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Showing posts from August, 2012

Ch-Ch-Ch Changes (In The Garden)

In honor of the recently completed London Olympics I thought this post needed a little nod to a great Brit - hence the Bowie referrence in the title.
One of the wonderful things about a vegetable garden is that it keeps changing as the seasons progress. Here in Northern Virginia we have a pretty long growing season and with the help of a little low level technology, we can make it even longer.
Back when it was still cold we were happily growing things like lettuce, beets, radishes and kale in our simple cold frame. There are few more satisfying things for a gardener than to have to take off winter gloves to harvest some lettuce that you'll wash and eat that day!

As the weather started to warm, our soil amendments made over the winter paid off handsomely in a bumper strawberry crop. Some heavy rains shortened the yield a bit but we really had all we could eat this spring -- and they were delicious. 


Spring and early summer also gave us kale, spinach, swiss chard, garlic (don't fo…

Okra - The Rodney Dangerfield of Veggies

That;s right, okra gets no respect I tell ya. These beautiful green pods, often called Ladyfingers in Indian and other Asian cultures are misunderstood and under appreciated. I'll admit, cooked badly (and it often is), okra be pretty nasty. It can get slimy and funky tasting. Cooked correctly, this member of the mallow family, can be amazingly delicious on its own or a tasty addition in a variety of dishes -- like this one.

We recently ate at a wonderful Indian restaurant about 1/2 hour from our home called Rangoli and, among other "small plates" we had a fried okra dish that we so good we ordered a second helping. We enjoyed it so much we wanted to try to recreate it at home. Here's Cynthia's version.

Ingredients
1/2 cup AP flour1/4 tsp smoked paprika1/4 tsp cumin1 scant tsp (sweet) paprikaseveral grinds of black peppervegetable oil for frying1 - 2 dozens okra pods, the smaller the better but you'll need a few moresea salt, finely groundPreparation
 Mix the flo…

Trouser Legs for Meatless Monday Dinner?

What's that you said? That's right, trouser legs -- also known as calzoni, literally translated from the Italian.

Last night was one of our "re-purposing" nights, you know, making use of things from the refrigerator and pantry that just happen to be sitting around. Not quite a Refrigerator Orphans event, but pretty close. Cynthia makes her own dough which we typically use to make Grilled Pizza. She usually makes more than we need and freezes the unused portions for later use. Initially, we had decided to make pizza so the dough was already out defrosting when she called me to say the plan had changed and we were doing something different and that she was going to use up some of the "never-ending supply of zucchini" that our garden seems hell bent on producing. We also had a red pepper from our garden and an eggplant from the farmer's market sitting around. So, vegetable and ricotta calzones it would be.

Ingredients
1/4 Pizza dough recipe (find the recipe…

The Art of the Tomato Sandwich

Guest Blog By Cyn

Along with the copious amounts of zucchini now coming from 4 plants. (we really only need one, but I cannot seem to 'thin' the seedlings), the first wave of tomatoes is coming on hot and heavy.  One of my favorite ways to indulge myself in summer is with a couple of slices of fresh-from-the-garden tomato on toast. Sounds simple, doesn't it?  The beauty of it is, it can be as simple, or as complicated as you like.  
Step One, make toast.  Fresh bread will not hold up to a ripe slice of summer so well, so please toast to armor your bread against a juicy meltdown.  The bread selection is key -- too soft and you'll end up wearing your bread, too hard and you'll break a tooth.  My favorite of late is a miche from our neighborhood Wegman's bakery, a nice hearty sourdough, toasted lightly.  
Step Two, choose a bread spread.  It's for the additional barrier to the wet tomato and to elevate the flavor as well, you are shooting for Tomato Nirvana after…