Thursday, April 30, 2009

Your basic cheeseburger

Sometimes, a simple meal is best. Nothing fancy here - just your basic cheeseburger, some Cape Cod potato chips, a nice green salad with balsamic vinaigrette, and a homebrewed pale ale. The only thing to add would be a nice fresh tomato from the garden, but that will have to wait until mid-summer. Linda and the kids like to add some ketchup and mustard, and the kids go even further by adding relish and pickles, especially if the relish and pickles are made by our good friend, Sarah.

I don't have much of a recipe to give here. The hamburger is from our monthly meat CSA share from Chestnut Farms in Hardwick, MA. I don't add anything to it. Each burger is hand-formed and about 1/3 lb apiece. I grill them for about 15 minuted over medium heat, flipping twice, with the second flip coinciding with the cheese addition. A perfect medium to medium-rare.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Planting Potatoes

A couple of years ago, Linda, the kids and I visited some friends who had taken over their family farm in Pennsylvania. We happened to be there during potato harvest time. I knew how potaotes grew - I understood it intellectually - but I never witnessed it. So, we all helped dig out the potatoes and I can honsestly say that I was amazed. Seriously, I stood awed by the fact that I took a shovel, stuck it into the ground, turned over the soil, and half a dozen beautiful potatoes were right there. It was like digging for buried treasure I guess.

Well, today I planted our first batch of potatoes - setting the stage for our own treasure hunt in a few months. We ordered two different sets of seed potatoes - Yukon Gold and Russian Banana Fingerlings. I cut each potatoe into pieces - each with a eye or two (or, in some cases, a sprout or two) - let them callus over a bit overnight, and planted them a few inches deep.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Every Last Cookie

My wife's cousin, a freshman at NYU, has a great blog about a great idea. She's baking her way through every cookie in Martha Stewart's cookie cookbook and blogging about each one. She hopes to complete her mission by the time she graduates. She's through Cookie #10 in only 8 weeks or so. At this rate, she should be able to do it. Of course, she'll have to forgo graduating early.

If you like cookies (and who doesn't?) you should definitely check it out: Every Last Cookie

PS Her photographs may be more impressive than the cookies

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Cold frames and beets

For the past few of years, we've used a couple of cold frames for some of our veggies - mostly leafy greens (e.g. Swiss chard, leaf lettuce, arugula, escarole, etc.) They work really great as they let us sow seeds directly outside much sooner in the spring, and the small, confined areas are easy to keep weed- and herbivore-free and well-watered. This year, I added two more frames to the backyard to increase our yield by staggering our plantings across a couple of months - this way, hopefully, we'll have a continuous supply of lettuce, chard, and carrots throughout the summer and into the fall (I plan on resowing at the end of the summer for fall, and perhaps even winter harvesting). The first cold frames I made out of plywood, some poplar 1x2s, and sheets of thin plexiglass cut to size - all bought from Home Depot. This year, I asked my grandfather, who owns a millworking business if he could cut me some plywood to size since I really don't have the right tools. Well, as I should have expected, given the way my grandfather operates, instead of plywood, I got a top-of-the-line exterior-grade composite, called Extira. It was completely unnecessary and definitely overkill, but I happily used the pieces and put the new cold frames to work this afternoon.

Into the new frames went another sowing of spring leaf lettuce mix and Swiss chard, some purple dragon carrots, and some beets. If the beet seeds look remarkably like Swiss chard seeds, it's because they're just different cultivars of the the same species - Beta vulgaris.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The asparagus are coming! The asparagus are coming!

Last year, we planted 8 asparagus plants. They seemed to do well. When fall came we cut back the first years growth and put the plants to bed for the winter (which just means we covered them with a bit more soil and let them be). I've been anxiously watching the bed the past month, waiting to see signs that the plants made it through the winter OK. Well, I finally have proof that at least one plant is still alive. Hopefully the others will follow shortly.