28 March 2010

The Salsa Trials of 2010

Whoa. This has been a pretty epic house/garden weekend. I started off with a solid to-do list, only to discover yesterday that each thing on the list was really a >1 hr type of activity (i.e. "harvest" = pick winner plants/leaves, reject losers, pull up whole plants, compost, wash, wash, wash). Last year I had what I think was salmonella from unwashed farmers market lettuce, so I am no longer casual about leaf-washing. But the salad spinner is my new favorite invention.

The real purpose of this post is to record a salsa recipe. In anticipation of tomato season I'm hoping to perfect a mix. I'm usually a pico de gallo kind of gal, but for long-term storage, I think boiling will have to do. So today I made two 12 oz jars of this (an amalgam of internet recipes)

Salsa Trial No. 1

9 med. tomatoes (from TJ's) chopped (seeds & middle stay in... I'm lazy)
1.5 chipotle jalapenos (from B & A) minced
1 T brown sugar
1 "garleek" (going to be hard to replicate) chopped
2 t salt
2 t white vinegar
0.5 c cilantro stemmed & washed
juice of 2 limes
zest of 1 lime
0.5 c onions (mini-scallions from the garden) minced
2 t black pepper
2 T cornstarch
0.25 c water

Combine all but last 2 ingredients in a big pot, hand blend till smooth, bring to a boil then simmer for 45 min to cook down. Mix cornstarch & water separately then add to pot. Pour into jars, let cool for a bit on the counter then into the fridge.

Upon first tasting this recipe is okay. Next time definitely needs more onions and a squidge more garlic (N permitting...) and maybe another spice, but I'll have to ask the expert for advice on that.

In other news, I out-planted the corn yesterday. I know it's too early, but it was too huge for the wee peat pots. I think normally it would be okay, but we're supposed to have epic weather this week. So I haven't planted the pumpkins and beans, in case we have to start over. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad to live somewhere with simultaneous warmth and rain, eh?

27 March 2010

I had a leek there, but I got bored.

Epic garden day - mowed the over-grown lawn, planted the corn (with embarrassing soaker hose), and harvested almost everything from the raised beds. Sure, stuff wasn't ready, but after some thought I decided to turn it all into soup. I'm calling the garlic "garleeks", the leeks sad onions, and the onions... scallions. And the kale and chard... epic. But about 17 rounds with the salad spinner later, I think I've made soup. Now if I can just get it all into cans without any serious burns, I'll be good to go. Pictures will be posted manana. R is not entertained.

14 March 2010

Bed Prep

Yesterday I painstakingly cut all the cover crop in the 10x10 plot (wheat, vetch, fava beans, and who knows what else) and then dug it up. Then today I began what could be a long experiment. First I added some soil and manure to amend and level it out.

Then I covered the whole thing with newspaper, wetting it to keep it all from blowing away. This step will hopefully keep down the weeds. Looks classy, eh?

Finally, the whole thing got covered with a nice layer of soil. When I plant into it I'll dig through the newspaper, but hopefully this will cut down on the weeds and re-sprouting cover crop.

09 March 2010

more Spring!

We pedaled up OLH after work today, which was surprisingly not as hard as I expected (though I still wouldn't want to do it every day...) But the best part was that it is as close as I've ever been to hiking while on a road bike. Not only did we ride through redwoods, but there were Trilliums and milkmaids in bloom all along the road. And a lot of very fancy houses with PVs and water tanks, which I guess you have to do up there, but it was impressive.

08 March 2010

Spring! (well, almost)

Whoa, where did February go? Meh, it was rainy and cold and full of work. But now there's sunshine (springing forward this weekend, though that won't help my early mornings) and the garden is starting to perk up. I've been posting stuff on flickr, but here's the big winner:

The daffodils ('Tahiti' and another double) are finally starting to bloom! We also planted three 'Magnum' hops rhizomes (alpha 12-14%!), so the asparagus and hops bed is mostly done (still need to do some rigging for the hops). The seedlings I started indoors are growing a bit faster than I expected (mostly the corn), so we're changing our planting plans a bit, but all should be fine.

Otherwise all is well in our little homestead. My two new favorite books are the Sunset Western Garden Book of Edibles and Home Grown. Just as long as it doesn't hail again...