Sunday, May 29, 2011

Grilled peppers

Roasted Red Peppers..Yum..And so easy, I usually do several at a time.  Wash them and leave whole.  Have your grill good and hot.  Now it's time to blacken them.  Keep turning them, til they are really charred all over.  The top picture was midway through the process.  Then put them in a ziploc bag for at least 20 minutes.  You can even put them in the refrigerator overnight, if you are multi-tasking and have too many things that require your immediate attention.  They sort of steam in the bag, and you just peel the skins away.  Slice them open, and cut out the seeds, stem and membranes.  Put them in the refrigerator,  sealed in a clean container.  They will last for up to a week that way, if you can leave them alone that long.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Mandarin Orange

A couple of months ago I talked about how the first floor of my house smelled like orange blossoms.  It was really heavenly. This past weekend  we moved the citrus trees outside for the summer.  My sweetie had been moving them in and out for nearly three weeks in order to acclimate them.  I currently have 13 oranges on the tree.  Here's a photo of a few of them.
And a few more.  Aren't they cute?  They are tiny, but very happy and growing everyday.  The tree is even sending out more branches, developing more leaves and believe it or not, starting to blossom again.  I am crazy-excited about this.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Garden of Eatin'

Getting ready for our grilling season, the Pit Master built a shelf to set necessary utensils on while working in the pit.  I'm thinking I might see a beer or two up there as well.  Many would argue that beer is a necessary piece of equipment one would need while in the BBQ arena.

After brining a 7 lb roasting chicken overnight, he was smoked on the kettle.  OMG!!! Waaaay tasty:))  And my little secret...every time my sweetie is going to use the kettle, I grab a sweet potato, scrub it, stab it with a fork a few times, then put it on the grill with whatever else he has  on there.  The flavor of the wood chips permeates the sweet potato beyond belief, it's such a sweet treat. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fire in the Sky

According to the Mayan Calendar, the world was suppose to end at 6:00 PM on Saturday, May 21, 2011.  Don't know what kind of Rapture was happening around the rest of the world, but this is what was going on outside my front door.   I'd say there was a fire burning somewhere up in the sky.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It's time to grow

Pink and yellow Columbines in the foreground with Siberian Bugloss peeking up in the background.
This is a close up of the Bugloss.  It is a perennial Forget-Me-Not with beautiful blue flowers on stems that rise above it's heart shaped leaves.
Creeping Phlox is a semi-evergreen ground cover with prickly foliage that works well in rock gardens and along borders.  It blooms April through June.

The seedless grapes are responding well to the cut back I did a few weeks ago.  It won't be long before the arbor is covered in vines, and  hopefully soon after, grape clusters.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Love Lobster

Discovered two lobster downstairs in the freezer, that our friends had brought from Florida when they came.  YUM!!  Think about it, living in Colorado, fresh lobster is not an easy thing to come by.  My friends live in the Keys, so they caught it, vacuumed sealed it, and put it in a cooler along with  other treasures: dolphin, Key West pinks and some great homemade smoked fish for their trip out here.  We did eat lobster one night that week, and I remember them telling us that there was some for us to have later.  Totally delicious and sweet.  I remember the days when I would catch it with them, we had so much fun.  Some times my girlfriend and I would have to catch the same lobster twice, because we would be laughing so hard while under water, that we would loose it before we had to go up.  FYI:  In the Keys, you free dive to catch lobster, no dive tanks allowed.  The depth was anywhere between 12 and 20 feet deep.  Now that's work, getting down there, spotting the lobster (they always seem to be under a ledge),then having to position yourself so you can reach in and retrieve him, rather than doing the novice thing of just reaching in and breaking off his antenna.  That takes a lot of air, while you are free diving.  Great memories.

Also grilled some asparagus and made a wonderful fresh salad filled with all kinds of good things.  Couldn't be better.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Home made Seitan

Thursday was a very rainy day in Arvada.  So I decided to spend all day in the kitchen.  Made nearly 4 lbs of Seitan, in  separate batches.  Pecan Crusted Seitan from Alicia Silverstone’s book, The Kind Diet, is one of my husband’s favorite non-meat foods.  Found an article written by Jill Nussinow, M.S.,R.D. called Seitan—The Vegetarian Wheat Meat
Jill says
 "Seitan is derived from the protein portion of wheat. It stands in for meat in many recipes and works so well that a number of vegetarians avoid it because the texture is too "meaty." As gluten is a low sodium and extremely lowfat protein (containing around 10 mg. sodium, 0 g. fat, and 7.5 g. protein per ounce in its raw state), additional processing is what may add unhealthy attributes. Most of the commercially prepared seitan contains a considerable amount of sodium (up to 100 mg. per ounce)."
Here’s Jill’s shortcut recipe for making Seitan. 

(Makes 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds or 2 to 2-1/2 cups)

This is the basic recipe for gluten.

2 cups
vital wheat
gluten flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1-1/4 cups water or vegetable stock
- I used vegetable stock
3 Tablespoons lite tamari, Braggs liquid amino acids, or soy sauce
- I used Braggs

1-3 teaspoons toasted sesame oil (optional)
– I used 2 tsp

Add garlic powder and ginger to flour and stir. Mix liquids together and add to flour mixture all at once. Mix vigorously with a fork. When it forms a stiff dough knead it 10 to 15 times.

Let the dough rest 2 to 5 minutes, then knead it a few more times. Let it rest another 15 minutes before proceeding.
Cut gluten into 6 to 8 pieces and stretch into thin cutlets. Simmer in broth for 30 to 60 minutes.
–(I simmered for 60 minutes, turning them over in the broth half way through.)

