Cooking + Baking

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Our STRONG rooted fennel took two hands to release from the ground!

Juniper’s tongue! She’s so stinking cute.

The beautiful fluff of seed pods waiting to be carried off to new lands.
omelet
Bee and butterfly!
butternut squash tacos
reflection from a seltzer can!
spicy Asian pork salad
Bald Eagle
Final harvest of peppers, onions, and fennel!
tiny poblano
Snow!

Hello, and happy Wednesday!

We’re a one foot in salad and one foot in soup season around here. Days still have enough warmth in them, but my mind, I think, is further along the transition because I made fennel apple soup with these last bulbs, and boy, it was wonderful!

It is full on FALL here, with trees lit up: ochre, pumpkin, scarlet. But alas, no photo! The last jeweled apples cling to trees and prettily litter the ground. It hurts my heart a bit not to gather them all, but I’ve already made butter, sauce, and jelly galore. The birds and squirrels and other critters will go gonzo soon enough, I suppose.

The bee and butterfly up yonder were noshing on our mint. After looking a little droopy, it took off right and proper, with hundreds of winged creatures feasting on the flowers. We were dazzled by the constant flurry of activity and ever-so-grateful not to have prematurely trimmed it back. I shudder to think at all the missed nutrients for the bevy of tiny friends.

Farmer Greg’s final harvest was a showstopper considering the tiny footprint of the garden, and this doesn’t even show the giant bowl of tomatoes waiting to be made into something wonderful.

And on that wonderful note, how good does the handsome hubster look after 18 pounds lost on Weight Watchers? He’s humming at a much faster clip than I, but we’re still moving forward. Foods like the pork salad and butternut squash tacos (thanks to Gwyneth Paltrow for this idea) make it all the more colorful and satisfyingly delicious.

Here’s hoping you are WELL!

Happy & strong. . .
bumper crop
weekly cookie & iced latte
nasturtium
mum
sunflower
scarlet runner
crocosmia
rudbeckia
canteloupe
hollyhock
aster
hyssop
goldenrod
teeny tiny rose

Last week we got our no. 2 shingles vaccine, and it knocked us OUT. I had a headache within minutes, and my arm was sore the first night. But oh, the next morning! We walked Juniper, and were so exhausted by our truncated effort that we returned to bed. Later, I heard my phone making a ruckus and went to my office to check. Turns out, we’d been asleep for hours. It was 11:30 and I’d missed a massage appointment. I felt wrecked for the rest of the day and pretty tired the following two. Brutal, dear peeps. Brutal.

When we finally came up for air, we took Juniper to her favorite frolic spot, and let her get her wiggles out good and proper. She was pretty happy with our decision!

I made three pints of pico de gallo with the tomatoes, and the hubster could not be happier about it.

Greg and I are down 15 and 10 pounds respectively, thanks in part to enjoying cookies one-at-a-time, rather than a half batch in one go. We both like that it is sensibility not deprivation.

Oh, and speaking of cookies, have you ever tried a chocolate chip dough with the addition of white miso? Sounds crazy, right? I read about it somewhere recently and gave it a whirl – one tablespoon to our half batch of dough. Eek! Quite the je ne sais quoi to elevate the humble winner to it’s better-better best.

And the garden! Much of it is fading, but much remains so very alive. The hyssop is especially delightful, with a constant zoom & flurry of hummingbirds.

Happy Fall…

Our girl looking VERY serious!

fennel + spinach soup

ground cherries

green chile pork burger

neighborhood crab apple

socca + whipped yogurt and feta + homegrown cayenne & tomatoes (the color!)

Grandma’s rosehips

kung pao chicken + vegetables

Mid-September! It creeped so stealthily in, a sudden call for blankets in the inky black of night and sweatshirts and jackets in the low slant of morning. Cool, cool. Days are all over the place, pleasant or blasting heat, the patter of rain on concrete. All beautiful.

As is often the case, I canned three batches of deliciousness over the course of twenty-four hours, Grandma’s rosehip + apple jelly, apple butter, and rhubarb jam. My legs were wobbly from all the standing and stirring, stirring, with the house a heady terrarium of sweet scented steam. The results are glorious and delicious, especially the rhubarb. I used the last stringy stalks, macerating them overnight in sugar in hopes of softening them up. There was a LOT of green, so I added a handful of frozen cherries to pretty them up, and boy, what a fabulous jam. But alas, no pictures! Gotta turn up the imagination dial, dear reader.

