We live in zone 6a and I have been gardening and cooking for years. This blog is an opportunity for me to share with you my success and those failures that come about on occasion. Plus, I want to hear from all the gardeners and bakers and cooks out there and learn from you. Feel free to share your ideas.







Sunday, January 3, 2016

Farmer Fred Gardening Radio Program on KFBK

I am listening to Farmer Fred on KFBK right now. They are having a great discussion with experts on the best gardening tools. This program is on every Sunday out of central California. If you miss it, you can pick it up on the station's podcasts. Never miss listening to Fred.

Here is more info on today's program.


Sunday on the electric radio garden shows: Roses! Pruning, planting, choosing...all good topics for the January 3 shows. Rosarians Charlotte Owendyk and Baldo Villegas drop by, pruners in hand. Maybe not with pruners. They may not make it past security. KFBK Garden Show, 8-10 am on KFBK (93.1-FM, 1530-AM, kfbk.com and the IHeart Radio app); Get Growing, 10 am-noon, on KSTE (650-AM, kste.com and the iHeart Radio app). Podcasts available after the shows air at those two websites and the iHeart radio app.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

This and That

This first part of the  post has nothing to do with gardening nor cooking, but I was amazed at how crowded Target was today. Practically all the carts were being used. Gift wrap and Christmas cards were 70 % percent off. But all the departments were packed. I am not a big shopper, but I did grab a gorgeous roll of glitter foil gift wrap for a $1.50.

Now I need to get down to business looking over my seed catalogs. I think this year I will simplify the garden by planting only tomatoes, basil, kale and zinnias. Perhaps butternut squash. Of course, I may change my mind and add to the list. I already have a large bed of hard neck garlic planted. With this warmer weather, it is already 6 inches out of the ground. Very unusual.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Pimento Cheese Dip- great for New Year's Eve or Game Day

I made this dip for an after Christmas party and the bowl was scrapped clean.



Pimento Cheese
Yield: About 1 pint (serves 4 as an appetizer)

Ingredients 
2 cups sharp orange cheddar, grated (8 oz.)
½ cup Duke’s mayonnaise ( Duke's is preferred and start with 1/4 cup and add more, if need be)
½ cup pimiento peppers, drained and chopped (7-oz. jar)
¼ cup green onion, chopped (use both the green and the white parts)
1 tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cayenne
Dash of Tabasco
1 tsp. horseradish ( optional -but I would definitely add it. I am just saying.)


Preparation
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, and stir with a rubber spatula. Serve immediately with crackers, or cover, refrigerate, and let flavors marinate. I know this us atypical, but the Nacho chips that are shaped as dippers are great with this dip.

Leek and Potato Soup--Variation of Julia and Jacques' Recipe


I had been wanting to make leek and potato soup. So I grabbed my trusty Julia Child and Jacques Pepin cookbook and made a few changes. Below is my edited version of their recipes. It is easy and delicious. Hope you enjoy it. Sorry if this appears in all caps, but blogger is not behaving for me.

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 to 5 yukon gold potatoes (1 1/2 pounds), peeled and roughly chopped
3 or 4 large leeks (1 pound), and thinly sliced
4 cups light chicken stock or broth ( store bought is fine)
Kosher salt, to taste and pepper, to taste
1 cup onion chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream or whole milk ( optional  )

1/3 cup minced parsley or chives ( optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat the oil in a large (6-plus quart) stockpot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leek and onion. . Cook 5 minutes on medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have begun to soften. Add stock and potatoes. Bring to boil and turn down to medium boil, cover and continue for 20 minutes or  until the vegetables are tender.
  2. Blend until smooth, either using an immersion blender or by carefully transferring to a blender in batches.
  3. Add the cream/milk, and season to taste with salt (start with 1/2 teaspoon and go from there, tasting frequently).  Add pepper.
  4. Ladle into bowls, and garnish with parsley or chives. This freezes well. 
Also I added turkey in my bowl for lunch today. Frankly you can take liberties with this soup by adding other vegetables that have been cooked. It is a great starter base that will let you ad other items. Ham would be great!


Monday, December 28, 2015

Rain, Rain and More Rain

It seems as if it has been raining for at least 3 days straight. I must say it is getting on my nerves today. So I have been reading through the New York Times best noodle dishes on line, and I must say there are a couple that look very interesting.

Spiced Ginger Pork Noodles

  • 12 ounces baby bok choy (3 or 4 small heads)
  • 1 ounce ginger root (1 fat 2-inch-thick knob)
  •  Kosher salt
  • 8 ounces rice noodles, not too thin
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or safflower oil
  • 1 pound lean ground pork
  • ¼ cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • ½ cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh Thai or habanero chile, seeded if desired, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sesame oil, more for drizzling
  •  Cilantro or torn basil, for serving
  •  Black vinegar, for serving

INGREDIENTS                                  

  1. Trim bok choy and separate dark green tops from white stems; leave tops whole and thinly slice stems. Peel ginger and finely chop half of it. Slice remaining ginger into thin matchsticks.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add noodles and cook according to package instructions. Drain and run under cool water; drain again.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook, breaking up with a fork, until golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Season with salt, 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce and 1/2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar. Use a slotted spoon to transfer meat to a bowl.
  4. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Stir in half the scallions, the finely chopped ginger, the garlic and the chile. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add bok choy stems and a pinch of salt. Cook until bok choy is almost tender, about 2 minutes. Toss in leaves and return pork to skillet.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas

I am relaxing with my husband and even though we are not having company over for dinner, I set the table with china , crystal and silver. I love a beautiful table. We are having a well seasoned pork shoulder that has been rubbed with a garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, and olive oil. Plus we are having a Buche de Noel for dessert. We will be breaking open the bottle of champagne shortly.

Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Meyer Lemons - Easy Lemon Curd

I have a 3 foot Meyer lemon and I bring it in the house in the winter? Well I found an easy recipe at King Arthur for lemon curd. Wow it was simple and you can even freeze the lemon curd which is great on ginger cookies by the way. Click   here for the recipe. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes and it is made in the microwave.

Hope you Christmas season is going well. We are having an amazing heat wave!