Saturday, December 10, 2011

Lunar Eclipse 12/10/11

Monday, November 21, 2011

Succulents at Sherman Garden and Library

Amazing little garden tucked away in Corona del Mar.  A visit with friends to Sherman Gardens was a perfect way to spend a Monday afternoon.  The succulents were amazing to see.  Truly eye candy.

Busy as...Well, You Know

After a rainy Sunday, we were treated to a wonderful sunny Monday.  And the bees were very excited about it.  These poppies were attracting the nearby bees in droves.  It was amazing to watch these bees as they collected the pollen.  These photos are static but if you had been a witness to this activity, I believe you would have used the word frenetic to describe the activity.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hard Working California Garden

While I have many winter items growing in my garden, some of my summer plants continue to grow.  I found this lovely little purple eggplant tucked under the massive leaves of this aubergine plant.  My hope is that we have just enough warm sunny days to get it to a decent size.  This plant is actually loaded with purple blossoms.  The weekly rains we are having are obviously working wonders.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Peas Planted

Sugar snap peas are planted and starting to climb.

Summer is Trying to Hang On...

Early rains the last two weekends caused these tomatoes to swell and created slight cracks in their skins.

Summer has not left the garden completely.  The tenacious four are still holding on and ripening on the vine....slowly.  Yesterday, I picked those tomatoes which were ripe, and today, it's into the oven for a good roasting.

My signature dishes in the kitchen include soups of all kinds.  This fall, I have been experimenting with roasted tomato soups.  The soup I will make today will be a vegetarian version for one of my sons who will be home for Thanksgiving. Don't worry, Chris, I already made a non-vegetarian version for you!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Busy Weekend: Beans and Tomato Sauce in the Freezer

Worked yesterday freezing 10 pounds of tomatoes and today I blanched and froze green beans.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My Job as an Orchid Sitter

My friend asked me to watch her orchids while she is away on vacation.  The one on the dining room table is awesome.  I placed the other two in a bathroom which gets just the right light.

My Funny Little Tomato

Early in the planting season, I clipped a sucker from one of my tomato plants and stuck it in a vase of water.  I was hoping for some rooting action and to eventually plant the tomato in the garden.  Things moved too slowly and I never got the rooted tomato in the ground.

As the plant sat on the kitchen counter rooting, the sucker blossomed.  Now the little plant has grown tiny tomatoes and one has ripened!  Cute.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tomato Sauce Redux

Between the Italian Heirloom, Champion, San Francisco Fog tomato plants, I had 56 ounces of tomatoes from Tuesday and Wednesday's harvest.  Time to make my favorite tomato sauce.

The two large tomatoes (Mr. Stripey and Beefmaster) were excluded from the sauce for use on sandwiches.

(Recipe from Simply Classic--The Junion League of Seattle)

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Clean up day

Basket of tired, yellow leaves from the garden.
After a few months of intense growing and producing, the plants in the garden started looking a little worse for wear.  I went out with my trusty garden shears and cleaned things up.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Wall of Beans and a Friend

cotton square borer

The soft breeze rustled the leaves  on the bean vines today as I worked in the garden.   
A small insignificant critter was found munching small and large holes in the beans growing on the vines.  Critter....go home.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

A Day in the Kitchen

Zucchini Carrot Maple Bread
Once I started freezing green beans yesterday, I decided to tackle several cooking tasks while I had my apron on.  I made two salads (cucumber and cole slaw), chicken stock, and decided to use my zucchinis to make a loaf of zucchini bread.  The bread uses brown sugar and maple syrup which gives a very special flavor to the finished product.  Lurking in the delicious treat...carrots and zucchini.  See, I can get veggies in everything during the summer.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

From the Garden to the Freezer--Beans

Cutting Beans into two-inch sections for blanching.

After blanching (scalding) the beans for three minutes, a three minute ice bath and into the bags for freezing.

And for dinner tonight.
I gave beans away to everyone and decided it was time to freeze a few bags for after season use.  I blanched the beans, immersed them in an ice bath to stop the cooking, drained and blotted them dry and placed them into freezer bags. 

I decided to make a small mess of beans for dinner tonight. 

It's Hot....How do you stay cool?

It's so hot in many parts of the nation.  Here's a look at a blog which features way to stay cool when it's hot.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Ratatouille--The Perfect Harvest Recipe

As the garden produces, we are often overwhelmed by the variety and struggle with how to use everything on a timely basis. Ratatouille is a wonderful dish which incorporates many warm season vegetables--tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, and eggplant.

This morning with about a pound of each of these veggies on hand, I went to the kitchen to create this wonderful, comforting dish.

I followed the recipe for Classic Ratatouille Recipe from the web site Easy French Food.  My adjustment would be to cube the eggplant.  Also, I would cook for less time, perhaps twenty minutes to keep the integrity of the vegetables in this dish intact.

Saute each item for five minutes 




 Add tomatoes to the sauteed onions.  Then the rest of the cooked vegetables.
Add tomatoes to the sauteed onion.

Cook for twenty to thirty minutes.
 Ready to eat.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I Need to Stick This Basil in Some Dirt...Fast

Basil Rooting in a Vase on My Kitchen Counter
I Am Mesmerized by the Roots
Gravitropism displayed elegantly by the dense roots growing in a downward direction.
I pinched off the top leaves of my basil plant a few weeks ago to keep it from getting too leggy.  Into a vase with water to root.  Amazing what has happened in just a few weeks.  These are ready to plant.


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