Verbless VVednesdays

May 5, 2015

Summer dreams

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Take your boots off before you come in here!

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– We’ve got trout! -

Filling the pond with trout is one of the magical things we do here each spring. I like to think of trout as a gateway livestock. If I start with trout, I might soon be plucking eggs from beneath my flock of chickens, racing piglets through the orchard, and knitting sweaters from my freshly shorn sheep. A girl can dream, can’t she?

– The legendary Fred Laing with his fish. -

Historically, our trout guy, the legendary Fred Laing, was here each year to fill our pond with a hundred+ of the gleaming, floppy creatures (Fred always kicked in a few for free…as neighbors do). This year we were all sad to learn of Fred’s passing – but happy to meet Fred’s son, Mike. Mike’s got some big galoshes to fill.

– There’s a new trout guy in town. -

Apparently many of Fred’s trout secrets died along with him…all off to that sparkling fishing hole in the sky. Our course Fred’s wife, Mike’s mom, Sally, is still around to help unravel the great fishy mysteries. We were pleased when Mike kicked in a few extra rainbows just like Fred used to do. His father would be proud.

– A ladder comes in handy for this sort of thing. -

– One hundred+ 10″ – 12″ Rainbows. -

– Sally doles out the wiggly guys. -

– Mike’s got some big galoshes to fill -

– Welcome to your new home, trouties. -

– Hope you like it here as much as we do. -

Trout day was also made special because it marked the pub date of April Bloomfield’s new book, A Girl and Her Greens. This is the first book I ever pre-ordered (including my own) so it arrived at our front door just a few minutes after the trout settled in. I would eat anything April Bloomfield cooks, and read anything she writes. A Girl and Her Pig is practically a bible around here. And of course, it sparked my own piggy adventures. This new book, and its dead-simple recipes, is a veggie-eaters must-have!

So I poured over April’s greens wishing my garden was already in full bloom. With my refrigerator near-empty at dinnertime and my cupboards practically bare, I remembered the last few ingredients I might have to work with and got to whipping something up.

It was a deliriously simple early-spring meal – a slab of something from the freezer circa not-too-long-ago, and whatever was still in good standing from the root cellar (aka, the box of winter squash I had shoved into the back of our coolest coat closet). 

– The first book I ever pre-ordered. (Including my own) -

– Sorry, April. The chives are growing so I’m using them. -

BUTTERNUT SQUASH POLENTA – INSPIRED BY, BUT WITH LESS INGREDIENTS THAN, APRIL BLOOMFIELD’S NEW BOOK.

April makes her recipe for 6-8 as a side. I used the following quantities for the 2 of us and will fry up the leftovers in a cast iron pan tonight. Update: the fried up leftovers were delightful!

Ingredients:

1/2 tbsp flaky sea salt

1 cup of coarse polenta

1 lb of butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks

4 tbsp olive oil

1 garlic clove, all mushed up

a pinch of dried red pepper flakes (I used habanero, which made it quite spicy)

1 tbsp butter

1 oz of grated Parmesan cheese

1 tbsp mascarpone (I fridge-improvised with the creamy layer from the top of a Old Chatham Sheepherder’s yogurt.)

a handfull of chopped chives (not in April’s recipe, but it’s the only thing that’s growing out there, so I’m making the most of it)

Preheat the oven to 350;

1. Combine 3 1/2 cup of water plus almost all of the salt in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Get out your finest whisk and add the polenta, doing that whisking thing as you pour. In about 2 minutes, turn down the heat to as low as you can go. Cover your pot and stir the stuff every now and then. It will be ready in 45 minutes.

2. Ask your husband (wife, friend, neighbor, child, etc.) to toss the squash around in the oil, the garlic, the last bit of salt, the pepper flakes, in a baking dish. Pour a few tablespoons of water into the bottom of the dish, cover tightly with foil, and plop into the oven. In 30-40 minutes, the squash is done. Remove the foil and let all the bits get a little color on them in the oven. About 15 minutes more.

3. Using a wooden spoon, scrape any brown bits of cooked squash from the bottom of the baking dish and add the whole mess into the polenta. 

4. Stir in the rest of the olive oil, the butter and the Parmesan. Fold in the mascarpone (if you, unlike me, happens to have it hanging around), add something cute and green if you’re stubborn about about it, and crack a few grinds of pepper on top. 

– Be gentle adding polenta. Let it get accustomed to its new boiling environs. -

– Do your whisky thing. Dancing/singing optional. -

– Plunk those puppies into oven. Take photo with other hand. -

– I never met a browned bit I didn’t like. -

– The pleasures of a simple meal. -

– One happy trout. -

 Take your boots off before you come in here!

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My Dream Dribber

April 22, 2015

– Just what I always wanted! -

Now I love diamonds as much as the next diva-slash-farmgirl, but sometimes it’s the simplest things that make my heart race. I’ve been dreaming up a Dream Dribber for years now and I’ve been whispering its specs into my husband’s ear each spring, usually after I’ve done all my planting. But this year the whispering, the undone planting, and a fortuitous trip to Home Depot for some other junk, collided in what can only be described as a perfect storm for making my Dream Dribber.

A “dibber” [dib-er] /ˈdɪb ər/ is basically a pointy stick for making holes in the ground to plant seeds. I usually call that my index finger. In the past I have tried to spare my raggedy index digit by purchasing its replacement in one form or another. The coolest thing (up until now!) was the Hen & Hammock “Dribber”, which dibbles + drills out four holes instead of one. If you don’t plant much stuff every year, I can understand why this might not appear to be an Earth-shattering discovery. I can vouch, dribbling out four holes all at once makes the most backbreaking thing about planting seeds go, well, four times as fast. But my veggie garden is three-thousand square feet, which makes even the Hen & Hammock look like it belongs in a doll house.

– Before it was pickled cipollini, it was a seed in the ground. -

– Before it was a sink-full of carrots, it was a seed in the ground. -

– Before it was dinner with friends, it was a seed in the ground. -

So we schemed and we plotted, applying both experience and imagination. Over coffee. Running through airports. Wrapping Christmas gifts. Doing the dishes. In Aisle 19, 4 and 22 at Home Depot. We dreamt of a better dribber: A Dream Dribber.

It would have to be lightweight. It would have to make a lot of holes. It would have to have a handle (husband’s idea). The holes would be spaced to meet the needs of my seeds (my idea). We would make one before we made all of the many, many variations of Dream Dribbers I wanted (husband’s idea).

He disappeared into the barn and got to work.

– Each dribby bit would be 2″ apart from each other. -

 

Hen & Hammock? I need a man-sized dribber! -

– And each dribbly bit would be 1 1/2″ long. -

– En process. Does it meet the requirements? -

– My dreams have come true! The Dream Dribber at work.”

– A whole bed planted in the blink of an eye. -

– More time for selfies. -

– And other good stuff. -

Take your boots off before you come in here!

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Fabulous Friday!

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Verbless VVednesdays

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My little friends!

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