Wednesday, May 31, 2006

May's flowers from my home to yours...

Is it worth it?

If you've dug deep in my blog, you would know about my ongoing tomato experiment. For the last three years, when the inevitable first frost is called for, I go out in a frenzy to save my tomato plants. This past year, I cut down and hung up plants in the garage to vine-ripen (not nearly as tasty as sun ripened, though). My three year experiment, however, is to save the plant through its suckers. I will cut of as many perfect suckers as I can, then place them in water on the window sill. You'll notice that these suckers, when cut off, look like the transplants you would buy in the spring. By the time of early spring, if the suckers haven't died yet, they'll be full of roots and ready to be planted. These tomato plants have quarter sized tomatoes on them while the other plants have just started to bloom.

The problem of it all is whiteflies. In the house. Yikes. It's inevitable you'll have an outbreak of the little hellions sometime, and they won't leave. They'll leave little sticky droplets everywhere around the plants, too. So before you think to yourself, "My, what a great idea! I'll have homegrown tomatoes almost all year!" think for a minute. Long tirades of tomato death-threats by my wife "I'm gonna drag them tomatoes outside and let them freeze to death, then I'm gonna burn them to kingdom come!" made this experiment a bit stressful.

Maybe a big, juicy, sweet, blood-red bundle of summertime pleasure might make her forget for awhile...

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Green red bell peppers

Ahhh...the promise of a roasted red bell pepper can't be beat! This is a pepper plant I brought inside over the winter, so it had a jumpstart on the year when I set it out for summer. This first of the year green bell pepper will absolutely not be plucked early. I know, I admit often to picking veggies weeks, sometimes months ahead of the norm, but not these--ever. I cannot stand the flavor of a green bell pepper. When someone has them on pizza, I can't eat the pizza--even after picking of the nasty bastards.

But wait long through the summer, wait until a greeny turns crimson red, that's real cuisine, there! I'll slice a few up, lay in a casserole dish, pour olive oil and balsamic vinegar over them, grind sea salt, sprinkle shredded basil leaves over them, and roast in the oven several hours. Oh man, place a few strands of roasted reds on a cracker with some brie, or dice up and mix in your burgers on the grill, or throw some in a greek salad, or scatter them on a pizza, or in a big, Scooby-doo style sandwich, or, or, or!

Monday, May 29, 2006

squash blossoms

Being a full-blooded American, I was raised on monster zucchini and summer squash when I was little. Like every gardener in the US, we would grow them a foot or two long, hundreds at a time.

In other places, squash are grown for their delicate, delicious yellow flowers and the tasty little squashes are harvested when a couple inches long. Growing them this way provides more flavorful squashes and an extended harvest months longer than the conventional American way. Being the impatient gardener that I am, this has tremendous appeal to me. We began devouring these gems as soon as we came back from California, May 11.

Most recipes online will tell you to stuff and fry them, although I've never tried that. We briefly shred them and put them in omelettes in the morning, pile them high on pizza (sprinkle the cheese over them), or put them in a pasta dish. I absolutely hate cooked large squashes, but these are slightly sweet and delicious--please trust me!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

north coast

For the final few days of the trip, we made our way up the coast and into the redwood forests where we were married two years ago. Crossing over the mountains from Napa valley, we stumbled upon this motley group of wild boar (if only I could have roasted up a couple of these guys!) munching in a meadow.

We didn't have a feast of boar, however, we found this perfect blonde morel on an ocean walk the next day.

Sauteed up in butter and sea-salt, it was heavenly!

Just being on the shores of Northern California draws you deeper into peacefulness. If only we could return sooner...

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Everyone in America (in the world, for that matter) should visit the splendour of Yosemite once in their lifetimes. If you can get past the crowds and chaos of the valley maze, that is. The views of waterfalls and sheer granite will take your breath away, until the feeling of city traffic leaves you empty and dissappointed.

Fortunately, we chose to jump off the carnival ride. We hiked down to a secluded grove of pines on the bank of the Merced, laid out a blanket, spread out a picnic, and Rebecca got to do her favorite activity--nap.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

sf farmers market

San Francisco's farmers market is among the largest in America, so we've been anxious to go. The bay area had a longer winter than normal, so the turn out and varieties on display were much lower than expected, but we had a lot of fun anyway.

These onions were amazingly good,

Far West Fungi was heaven. I hadn't ever seen pink oyster mushrooms before, beautiful aren't they? We also bought some fresh morels, as well as a few others. The most addicting item on the trip we bought here: truffle infused sea salt (mushroom lover's cocaine).

coastal redwoods

Following the coastline of Big Sur, we camped among the redwood rainforests. The varieties of plant life among the two ecosystems made me want to stay months there, studying the many species and relationships between them.

On the sea

The soul bursts with life when near the sea, why has it taken so long to return?

I've been to Big Sur several years ago with my sister on another road trip. I remember all the wildflowers everywhere bursting in bloom--every roadside, cliffside, meadow, and pasture. Returning here and seeing all the beauty as wild edibles was quite exciting. Here is an over-abundance of salad greens, begging to be picked.

Big Sur

The first days of the trip were spent travelling down the coast of Big Sur. It didn't take long before the stress and troubles of work back home were lost to the rolling tides of the pacific.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Back from California (part one-Big Sur)

It's good to be back, but I sure do miss the ocean. We had an overnight flight from San Francisco and arrived in time to go to work, jet-lag included. I'm not posting much today (my eyes sting so bad, I can hardly read), but couldn't help but slide some pictures in from the adventure...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

On the road

Just a short note to say we're out exploring in California for a couple of weeks, in case you're wondering. I'll have much to show you when I get back...
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