September 28, 2009

Chicken Goes Dutch

Since the newly purchased dutch oven needs to earn it's keep, it was put into service again.  This go around was chicken. 

The recipe that I chose to experiment with was one that I found on one of my favorite blogs - 66 square feet.  I love this blog.  It chronicles life and times in THE big city - New York of course!  It intrigues me that a city dweller can produce food on a rooftop garden.  I would love to do it.  So that was the initial interest but beyond that it is diverse, informative and well written.  I sense a woman of character.

So, here we, first let's discuss vermouth.  This recipe called for a bunch of it.  Obviously I have heard of it before but had no idea - zero - of what exactly it is.  So since "Goodsearch" is my friend (Google's cousin but it donates money to worthy causes for your searches and shopping) I found out that it is a quasi-wine with herbs added.  K.

So here is what it looked like.....

The recipe called for whole chicken but I chose split breasts.  Legs will never be eaten in this house.

Chicken with potatoes, grapes, tarragon and other aromatics.

At the last minute I had some patty pan squash that needed to be used so I threw that in too.
De.light.ful!  Check out the recipe here.

September 27, 2009

Got Harvest?

After a rather dismal summer, weather wise and thus garden wise, I am finally reaping the fruits of my labor.  For what it's worth, yesterday I harvested my first.ever.celery.  Woo-hoo!  It grew very slowly but with very little attention.  I picked just this one and have four more to go.

This is what it looked like after plucking off the small outer celery stalks.

All chopped and cleaned and ready to munch on.

First up.......the Barefoot Contessa's "Company Pot Roast".  Time for an experiment. 

While I was out picking the celery my neighbor was lurking in his backyard. We chit chatted about this 'n that and I told him that I was attempting a pot roast in my spanky new dutch oven.   With that, he ceremoniously bent over and pulled a bunch of carrots from his garden.  Cool!!!  I am not much of a roast lover but hubby is so....this one's for you Mr.

With all the ingredients in place, today was the day.

Sweat those veggies.

Brown that beef.

Add those herbs.

....and we're off!

Suffice it to say that by the time it was ready I forgot to take a picture of the final dish. I was hungry and anxious to taste it.   It was...mmmm....mmm.....good!

If you want the recipe you can find it on the Food Network website.....Ina Garten...The Barefoot here.  You won't regret it.

My New "Toy"

With the arrival of cooler weather my thoughts have turned to cooking.  Like clockwork.  Most of the summer consists of steaks on the BBQ, tomato salads and other foods that keep me away from the stove.  Yesterday the urge to cook kicked in.  So I turned on the Food Network and read through blogs to see if I might come upon something enticing.  And I did!  But there was a downside.....both called for a dutch oven.  Shopping I must go.

TJ Maxx here I come.  Just 5 minutes from my house.  Bingo!  A beautiful red enamel, cast iron dutch oven.

Cuisinart Dutch Oven - Purty, huh?

Let me say, they don't give these things away!  $60 at a discount store!  The "Compare at" price was $110!  Oh well if it is well used it will be worth it.  Tomorrow it goes to work!  Let the experiments roll.

To be continued.......

September 22, 2009

The Forgotten Harvest

Not sure how this happened but I forgot to post a picture from my largest (only, really) harvest this year.   Here it is…..teehee.


Taken September 4th. 

How could I have forgotten!

September 21, 2009

An Annual August Concert

Every year when August rolls in and the humidity is kickin' butt there is a very strange occurrence.  The sun sets and the trees begin to sing.  Like a symphony or choir.  Legend has it that it is a chorus of tree frogs.  I've been living here for 10 years and have had never seen one.  Until today.

I really didn't need to see another frog because I had just come running from my veggie garden.  Chased away by resident toads, frogs, whatever they are.  I don't stick around for long enough to look.  They hop - I run.  These damn critters have been hanging out in my garden for most of the summer.  I am living in a state of paranoia.  I thought I was "safe" on my deck.  Maybe I am meant to be gardening on a city rooftop.  If I ever stepped on one I think I would need to be institutionalized.  Seriously.

First I saw this....

This would be a tree frog's ass.
Very bold don't ya think!

He then got even bolder, almost challenging.

