Friday, April 30, 2010

Whole Foods Whole Halibut Sale!

I got a massage today. I was all kinked and twisted up. Ahh...feels much better now. I just happened to stop in Whole Food to pick up some fruit. I wandered by the fish counter seeing what was on sale. I saw a flyer for their Whole Halibut Sale!

I thought it was a great deal but what do I know? Basically it's tomorrow only, Saturday, May 1st. They've flown in whole halibuts directly from Alaska. The guy told me they're small (relatively speaking of course), only 10-15 lbs. Hahaha, that's a lot of halibut! But you buy the whole halibut and it's $8.99/lb. They'll even cut it up for you into steaks or fillets. Awesome! Of course you won't get the 10-15 lbs of fish due to waste and such but I still thought it was a great deal! Halibut on sale is usually $12.99/lb. I called a friend to split it with me. I love halibut but that's a lot.

I placed an order with the fishmonger for pick up tomorrow. I went with the fillets. Mmm...yummy halibut this weekend!! I'll freeze it so I'll have some when the craving hits! I'll let you know what I cook up with these yummy fillets!

Gardening: DIY Container Gardening for Small Spaces

While surfing the net the other day, I found some awesome links to creative ways people have used small spaces to create their own home garden. Here's some great links.

This takes from the Topsy Turvy planters that they're now selling in the stores. I think this article also tells you which plants grow well upside-down. You can make you own planters out of 2 liter soda bottles or 5 gallon buckets!

These are great ideas for people who want to vegetable garden but don't have a lot of space. Ingenious I say! Talk about recycling and reusing!

Have fun with these ideas!

World's 50 Best Restaurants

The 9th edition of the "World's 50 Best Restaurants" list was released on Monday. It highlights the best of the best in the international culinary scene. Props to the US for making it on the list!

Check out the list here:
"World's 50 Best Restaurants"

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Gardening: Progress Report

It's the last week in April and the weather here in Oregon continues to be icky icky icky. I'm sure hoping the saying April showers bring May flowers holds true. It's rained almost every day since I got back from Las Vegas.

On Sunday we had a break in the rain. High of 67. I got to play outside for a while before work. I checked up on my plants. Here's what's growing thus far.

Some plums have grown from caper-sized to baby olive-sized. Here's hoping I get a few plums this year!

The peas I transplanted outside seem to be holding up. They're climbing the trellis (a good sign).
My seeds that I directly sowed into the soil are popping up. Here's the Bull's Blood Beets just peaking up above the surface. They're a pretty green-red.

My radishes are also popping up, although someone or something munched some of the green leaves. I think it's slugs. I slug baited around my raised beds just in case!
Here's some carrot tops just breaking the surface.

My strawberries seem to be doing well in the Topsy Turvy. I even have some flowers and potential fruit! I'm so excited! I can't wait for strawberries! Especially since I planted 4 different varieties!

My annuals are growing slowly. I can't wait till they're all in full bloom!

My peonies seem to be progressing. Last year there were only a few blooms on each of the 2 plants I have. This year I may get lucky. I can count about 1/2 a dozen or more blooms on a single plant.
The Korean lilac are plentiful. They're waiting (im)patiently for warmer weather.

The hostas are filling out nicely.
My front yard needs help. These annuals grew back but have been nibbled on (likely slugs again).

I took advantage of the nice weather to transplant my vegetable seeds into larger pots. The beans, squash and cucumbers were growing well. The close proximity in the seed starter tray led to overcrowding.

I set my edamame out in a larger pot. Once it starts to get warmer outside, I'll leave them out. I planted 3 in a large pot. I hope that's enough room for them.
Here's some of the beans, cucumbers and squash transplanted to larger pots. They now have room to stretch out and continue to grow.

The zinnia in this pot is doing well. There's also some snapdragons in the middle popping out. They're tiny right now.
These were the trays of flowers that I planted and left out. They haven't been given much TLC but have managed to grow some.

The pineapple sage make gorgeous red flowers. They're so pretty!

I can't wait for warmer weather!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Restaurant Rambling: Eleni's Estiatorio

It's been awhile since my trip to Greece. I've been on the lookout for a good Greek restaurant here in Portland. I like Alexis in downtown Portland. I came across Eleni's one day online. They specialize in Cretian cusine. While in Greece, I got to experience Crete. The food there (as with all of Greece) was fabulous!

I decided to check out this restaurant with a friend. I went to the Sellwood location.

I loved the decor in Eleni's. The walls were bright splashes of color. It was a warm and friendly atmosphere.

We were in luck as there was a special Happy Hour menu. I believe it was 5-7pm. It featured some $5 plates and house wines for $5. What a steal! We decided to share a few appetizers:

Spanakotyropita ($5) - spinach and Greek cheeses wrapped in homemade filo dough and baked until golden
Melitzanes Papoutzakia ($9) - Grilled eggplant stuffed with Cascade natural ground beef;spiced with cinnamon, cloves and garlic. Baked with feta cheese and a roasted tomato and red pepper puree.
Lamb kebab ($5) - lamb kebab served on a wonderful sauteed salad
Garides Chania ($9) - Wild Tiger prawns baked in a roasted tomato and red pepper puree with feta cheese.
The house red wine is the 2004 Skouros, St. George at $5 a glass. It's a medium bodied dry red wine from Nemea. It was excellent!

We had a great meal here! Everything we sampled that night was excellent. It brought back some awesome memories of my trip to Crete, Greece! I would definitely recommend this restaurant and will be back for another Happy Hour!

