider vinegar, and olive oil.

Half a dozen minced parsley and mint leaves.

Tiny pinch of salt.

It's ok if the mango isn't totally ripe for this, but it should be reasonably sweet.

Oh yeah- that's my yogurt again.

strawberries and yogurt

strawberries and yogurt, originally uploaded by Chinkypin.

The yogurt turned out expecially well this week. I think it was because I used whole milk , and I had a fresh starter. Note to self: be nice to your microorganisms, or they will get sour and grumpy. I'm pretty happy with the strawberries too, I can't think what I had against strawberry plants before.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Kalesagne, originally uploaded by Chinkypin.

And here is the picture of it.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Ok, I really like kale. Especially the bumpy kind. You know, the one they call dinosaur kale at Fred Meyer, and Lacinato Kale at the farmer's market. This is another lazy-ass lasagne recipe, by way of cabbage rolls. Cabbage rolls are another thing I love, but if I'm too lazy to make a proper lasagne, you know I'm never gonna make cabbage rolls. And meatloaf. Meatloaf is ideal lazy people food. Here's how it goes:

2 small or one large bunch of bumpy kale.
1/2 lb ground beef
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1 small onion
1 unit beef broth concentrate
1, 8-oz can tomato sauce- I used Goya brand, it's a bit spicy
1/3 cup, more or less, ketchup
a pinch of pumkin pie seasoning
about 1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
salt & pepper

Put the kale leaves, whole, in a pan big enough to fit them all, add about a half cup water and the broth concentrate. Cook at medium-low, lightly covered. Turn occasionally, until the leaves are pretty tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. You aren't really either boiling or steaming them.

Meanwhile, mince up the onion and put it in a heavy bottomed saucepan with the beef. Cook at medium, and when the juices start rendering out of the beef, add the worcestershire, pepper and and pumkin pie spice. When the meat is done, add the tomato sauce, ketchup and rice. Check to see if it's salty enough.

Divide the kale and the filling into thirds, layer in a dish starting with the kale. Top with a little extra ketchup if you like. (I do like.) Bake at 375 until it's brown at the edges, about an hour.

Some things to know:

  • This quanity will make a small pan. I should have used my littlest casserole dish, but the kale leaves were deceptively fluffy.
  • There's no reason to cook the beef mix first. You could put all the raw filling ingredients together and layer it with the braised kale, but you'd have to bake it longer to compensate for the liquid that evaporates when you fry the meat first. I'm gonna try that next time.
  • You need a sharp knife to serve with, kale leaves are tougher than noodles. A longer cooking time might be an advantage here.
Oh! and speaking of which, I got lotsa cool stuff at the farmer's market this week. The berries didn't last past Sunday night, neither did the baby squash. Wait'll I get pictures of what I used the beets for, it's quite a thing.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cotton tunic

Cotton tunic, originally uploaded by Chinkypin.

Cotton tunic

This is a copy of a vintage men's shirt, possibly a costume, which was given to me by my sister. The original is made in a heavy, striped ticking material. I made this out of white batiste, because I wanted something lightweight and summery that was very relaxed and comfortable, but still elegant. It looks much stiffer on the mannequin than it really is, due to the mannequin having much squarer shoulders than me.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Alpine Strawberries

IMG_0318, originally uploaded by Chinkypin.

They are small and seedy, but I grew them. And my new camera has a pretty good macro function.

Cahloo! Calay! O! Frabjous Pastrycream!

Well, maybe. It sure was tasty, but it was another case of me not being able to follow a simple plan. By which I mean, recipe. To wit-

Pastry cream
2 cups milk
1/4 cup white sugar
2 egg yolks 1 egg
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a heavy saucepan, stir together the milk and 1/4 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and egg. Stir together the remaining sugar and cornstarch; then stir them into the egg until smooth.
When the milk comes to a boil, drizzle it into the bowl in a thin stream while mixing so that you do not cook the eggs. Return the mixture to the saucepan, and slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly so the eggs don' t curdle or scorch on the bottom.
When the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, remove from the heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla, mixing until the butter is completely blended in. Pour into a heat-proof container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming.Refrigerate until chilled before using.

Improved version: Sub half and half for milk. Sub equal weights powdered sugar omit cornstarch Use double boiler whisk sugar and eggs together until quite smooth. Whisk in half and half. Put it all in double boiler, whisk constantly until rather thick. More egg yolk would make it firmer and richer, more starch would make it firmer but lighter. Treat as above to finish.

Improved? Hard to say, but lots simpler. I should have made the custard last night, because it never set properly in the amount of time I had, which resulted in a mishap on the way to St. Johns where it was, fortunately, eaten.

I realized later that the original instructions calling for starch say to boil it because cornstarch is not activated unless it is brought to a boil. The whole starch thing seemed odd in a custard, after all I think the point is to have a rich, indulgent cream for special occasions, like independence day. Next time, it's getting another yolk.

Ha, I almost forgot the crust recipe, which is one I have used before.

2 1/2 c flour

3T sugar

1 c butter

4T ice water

2 egg yolks

1/2 tsp salt.

make as for any pastry crust. And if you make a crust that gets baked before it's filled, do realize that it will shrink substantially, which is another thing I failed to account for. Oh, darn, there is leftover pastry cream, what shall I do?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Nasturtiums, originally uploaded by Chinkypin.

My nasturtiums are finally blooming! I thought they never would. They taste pretty good too.