Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Gardening: RIP Kabocha

I was so proud of my kabocha winter squash. It had been doing so well. I noticed it looked a little droopy from my deck this past weekend so I went to investigate. *SHOCK* What the heck? @*#$(! SLUGS!!! Grrr...I was spitting mad.
Rest in peace dear kabocha. You put up a good fight. I will attempt to grow you next season. *sigh* Now when I find who did this, someone is getting a salt bath! Bwahahaha!!

Wildlife Wednesday: 6/30/10

Here are a few visitors to my backyard this week.

A hummingbird perched on a tree.

Here he is coming in for a snack.

These guys are frequent fliers in my yard.

After the sun set, I snapped this silhouette of a bird perched in a tree.

Gardening: California Poppy

I had planted some flowers from seed a little late this year. My first poppy of the season bloomed this weekend. Isn't it gorgeous?

I have a few other flowers that I grew from seed that are just starting to form buds. They'll be opening soon. I can't wait!



Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Gardening: Summer Squash

I love summer squash. Aside from being a very prolific producers, it's not too hard on the eyes. The plants itself are beautiful and grow large pretty quickly. I love the foliage it produces. The flowers are also beautiful.

I have 2 Black Beauty Zucchini growing. One is further along than the other. This is the larger of the two plants that I successfully grew from seed (yeah me!).
I happened to catch this flower the day it opened. Pretty! The bloom look like lilies and like the lily, it only lasts a day.
Baby zucchini are the cutest!

I haven't been successful with the Patty Pan variety this year. I planted 2 plants in the ground and one in a container (grown from seed). Two of the ground planted plants died. One got taken out by the heavy spring rains and the other I suspect succumb to the evil slugs in my yard. I direct sowed more patty pan seeds hoping I would have enough time for a second batch to grow. Once the seedlings broke ground, they were chewed up. SLUGS!!! GRR!! I was about to give up and be happy with the one plant in a container that had managed to survive. I figured I'd coddle the heck out of it. It was doing fairly well considering.
I happened to be at Farmington Gardens this weekend and they had their Summer Solstice sale going on. Everything was 40% off. Most of the veggie starters had been picked clean but I found a few summer squash left. I got this little dude for only 84 cents. SWEET!!
It even came with a few fruit already set. Now these are CUTE!! I hope it does okay. I transplanted him out in the yard and Sluggo-ed the area extensively. So far so good!
Does anyone have any other tried and true summer squash you love to plant? I would love ideas for next year!

*Linking to Jami's Garden Party & Brianne's Oh, How My Garden Grows*

Monday, June 28, 2010

What's Cookin?: Chicken with Snow Peas

Since I finally had enough snow peas to make a meal, I decided to make a chicken stir-fry. This is a versatile recipes. I usually mix and match proteins (usually using chicken, shrimp & scallops) and veggies (depending what left overs I have).

Chicken and Snow Peas

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast; sliced thinly and into bite sized pieces
1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp sesame oil
8 oz. snow peas, remove strings
3 Tbsp. oyster sauce
2 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. ginger, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 can sliced bamboo shoots
1 can baby corn, cut into bite sized pieces
1/4 c. chicken broth

1) Add sliced chicken to a medium bowl. Add 1/2 tsp. cornstarch, salt, pepper and sesame oil and toss. Cover bowl and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

2) Boil a small pot of water on the stove. Add snow peas to the boiling water. Cover pot and cook for about 1 minute. Drain and immediately rinse peas in cold water. Set aside and allow to drain.

3) Mix oyster sauce, water and 1 Tbsp cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside.

4) Heat a wok until it is very hot. Add 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil, tilt wok to coat sides. Add ginger and garlic to the wok; then add the chicken. Stir fry until the chicken is cooked through.

5) Add bamboo shoots and baby corn. Stir fry for 1 minute. Add chicken broth to the wok. Heat until sauce comes to a boil. Stir in the cornstarch/oyster sauce mixture and stir until the sauce is thickened. Add the snow peas and stir fry for 30 seconds.

Gardening: Harvest 6/27/10

Woo hoo! I finally had enough of a harvest for a meal! This is actually 2 days worth of snow peas. I had harvested a bowl full the previous day and by the next day had more harvestable peas. Those guys are really kicking it up a notch! I decided to harvest a second batch of snow peas to make it a meal. I also had 3 green beans that were pickable.
Stay tuned for the stir-fry that showcased these yummy snow peas!

**Linking to Daphne's Harvest Mondays at Daphne's Dandelions**

Sunday, June 27, 2010

What's Cookin?: Strawberry-Raspberry Freezer Jam

I made 2 batches of freezer jam with my berries. These are Strawberry-Raspberry versions. I used about 1 1/2 c. of raspberries (passed through a sieve to make them seedless) and added 2 1/2 c. strawberries. I followed the directions on the back of the Ball Instant Pectin Mix. I had some for breakfast on my toast and it was delicious!!

What's Cookin?: Fresh Berry Yogurt Parfait

I won't take credit for cooking this but wanted to post it. This is one of my favorite things for breakfast and a smaller version for a snack. We had tons of berries leftover from berry picking. I sliced up some strawberries on the bottom, layered on some blueberries and topped it with fat free plain greek yogurt, some raspberries and granola. Delicious and good for you too!

Restaurant Rambling: Pambiche

I've been bad about blogging about my adventures in the Portland culinary scene. Most times it's because I forget my camera at home. I remembered this time.

I took Dad to try something different. I thought I would take him to try out some Cuban fare at Pambiche. The building is hard to miss. You can see it from a mile away!

We sat outside on the covered walkway. They have awesome colorful benches on the sidewalk. It's a bit noisy on the street but it was nice to sit outside on such a beautiful day.