We are still enjoying our Weight Watchers adventure, losing weight, learning, and questioning. Greg comments on how much more he is laughing. Me? How much less I am belching. All good. I keep adapting recipes to match points and do what I can to add MORE vegetables to our life. Steady as she goes….

Farmer Greg + tomato + kohlrabi
pork shoulder steak + spiralized zucchini & carrot + veg galore + peanut dressing
Uncle Lyle + Aunt Bev, with L O V E

The front garden gives and gives

Who goes there?
Raccoon methinks
B a l l o o n s ! !

Mud! Juniper’s toes! My Maine Coone socks! Hello Paris…

blue tepary
scarlet runner beans: one and all
S I X pounds of prickly pears wild harvested and processed!

Home grown tiny canteloupe…flip fantasia
With a sincere nod to US3’s FAB song!

poblano
fennel + chicory + ground cherry + kohlrabi + tomato
tomato
big + little
harvest
Breakfast “Ramen” – zoodles + egg + bacon + jack cheese + green chile + chicken broth
pico de gallo with our own tomatoes and cayenne pepper – huzzah!

Good Tuesday to you, dear reader! What eye candy here today, and what luck to find it all in front of my lens.

From the top: the garden is going like gangbusters, with super delicious ripening tomatoes, of a variety we cannot remember, drat. The kohlrabi hollering go big or go home!

After struggling a bit with the middle age S P R E A D, Greg and I joined Weight Watchers. It’s been a few weeks, and though the pounds aren’t exactly flying off (damn slowing metabolism!), we are losing weight and feeling truly great. It is actually FUN, and we are enjoying the challenge. I am spiralizing like a mad woman: zucchini, carrots, butternut squash!

We visited Bev + Lyle’s graves weekend before last for the very first time. Her colorful personality called for a rainbow of roses. We’ve had more death in the family, and I’ve felt a little heavy about it, truth be told. I pore over pictures and replay Super-8 style memories while pondering the gossamer connections of blood kin and my chosen family, each binding me to the wider world. Like planting small seeds of comfort that will one day bear beautiful fruit.

In a super cookbook from the library, Living Within the Wild, I found the recipe for Breakfast Ramen. Theirs uses actual ramen, which is NOT worth my points on WW, so of course I zoodled! It also calls for nori rather than green chile, but come on, green chile was made for this dish! I will definitely be making it again.

This past weekend was the Balloon Festival, and we awoke early Saturday to wade through giant puddles and trudge the mud of two evening’s blessed rains: all to watch the launch from our favorite perch on high. The mist veiled hills a bonus gift for our labors. Every year we expect a crowd in our viewing spot, and every year we are gratefully spared, reveling in our own good luck AND company to watch each wonder of gravity rise and rise and rise.

It is prickly pear season, at last, at last. I cannot believe my good luck at finding the local patches of beautiful fruit, waiting to be turned into wonderful juice. The spiny jabs worth it in the end.

More glory in the garden as the harvest gets to go, go, going. We experimented with cantaloupe! While it is among the best we’ve ever tasted, it is not nearly worth the water or labor for the three adorable fruits produced. The ground cherries, peppers, beans, zucchini, and tomatoes are quite a different story. The blue tepary and scarlet runners an excellent introduction to beans for drying, so we will plant much more next year, taking out the strawberry plants that do so very little. How life presents a body with ample opportunities to learn!

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We celebrated my Mom’s 72nd birthday with a weekend of fun at our house. Pizza, waffles, prickly pear margaritas to accompany a Tex-Mex BBQ of epic proportions, four varieties of homemade ice cream (peanut butter & chocolate, mixed berry, walnut {the most popular!}, and coffee), and a wicked good triple-decker strawberry frosted birthday cake, modeled by my fabulous nephew Tyler.

The Grandma Tess celebration rose is festooned with hundreds of blossoms and smells divine!
horehound
potentilla
budding goldenrod & wild bee house

As promised, our newly mulched and planted garden. The rain came right after Greg got all of the meat off the grill, with some wild torrents and furious waves of baby hail (no damage, woot!) before turning rather lovely and Portland-like for the better part of the next two days. Heavenly.

Juniper squeezing in amongst the columbine.

Our first official butterfly sighting in the garden. Here’s hoping it is a banner year!

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P.S.

A sincere note of gratitude to the best man I know (GREG!!) for replacing my computer’s power supply. You make this blog possible, and I super appreciate it.

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