Thursday, June 13, 2013

Living Fences

I found this neat post today on Mother Earth News about how to build living fences.  I think the concept is really ingenious; definitely something I would like to experiment with once we have a place of our own!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Will You Bee My Honey?

I've gotten more interested in honey bees lately.  They are so vital to our livelihood.  Did you know that   a majority of the bees needed for the agricultural sector of America are shipped in from outside sources?  That seems so crazy to me!

I recently found this neat plan for a bee garden.  I would love to do something like this when we have our own little homestead.  This comes from Susan Brackney - author of Plan Bee.  You can visit her website here.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Spring Green Onion Pasta with Asparagus

We've been making our own pasta lately and it really transforms Italian eating.  I have been singing its praises ever since Christmas, when we got our pasta press.  If you have one sitting in a dusty cupboard, dig it out!  If you don't have one, this can be made by hand but it is a bit more labor intensive.

We made this delicious pasta last week and I wanted to write down a few notes about it before I forgot.  This is less of a "recipe" per se and more of some general guidelines.

Spring Pasta With Asparagus

The Pasta
Green Onion Pasta (devised and crafted by Barry!)
(We use this basic recipe.  The key to eggless pasta is to use semolina flour and knead it a lot!  A KitchenAid works wonders here!  You can add a lot of seasonings to the pasta.  This time we added about a cup of chopped green onions.  Often we'll add herbs, garlic, sundried tomatoes, etc.  The possibilities are endless!)
The Toppings
Steamed asparagus spears
Zest of one lemon
Slivered basil leaves
Carmelized onions
The Dressing
Juice of one lemon
2 TBSP olive oil (I added in a dash of truffle-flavored olive oil as well)
Garlic powder
Italian seasoning

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Smooth Celery and Allium Soup

I found this recipe for a celery bisque this morning and felt like I had stumbled upon a revelation.  Smooth, creamy, celery (i.e. cheap, abundant, easy) soup!  It was the perfect way to use up that wilting head of celery in the crisper.  

Then I started contemplating, I had leeks that needed using.  That would be a nice addition.  I got out my chopping board and started down the list of ingredients.  I rummaged in our onion basket for a yellow onion - and came up empty handed.  Grrr!  We were out of onions again!  Barry asked why I couldn't use the purple onion that was in the fridge.  It was a logical, level-minded question to which I replied, aghast "No!  I can't use a PURPLE onion in my celery soup! Think of the HORRIBLE color it would make!"  

So, he suggested another logical option.  "We have those huge green onions in the garden that need to be picked.  I bet you could use the white parts of those instead of the onion."  And so, Barry solved the dilemma.  He's good at that :)

The picture you see below is not leeks, like they appear to be.  Instead, they are massive green onions which we should have picked months ago.  But instead they've been happily growing away, waiting for a moment such as this.

These are the real leeks, picked yesterday.

The celery, in progress.

Leeks, green onions, celery - an aromatic soup in the making.

The final product - delicious and creamy!

Recipe (adapted from Honest Fare)
Celery cluster (I only had about 2/3 left of mine)
Half a white onion OR the whites of 10 LARGE green onions
2 leeks (whites and 2-4 inches of green)
3 cloves of garlic
2 tsp salt
1 TBSP sugar
2-3 TBSP McKay's Chicken Seasoning
1 TBSP Bragg's Liquid Aminos
Couple dashes of cayenne pepper 
3 cups water
Parsley, basil, or cilantro, chopped (for topping)

Roughly chop celery (including leaves), onion, and leeks.  Sauté with garlic and olive oil in heavy soup pot until tender.  Add water and seasonings.  Boil for additional 15-20 minutes.  Blend until smooth.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  Serve hot with chopped herbs on top.

(The original recipe called for silken tofu, which I was going to use but the soup turned out deliciously creamy without it so I left it out.  Maybe I'll give it a try next time; it does sound delicious!)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Winter Garden

Citrus and leeks does a happy tummy make.  This bounty went into a potato leek soup and fresh orange grapefruit juice.  Both were delicious, made even more so from knowing where they were picked.