Thursday, February 26, 2009

working hard for the veggies

With a 60 degree day on the weather radar we knew that this would be a good one for getting a jump start on our gardening plans. We are essentially starting at square one as far as food gardening, and part one of our Plan To Grow A Crapton of Veg started with building some raised beds. And 8 cubic yards of dirt!

Luckily, wonder hubby has been coming home early-ish from work to get outside every day this week and level the ground to install these beds. It wasn't all 60 degree weather these past few days-it was more like 40s and 30s in the early evening that he braved the cold.

But get them done he did-all but the fifth, which requires another run to the lumber department.
Now for the compost-y filling. And just in time for a large amount of rain this weekend. Woot.

The tomato seedlings are sprouting, coming back strong after a small over watering mishap.
And everywhere else spring it bursting onto our mild climate already. Buds on trees, flocks of robins, fields of daffodils.
This is my favorite part of the year.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

the garden, stage 1

Seed to Seed challenge update:

Somewhere here in the near future there will be raised beds and compost going in. Right after some of the smaller trees come out. These little guys are giving up their lives, though I promised each one we would be planting two more to replace it. Dwarf fruit trees, in the fall. That's the plan anyway!

Is it hot in here....??

So it appears that now another prominent scientist has come out against the theory of runaway global warming... I'm glad to see that someone else i trying to get across a more objective view.

I suppose some background is in order.. by education, I'm an environmental scientist (concentration in waste management). I find any aspect of science deeply interesting, and I will watch any science shows I can, something that my beloved wife can't usually stand to watch. My original goal was to work for the EPA cleaning up superfund and other hazardous waste sites. I learned how to deal with petroleum spills and groundwater modeling, etc. As it turns out, back then, people didn't want you unless your degree said engineer... sure it's only a few classes, but it's a different college inside the university, and I wasn't a part of that. So now, by trade I'm a Network "Engineer". Oh well, at least I'm not slogging around in a hazmat suit now right?

In any case, during my extended stay in college, I did a research project on "global warming" in it's true form, the process of heat transport and cycling that LETS US LIVE ON THIS PLANET. People have this notion that global warming is a new term that science invented. In truth, without it, humans as we know them would not be able to survive on Earth.

Back to what I was talking about. The man's point is valid, as with most things, the goverment I believe, is using this as a way to gain a stronger foothold. The issue when a large body of people, who generally don't have your best interest in mind, is that truth often gets twisted, or at the least common sense does not prevail. In that regard, I suppose that means I should label Al Gore a villain. I have mixed feelings on this, I believe that he may truly mean well, and his message is good. More importantly, though, his data is fundamentally flawed, in my opinion. It seems that he has chosen to only take the most extreme set of data and use it, which is to say, he's using shock tactics to get his more modest point across. His message that we need to become better caretakers of our one an only planet is on the money, it's just hard to see that behind the power point slides of a post apocalyptic global warming wasteland.

Humankind has not been on the Earth long enough to know all it's inner workings. While that may be the case, I think I can say with relative certainty, as a "scientist", and someone with some shred of common sense, that we cannot continue to go on the way we are. Our food is contaminated, our air is poisoned, and our water is becoming undrinkable. At what point will we wake up and realize that THIS is what we are to blame for. A little temp change seems to pale in comparison to not being able to eat, drink, or breathe without risk of death. What many don't seem to get is that returning to a more sustainable lifestyle will have a dual positive effect of preserving our food and water supply, as well as restoring the environment. The time to start that has long passed, but maybe it's not too late to start.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

On cranial offspring.... oh and olives

So... a recipe...

One note before I start, the pasta needed about another 30-60 seconds of cook time. Being the first time I had made fresh whole wheat pasta, it didn't finish cooking like a white flour pasta would after taking it out of the water, so it was ever so slightly undercooked. (So that's bring water to a boil after adding fresh pasta and cook for about 3 mins instead of 2). Other than that, I would eat it everyday. Yes, all 3 meals...

