Miscellaneous



At work we talk about effort in, in relation to, results out.  In terms of a recipe, this is short and simple.  But the results are spectacular.  I never tire of the recipes you can make with a deliciously slooow roasted, sweet and intense tomato.  The key is long and low in the oven.  It’s 5 minutes before bed, and then a quick pasta for dinner the next day.  Or a deep rich tomato soup.  It’s totally up to you.

roasted-tomatoes

Ingredients:

2 lbs on the vine campari tomatoes, ripe
1 head (yes head) garlic, cloves peeled
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt
fresh cracked black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 150-160 F
  2. Wash and halve tomatoes
  3. Arrange halves, face up in a Pyrex casserole dish
  4. Spread garlic cloves amongst tomatoes
  5. Drizzle olive oil over
  6. Season with salt and pepper
  7. Place tomatoes in oven and roast for 10-12 hours, checking every few hours.

Toss with freshly cooked pasta, fresh basil and feta.  A meal in minutes….errr…hours?


If you ask any Vancouverite about this winter, they will tell you that the weather has been a little odd to say the least.  We have had more snow than most can remember, colder temperatures,  and unpredictability at every turn…with bated breadth we awaited spring.   And with Friday , the first day of spring we got… thundershowers, hail, a wind storm, and..wait for it, yes…SUN!

Seeing the weekend’s forecast, calling for mostly sunshine and just a chance of showers on Sunday, we were excited to take on the garden!  Okay, maybe we weren’t excited, but I certainly was.  Fall was so busy for me at work and then going to Mexico for vacation that I didn’t clean out the garden, or plant any spring bulbs.  I had had grand plans of white tulips, but alas that didn’t happen.  So for the last few months I have been planning what to do with our community garden.

Last year was our first go at it. One of the challenges we faced was that our plot was on a hill.  This year we decided we were going to build raised beds, or terraces.  TB’s job was to figure out how it would work.    He opted for three beds, 2 – 7’x7′ and one 3′-6″‘x7’.  I love the finsihed result!  I am sure that the water won’t gush down to the bottom anymore, and I feel like there is even more space than last year’s.

Because I am a new gardener, everyone just says, “Try it..who knows”.  And with that I have been building my plan. Time lines, seeds, seedlings, bulbs…I am so glad to have resources at my fingertips online.  Sometimes however I fell that there are bits of pieces everywhere: online (mulitple sites), books, plant/bag labels etc.  I decided to compile all the resources into one, so that I could find the info I needed: the plants, both veggie and flowers,  when and how to sow, when to harvest etc.  And with that, no recipe in this post, but – here’s the garden plan.  This includes the plan for the community garden as well as the balcony.

Our Garden Plan:

picture2

*you can click on the picture above and it will take you to the file where you can download the .pdf if you want to*

Top Box:
Sunflowers
Corn
Climbing Beans
Peas
Sweat Peas
Dahlias
Rhubarb

Middle Box:
Asparagus
Broccoli
Leaks
Green Onions
Cucumber
Beets

Lower Box:
Carrots
Pak choi

Radishes
Basil
Dill

Balcony/Container Gardening
Strawberries
Potatoes (in a bag of soil…ala Jamie Oliver’s Gardening at home)
Heirloom Tomatoes (thanks Tash!)
Spinach
Lettuce
Sunflowers
Mint

Sowed outdoors this weekend:

5 dahlias tubers, 5 asparagus root clumps, the rhubarb root clump (I have my doubts about this), and the green onions.

Sowed indoors this weekend:

spinach, leeks, lettuce, cucumbers, sweet peas and 4 types of heirloom tomato plants (golden dwarf, lucky leprechaun,dwarf champion improved, and lime green salad).


I was not looking forward to today. You see, it marked the last day of the farmer’s market that is right around the corner from us. It couldn’t be more than a 3 minute walk. I know there is the winter farmer’s market on alternating weekends. But (insert whining voice) I would have to drive there…and I never seem to make it, let alone remember.

Our community garden plot is along the same the same road as the farmer’s market. So off we went this morning, coffee’s in hand, a happy puppy by our sides and a beautiful fall day awaiting us; I figured we would not only shop, but pull the last our carrots from the garden. The carrots have been slow in growing, I almost wonder if I planted some sort of dwarf carrot variation by mistake earlier on this summer. Regardless, they may be small, but they were plentiful and very tasty. I’ve been giving “bouquet’s of carrots” when we have been visiting friends – maybe that is weird?!