We started with the Guarapina - fresh pineapple juice and fresh pressed sugar cane juice ($3.00). Very refreshing and delicious!! Besides, I haven't gnawed on a piece of sugar cane since I was little.
I made dad try the Jufran sauce. Heeheehee! It's a banana ketchup. Have you ever tried it?

There was so much yumminess on the menu but I didn't care if we over ordered. We started with the Bacalao con Papa - Codfish and potato croquettes ($5.50) and the Maduros - fried ripe plantains ($6.75).

They were both delicious! The Bacalao wasn't fishy at all. You could hardly taste the cod except for the saltiness it brought. The plantains were yummy. It tasted like fried bananas!

Dad tried roast pork sandwich. Sorry, I don't remember what it's called.

I tried the Plato Cubano - adobo marinated roast pork, served with Cuban beans and rice ($8.50). It was delicious. It didn't had a strong adobo taste like I'm used to with Filipino adobo. Instead it was more subtle. The portion size was big. I had leftovers to take with me.

I highly recommend you try out Pambiche. It's a fun place with an extensive menu. Get your inner Cubano on!

2811 NE Glisan St.
Portland, OR 97232
ph: (503) 233-0511

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Farmer's Market: Rainier and Chelan Cherries

My allergies have been making my life HELL this week. Nevertheless, I've taken my dad out on some Portland adventures. Today was no different. We went to check out the Beaverton Farmer's Market. I love the market!

We didn't buy too much. We had some tamales for brunch from the Canby Asparagus Farm stall. I had the yummy chicken tamale and dad chowed down on a pork/asparagus tamale. Sipid was there at the market juicing up some freshly juiced drinks. They were sampling an Orange Pear juice that was tasty but I had my heart set on an Apple Ginger juice. Delicious!!

We walked away with these yummy treats!! It's cherry season!! I love Rainier cherries! They're so sweet and delicious! They had several red cherry varieties at the market today but we decided on the Chelan cherries. They were had a nice cherry crunch and were super sweet! Both of these were $4.50 a pound. A great deal considering how fresh and gorgeous they looked!
We also brought home a bunch of Italian (Lacinto) Kale. Dad's never tried it so I thought I would serve some up to see if he likes it.

Genetically Altered Salmon Coming to a Store Near You

I just read this article in the NY Times and it makes me cringe!! Say it ain't so!

What's Bakin?: Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp on a Shortbread Crust

I bought some rhubarb at the Farmer's Market after tasting my friend's dad's strawberry rhubarb pie. I'd never tasted rhubarb before that. I quickly understood what all the hype was about. It was delicious! Rhubarb is the ying to strawberry's yang and a match made in heaven! It has just enough tart to balance the sweetness in strawberries. It's funny because I'm not much of a pie person. I'll eat it, but it's not my favorite.

I was planning to make a strawberry rhubarb crisp. I love the crumbly topping of a crisp. Most of the recipes I found were for just a berry bottom and crisp on top. Personally, I like a nice crust on the bottom. Hmmm...maybe I am a pie girl afterall? My favorite crust is a good shortbread crust. I could eat that stuff by itself. I took bits and pieces of different recipes to come up with this one.

The recipe turned out okay. The filling was juicy and made the shortbread crust a little soggy. Either way, it tasted so good! I'm not saying how many pieces I ate but this definitely does not serve 6-8, if you know what I mean!! I hope you enjoy!!

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp on a Shortbread Crust
Makes a 9x9 dessert, which serves 6-8

1 c. butter (room temperature)
1/2 c. confectioners' sugar
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) In a large bowl, cream together butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy. In a small bowl, stir together flour and baking powder. Add this mixture slowly to the butter mixture. Mix well after each addition.
3) Pat lightly into a 9x9 inch baking pan.
4) Bake in oven at 350 degrees F for about 12-15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
5) Remove pan from oven and allow to cool.
Strawberry Rhubarb Filling:
3 c. rhubarb (trimmed, tough strings removed and cut into1/2 inch pieces)
3 c. strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/4 c. white sugar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest

1) Slice fruit and place into a large mixing bowl. For rhubarb, wash stems and slice off top leaves and bottoms. Then remove the tough strings that run vertically on the stems (just like you would remove the strings from celery).
2) Toss strawberries and rhubarb to mix. Add white sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and pour over your crust in the 9x9 inch baking pan.
Oatmeal Pecan Crisp:
6 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/2 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. chopped pecans

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2) Put 6 Tbsp. cold butter into a food processor. Add brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Pulse for about 20-30 seconds, until the mixture looks like small peas and just begins to clump together. Add oats and pecans and pulse just a few times to combine mixture.
3) Crumble mixture over the top of the strawberry rhubarb filling.
4) Bake about 45-50 minutes at 375 degrees F or until top is golden and beginning to brown.
Serve with vanilla ice cream. Yummo!!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

U-Pick Berries at The Pumpkin Patch

It's officially berry season in Oregon!! We took advantage of the nice weather and went to Sauvie Island for some U-pick berries. We ended up at The Pumpkin Patch.
You can bring your own containers or use some of theirs. You weigh your containers first and head out to the fields. You can either walk or drive your car in. I would recommend driving because it's a long walk out to the strawberries.
The first patch we visited was the raspberries. There were tons of delicious ripe raspberries on the vine. I ate a lot right off the vine. They were awesome!! Shhh...don't tell.

Next we headed to the strawberry fields. The strawberries were sweet and delicious. They had Hood and Tillamook Strawberries. It was hard work picking those strawberries.

We also spotted some blueberry bushes. Yummy!!

We ended up with all these berries for just $19.35. Excellent!!

The Pumpkin Patch
16511 NW Gillihan Rd.
Portland, OR 97231 (Sauvie Island)
ph: (503) 621-3874