Sunday, February 28, 2010

I am ready for Spring!

I'm in the doldrums.  My seeds have arrived and in the past few years, I've been able to start planting in mid March.  No such luck this year, since there is still lots of snow on the ground.  I walk outside my house and look at the houses across the street that face south and not a snowflake to be found. Then I turn around and look at my front yard that faces north and there must still be a foot of snow on the ground.  The poor boxwood and rosemary plants are being uncovered and all I see are broken branches.  There will be lots of work cleaning up this spring.

This weekend my honey and I took a mini vacation and drove to Richmond, VA.  By the crow flies it's only 90 miles but when one leaves on a Fri late afternoon, it's 3 hours.  The reason for the visit was to attend the North American Handmade Bicycle Show

Whenever Sean and I go anywhere in DC or nearby MD, it always seems like I meet someone I know.  I think he gets a little exasperated!  When we walked through the convention center to the bike show,  the thought went through my head - briefly - if there would be anyone I knew at the show.  Lo and behold, an hour later, outside the booth of an exhibitor, I did a double take at a guy.  He was wearing a name tag and it turned out to be the dad of a good friend of my daughter's.  Sean just rolled his eyes at me while I was introducing him.

This was one of the coolest bikes at the show.  A tricycle for adults!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dark Days Challenge Week 15

I've started getting vegetables delivered once a week from my dairy, South Mountain Creamery.  Last summer, they started sort of a home delivered CSA.  The dairy didn't grow any of their own crops but the idea was they would contract with local farms and then provide a delivery service.  Their summer program sold out pretty quickly.  Since I have my own garden and participate in another CSA, I wasn't interested in their veggies for the summer.  I discovered they offer a winter program from Dec to May so I signed up for that.  I've been getting vegetables for a few weeks now.  Every Fri I get an email, telling me what is in my delivery and where the produce originates.  Most is from PA but they are getting some produce from FL.  Florida is not exactly local to me, so I need to be aware of what veggies I'm using for the Dark Days challenge meal.

I've gotten beets from PA for the past couple of weeks. I made pickled beets one week and yesterday I made my favorite beet buttermilk soup.  It's very easy and delicious.  Boil beets until tender, peel and then put in blender with enough buttermilk to blend smoothly.  Season with salt, pepper and dill.  It comes out a lovely fuschia color.  The buttermilk is fabulous and comes from my local dairy.

Tonight I had tap dancing class and I always feed the kids before I go.  I figured I would have soup and maybe a baked sweet potato as my local meal tonight.  By the time I got home, I was too tired to do anything other than pour out some soup.  No potato tonight but I think I will bring one to work tomorrow for lunch

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dark Days Challenge Week 14

I think I'm suffering from dark day fatigue!  There is plenty of local food in my house but my energy was definitely waning this week to figure out what to cook.  So all I did was make grits with butter for breakfast.

The grits are from Wade's Mill and I have to say they are far and away tasty than Quaker Oats.  My daughter and I learned to love grits while living in North Carolina.  They are easy to cook - one cup water †o 1/4 cup grits, simmer until thick.  Top with pat of butter.




Sunday, February 14, 2010

2009 Book Reads

Here are the books I read in 2009 - from my notebook
* Mother Daughter Book Club reads


Voices, Arnaldu Indridason
The Redbreast, Jo Nesbo
Dope Menace: the Sensational World of Drug Paperbacks, Stepehn Gertz
Wild and Outside, Stefan Fatsis


Everything you never wanted your kids to know about sex, Justin Richardson
Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri
The Professor and the Madman, Simon Winchester
Property of Blood, Magdalen Nabb


The Victoria Vanishes, Christopher Fowler
The White Giraffe, Lauren St John*
Some Bitter Taste, Magdalen Nabb
Nemesis, Jo Nesbo
It Never Was About the Babe, Jerry M Gutton


An Armchair Birder, John Yow
Still life, Louise Penny
Last Rituals, Yrsa Sigurdardottir
The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman


Prairie Spring, Pete Dunne
The Glory of Their Times, Lawrence Ritter


The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Satterfield
Splitters, Squeezes and Steals, Derek Gentile
Singin in the Rain, Earl J Hess
For Freedom, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley*


Cooperstown Confidential, Zev Chafets
The Skin I'm in, Sharon G Flake
Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, Kate DiCamillo
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson


The London Eye Mystery, Siobhan Dowd*


The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu, Michael Stanley


Heartbreak and Hard Times in Stand Up Comedy, William Knoedelseder
La Storia: Five Centuries of the Italian American Experience, Jerry Mangione
Baseball Americana: Treasures from the Library of Congress


When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead*


The Case of the Missing Servant, Tarquin Hall
Bryant and May on the Loose, Christopher Fowler
A Mango-Shaped Place, Wendy Mass*
Heat, Bill Buford

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dark Days Challenge - Week 13

There is a blizzard raging outside my door right now.  We are in day 6 of being snow bound.  I still have enough food to feed the neighborhood for a month!