4 cups water
1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
3-inch piece of kombu (a type of seaweed)
3-4 slices ginger (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring broth to a boil. Add cutlets one at a time. Reduce heat to barely simmer when saucepan is covered. Seitan may be used, refrigerated, or frozen at this point.

Total Calories per 4 oz. Serving: 77
Fat: 0 grams

I ended up with 3 1/2 lbs  and vacuum sealed 2/3 of  the seitan and put 1 lb in the refrigerator, so that I can marinate that in a couple of days.  It takes some time to make, but if you regularly eat Seitan, as I do, it's worth the time, especially on a bad weather day, to make it and freeze it.  Bon Appetit.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Basil Corn Cakes

Don't tell me we are not near summer....If I can make my Basil Corn Cakes out on the grill, then we must be getting close to summer.  I love these things.  Found this recipe last summer in my Eating Well Magazine, and it's become one of our favorites.  Often make a sauce to go with it; either chipotle peppers mixed in mayonnaise or wasabi mayonnaise.  Have even used miso sauce.  Here is the recipe:
Corn & Basil Cakes
From EatingWell:  July/August 2010
Try these savory corn-and-basil pancakes as a side dish with barbecued chicken or grilled steak.
Makes 5 servings, 2 cakes each 
Total Time: 30 minutes
  • 1/2 cup white whole-wheat flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 2 large ears; see Tip) or frozen
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  1. Whisk flour, milk, eggs, 1 tablespoon oil, baking powder, salt and pepper in a medium bowl until smooth. Stir in corn and basil.
  2. Brush a large nonstick skillet lightly with some of the remaining 1 tablespoon oil; heat over medium heat until hot (but not smoking). Cook 4 cakes at a time, using about 1/4 cup batter for each, making them about 3 inches wide. Cook until the edges are dry, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until golden brown on the other side, 1 to 3 minutes more. Repeat with the remaining oil and batter, making 10 cakes total. Reduce the heat as necessary to prevent burning.
Per serving : 180 Calories; 9 g Fat; 1 g Sat; 5 g Mono; 86 mg Cholesterol; 21 g Carbohydrates; 7 g Protein; 2 g Fiber; 329 mg Sodium; 250 mg Potassium
Tips & Notes
  • Note: White whole-wheat flour, made from a special variety of white wheat, is light in color and flavor but has the same nutritional properties as regular whole-wheat flour. It is available in large supermarkets and at natural-foods stores.
  • Tip: To cut kernels from the cob, stand an ear of corn on one end and slice the kernels off with a sharp knife.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Pit Master does Ribs

This was our first attempt at making Memphis Dry Rub Ribs, out of Steven Raichlen's BBQ USA, on the Kettle Grill. It is the authors version of the Dry Rub Mix that Rendezvous Charcoal Ribs, in Memphis, Tennessee makes.  Good job, Bob.
Looks like they were pretty good.  I guess we need to go to Memphis so we can compare them to the originals.  Oh yes, and another good thing about being a flexitarian, we can still eat meat. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Denver Botanical Gardens

There were so many water features at DBG.  The sound was mesmerizing as well as relaxing.
The Japanese Garden is quite intriguing. Takes you through a special time warp.
Right now, all the tulips and other bulbs are in full bloom, what a sight.

More tulips in blooms, the colors were amazing. 
So, for my volunteer time today, I was in charge of cleaning up the lavender bed.  What a chore, I came away smelling of lavender.  How bad can that be?  It was a great day.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Bees have arrived

Much to my delight, my neighbor set up a beehive.  This is the queen.  She comes in a small box with a cork on the end.  The little box is attached in between the racks.  Would you believe that the cork is replaced with a marsh mellow? The queen slowly eats the marsh mellow and then has access to the hive.

This is what 3 lbs of bees looks like.  They come in this crate from Oregon.  There is no assurance that the bees will stay in the hive you give them.
After half of the racks are placed in the box, the bees are placed in their new home.
Putting the rest of the racks into the box before tacking the Queens tiny crate in place.
That's a lot of bees.  Although my neighbor was wearing long gloves, he didn't have on any other protective gear that you might expect a bee keeper to wear. The three of us watching the bee process didn't have any protection, and while some of the bees would land on us, disoriented from coming out of their travel cage, no one was stung.   A bee will travel up to 4 miles, so there is no excuse for them not to fly  the 50 feet or so over the fence to pollinate in my yard.  Expecting a good year.  There is a lot of bee activity in my yard now.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Pruning the Grape Vines

Last week I picked up one of the free publications while I was in a local garden shop.  It was the April 2011 issue of Colorado Gardener, A Thinking Gardener's Companion.  They have articles and ads about garden related issues.  Interesting to me, was an article titled For Perfect Grapes, Get Pruning, by Carol O'Meara.  I usually take a class every spring to remind myself what I need to do in regards to my vining plants.  But this year I didn't take the class, however, I was able to get my refresher course from this local publication.  It was a full page article, but to highlight, the author said to cut back all canes growing from the "cordons"  ( the woody arms growing from the trunk) to short two-bud 'spurs', spaced every four inches.  Every bud will produce vigorous shoots, each bearing two or more bunches of grapes.  When leaving more than two buds, the plant divides it's energy over a larger mass at the expense of the fruit.   Lastly, the article read "don't be afraid, grapes are very forgiving".  We can train them in a lot of different ways. 
Anyway, I did cut back my grape on the arbor today, and I am feeling really good about it.  Check... another item off my list.  Getting closer to being ready for outdoor summer living.  THAT, really makes me happy.