Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Teeny Tiny Carrots

Memorial Day Weekend. The three-day weekend that starts summer. Ours was good. Chip's band played a music festival in Lafayette, Louisiana on Sunday afternoon. They sounded great. After the gig we packed up his drums and drove over to New Orleans. It was a fantastic day to be in the Big Easy. We spent the afternoon cheering for the Rebels in the SEC baseball championship game against LSU. We had a beer in a bar near our hotel and seemed to be the only Rebel fans in the heart of the land of purple and gold. Ole Miss lost, but it was a good way to spend the afternoon.

We had dinner at John Besh's Restaurant August. The food was fabulous. My entree was divine. I had the sabelfish. Dessert was delicious, especially the saltwater taffy ice cream.

After the rainy weather this weekend, my garden really needs some weeding. And mulching. After dinner tonight, I plan to put on some jeans and tackle those weeds head on.

The tomato plants are coming along. The herb garden is doing better than I expected. And the carrots in the veggie garden are finally developing into something. Here's a photo a took of a carrot I pulled up on May 19th...

A teeny tiny carrot. I took a bite and it tasted, well, like a carrot. No surprises there.

Since this is my first year to take on veggie gardening, I feel like lots of the stuff I'm doing is experimental. I'm learning a ton about what works and what doesn't. For example, I've learned that swiss chard would do better in my garden if it was planted earlier. I've learned that I need a better way to stake my peas. The carrots are taking much longer than I expected, and I could stand to plant about three times as many as I planted. And by next year, I think I'll be ready to take on a bit more.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

May 2008 Bloom Day

And what a beautiful day it has been! I woke up to heavy rain this morning. Flash flood warnings all over the state and radio announcements of road closures. It rained hard and heavy until about noon. The clouds rolled away and today has been gorgeous. Nice enough to make me sneak out an get a chocolate malt at about 3 PM (my thighs are not thanking me).

Oh, it is bloom day, too! Wanna see what's blooming in my garden?

Well, the hydrangeas are. In the front yard.
And in the backyard.

The daylilies, brushed with stems of blue fescue and palmetto, are blooming, too. The zinnias, cosmos, and sunflowers in the semi-circle bed reseeded from last year and have just begun to bloom. And verbena carpets the front of the bed with its jolly purple blooms. Salvia May Night has not disappointed. Its deep purple spires are keeping the yellow roses company.
And the perennial bed is just coming to life. Knockout roses are in full bloom, while the gladioli, Russian sage, shasta daisy, and echinacea are just beginning to put on buds.

Clematis "Henryi" and "Franziska Marie" are blooming their hearts out on the iron obelisk. The obelisk and vines are supposed to be covering the ugly pipe. Is it working? Happy May Bloom Day!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sugar Snap Harvest

Early this morning before the rain started, I went outside to pick peas. Sugar snap peas.

I pulled at least 50 snap peas off the vines. Maybe more. Turns out, I've waited a bit too long to harvest these. I really should have done it on Saturday or Sunday. I had to shell a majority of the peas because the hulls had gotten too tough to eat. Tonight I plan to make one of our favorite dishes highlighting my sugar snap peas: Asian Chicken Noodle Soup. I am serving it with a side of Steamed Vegetable Dumplings with Bok Choy and Broccoli.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Baking for My Mothers

I'm finally back home from being in Oxford for 11 days. So good to be back home!

Since I had to work Saturday morning, I only got one day off this week. Boo. Sunday was good, but it still didn't really feel like a day off because I was so busy. I baked for my mother and mother-in-law in the morning. Took my mother to lunch and shopping. Then went to my mother-in-law's for dinner. Quite a day! My mother got banana bread. I made a small loaf for myself, and it was excellent. I made a very traditional banana bread with walnuts - recipe from Paula Deen's Kitchen Classics.

My in-laws got these gorgeous Lemon Butter Cupcakes with Strawberries and Lemon Cream.

These cupcakes were wonderful. A light, lemon-flavored yellow butter cake topped with a lemon curd/whipped cream frosting topped with a strawberry. Yum. The recipe was adapted from my favorite bakery cookbook, Macrina. Leslie Mackie makes a delicious layer cake with the ingredients. I have to admit that I cheated on the lemon curd. I ran out of time and bought Dickinson's at the grocery store. I added the store bought lemon curd to the homemade whipped cream, and no one was the wiser.