Tag Archives: food

Happy New Year!

I’m going to skip the resolutions, recollections, and any wishful thinking today. Cheers to things that make us smile.

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Wishing you a delightful 2013, filled with good health, good food, and abundant happiness.

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Somewhat Weekly Recipe: Squash Vines and Pasta

By now, you are familiar with the saga of The Compost Love Child Squash and their attempt to take over the world. Or at least our tiny No Acre Homestead, which, some days, feels like the same thing.

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The walkway just after clearing a path through the squash vines. Easy access will last about a day.

Without semiweekly vine whackings, the narrow pathway to our gate would be impassable. But I was developing a grudging admiration for these crazy vines, and hacking at them so often seemed almost malicious. A few weeks ago, Barbara Damrosch wrote a great article in The Washington Post that revitalized my flagging enthusiasm for the job. I wasn’t vandalizing vegetation, I was, in fact, creating ingredients!

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Walkway trimmings…compost pile or dinner?

Here’s just one idea for using the bounty of a late summer garden and some pantry items to make an easy meal…and no one will guess that the star ingredient is wayward squash vines.

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Fresh ham, squash blossoms-vines-and-leaves, small squash, red onion

I tried to keep the frying pan ingredients and the saucepan ingredients on separate plates for the photos. But, naturally, as I was cooking, the plan evolved. That’s Ok, it just makes it more fun for you to try to follow along, right?

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Cherry tomatoes, mild cheddar, green beans, hot peppers, and seasonings.

1) Start by boiling water in a large saucepan, and heating oil in a large frying pan. (You’ll notice that all my recipes use a maximum of two pots…two burners is all we’ve got. Keeps it simple, though)

2) From the top photo, sauté chopped ham, diced squash and onion, sliced squash vines and chopped squash leaves. ( I reserved the squash blossoms for a garnish). From the second photo, add sliced hot peppers.

3) Cook some pasta in the boiling water ( I used gluten-free brown rice rigatoni) and in the last two minutes, add in sliced green beans. When the pasta is done and the beans are ridiculously green, drain and return to the pot.

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4). While everything is still nice and warm, toss in the contents of the frying pan, oil included. Add some grated cheese (mild cheddar in this case), halved cherry tomatoes, and salt-pepper-garlic powder to taste.

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5). Grab those reserved squash blossoms, slice, and gently sprinkle over it all.

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Plate and serve while warm. Voila! An elegant dish based on compost-pile overflow. (I’m sure you can come up with a better way of presenting it.). To amp up the protein and the oo-la-la, I served the pasta topped with a lightly fried egg. But the picture came out poorly, so you’ll just have to imagine the addition of sunshine yellow to the center of all those colors.
Scrumptious!

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Would you even guess that the star ingredient here is squash vines?

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Filed under Eating in Season, General, Our No-Acre Homestead

Williams-Sonoma SALE Alert

No, I am not the CEO of Williams-Sonoma. I don’t even work for them. Although I probably should consider it, based on how much time I spend drooling over their catalogs and browsing their store in town.

But I just got an email alert, and wanted to share it with you all…they are having a huge sale, up to 75% off, and free shipping!

How’s that for seasonal eating?

Just thought you’d like to know :)

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Filed under Design Trends, Eating in Season, General

The Greeni-tini

Belonging to a CSA is a wonderful adventure for us.  It is really comforting to know exactly where and how our produce is grown, and to know that there are real human beings who care about being personally accountable for the quality of it.  (If you want to learn more about CSAs in this area, Local Harvest is a great resource.)  And we feel so much more appreciative of the work needed to harness the forces of Nature in order to get food onto the table.  Eating locally and seasonally, though, means that sometimes we are wallowing in one particular vegetable, and feeling less than enthusiastic about it.

Now I am fairly creative with using fresh veggies, but a few weeks ago I was getting to the point of frustration with the quantity of pot greens.  During ‘greens season’, I keep a saucepan on the back burner, and at the end of every week, chop up any leftover, sort of wilted, greens, and add them to the mix.  We use it as a side dish or add it to soups or egg dishes throughout the week.  It’s a fine way to use up the greens, but it does get to be a rather predictable way of getting that Vitamin K.

I was brainstorming with Jess, our CSA coordinator, a few days ago,and took up the challenge of coming up with a Greeni-tini. Mike used his bartending skills to tweak my idea.  I think the savory pot liquor works well in place of olive brine, and when iced, has a slight herbal aspect.  I think this would be especially good as an cocktail before Thanksgiving dinner…yes, greens will be back in season in the fall!

The Greeni-tini…Such a civilized way of getting your vitamins! We used a very mild-tasting and inexpensive gin, but vodka would also work.

In a cocktail shaker, mix 2 1/2 oz of gin, 1/2 oz of dry vermouth, and 2 oz of pot liquor over ice.  Shake, strain, and serve in an up glass.  It’s just that easy!

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Curb Appeal for…Chicken Coops?

The City of Annapolis held a forum last week addressing the new policy that permits chickens on some in-town properties.  Good news if you love fresh eggs!  Some neighbors are a little worried about the esthetics of keeping chickens. (Personally, I find chickens to be far more attractive than the ticks and slugs that they eat)

Coincidentally, Williams-Sonoma just released the new agrarian line.  Among other homesteading staples they have swank-ified is a collection of chicken coops. ( The “Alexandria” is pictured below) As pretty as any renovated Victorian!  Not sure if fresh eggs warrant an $800 dollhouse in our own household, but it’s nice to see that ‘growing your own’ doesn’t have to be quite so gritty anymore.

Alexandria Chicken Coop & Run

 

 

So what do you think?  Fabulous, right?

 

 

To tie this in with real life, we are starting a new project house in a few days.  There is an old playhouse in the yard (among other assorted and curious items).  I am very tempted to save it from the dumpster and see if anyone on FreeCycle wants it as a chicken coop.

It’s 4×4 and about 5 1/2 ft tall at the peak.  Door, windows, and room for shelves.  In better condition than most of the house, truthfully.

Let me know if you are interested.

Chicken Coop, “Before”

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Filed under General, Our No-Acre Homestead, Projects, Repurpose This