Saturday, July 27, 2013

Late July Garden Tour - Part 1

 Since I've been MIA the entire summer, I thought I would give you a peek at the late July garden.  There's lots going on and I've been barely able to keep up.  

My plum tree seems to be maturing.  Last year I have all but 3 plums.  I threatened the plum tree and this year he/she delivered.  This year looks promising!  I counted about a dozen purple plums.  They're still a little ways out but I'm excited to have some plums! Can you spot the purple suckers!  
The plum tree is getting larger and starting to shade out this raised bed.  On the left are kohlrabi and on the right are some beets.  The beets were growing really well then got hit with leaf miners and then we had a hot spell where I didn't get to water them right away and the leaves took a hit.  I hope these guys make it!

My lettuce have been overgrown by the red cabbages so I decided to plant a small salad bowl and keep it on my deck.  This is a mixed greens bowl.

The kale that grew unprotected seem to have done better than the ones I had covered to protect them from cabbage moths.  Seems the moths got into the cover anyway and caused havoc.  These have some caterpillar damage but all in all it wasn't too bad.  

I love eggplant.  The one on the left are 2 Millionaire eggplants.  I had grown these from seed but they looked pretty pathetic when I planted them out.  I bought the Ichiban eggplant on the right as a larger plant and as an insurance policy.  Funny but the ones on the left thrived once planted outside and they quickly caught up to the other plant.  Oh well, more eggplant for me!! 

Speaking of more eggplant, the Ichiban was first to set fruit.  It also has lots of pretty purple flowers.  I'm (im)patiently waiting!

The Millionaire eggplant is just behind, having also set it's first fruit!

This is Red Ace Cabbage that I planted in the spring.  It's still taking it's sweet time.  I wonder if it's just time to harvest it??  The heads are still pretty small.  

Here are the green beans (front) and cucumbers (back).  This year my cucumbers didn't fare well.  I think it's because we had a spell of rainy days that killed them.  I have several varieties of cucumbers growing: Lemon, Diva and Suyo.  

My spring leeks were left in the ground to flower.  The bees seem to LOVE the blossoms so I usually leave them for a while.

This year I tried to plant a Artichoke plant.  It's been growing well and a tomatillo plant sprouted up in the same pot.  

Here's my blueberry bush that's been very productive this year!

This is another Japanese eggplant I grew from seed.  It's called Kamo eggplant.  It's small (palmsized) and again, I didn't have hopes they would survive.  But hooray!

This is a Bush Delicata Squash.  I grew a vining variety last year but thought I would try the bush version this year.

Thanks for visiting my summer garden.  Part 2 to follow...

Friday, July 26, 2013

New Vitamix and an Kale Apple Blueberry and Blackberry Smoothie

My blender finally bit the dust.  I'm sad because I really liked that blender.  There goes the summer smoothies....

Luckily it was my birthday earlier this month and I decided what the heck, I'm gonna buy myself a Vitamix blender.  I haven't joined the trend till now mostly because I had a good blender and the Vitamix is soooo expensive.  Like mucho buckaroo expensive.  My friend sold me on it's versatility.  You can make soups (and it heats it up), grind spices, knead's an all purpose machine!  Happy Belated Birthday to Me!!    

One of the first things I made was a smoothie.  During the summers I drink one every morning for breakfast.  I include Greek yogurt for a boost of protein.  Here's one made with a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  Measurements are approximations.  I basically threw things in - no measuring.

Kale Apple Blueberry and Blackberry Smoothie
Makes about 2-3 glasses

1 large apple, cored
4-5 leaves of kale, fibrous stem removed
1 c. blueberries
1 c. blackberries (frozen)
4 Tbsp. Greek vanilla yogurt
1 c. coconut water

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tide Creek Welsh Ponies

These are a few more photos from a day out at my friend's BBQ.  They live out in Deer Island and raise horses.  This past year, my friend's hubby got into raising hens too.  I get my eggs from them and they're good stuff.  Have you seen the golden orange yolks from a fresh farm raised egg?  It's beautiful and delicious too!  

Here's a few of Tony's chicks.  He lets them free range these days.  They're happy and healthy!  

While we were there, the ponies were up on the back pasture.  Towards the end of the day, they came back down to the pond for a drink.  

They're beautiful horses.  These are the girls.  The naughty boys are kept separate.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Harvest Monday 7/22/13

I've been bad about recording my summer harvests this year.  This basket of Lacinato kale and peas were picked a few weeks ago.

This lovely bowl of blueberries and a few marionberries were picked this past weekend.  I didn't think there were this many ripe blueberries on that one bush.  Surprise!

A few green beans, Shishito peppers and the first of the cherry tomatoes were also harvested this past week!  Not pictured this week were some lettuce I pulled for a salad.

Happy Harvest!!

Harvest totals:

- Marionberries = 0.11 lb
- Raspberries  0.5 lb
- Kale = 0.34 lb

- Lettuce = 0.27 lb
- Shishito peppers = 0.11 lb
- Cherry tomatoes = 0.03 lb
- Green beans = 0.2 lb
- Marionberries = 0.05 lb
- Blueberries = 0.86 lb

Meatless Monday: Opah (Moonfish) with Citrus Ginger Beurre Blanc

Meatless Monday is back!  Sorry for the absence!  It's been a busy summer.  

