Sunday, June 14, 2009
Where did this last week go? The first part of the week was spent busy with work and then we spent Thursday and Friday traveling to and from West Virginia for a cousin's wedding. I got two skirts finished in time to wear on the trip, but of course haven't taken any photos yet. During the earlier part of the week I also took a brief moment to bake some cookies--the Orange Poppy Seed Sugar Biscuits I mentioned in the last blog. They turned out yummy, but since the main ingredients are butter and sugar there was little doubt that they would! As per the directions, I formed the dough into logs and refrigerated over night before slicing and baking. I wonder if I could roll the dough and slice it, or just plop it down in spoonfulls, if I didn't want to wait for it to chill. But the slice and bake method worked well and I ended up with very consistently shaped cookies. Of course, I was too busy eating them to take a picture!
I also "collected" a bunch of worm tea from the vermicompost bin. I always forget to do this and by the time I get around to it there is a LOT of liquid in the bottom of the bin. Thankfully the worms are very forgiving. Some people might find this a little gross, but the garden LOVES this stuff and its all very natural. If you do it right, vermicompost doesn't smell like rotting food, it just smells like good, rich dirt. Because, well, thats what it is! I'm going to make a longer post about vermicompost over on the 6 Kingdoms blog, so if you are interested check it out.
The trip to WV only took two days, but felt like a lot longer since we spent so much of it in the car. Thankfully we had Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food on CD to listen to and it lasted through almost the entire trip. It not only gave us something to listen to but it sparked lots of conversation. In general we agreed with Pollan and found the book very interesting. Chris is now reading one of his other books, The Omnivore's Delimma, and once he is done with it (and I have time!) I'm planning on reading it as well. After listening to this book I'm even more committed to eating local "whole" foods and avoiding processed foods. Though I still maintain that my cheerios shouldn't count as an evil processed food :). And, short of breakfast cereal, I think we do a pretty good job. A typical day consists of cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch (on homemade bread and with local lettuce if its available) and then dinner depends on what came in the CSA box that week. I'm going to put more effort into making sure that the meats we buy are local and grass fed. The buffalo farmer we buy from at the Carrboro farmer's market is usually at the Wednesday market and we need to take more advantage of that. His meat is more expensive than what you can get on sale at the super market but its lower in fat, grass fed (which means the fat that is present is a better type), and much tastier! Its going to be more difficult during the winter, of course, since we will no longer be getting a CSA box and the farmer's markets won't offer as much. But we are thinking about stocking up on fresh veggies at the market during the summer and then freezing them to have during the winter. We have never tried this before so we aren't sure which veggies freeze best. I guess we have some research to do!
Speaking of food, here is this weeks CSA box. You can see that we are beginning to transition from the spring garden full of leafy greens and sweet strawberries into the summer crops of hardier vegetables. This week we have a huge head of fennel (which to me looks like it should have grown on an alien planet), a bunch of radishes, squash, zuchinni, and onion, cucumbers and spinach (hiding in the plastic bag behind the radishes). The fennel and cucumbers we have been using in salads and the squash, zuchinni and onion were chopped up and sauted together. Chris was especially excited about the radishes which he calls natures candy. I think they have a weird aftertaste, even such sweet ones as these. Unfortunately it looks like we are done with strawberries and lettuce in our box and the supermarket offerings just aren't good enough for us anymore- we have been spoiled! So we may not be eating as many salads as we did this spring. But I'm sure the box will offer us enough new things to make up for it!
Though we were only out of town for two days, it seemed like the garden exploded during that short time. When we got home we were amazed at how much everything had grown. I think all the rain we had last week probably had something to do with that. Our first squash is almost ready to pick and I can't wait to try it, even with all the squash in the CSA box. Squash is one of my favorite vegetables so I don't mind having lots!
The pepper plants have gotten huge and are covered in little baby peppers and flower buds. Pretty soon we are going to have an avalanch of peppers, particularly jalapenos, so we may have to get creative in how to use them. I think we may try making Pepper Jelly. I've made jams before from berries, but never from peppers!
The tomatos and basil are also finally starting to take off. We have quite a few little baby tomatos. Garden tomatos are one of Chris's favorites, and add so much to a salad, so I hope they are good! Unfortunately the thyme has died, and the rosemary is still hanging on but not thriving. So I think we may get another rosemary plant and put it where the thyme was. I love using rosemary for cooking, so I want to make sure we have plenty!