Archive | September, 2008

I can now nurture

26 Sep

a garden.


My girl shovel, from Garson Farms

From garden

Two weekends ago, Micah and Jon built Erika and I gardens. They are beautiful.  They were an adventure.  Micah and Jon tilled the land, hauled and laid railroad ties, and hauled and laid new soil.


Our garden

From garden


While they toiled amongst the land, Erika and I dressed up for and 80s kids party Long with her sister, Sarah, and then went straight out plant-shopping. Our scruncis, Erika’s blue leather boots, and my sparkle shoes got us some free plants. Please review the following list of what we are growing, multiply it by two to include the Knox’ garden, and then realize that we zipped home with all of these plants for about $20. We were very proud.

We are now growing:

Golden Swiss Chard


Green Bell Peppers




Acorn Squash

and Mint, Rosemary, and Basil.

Acorn squash is crossed out because he is officially kaput and the cucumber is halfway down death row. You get what you pay for with .98 plants.

The next day, we planted these plants and Micah and Jon built fences around our gardens to protect the fruits of the weekend’s labor from pairs of rambunctious dogs.


Here is the chard

From garden

And the bell peppers

From garden

And the eggplant

From garden

Everything is going smoothly. I will continue to water daily and try and talk my plants into producing some fruit. And I will coax them into pressing on with a hard days’ work with coffee.  Much like I do for myself.


If I give you these coffee grounds, will you grow?

From garden

Oh, and something is eating my jalepenos.



From garden

and my squash bit the dust. It looks like something from The Grapes of Wrath.



From garden

I like to eat, eat, eat apples and bananas

22 Sep


From banana gingerbread

Well, not really. I like to eat apples but bananas are cheap, so I eat them instead. When we began eating locally and organically, my two-a-day apple fix was quickly thrown out the window. Apples hardly grow in Texas (local), and the good organic ones from Washington or Chile run $2 apiece (organic). I can get six bananas for that price.


From banana gingerbread

I digress. A plentitude of bananas is how I ended up with this bread, and any other banana bread that I make for that matter.

I acquired a love of warm spices from my mom. Not chile or paprika, but cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and all spice. Enter: Gingerbread.

This bread is dark in color and moist in texture. The bananas and buttermilk (don’t have buttermilk? Who does? Instead, mix 1 T. lemon juice or white vinegar per cup of milk, leave on the counter for 5 minutes and you have buttermilk!) alleviate the need for large amounts of oil or butter, and the spices make it rich with flavor. Combine all that with the naturally sweet molasses and whole wheat flour, and you have quite a snack.

When I made the bread, I doubled the recipe and made both muffins and a loaf of bread – both turned out great. I use the turbinado sugar on top of both forms. The sugar granules look like little crystals calved from a mine and they crunch between your teeth – providing a nice contrast to the soft, smooth bread.


From banana gingerbread

Banana Gingerbread
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (sub for 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice)
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
pinch freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup banana, mashed (about 2 large)
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup buttermilk
4 tbsp vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350F.

Grease and flour a loaf pan

In a large bowl, stir together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.

Add in brown sugar, banana, molasses, buttermilk and vegetable oil, stir until ingredients are just combined (should still be lumpy!)

Pour into prepared pan and sprinkle with turbinado sugar, if desired.

Bake for about 40-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Raspberry Oat Bars

18 Sep


It got “cold” here for a few days. I am talking 55-degree-mornings, turn-the-A/C-off, bust-out-the-tea-and-sweatshirts cold.

From Raspberry Oat Bars

I love it. Before I changed my daily coffee from iced to steaming, and really enjoyed the euphony of nature that you can hear outside when the hum of neighborhood A/C units turn off, I busted out the oats. Oats always have to be cooked, so in my mind, they are marked as a “cold-weather” food. In light of the cold weather, I purchased a two-pound canister of oats and proceeded to scour my bookmarked oat-related recipes. 


From Raspberry Oat Bars

I landed on this one. Eat them warm and feel free to jazz it up by changing the fruit to some other berry. We had these for breakfast, but you could also throw some icecream on them and call it dessert!

From Raspberry Oat Bars


Raspberry Oat Bars

adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking from the Baked Bakery in Red Hook, Brooklyn

For the crust and crumb:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly brown sugar
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the raspberry filling:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound raspberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Make the crust and crumb: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch glass or light-colored metal baking pan. Put a long piece of foil in the bottom of the pan, letting the parchment extend up the two short sides of the pan and overhang slightly on both ends. (This will make it easy to remove the bars from the pan after they have baked.) Butter the foil.

Put the flour, brown sugar, oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a bowl and mix. PStir in butter until loose crumbs form.

Reserve 1 1/2 cup of the mixture and set aside. Pour the rest of the mixture into the prepared pan and use your hands or the back of a large wooden spoon to push the crust into an even layer at the bottom of the pan. The crust should touch the sides of the pan. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let the crust cool. Keep the oven on while you make the raspberry filling.

Make the raspberry filling: In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon and flour together. Add the raspberries, lemon juice and butter and use your hands to toss gently until the raspberries are evenly coated.

Assemble and bake the bars: Spread the raspberry filling evenly on top of the cooled crust. Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture evenly on top of the filling.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan every 15 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the filling starts to bubble around the edges.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then cut into squares and serve.

Sometimes Elton Gets Into

18 Sep

all sorts of stuff: Dryer sheets, sponges, burrs at the park.


And sometimes he gets into mud.

From Dirty Elton
From Dirty Elton