Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Best Weekend of the Year, so far... Gardening and cooking!

Oh, it was so beautiful up here in Seattle this weekend.  All of us pasty PNWers went around sporting sunglasses, sunblock, and sailboats.  Lou and I spent Saturday afternoon visiting our sick cat Howie at the vet, then did a bit of food shopping before hitting a yard sale on the way home at this cool, 1924 Mobil gas station-turned homestead on Rainier Avenue, which was being sold off by the family.  It was built with smooth rocks from Lake Washington,  It was sad that the family gave it up, but we heard some interesting stories about the history of the place (we'd been fascinated with it for years), and I got a huge wicker chest (for keeping fabric tidy), an old leather flask from Croatia, more vintage fabric for aprons, and a very swanky cheese shaver. $11 total.

On a whim, we followed signs right in our neighborhood to an estate sale.  It was wild.  It was a very nice home in a great neighborhood (six blocks from our house) that was owned by a recently-deceased 97-year-old man who was a major hoarder.  Heartbreaking.  I found his wife's wedding dress, which she made herself.  If there had been a square inch of harvestable material, I would have bought it, just to keep it alive.  She appeared to have made all of her own clothes, since nothing had tags.  Lucky for me, she left TONS of fabric, and an enormous box of vintage trim and lace.  I bought the whole box of trim, and two boxes of fabric, which I will use for making aprons, dresses, and corsets.  Lou came away with a pair of beautiful oil lamps, and we got an antique-but-sturdy cultivator that looks like it belongs in a slasher flick.  Top down, we drove home and ate the rest of the Scotch Eggs that we'd made this morning.

Later this morning...

Gardening for all, except my uncle.  I don't think he's really a digging in the dirt kind of guy.  Neither am I, truth be told, but I have a snazzy pair of gardening gloves.  Mom and I transplanted a lot of the starter pots into the ground or in larger pots.  I hit McClendon Hardware's massive garden center on Thursday and went nuts.  McClendon is the only local hardware/garden chain in Seattle (I think they have three or four stores), so I'd feel guilty shopping anywhere else.  As long as I don't run into Scott, the weird paint department manager who has a creepy crush on me (we frequent the same brew pub).  We have about two dozen tomato plants (inventory list follows).  I like the sweet, small ones.  Mushy tomatoes aren't for me, although I did get a couple of larger starters.  I also set up sweet early corn and long pole beans to germinate (30 of each, 2 seeds per pod).  I found a plastic tray with 60 wells for starting seeds inside.  Awesome.

For those who don't know, everything I grow in my garden/kitchen window is edible.  Herbs, spices, fruits, and vegetables.  My goal is to be have a 75%/25% grown-to-purchase ratio by the end of the year.  There are some things that you just can't grow in a rain forest.

On Sunday, we hit the Fremont Sunday Market (not a farmers' market), and Lou got two snazzy Bruce Campbell shirts.  I came away with a new pair of gently-used black cowboy boots that actually fit my dancer's calves.

Bored in Fremont, and still in search of basil and sage plants, we headed over to the West Seattle Farmers' Market and got three types of basil, a purple sage, leeks, some ambitiously spicy salad mix, a bottle of hopped meads, and hit up Samish Bay Creamery for three different varieties.

So, now we have (I know I'll forget something):

  • Mammoth Dill
  • Rosemary (3 types: ARP, plain, and tangy BBQ)
  • Mint (7 varieties: spearmint, Moroccan, lemon, orange, chocolate, peppermint, and orange)
  • Thyme (caraway and lime)
  • French Tarragon
  • Marjoram (Hardy and gold-tipped)
  • Basil (Genovese, Amethyst (it's purple!), Thai, and Italian)
  • Oregano (Italian and Hot and Spicy)
  • Tri-Color (Purple) Sage
  • Italian Flat-Leaf Parsley
  • Cilantro/Coriander
  • Chives
  • Coriander
  • Fennel
  • Anise
  • Curry
I'm still looking for a place/way to grow cardamom in my kitchen, garlic, ginger, bay leaves, and, possibly, cinnamon.  Seattle rarely gets enough warm days for anything that grows in northern Africa or the Middle East, but I'll figure something out.

