Sunday, January 31, 2010

winter salad

Crisp, red-leaf greens + cilantro leaves + chopped scallions (plus the green part). Roasted sweet potato chunks (in olive oil, sea salt, pepper). Candied pecans (chopped nuts + 2 tbsp evaporated cane sugar on the stove until caramelized and fragrant) - courtesy of my Aunt Toni's tree!

P.S. Crumbled feta cheese, too. Not local - from Israel!

P.P.S. Citrusy dressing: 1/2 orange (squeezed) + 2 pinches salt + 1 tbsp red wine vinegar + 1 garlic clove (squashed) + generous dollop dijon mustard + 1 tsp maple syrup. Whisk while adding olive oil in a steady stream until it reaches a good consistency.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

farming again in 2010

Crusty fingers and three grain silos.

Yesterday I got lost in Marana. I turned off at Exit 240 and put-putted back and forth down empty roads (now well-familiar), searching for a small 10-acre farm rumored to have a smattering of young, post-graduates and three excitable dogs who don't know the difference between walking paths and vegetable rows. At long last - a half hour late - I drove past these three silos (a beacon from a much larger farming operation down the road) and was greeted by a four-month puppy and a team of twenty-something's eating grapefruit in mud-caked boots and canvas pants.

I harvested a crate full of two kinds of arugula by snipping them with cutters and picking out interwoven grass strands and occasional clumps of dirt. I washed brassicas, chard and long peacock feathers of mustard greens and froze my fingers. I pulled mallow weeds from a carrot and flower bed and when I left, I looked something like Scarecrow from Oz, my fleece jacket spiky with tufts of hay that we padded and poked in between sprouting garlic bulbs.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

snow-dust on the mountaintops!

While clanking pots in the kitchen and dousing Orangette Batch #3 in chocolate, I've been belting out, "LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW!!"


Thursday, January 21, 2010

[thunder booms] and garlic sprouts

Predicted snow-dusting in Tucson!? Big storms zooming over the Catalina's. Biking bummer, but my appetite for gloomy weather is like my appetite for dark chocolate - absolutely insatiable! Afternoon spent snuggled up on the sofa by the big windows with mug-after-mug of spicy tea, draped under a wool, multi-colored blanket with a fat book (fiction!).

In other news: our garlic has sprouted!

Dreamin' of margaritas...
Lime numbin's below:

The compost bucket is teaming with broccoli leaves, a few citrus rinds (that escaped the stewed-in-sugar experiment) and handfuls of squash skins. Warmer weather on the horizon and with it, amiable conditions for our compost bins! We're hoping for rich humus in time for our spring seedling grow-out (start date to be determined).

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Orangettes - Take One

It's mid-January and our 5 citrus trees are sagging with fat (and sort of wrinkly) lemons, bulbous grapefruits, sweet and small oranges and - bring the margaritas, baaabayy - little lime nubs and on another lime tree, yellow, lemon-look-alikes.

While the citrus juicer has been humming on a tri-weekly basis thanks to my mom's unquenchable juice craving, I've saved the discarded peels for my insatiable sweet teeth. With Julie & Julia rolling in the background for the umpteenth time, I've spent hours each week watching sugar and water faintly bubble on the back burner, lid balanced slightly off the pot while the steam escapes and the liquid thickens... I'm in the midst of a Candied Citrus Peel Extravaganza! My recipe needs tweaking - these orangettes (and grapefruit-ettes) are still a bit bitter - so to expedite the recipe turnover rate, I've resorted to polishing off the dregs of each batch (or in reality, the entire batch, save the initial, pucker-inducing taste-test) covered in melted chocolate over the double-boiler. (Heaven.)

Recipe coming soon - once perfected. Third trial this week!

In the meantime, slicing the last of the tomatoes, just picked from the vine (unbelievable! no hot-house!), slowly ripening on the counter-top.