Tuesday, June 25, 2013

At the Garden

After a week of neglect, I finally went to my garden plot after work yesterday and gave it some much-needed TLC. It has been raining off and on all week, hence the neglect--when I don't have to water, I stop by less often. But now it was time not only to do some weeding and tidying, but a bunch of harvesting too! Seems like everything is ready to eat all at once. Mom and I harvested a few turnips and the broccoli heads when she was here two weekends ago, but this time I got the mother lode, or at least that's what it feels like! Now my fridge is full to bursting with delicious fresh things, and it makes me feel rich.

My riotous and slightly messy plot, pre-cleanup. Green green green!

I love the color of this cabbage. 

Chamomile frenzy.

The peas had gone from teeny-tiny to so big and numerous that the trellis had a significant lean to it.

And my harvest: 

Sad tiny leeks, but hopefully still delicious. I see soup in my near future.

The first of the Red LaSodas. I had them for dinner, boiled served with butter, salt and chives. There are few things better than new potatoes. Can I get an "amen"?

Beautiful lush cilantro. Fresh salsa, ahoy!

Bringing it all home. I think I need a second saddlebag...

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Turnip Experiment

Before two weeks ago, I had never eaten a turnip. I attempted to grow some last year with no success, but had been seduced by a pretty seed packet that warned me against the hazards of a "turnipless" garden. But this year I planted a patch of them early in the spring, and pulled up the first ones a couple weeks ago. They are very pretty, if a little worm-eaten.

I also had no experience cooking turnips. The first couple I threw into a veggie bake with their skins on, and while they were okay, they were still very pungent. So with the next batch, I went to my trusty Fanny Farmer cookbook for help. Her recipe was easy and perfect. Peel the turnips and cut them into chunks, throw them into a pot of boiling water for 8-10 minutes until they are soft (but not too soft) when stabbed with a fork.

Drain them, throw them in a bowl, and toss them with a tablespoon of butter, some chopped parsley, and some salt. They are divine. In the process of boiling, they go from being tart and radish-y to being light and sweet with just a touch of crispness left, rich and so very tasty. I'm completely sold. Easy to grow, delicious to eat. Anyone have other good turnip recipes to share? 

Monday, June 17, 2013


I was officially hooded as a Master of Public Health on Friday morning, and spent a long weekend having a blast with my mom and celebrating with various groups of friends. I feel incredibly blessed, totally satiated, and a little overwhelmed by all the celebrating and the long lead-up to graduation. After a day or two of recovering from it all, I'll be back to regularly scheduled programming. There will be blogging about food and gardening, enjoying having a social life, doing summer-y things, and job searching as I work on beginning my new career. I am so excited to be joining this field and all the amazing people who work in it. A million thankyous to everyone, far and near, in person and virtual (hey-o, blog readers!), who has supported me in this endeavor and put up with any whining I engaged in along the way! I couldn't have done it alone.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Easy Cinnamon Swirl Bread

I've decided that with all my newly found spare time, much more time will be devoted to cooking and baking interesting things, branching out from the standby meals I've been repeating with so much regularity over the past few months. This is a really easy way to make a nice breakfast treat out of regular bread, in only a few extra minutes of labor. It's a modified version of the cinnamon bread my dad makes:

Use any standard bread recipe to make this cinnamon loaf. As I've noted multiple times, I use Rhonda's bread recipe (Beginner's Loaf). I've had it memorized for at least a couple years now. Since I've been living alone, I double it and make two loaves every other weekend, and put one in the freezer for the second week.

After letting the dough rise the first time, punch it down, and instead of forming it into a standard loaf, use a rolling pin to roll it out into a rectangle (I used my double batch to make one regular loaf and one cinnamon loaf). Depending on the consistency of dough, getting it to flatten out will take a little bit of work.

Once the dough is rolled out, smear it with a thin layer of butter, and sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar. It's up to you how much to use- it doesn't take much to make it taste good! It depends on how decadent you want it be. Cardamom is delicious here too. You can also sprinkle it with raisins, nuts, or other dried fruit.

Once you have the toppings on, roll it up so that the cinnamon & sugar make a spiral, and this will form the loaf.

Let rise in the pan and bake as you would with a regular loaf. Easy peasy!

This is such a nice treat for breakfast, and also makes excellent French toast!