This morning we had our local meal. I made German Apple Pancake with pork sausage.  The apples were from last fall, flour from my new local source (Wade's Mill), eggs, milk and butter from South Mountain Creamery.
Sausage from my heritage hog.

Frozen apples from WV orchard, Flour from VA mill

Apple Pancake

Sausage and pancakes

Monday, February 8, 2010

I finished my socks!

I've been house bound because of the snow so it was a good time to settle down and just knit.  I finished one sock yesterday and the other today.  My elbows are a little sore.  I've decided I don't like the one circular needle method (Magic Loop) and think I will stick to double pointed needles.  Even on the DP, I made a couple of mistakes.  Usually I can watch TV at the same time as knitting but this pattern needed more concentration on my part.  Overall they look pretty good although they are a little loose.  I'm thinking about throwing them into the washing machine (not the dryer) hoping to shrink them.

I don't have another project lined up because I really need to reduce my stash and start knitting little things from that.  Wrist warmers are next.

When there is a blizzard, plan your garden

It's a snow day today.  The DC metro area was hit with over 2 feet of snow this weekend.  More snow is predicted for tomorrow and Wed.  Where is all this snow going to go?


What better time than to order seeds for my vegetable garden?
Cucumbers - Pointsett, Cool Breeze (Cornichon type) and Wautoma (Pickling)
Fava - Statissa
Shallots - Sante
Kale - Fizz
Lettuce - Wild Garden Mix, London Springs Mix
Wild Garden Mustard
Kyoto Mizuna
Onions - Tropeana Lunga
Onions - Copra
Parsnips - Javelin
Shelling Peas - Canoe and Dakota
Snow Peas - Oregon Sugar Pod
Spinach - Regal
Sweet Potato - Georgia Jet
Sunflowers - Double Dandy, Waooh
Cosmos - Unique Mix
Marigold -Mars
California Poppy - Apricot Chiffon
Snapdragon - Rainbow Mix

From Abundant Life
Broccoli - Di Cicco
French Filet Bean - Cupidon
Kohlrabi - Azur Star
Leek - King Richard
Lettuce - Victoria
Lettuce - Yugoslavian Red
Potatoes - Desiree
Potatoes - German Butterball
Swiss Chard - Five Color Silverbeet
Garlic - Turkish Giant Red

From John Scheepers
Beets - Chioggia
Broccoli Raab - Cima di Rapa
Beans - Nickel
Carrots - Royal Chantenay
Radish - Gourmet Rainbow
Mizuna - Lime Streaked
Spinach - Bordeaux Red Stemmed

Friday, February 5, 2010

Dark Days Challenge Week 12

Tonight is our 2nd major snowstorm in the DC area this winter.  The forecasters say this will break all records and could reach 26 inches.  Boy oh boy, it's like I'm back in New England.

I had invited friends over for dinner tonight and luckily they only live a few blocks away so they were intrepid and walked over here. 

I made pork ribs, using ribs from my heritage Tamworth Hog.  The came out of the freezer at the beginning of the week, then on Wed, I smeared a dry rub on them and let them sit in the fridge until today.  Baked in the oven for an hour, then basted with a spicy tomato sauce for another 45 min.


The ribs were served with roasted potatoes - regular and sweet.  The regular potatoes (which were a pretty pink hue inside) were bought at the farmer's market and the sweet potatoes were from my garden.  The other side dish was roasted green beans and garlic  (my garden).


Happy diners!

For dessert I made vanilla pudding.  The milk, butter and eggs were from my dairy.  Surprisingly, very few of my cookbooks had a recipe for good old fashion vanilla pudding.  I don't know why I didn't look in the Joy of Cooking first because, of course, it was there.  Basically mix sugar and cornstarch and milk together, cook over a double boiler until thick.  Combine with 2 beaten eggs, put back on heat and cook for a couple of minutes.  Take off heat, stir in some butter and vanilla.  Put in a bowl, place plastic wrap right on top of pudding (this prevents a skin from forming) and cool in the fridge.