This past weekend, I happened to be Whole Foods Market.  They had a sale on Opah (moonfish).  I *heart* Opah!!  If you're not familiar with Opah, it's a moonfish and looks like an alien.  It's often found on restaurant menus in Hawaii.  If I'm out at a restaurant and they have Opah on the menu, it's my go to fish!  It is a white fish that's firm and flaky.  It's similar to swordfish or halibut in texture.  If you haven't had it before, try it!!  Click here to learn more about Opah.  While I always order it when I'm out to eat, I've never cooked it at home before.  Since the Opah looked fresh, was priced right and it's been a while since I've had my Opah fix, I was sold.
I couldn't decide how I wanted to prepare my Opah.  Really, it's so good you could just salt and pepper it and sear or grill it.  Delicious!  I had a wild idea to pan-sear the Opah and make a beurre blanc sauce. Mind you, I've never made a beurre blanc sauce before.  I love the idea of citrus with fish so I incorporated a citrus twist to my beurre blanc.  

The result was a delicious piece of fish with an amazing sauce!  The citrus ginger beurre blanc went perfectly with the Opah.  My first beurre blanc sauce was very time consuming to make but it was a success!  Very well worth the effort!!

Opah with Citrus Ginger Beurre Blanc
Serves: 2
Time: 40-50 minutes

2 pieces Opah (moonfish), about 3-4 oz. each
salt and pepper
olive oil

1 c. dry white wine (I used a pinot grigio)
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
1 shallot, minced
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 c. fresh orange juice (about 2 oranges)
1/4 c. fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 c. heavy cream
1 c. cold unsalted butter, cut in to small cubes
salt and white pepper

1) Heat olive oil in a pan over high heat.  Salt and pepper both sides of the Opah.  Sear Opah on high heat for about 3-4 minutes (depending on thickness of fish).  Turn fish and sear the opposite side for the same amount of time.  Remove fish from the pan to a plate.  Allow to rest while you make the sauce.

2) In a sauce pan, combine the white wine, lemon juice, shallots and ginger.  Reduce the sauce over medium-high heat until au sec, or until about 2-3 Tbsp of the liquid remains.  Add the heavy cream and gently reduce by half.    

3) In the meantime, in a separate sauce pan, reduce the sugar, orange juice and lime juice until it is thick and syrupy.  Stir into the reduced cream mixture and remove from heat.  

4) Using a stand or immersion blender, puree the sauce while slowly adding the butter a few cubes at a time until all of the butter is incorporated.  Season to taste with salt and white pepper. 

5) Plate Opah and drizzle with the beurre blanc sauce.  Serve immediately.   

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Summer Baaahhh BQ (Lamb Shindig)

A friend of mine won a lamb contest.  One person from each state got free lamb chops.  The winners have to send in pictures showing what they did with the lamb chops.  Unfortunately, she planned her Baaaaaah BQ and the lamb did not show when they said it was.  Instead, she had to buy lamb at the last minute.  Her lamb will arrive later this week but it's unfortunate that she had to go out to buy some. A friend's daughter made this sign for her lamb shindig.  Cute eh?  Made me feel guilty for one sec.  Look at that cute photo.   
She did a great job.  She cooked the lamb chops simply on the Big Green Egg.  She served it with a mint and herb chimichurri sauce.  She also made a slaw and a pesto potato salad.  I brought a Swiss chard and lentil side and a Greek kale salad to the party.  Recipes to follow.   
She also make some pulled pork for the non-lamb lovers.  Her hubby made some great baked beans. 
It was a great Baahhh BQ.  The food was amazing and the company unbeatable!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Snakes in the Garden!!!

What the he*#!!  Imagine my surprise as I was watering my garden and noticed this thing.  After I shrieked like the girl that I am, I ran inside for a camera.  I managed to snap this photo of my new friend.  I nudged him with a stick and he took off like greased lightning.  He was quick.  I haven't seen him since.

Needless to say, I didn't catch him.  He's still hanging out in my yard somewhere.  Please someone tell me it's a harmless garter snake!!  I've never seen snakes in my yard before.  If it's poisonous, please don't tell me.  Oh ok, please tell me.  

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My First Cherry Tomato of 2013!

A few people have commented to me about my lack of blog posts this gardening season.  **hanging head in shame**  I know, I know.  I've been BAD!!  I realize it's been over a month since my last post. My dad told me I better post something cause he's tired of seeing the same bowl of peas (my last post).  LOL!  

Okay, okay.  I'm back!!  There's a LOT of green tomatoes on the vines but the happy news is that I happened to spy the first red cherry tomato while out watering the yard.  Here he/she is!!  Exciting news!!  Imagine my happy dance.  Just imagine cause I'm not posting it here!  

More gardening news to follow.  I'd hate for ya'll to have to see the same bowl of peas forever!!