Dude!  Leave me alone!  This is MY deck!
You are on my brugmansia!

Crossing the escape bridge..

Leaping over to the rhody.

Off and running.

I would have preferred to believe in the "legend".  I really didn't need to see one.  I really need to rethink my outdoor life.

P.S.  After posting, I googled treefrogs and just in case you are interested, here is a link.  I don't care what their story is - they are grosse.
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The Garden That Wasn't

Let me start by saying that I am am thankful that I was not relying on a harvest this year.  Cuz it didn't happen.  I am also thankful that I didn't count myself in for the Monday Harvest Tally over at Daphne's Dandelions cuz I would have been run out of dodge!  After 40+ straight days of rain in June and July the truth was quickly becoming apparent.  You can't beat Mother Nature.

So rather than cry over what didn't happen, I choose to laugh at what did.  This is the grape "crop".  In it's entirety!

I may taste one but otherwise I'm leaving them for the birds.  This vine is about 4 years old and these are the first grapes ever so at least I know it can produce.  See that....looking on the bright side.

Then there is the snake gourd vine.  This one was new in the garden this year.  The vine went berserk.  During the rainy, rainy days the vine escaped it's "enclosure" and went to visit the grapes.  It climbed up the trellis and intertwined itself amongst the grape vines.  There are several small snakes growing but with the weather being much cooler, I would be very surprised if anything comes of them.  There is just one worthy of mention - about 3 feet it is.

I am almost tempted to OCD on this bugger - make it the object of my affection.  Wrangling and tying it so that it ends up in a more interesting shape.  Hmmm....

Now on to my most successful bounty of the year.  Eggplant.  I picked one and made a nice eggplant parm - mmmm...good. This was another newbie for me.  Very pretty plant.  In addition the one already picked, this one might make it too.  I emphasize might.

All of the tomato plants were yanked yesterday and put in blight bags for my trash man tomorrow.  Not one darn tomato sandwich for me this summer.  Boo-hoo. 

Between the rain, and the critters and other nonsense this summer, the garden and I were not exactly BFF's.   Oh and my absence of more than 30 days over the growing season didn't help either.  Whatever.  There's always next year.  Maybe.  Stay tuned.


September 4, 2009


Ewwwwwwwww!  I headed down to the garden earlier for what I thought would be the end of tomatoes for this year.   T’was not to be.  I was not alone.  There were critters out there today.  Frogs a ‘hoppin’ here and there, and this disgusting creature.  A tomato hornworm I think.  I’ve never seen one before (except in pictures).  It sent me screaming like a little school girl.  Once I regained my composure I was able to snap a few pics.  Of course during the photo session I had imaginary things crawling up my legs and was happy that the macro feature on my camera let me take the pics from a distance.  I’m starting to wonder if I am really cut out for this gardening business.  Silly as it sounds, I’m not sure if this is one of the fears that I want to conquer.




Quite the athlete, huh?

September 2, 2009

Back Home

Been on the road again. Once again my 4 day road trip to Montreal turned into a 9 day trip. Thankfully my husband is fine with it. It's the 3rd time that I've done it this summer.

My trip to the Laprairie farmer's market was a quick one this time. I sidetracked from the direct route home to make a pit stop to pick up some delicioso curd cheese (cheese curd??). It's one of the things from home that my family misses. Eaten as is or in the fabulous Quebec staple "poutine". French fries with BBQ gravy and curds.....mmmmm....mmmm. It's not available here in Massachusetts - at least not that I am aware of. It's available in grocery stores back home but nothing compares to the the fresh from the market version.

With the dismal condition of my garden, I wish I could have picked up some fruits and veggies. They had 10 lb bags of beets for $3.50! Pickling onions too. Alas the powers that be do not allow the transportation of fruits, veggies, meat or plants. Doesn't leave much choice at a farmer's market.

Sometimes ignorance is bliss. That is the case with the datura seed pods that I scooped up at my daughter's house this past week. These are some gnarly monsters. They bite! Prickly as porcupines! My daughter didn't know what to do with the spent flowers (deadheading) and just let them be. I happily pinched the pods and rid her of those nasty, seed-filled pods! I shall try my hand at daturas this winter. We shall see, we shall see.