17 April 2011

Roommates 101: A Refresher Course

For those of you that don't live with me, this is going to be a refresher course on who lives with me and Joel.

This, for one, is where I live.

This is Kelley, she is the roommate who has lived in the house longest aside from Joel and I.

This is Kyle, she moved in in March. Someday I will get a genuinely good photo of her.

This is me with one of Kyle's cats, Jackson, who happens to not be a.) photogenic and b.) hates flash almost as much as I do.

And this is Ryan who moved in in April. Again, not the most flattering photo. Someday.

Tonight we had family dinner. This is a meal that is set aside for all of us to talk and break bread together. Sometimes with five people's schedules it is hard to keep track of everyone and stay in touch. This is our way of getting together and having time together as a community. Sometimes it involves discussing house issues, sometimes it is just a way to catch up, but mostly its just a time to be real with each other.

For dinner this evening we had a make-your-own salad dinner. Kelley and I bought salad greens at the farmers market yesterday (red lettuce, mizuna, spinach and beet tops) and then told everyone to bring two salad toppings. Toppings included: pickled beets, bacon, a variety of nuts, boiled eggs, feta, carne asada, and pumpkin seeds. Kelley made a fruit salad which was amazing. As someone who primarily tries to eat fruits in season and close to home (localvore/locavore) I miss out on eating all kinds of things that a lot of people take for granted (mangoes, out of season strawberries, etc) so it was fun to eat something out of the ordinary. And, easily enough it was also totally paleo. Ryan can't eat gluten so it worked well for him too.

Speaking of greens and farmers markets, this is what our (mine and Joel's) haul looked like this week.

The apples in the back are Honeycrisp apples and I believe they are from the fall but good heavens are they delicious and crisp. They are a delicious treat.

And because I am so very serious about stuffed quesadillas, here is a step-by-step quesadilla stuffed with farmers market veggies. In this particular quesadilla: spinach with cheese, bacon and an egg.

Step 1: Gather your ingredients (seen without the bacon)

Step 2: Fry anything that ought to be fried before it goes inside (eggs, bacon, chard, ham, etc.)

Step 3: Pile your quesadilla in a pleasing fashion. Generally you want your cheese (or cheese-like product for vegans) to be on the outside so that it melts and acts like a glue. You could also totally do this without bacon, eggs or cheese (chard, onions and garlic? yum!)

Step 4: Grill that baby until it is the golden brown of perfection.

Okay, I'll really leave it be... This is the last time I'll speak of stuffed quesadillas.

Now for something completely different: The garden!

Kyle and I worked in the garden today, pulling weeds and doing general upkeep of the house and garden. I de-mossed the side of the house and Kyle did a number on the dandelions in the front yard. Oh yes, and the part I forgot to mention: it was *sunny* today!

I cleaned the herb bed, weeded and thinned it.

And this is what I planted yesterday.

These little guys are the chard we bought at the farmers market last week. After I planted them in big pots they look a lot happier than they did.

This is a quince that Brian brought home from a friend last summer and I planted. There are buds that are looking good. There is a good chance that there will be fruit on this young tree this year. It was rumored to have fruited before in its old home.

What is a quince? Well, it is a fruit in the apple family that is very tart and good for making fruit pectin with for jams and jellies. I think they are also good to cook with for general pie and tart making but I don't quite know the extent of a quince's usefulness.

And that about does it, however I wanted to share this photo before going.

12 April 2011

Gardening and the Farmers Market

It came to my attention that I never actually posted about having planted my potatoes, and I shall be remedying that right now.

Last week I planted peas, onions and potatoes. This is a bit early for planting potatoes for me but I think that its actually quite alright, I'll just have potatoes earlier. At any rate, I planted All Blues, Reds and Yukon Golds. This is what they looked like before going in the ground.

And Kelley did a lovely job photo-documenting the whole process.

Earlier that day I planted Cascadia Peas around some tomato trellises that were left at the house by Brian.