  • Carrots (F1 Hybrids and lovely mixed colors)
  • Swiss Chard Bright Lights (the stems and leaf veins come in hot pink, purple, red, and yellow - awesome in a salad. I have 4 starters, plus a big pot filled with rainbow stems that are rapidly coming up)
  • Squash:
    • Summer Squash
    • Yellow Squash
    • Squash
    • Acorn Squash
    • Table Queen Squash
    • Crooked Neck Squash
    • Butternut Squash
    • Gold Rush Squash (we really love squash around here)
    • Zucchini (I know, technically a squash)
    • Zucchino (crispy, round zucchini for salads and snacking)
  • About 2 dozen small to medium sweet tomato plants, all
  • Peperone
  • Crunchy, sweet variety 6-pack of colorful "Mini Belles" bell peppers
  • Pumpkins
  • Spinach
  • Spring Onions
  • Walla Walla Onions
  • Green Onions (Kincho)
  • Bistro Salad Mix (pretty, tasty, and spicy)
  • Green Peppers
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Corn, Early Sweet
  • Long Pole Beans
  • Chives
  • Aubergine
  • Celery
  • Poblano Peppers
  • Bell Peppers, California Wonder Sweet
  • Shallots (Saffron)
  • Pimento
  • Broccoli
  • Strawberries (3 plants, two are Ozark Beauty)
  • Tomatoes (2-8 plants of each variety):
    • Sweet 100s
    • Romas
    • Sweet Millions
    • Sun Gold Cherry
    • Super Sweet 100s
    • Yellow Pear Tomatoes
    • Taxi (Yellow)
    • Sun Gold
    • Oregon Spring
    • Early Girl
Thanks to Mom for helping me garden, and to Lou for helping with this inventory.

Zanne Rose, 5/3/2011

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Scram, bitch, I'm on a break.

Recent Meals

  • Grilled (in the rain) marinated top sirloin w/my Steak Frite and London Pub Sauce
  • Fried chayote
  • Roasted aubergine, zucchini, and yellow squash
  • Soft garlic sandwich rolls, and we made meatball sandwiches
  • Sirloin rubbed with cardamom-laced Turkish coffee
  • Chocolate truffles w/rum and bourbon
  • Petit fours
  • Florentine cookies drizzled with chocolate
  • 13-Bean soup w/parmesan rind and leftover ham
  • Apple spice cardamom muffins
  • Guinnes-injected pot roast
  • Cran-blueberry corn muffins
  • Spaghetti and meatballs - basic, but always a hit in this house
  • Hummus w/roasted garlic, olive, red pepper, and smoked paprika
  • Veggie stirfry w/julienned baby carrots, green peppers, garlic, chickpeas, and balsamic, served over Chinese Black Forbidden Rice
  • Ginger-carrot cake
  • Ginger cranberry mojito
  • Lime-cranberry-mint-strawberry seltzer
  • Lavender-mint iced tea
  • Trip to Beirut: Shish taouk, shish kebab, halvah, garlic naan, rice pilaf w/figs, raisins, and pecans, w/my famous lemon-mint-garlic Lebanese potatoes
  • London Broil w/a wilted spinach and mustard green salad with a bacon, balsamic, and mustard dressing
  • Sweet and red potato pancakes w/zucchini and peppers w/chicken apple sausage
  • Italian wedding soup w/homemade croutons and meatballs
  • "Rock the Casbah" Cardamom, Ginger, Apple Pork Roast w/Armadillo Rice (for you fans of The Clash who remember the cover of Combat Rock)
  • Individual Quiche Lorraine
  • Prosciutto-wrapped beef cubes w/mustard pan sauce
  • Chicken Sausage w/garlic naan and dijon mustard - Lou and I were really drunk.
  • Salt potatoes, mixed fingerlings, lightly mashed, with lot of butter
  • Focaccia w/garlic, onions, mozarella and cherry tomatoes
  • Rosemary and lavender bread
  • Spicy greens and spinach salad w/fresh mozzarella pearls, strawberries, and a strawberry vinegarette
  • Polenta casserole w/cheese and squash baked IN acorn squash halves