Monday, March 30, 2009
I decided that having a travel website and a food blog with almost the same name might be confusing to some. Go figure.
So, it is with great excitement that I introduce my new food blog, http://formerchef.com
There are only a few posts so far, but my plan is to write about all things food; cooking, gardening, and maybe featuring some restaurants, markets, shops, etc.
For the few of you following me here, please come over there and check it out. New posts include my "Tomato Obsession" and a recipes for "Strawberry Shortcake with Meyer Lemon Buttermilk Biscuits" and "Red Curry Noodles with Tofu."
Hope to see you there!
Monday, March 16, 2009
Next came 8" of hay, which got topped with another 1" of manure.
On top of the compost we put the remaining hay for mulch. Next weekend we will fill the other, larger bed and then I get to fill it with as many plants as will fit!
Monday, March 9, 2009
Here's the process:
The wood for our project:
2.5" red deck screws-2# (why do they sell screws by the lb? And why doesn't the box say how many screws are in it?)
You will also need a saw, a saw horse, an electric drill, an electric screwdriver, a level, a carpenter's square, a pencil and a tape measure.
David, cutting the 4x4s
Once the wood was cut, we pre-drilled the holes (above) and then screwed together the 5' sides to the 4x4s (cut at 20") with red deck screws (below).
After we got two of the long sides together, we screwed the 4' boards to them.
Above, the first two boxes are built and are 4'x5'.
The final result; 110 square feet of vegetable garden space.
The larger bed was a little more complicated, but not by much. We just did it one section at a time. The short sides are also 4', as are the middle, interior sides. The pathways are 32' wide, long sides are 80" and the back wall is 128".
Come soon, Filling the Beds and then Planting!
Saturday, March 7, 2009
In a large saute pan or wok, heat about a teaspoon of olive oil. Toss in 2 cloves of minced garlic. Add the bag of cleaned spinach and a squeeze of lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon. Toss the spinach rapidly so it wilts and turn off the heat.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Penne Pasta with Pancetta, Eggplant, Peppers & Pesto
The obligatory glass of wine while cooking pasta.
This isn't a beautiful dish, but damm, it tastes great!
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
In this new age of austerity, I'm going to focus on some frugal recipes, getting more "bang for the buck" and cooking with what's on hand in the 'fridge or pantry. I think the recipe below cost approx. $8 and would easily feed a family of 4. It will certainly give us a few meals of leftovers for 2.
Today I'm making a Pot Roast in the crock pot. A note; I rarely measure and this recipe is certainly not an exact science. If you want to use a little more a little less or leave something out all together, that's all fine.
2.5 lb Chuck Roast
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz baby carrots
1 cup chopped celery (4 small stalks)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
8 each baby gold potatoes, halved or quartered
red wine (about 1 cup)
home made chicken stock (about 1 cup)
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 tsp each Dried Oregano and Thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste
Start by putting the potatoes, carrots and celery into the crock pot. Cook the onions in 1 Tbsp of olive oil until they are almost caramelized. Add the garlic and deglaze with 1/2 cup red wine. Add to crock pot after about 1 minute.
I cut the meat into large chunks so it would fit easily into the crock pot. If you make this recipe in a Dutch Oven or Casserole, you can leave the roast whole.
Add 1 more Tbsp to pan and sear off meat until brown on both sides. Deglaze the pan with more red wine and scrape up all the meat bits. Add to crock pot.
Add final Tbsp of oil to pan and saute the mushrooms. Deglaze with the rest of the wine and 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Allow to reduce for a minute. Add to crock pot, add the remaining 1/2 cup chicken stock and the dried herbs and cook all day on low.
About an hour into the cooking I wasn't happy with how it was going with the meat on top. So, I turned it up to high, took the lid off and rearranged things, moving the meat down so it was covered by the liquid.
After another hour, I turned it back down to low and cooked it for about 6 hours. At this point was done enough to eat, and I tasted it for seasoning, adding salt and pepper. I also decided to let it continue cooking for a couple more hours because it was really "soupy" and I wanted it to reduce and thicken a bit. Another option would be to add a bit of flour to thicken the sauce.
While there are already potatoes in this dish for starch, it would be excellent served with a soft polenta or mashed potatoes and a green salad.