Browsing Archives for Produce

A few weeks ago I noticed that some daisies were emerging on the small hillside behind our house.  I was both surprised and relieved to see them appear.  Last Fall, B.J., a fellow member of my church mentioned that he was digging up a bunch of his daisies to make room for a water feature in his back yard.  He asked me if I wanted them.  ”Hell yes!’  I said, and then I remembered I was in church and said, “I mean Heck yes… Heck!  Heck!  I meant to say Heck!”  B.J. just looked at me the same way a lot of people look at me which is sort of a sideways glance with more than a small glint of concern and fear and said he would bring the daisies over soon.

A few days later, I came home from work to find my driveway filled with daisies.  B.J. had dropped off buckets and buckets and buckets of daisies.  I took one look at all those daisies and collapsed in a broken heap of lost humanity never to rise again.  There was no way I was going to get all those daisies in the ground.

No. Way.

Never.  

NEVER!  

What’s worse is that in just a few days the entire church was scheduled to appear at our house for an annual cook-out and hayride.  I couldn’t just let those daisies die a slow death in my driveway and then toss them in the north forty.  I had to make it look like a natural death… like an act of God… like mother nature had killed all those buckets full of daisies and not me!

I told the Country Doctor about my dilema,  ”Do you have a drug or a serum?” I asked him, “Or maybe you could just back over the daisies with the tractor and I could say that you killed them and not me…. It is no big deal if you kill off a driveway full of daisies… you’re a DOCTOR… people expect you to be heartless and robotic and kill things occasionally!  It fits your character!  But I work at a Garden Center!  I am supposed to bring things to life and fill the world with flowers!”

The Country Doctor just looked at me the way a lot of people look at me which is with a great deal of despair mixed with large dollops of horror.  

It is at this point in the story that I must have suffered a long black-out that lasted approximately twelve months because when I saw those daisies emerging from the hillside behind my house, I ran and found the Country Doctor and said,”Honey!  HONEY!  HONEY!!!  Remember those daisies?  Remember!  The Daisies that B.J. brought over and that I asked you to pretend to accidentally kill?”  

I think you can imagine how he was looking at me at this point.

“Well guess what!”  I continued, ” I planted them and they are all coming up!”

At this point, the Country Doctor’s normal pitying look turned a little icy around the edges.  ”You didn’t plant those daisies,” he said, “I planted those daisies… I broke my back to plant those daisies before the church cookout last year.”

“Oh….” 

“And it was a hundred degrees outside and that dirt on that hillside was as hard as stone.”

“Oh… well I guess daisies do well without any care.” I shakily replied.

“What do you mean without any care?”  he demanded.  ”I planted them, I watered them, I treated them better than I treat my trees!”

“Oh….  I just didn’t remember that… probably because of uh… the heat… and uh… the blackout…” I shakily replied

“What blackout?”

“You know… the blackout.  The blackout!  THE BLACK OUT!!!  

“What are you talking about?” he asked.

The blackouts I have when I feel all weak and shaky and then people dump a boat load of daisies in the driveway!” 

“Oh yeah… those black outs.”

“Oh… don’t those blackouts me!” I hissed.  ”You know very well that I am practically at death’s door at all times and I only struggle on for the sake of you and your children.

“Right.” he replied.

“No one on the face of the earth is more heroic than I am.” I announced.

“I’ll remember that.” he sighed.

“Good!” I exclaimed, “And I’ll try to remember that it was you who planted all those daisies!”

“Okay…”

“And… your daisies… they look nice.”

“Thanks.”

Special note to self…

Please try and remember that someone at work gave the Country Doctor some Canna bulbs and HE planted them… not YOU… HE!!!


My spinach has been growing gangbusters.

Fearing that the warmer weather might cause my spinach crop to bolt…

…like my arugula did.

I decided I better go ahead and harvest most of it and see if I could figure out how to ‘put it up’.

I collected enough spinach to fill a tall kitchen trash bag.

I set the bag into the sink and filled it with water, letting the spinach soak for a while to loosen the dried on dirt.

The boys helped me to remove the stems and any unwanted bits and pieces.


I set up an assembly line on the island.

Here we have cleaned spinach, boiling water, and a large container filled with ice and water.


I placed the clean spinach in the boiling water for one minute, which is called ‘blanching’ because that makes you sound smart and gives you an edge on confusing the heck out of people.

I found several recipes for freezing spinach, and they all had different recomendations for how long to ‘blanch’ your spinach. Some said two minutes, some said thirty seconds, some spoke of enzymes and some spoke of nutrient leaching. I finally gave up on finding a cook time that was predominant, and went with an average… one minute. My spinach will probaby have both bad enzymes and nutrient leaching. I just hope it tastes alright.

After one minute I removed the spinach from the boiling water…

…and placed it in an ice bath.

The ice bath stops the spinach from cooking, which also stops the enzymes from ‘enzyming’ and also stops the nutrients from leaching.

I left my spinach in the ice bath until I had processed all the spinach.

I labeled my freezer bags.

I then drained the spinach and loaded up the bags.

Two small freezer bags.

That is all that came from a trash bag full of spinach.

That stuff cooks down… way down!

I can’t wait to try this out in a batch of spanakopita!

My First Salad!

May 27th, 2009

I am calling this one Garden Greens with Blue Bowl.

 

 

 

 

 

And this one… Garden Greens, Blue Bowl, Show Cat #1.

 

 

 

 

 

Green, Blue, Scissors.

 

 

 

 

 

I snipped the tender lettuce, the crinkly spinach, and a mesclun mix that is primarily dominated by a robust arugula, brought them in the house and covered them in cold water to get rid of the dirt.  While they were soaking, I made up a batch of Rita’s salad dressing.

I would give you the recipe for Rita’s salad dressing if I could, but it is one of those things you never really write down.  It takes about a half cup of mayo, a quarter cup of vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar.  Keep adding things until it tastes good.  You may want to throw in some garlic… or some mustard… or some rosemary… you know… mess with it… until it tastes good.  

It will eventually…

Hopefully you won’t have a gallon of salad dressing made before you get it right.

 

 

 

 

The Country Doctor heartily approved of my salad.

Feeling kind of giddy, I decided to take my salad on a tour of our fake farm.

Which is a lot less fake now that it has a real garden!

 

 

 

And here we have garden fresh salad with boys on screen porch…

 

 

 

Garden fresh salad with urn and barn…

 

 

 

 

 

Garden fresh salad with show cat and a metal trunk that I bought at a neighbor’s garage sale.

 

 

 

 

 

Garden fresh salad and a different neighbor’s dog named Bailey.

 

 

 

 

 

This is my garden fresh salad sitting on the driveway.

I really don’t know what motivates me to take these odd food photos, except for a desire to make fun of all the food blogs in all of the world.

 

 

 

 

 

Oh… and also the photographer is kind of an oddball herself.

That salad was really good.

Maybe the best salad I have ever had in my life!

There was so much more than just the tasting… there was the planting and the watering and the weeding…

All in one bite.

I am making another one tomorrow!