At the market we saw the beautiful colours of autumn. Deep oranges, brilliant yellows, reds, and deep greens. After we harvested our 7 lbs of baby sized carrots (that is a lot of pinky sized carrots, let me tell you!), we picked up a bag full of organic lobster and oyster mushrooms, some fresh and crunchy gala apples and an amazing looking acorn squash. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but with a little creativity it turned into a great three course dinner: cream of carrot apple soup, mushroom rissotto, and acorn squash/pear pie (I know, that sounds like such an odd combo).

Tonight’s post is the soup. This recipe is totally of my own imagination (or so I thought until I googled carrot apple soup!), and as I was cooking I was just opening the fridge/cupboards trying to figure out what should go in it, the result was surprisingly tasty and rich.

Ingredients:
1 medium onion, diced
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 gala apple, peeled and chopped
3 cups chopped carrots
5 cups veggie stock
1/2 cup whipping cream
salt to taste
chives to top

Directions:

  1. In a dutchoven heat olive oil and butter, over medium heat saute onions for about 10 minutes until translucent.
  2. Add garlic, sugar, and ginger. Stir and allow to caramelize (about 3 more minutes).
  3. Add apple and carrots, soften for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add veggie stock, bring to a medium simmer and cook for about 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, with an immersion blender, or in batches in your blender, carefully puree soup.
  6. Stir in whipping cream.
  7. Season to taste.
  8. Top with chives.

Next time I would also top with savoury croutons. It would add a nice touch of salt, to juxtapose the sweet of the carrot and apple and a fabulous crunch to compliment something so rich and smooth.


We have been busy this month! Between a wedding of good friends and all the excitement, events and errands around that, working many evenings and family there have been lots of dinners out and food ordered in…cooking or baking has been something that has not been on my mind at all! Sure, we’ve bbq’d burgers on the grill, and I’ve baked some vanilla cupcakes, but nothing to write on the blog about! But not for long, I have a list as long as my arm of things I am looking forward to make over the next few weeks, and can’t wait!

What I have been up to has kept me outdoors. Living in an 800 – something square foot apartment I have really been missing the joy of gardening. I have a vault full of memories of being a kid and watching my dad garden, and every few summers my mom would put in a veggie garden. I loved watching the little seedlings start out scrony and over the course of a month or two bush out, fill with fragrant blossoms and in the case of the veggies produce food that could make it to the table in mere minutes.

Last year I put my name on a wait list for a community garden plot, as luck would have it, this year I got a large plot for me to with it whatever my little heart wanted – I was stoked! The plot is about 8’x20′ it is on a slope, so I went with a fairly traditional approach, basic rows filled with:
green beens, sugar peas, butternut squash, carrots, onions, chives, beets, radishes and lettuce (I planted spinach but it totally bolted in the never ending June rain). I also planted several sweet pea plants – a little floral beauty. The picture below is the finished product of a hot afternoon in May turning the soil and planting.


And today, I finally got the chance to go and collect our bounty! Don’t get me wrong, over the last weeks I have picked a few sugar peas off the plant, and some lettuce leaves, but today I went prepared, basket and shears in hand… and I walked away with an exciting assortment – bring on the kitchen now! I will get back in the kitchen — till next week then!

In the picture from left to right:
Chives, Sugar Peas, Butter Lettuce, Green Beans, Sweat Peas, Radishes


No recipes in this post. But, in honour of my fair country’s 141st birthday, we did the typically Canadian thing: pack the car, pack some beer and get out of the city…and it was a great time for all.

This past weekend we went camping at Shuswap Provincial Park. I love camping. Love it. I don’t know if it is the childhood memories, of big campfires, swimming in a lakes, having fun with friends and cousins, but there is something I just adore about packing up the car and heading out to the “wilderness”. Pete likes to point out that how we camp, is not real camping…it is car camping. Fair enough. He is the strap on a 70 lb pack and walk up a mountain. I am the person who is completely satisfied to have a car to zip to the store if I need anything.

My favourite thing about camping now as an adult is to cook a delicious meal with pretty basic ingredients, and the kicker, is to try to cook everything over open flames. We always bring our camping stove, just in case there is a campfire ban, but there is NOTHING like grilled steak with a smoky wood flavour. A few pictures for fun are below. Our first night’s dinner was delish, grilled steaks, mushroom risotto and salad – no picture of that, we were too hungry to take any!

Breakfast: Eggs, Roasted Potatoes and Sausages


Dinner: Teriyaki Salmon, Grilled Asparagus and Roasted Potatoes