This past saturday Kelley and I went to the Portland Farmers Market for the first time this spring and oh how my heart soared! I bought lots of greens because, frankly, that's about all there is right now and on a whim bought Swiss Chard. Now, I've never liked Swiss Chard before and have only recently started eating kale and quite honestly, I'm not the biggest brassica fan (broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, collards, kohlrabi, etc). But I bought chard, one small bundle of chard and how I regret only buying a single bundle! The best way that I've discovered for eating chard is this way:

I've experimented with many different varieties of stuffed quesadilla but right now I'm enjoying the basic combination of rice flour tortillas/corn tortillas (naturally gluten-free, huzzah!) with shredded cheese (a pizza cheese mix is good, swiss cheese or a mexican mix is alway good) and greens. At this point I usually add a meat/egg (bacon, egg, sandwich meat) and fry it up just right on the skillet. The first stuffed quesadilla I made by sautéeing the swiss chard with bacon pieces and onions and used swiss. So delicious! At any rate, I ran out of chard the day after I bought it but have been making spinach quesadillas (like the one above, also has scrambled egg, bacon and quattro formaggio pizza cheese). Why am I being so specific? Because you should make this for dinner TONIGHT. It'll totally be worth it, I promise.

I also bought some mizuna, mustard, swiss chard and spinach starts. Today I planted the swiss chard in gallon pots so that even if I take a long time to plant them they can still get bigger and better. The garden is going to be so good this year! It also helps that a lot of the roommates want to be involved and have made an effort to be involved. Hurray!

Also at the PFM I bought fiddleheads which we sautéed and ate with a salad of spinach, watercress and green onions.

All of which we ate with a round steak from the farm co-op. A completely loca(l)vore meal.

Recently we've been enjoying daffodils, and so many different kinds!

They're on their way out as of now but we'll be enjoying more beautiful flowers as summer comes.

Yesterday I finished one of my Toturro mittens. It's not great, my tensioning is really inconsistent and due to that the thumb is really tight. I also ended up with a hole where the thumb connects to the body of the glove. But alas, it is still finished and it is a lesson learned. I don't know if I am going to do the other partner mitten or do something different that would be better or easier to learn better tensioning. We'll see.

07 April 2011

Turning a New Leaf

We have two new roommates, Kyle and Ryan. And here I have two (mostly) unflattering photos of the two.

This is Kyle, she took Brian's place about a month ago.

And Ryan, who replaced Jennilynn and obliging donned his cyclocross racing jersey for us.

Things have been going well and it seems like we're going to get along well. The other night we had a spontaneous dance party in the kitchen. This sort of energy hasn't happened in a long time, I feel good about it.

The other day it was lovely outside and Kelley, Kyle and I worked in the yard after I got home from work. Kelley bought some flowers for her salad/flower raised bed.

She also got a raspberry to replace the one that died due to my ignorance of raspberry care. I'm going to try again this year and hopefully things will go better.

Then yesterday Kelley and I went to the Portland Farmers Market (yum!) and I bought some salad greens and swiss chard to plant in the garden.

When we were working in the garden I was digging up our biggest plot and discovered that when I dug up our potatoes last year I had missed some (as you often do). This was discovered by the tiny sprouts from the rogue All Blues that stayed our of my trowel's reach when harvesting last fall.

This is what our cellar looks like, these are a third of what they use to be after giving some away and planting another third in the garden. We have one all All Blue patch and a patch of Yukon Golds and Reds.

This is one of the Red starts in the ground.

And our apple tree leaves are coming along, opening up and getting bolder.

It is also that time of spring when the daffodils are slowly dying, as is our camellia.

Soon my peas will be sprouting, my potatoes will start producing chlorophyl and we'll have more things planted in the dirt. The tulip magnolias have started to bloom and the trees all have miniature green buds on them. The once grey trees now are shaded by a light green. I cannot wait for the hot, beating sun to bear down on us, to make things grow and brown my ghostly skin.