There is no sauce here per se, although I imagine that a good, savory tomato or a "cream" sauce would work just fine. This particular iteration only has a light olive oil glaze on it, so you could, if you like extra OO on your pasta (I do, she doesn't), you could also add a bit more oil at the end, just drizzle over the top. Anywho..

1 bag Organic peas
1 package Tofurky Italian Sausages, cut into 1/4 - 1/2 inch slices
a handful of olives, stuffed or not, the pictures olives happened to be super collossal pimento stuffed spanish olives, probably about 1/2 a cup roughly sliced
4 TBS Organic EV olive oil

I should mention this is a two pan recipe for us, as I do not like olives at all. I've tried them, with my wife as a witness, they are just too much for me. If you like olives, you can certainly do all this in one pan, and save some washing later.

In a small saucepan (or after you cook the peas below if you use the same pot), add a tablespoon of olive oil and over med high heat, saute the olives until they start to get browned, this can take up to 10 minutes depending on your pans and stove, so don't rush. If you heat them too fast, the oil inside can turn on you and make them more bitter than they already are.

In a large saucepan, start out by sauteing the peas (they can be frozen) in a tablespoon or two of olive oil over med high heat. Cook for about 5 minutes, until all the peas are thawed, and they start to darken. Remove from the pan and return the pan to the heat. You know they are done when they shrivel up a little after you take them off the heat.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and add the sausage slices. Saute these until they get color. We have Le Creuset pans, so some of the bits in the sausage stick a little, if you use cast iron or enamel and they stick, it's ok, just stir gently constantly to keep them from burning on. After they cook for about 5 minutes, add 3 tablespoons of water or no/low salt veggie stock (you do use homemade right?) to deglaze the pan (scrape with a spoon or spatula that's safe for your pan; presumably you were already using one to stir anyway). Let this cook until the water is gone, but the sausage still looks moist, then add the peas back in and stir for a minute or two to combine. If you like the olives, then add them in with the peas or add them on top. Once combined, spoon over your cooked pasta, rice or whatever you like.

You'll note a complete lack of additional spices here. With the sausage being so heavily spiced, I didn't see any need to add more to the party. Part of the reason I like to add more oil to them is to bring out the flavors that are oil soluable and use that to coat and season the peas. So far it seems to work pretty well. Adding the peas back in when there is still a tiny amount of water left also aids in that process.

You can also top this with Vegan parm, tomato sauce, a drizzle of olive oil, or a nice lightly flavored cream sauce.

I should also note that we really do try to use all organic ingredients whenever we can. In the recipes I have given below, with a few rare exceptions, all that is organic. From now on, when I post up a recipe I will include the organic notation. This is by no means trying to dictate using organic ingredients, but perhaps it will tip you on foods that are available organically, and if you can't readily find it, maybe you'll get up the nerve to ask where we get it from!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

sunday dinner

Reason #87 I'm a bad food blogger: Sitting down to dinner sunday I barely remembered to snap a photo before devouring this bowl o' deliciousness.

This would be green olives, peas, and some Tofurkey sausage sauteed up together and then added to the top of...

...homemade pasta! Made with the recipe from Bryanna Clark Grogan and my mom's pilfered pasta maker. Rawr!

Husband dearest, would you like to post the recipe? It was your brain child, after all.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Well that was a nice break now wasn't it?
When people ask me "what's new" I have a bad habit of replying "not much". For a number of reasons: I don't want to bore them with a subject they might not care about, or I don't feel like giving a big explanation for something, or I am too embarrassed to admit what I was really doing (looking up vegan food pron, hello). So it's a bit of a change for me to blog about what is actually going on in life here.
And the reality is ... not much. I made stock. Lots of veg stock.

And brownies! More on this development soon.
Also, our sweet bug turned a year old. It's crazy to think that I have been a mother for a year, but even more unbelievable to look at the tiny creature she used to be and all the growth that has occurred since.

So, interesting stuff, yes? Life at its best. And more to come, always. Always.