Monday, July 27, 2009

Just realized this

The world is speeding up and I want to slow down.

Cooking What I Grow

I really enjoy cooking for others but I usually only cook for myself. And when I have 20 zucchinis and 8 persian cucumbers, a bag of tomatoes, handsful of basil, I begin freaking out about how I am going to use all this. One solution:
  • Zuke/Cuke Salad
dice 'em into nibble sizes
Do the same with some tomatoes
Cut thin circles of red onions then cut em in half
throw some chopped basil into the vinaigrette of your choice (I always add a sweetener,
mostly agave nectar)

Toss and chill, share it and it'll disappear

Yesterday I made:
  • Pistachio Pesto Pasta (pesto is vegan, from Coopportunity) (kamut pasta with all my leftover roasted veggies, key to this is roasted tomatoes and roasted peppers... but I used asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower and home-grown green beans steamed)
  • That zuke/cuke salad mentioned above
  • Tomato sauce with kale (had to, it was in the fridge for a week), zukes, onions, garlic and basil
I weeded the garden plot in the morning, took out a bunch of powdery mildew afflicted zuke leaves, cleaned up the bottom leaves of the tomato plant, pulled a banana pepper off the plant too early, a baby japanese eggplant, both of which also ended up in the tomato sauce.

Now, who wants to come over for dinner?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

What is From the Ground Up?

I'm a first time blogger, and my passion isn't blogging, it's growing things, even though I consider myself still a novice. I'm also an avid proselytzer for composting, both backyard bin and vermicomposting. I have both kinds of composters at home and at my garden plot.

This year, I've been growing tomatoes on a small brick patio outside my bedroom door in my tiny, square-box one-bedroom condo/converted apartment in Santa Monica. In 2007, I grew leeks, carrots, lettuce, potatoes and carrots there. All in containers. Of course, there was no room to walk around but that doesn't much matter...

At home I also grow other things, like a giant hydrangea, shrimp plants, euphorbia, ruellia, a bunch of succulents, some cacti and bromeliads, along with a fuschia whose parent plant came with me to Santa Monica 26 years ago, while its parent came from my mom's house more than 30 years ago...There are some bushes, some small trees, everything's in containers, but it's a green -- as in leafy and growing -- environment and that feels good.

In 2006, I went through the LA County Master Gardener program, which trains you how to teach others how to garden using UC-research-approved methods (read: preferably organic -- the home base for the program in CA is at UCDavis, known for its agricultural programs and research). In LA County, the mission is to serve low-income and underserved communities that have little access to fresh produce. More about the MG program another time.

In 2008 after about 2 years on a waiting list, I finally got a community garden plot at Ocean View Farms on the West LA/Santa Monica border. There I've grown, harvested and eaten: peppers, tomatoes, cantaloupe, green beans, onions, leeks, garlic, my favorite FAVA beans, carrots, beets, onions, strawberries, zucchini, cucumbers, chard, chamomile, cilantro, basil, butternut squash, peanuts and edamame. Not all at once. But I've had sufficient output to make meals and share the bounty of the garden with others. My potluck salads are kind of famous around these to be able to say all parts of them were home grown.

And that's just it: I kind of dread coming home and having to cook for myself. Unless I've grown the produce; or if I am making food for others. That changes everything for me.

I'm not sure what compelled me to start doing this blog and truth to tell, I don't know how often I'll post. I just know that I like sharing things, thoughts and blessings from my garden, and often I like to share tidbits of information that I find interesting. So if you've found me, I think I'll be around for awhile and I look forward to keeping company with you.