Eleni's Estiatorio (Sellwood neighborhood)
7712 SE 13th Avenue
Portland, OR 97202
ph: (503) 230-2165

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gardening: Veggie Seeds (Tray #2)-Day #13

I went to Las Vegas for the weekend to visit my brother and his family. The beans were just sprouting and about 1 inch tall when I left. I thought the plants would be okay for a few days. I watered them well and left. While on the plane to Vegas, I remembered that I still had the heating pad on underneath the seedlings. Oops...they'd for sure dry out by the time I got back. I was right. The soil was dry. Some of the seedlings were dry and dying but I was able to salvage most of them with some water and TLC.

My beans sure shot up in my absence. They were getting tall!! The cucumber and squash seeds were also doing really well.
I was pleasantly surprised to see my zinnias growing. Yeah!

What's Cooking?: Pork Guisantes (Pork, Peas & Pimentos)

While flipping through recipe cards at my brother and SIL's house, I noticed a recipe for pork, peas and pimentos. Yum! I haven't had that in a long time! Note to self, make it upon my return home.

I'm glad I remembered! This is a Filipino dish and formally called Pork Guisantes. Guisantes is "peas" in Spanish. This is such an easy dish to make. It's great as comfort food too!
Pork Guisantes
Adapted from a recipe on (contributor: Auntiekahala)
Serves: 6-8

3 lb boneless pork (I used a lean cut and less: about 1/2 lb. pork cutlets), cut into bite sized pieces
oil for cooking
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 medium chopped onion
1 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
2 bay leaves
15 oz. tomato sauce
8 oz. water (fill 1/2 tomato sauce can)
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 small package (about 10 oz.) frozen petite peas
1 jar (4 oz.) red pimentos

1) Cook sliced pork in a pot with a little bit of oil at medium to medium/high heat.
2) Add garlic and chopped onions, stirring to keep from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
3) When the pork is browned and onions are nearly translucent, add salt, pepper & bay leaves.
4) Add tomato sauce and stir well. Add water, sugar and red pimentos.
5) Simmer together for about 40 minutes. Add frozen peas and continue to simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
6) Remove from heat and serve over hot steamed rice.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Gardening: Veggie Seeds (Tray #2)-Day #3

Wow! Either I have some magic green thumbs or the heating pad on the bottom of the tray really works. For now I'm going to go with the heating pad rocks! It's only Day #3 of my second vegetable seed planting and lookie lookie! So far the greens, squash, cucumbers and beans are growing.

They're doing so well! I'm so excited!

Gardening: Unexpected sunshine

Today ended up being a beautiful day! It started out icky and cold but soon the sun came out to play. It was so sunny that I couldn't help but be productive! I got a lot done in the "garden" today.

I had purchased some herbs here and there to make my herb planter for this year. They were all waiting to be planted. Today was the day. I have:
Italian Oregano
Curly Parsley
Pineapple Sage
Fernleaf Dill
Mint Julep Spearmint

This is the Pineapple Sage flowers. They're tall red spikes. Very purty! In case you're wondering, the leaves really do smell like pineapple! I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the herb. I liked the smell and the flowers were pretty. The plant stake says to use it in teas. Maybe a pineapple sage iced tea? Sounds yummy!
I fertilized and composted around my poor plum tree. My dad and I planted it last year and it didn't make fruit. This year there were flowers in March. I called my dad the other night to ask, "What the heck do I need to do with this tree?". He asked if there was any fruit growing. "Um, I dunno," I said. Here's sign that I may have plums this year! Although they look more like capers right now. =0)
I couldn't resist tomato plants at the local nursery. I was going to get 1 cherry tomato but ended up getting 2. I couldn't decide!! I got a red (early season) Sweet 100 plant and a yellow (early season) Sun Gold plant. I potted them and put up walls-of-water to keep them safe and warm until the weather gets better.
If your family drinks a lot of soda (from 2 liter bottles), I found great sources for a do-it-yourself wall of water using the empty soda bottles. I don't drink a lot of soda so that wasn't an option for me.

Okay don't laugh at me. I'm a sucker for gizmos and gadgets. I saw this at a local store and it was on sale. It's the Topsy Turvy Strawberry Grower. I have a bunch of strawberry plants but this bag has 15 openings. I had to buy a bunch more at the store. I have 4 varieties growing in the same bag.

I was going to re-use my strawberry pot but it's terra cotta and last year I had problems with it drying out. I thought I would give this a try and hung it under the deck. I hope it's okay to grow different varieties together. The strawberry varieties I planted are:
- Hood (my absolute favorite)
- June bearing (very productive)
- considered to have the best table quality and known best as a fine preserve and jam berry; sweet, great flavor
- Tribute
- Day-neutral; continued fruit production from June until frost
- medium to large fruit best eaten fresh (good even without sugar)
- disease resistant and vigorous with good runner production
- Pretty in Pink
- Everbearing
- produces pretty pink flowers and flavorful, deep red berries
- Berries Galore
- Everbearing
- produces large, flavorful, deep red berries
I love annuals. It seems like such a waste of money though as the flowers only last for one season. Nevertheless, I always buy them. I buy them even when I tell myself I won't buy them. They're just too pretty to resist. This year I bought a lot of hummingbird-friendly blooms.

Here I planted some "Liberty Mix" snapdragons, red nicotiana and "Safari Queen" French marigolds.

These are "Victoria Blue" salvia, "Raspberry Parfait" diathus and a white/purple mix of alyssum.

I got some fuchsias again. I just love how they look in the hanging baskets. I love the color of "Dollar Princess" (dark purple and red bell flowers) from last year so I bought them again. I mixed them with "La Campanella" (white and purple bell flowers) and made 2 hanging baskets.

I feel so accomplished but so sore! My back is killing me! Oh well, no pain no gain right?