What's in Season

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Rotolini agli Spinaci e Ricotta - Spinach and Ricotta Rolls

Cabernet is optional ;) 

What you'll need.... 

  • Bread dough
  • 1 cooked spinach 
  • 8 -12 oz. ricotta
  • 1/4 cup parmesan 
  • 2 Tbs olive oil 
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • salt & pepper

Preheat oven 400º
Once your dough has risen and ready to go roll it out into a rectangle 1/2in. thick. 
While the oven is warming up I like to saute my fresh spinach in the olive oil and garlic which I crushed and minced. Add a dash of sea salt and ground pepper for taste. 
In a large bowl mix cooked spinach with ricotta and parmesan cheese. 
Taste.... mmmmm 
Pour mixture on the rolled out dough and roll. Cut into 6 even pieces and bake for 25min. 
Don't worry if the cheese is sticking out the sides. That's part of the fun. 


Friday, April 27, 2012

We have a T-Shirt Shop!

click to enter store

Well... we now have something like a shop online. In the spirit of growing this spring I thought it would be nice to design some shirts for my people who share our passion for food.  Fun times!!!
Without knowing how to get started I found my way through one site 
and here we are. Since they cover all costs and shipping they make quite a nice penny leaving me with a small percentage that I can assign as I like. Who knows, it's  just fun to do even if I never sell one of my LIVE, LOVE, GROW t's.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Laugenbrötchen with Household Baking Soda

Laugenbrötchen (Pretzel Bread Rolls) 

Let me first send a big thank you to a friend Lindsey B. for inspiring me to recreate one of my fond German memories. She also gave me this recipe which is super easy and delicious. 

Laugenbrötchen with Household Baking Soda

375 gr All purpose flour – 3 cups bread flour
1 pkg Yeast – 1 tbs
1 tbs sugar
1 tbs salt
250 ml warm water – 1cup
(Optional: after dough is formed work in 2 tbsp of room temperature butter)

For the Soda Solution (Lauge)

1 liter Water – 4cups
30 gr Baking soda – 2tbs

For Topping:
Coarse salt, caraway seed, grated Gouda Cheese

Prepare yeast dough. Cover and let rest in warm place until almost
doubled in size. (approx. 20-40 minutes) On lightly floured work area,
knead several times and divide into 10 equal pieces. Shape into
brezels, sticks, rings, or Brötchen.

To prepare the soda (Lauge) solution, bring water to boil in a deep
pot, remove from heat and slowly pour baking soda into water (careful,
it will bubble/sizzle quite a bit)

Preheat oven to 400 F.
Place one Brötchen on wire ladle and dip into solution for 10 seconds,
swing/turn ladle so Brötchen will swim, remove and while holding on
ladle let excess liquid drain. Place on a baking paper-lined cookie
sheet and sprinkle with salt, seed, or cheese. With a very sharp knife
cut cross into Brötchen.

Bake at 400 F for 15 – 20 minutes, preheated. 

oppps... better to cut when directions say and not jump the gun like I did. 

sprinkle with sea salt

why did I put flour on the bread stone? Don't do this. 

Lunch, turkey sandwich ;) 

A very good career choice would be to...

A very good career choice would be to gravitate toward those activities and to embrace those desires that harmonize with your core intentions, which are freedom and growth—and joy. Make a "career" of living a happy life rather than trying to find work that will produce enough income that you can do things with your money that will then make you happy. When feeling happy is of paramount importance to you—and what you do "for a living" makes you happy—you have found the best of all combinations.
--- Abraham

Friday, April 20, 2012

Know What You Grow - Urban Farming - Dervaes Video

Meet the Dervaes Family

"Growing food yourself is a dangerous act because you're in danger of becoming free." - Jules Dervaes

I took this article to back up what I started in a pervious post. This year we bought our seeds from Sow True Seed because they are non-gmo, close to GA, coming from NC, and believe in saving seed which is kinda unheard of coming from a company I just bought seed from. But, I'm getting ahead of myself...
I share our journey in urban farming as we go, and learn what it takes when growing within. One of my reasons for sharing is some hope that our friends and family are inspired to also take some kind of active role when it comes to their food supply. In short this following article is all about knowing what you are growing. It starts from the seed. 


Posted by Anais Dervaes 
A lovely friend of mine asked for me to contribute a piece  for her wonderful blog "We Like It Raw."    Boy,  it was sure hard for me to pick just one topic; however,  I did finally settle on one!
With more and more folks growing their own food in backyards and balconies, I thought it would be good to revisit all the countless posts I had written over these last 10 years and put them together in one compilation.
I can see the day coming when even your home garden is gonna be against the law.   Union Sundown - Bob Dylan
Spring is here and with it comes a mailbox full of seed catalogs to be drooled over.    Growing your own food is empowering; but, did you know that by planting a garden you might just be supporting Corporate Agriculture?  As seasoned and newbie gardeners alike know, it's easy to buy new seeds every year.  Saving your own will not only save you money but also, hopefully, will provide some satisfaction as being a minor act of empowerment against the corporate control over the world's seed supply.
Yep, that's right.  You've probably heard of Big Oil. Well, there's a new kid on the block.  Multi-nationals now own the rights to many of the world's food seed varieties. But any concerned gardener can short-circuit the system by saving seed. According to the Organic Consumer’s Association, “While consumers struggle to fuel their cars and put food on the table, oil companies (like Exxon Mobil, BP and Conoco Phillips) and seed companies (like Monsanto, Cargill and ADM) are raking in record profits.”
You think that if you “Grow Your Own” you are free from the clutches of Monsanto?  Think again. What you may not realize is that Monsanto also now owns approximately 40% of the home garden vegetable seed market -- making them the largest seed company in the world.
Save Your Seeds - take back your food supply from corporate control
There are many reasons to save your own seeds
  • to save money
  • to preserve a non-commercially available variety
  • to observe varieties for adaptation to difficult growing conditions
  • to share the bounty of our gardens with other seed savers
  • to have the pleasure of becoming an observer and an active participant in our own food production.
So, what can you do?  Here are some suggestions:
  • Start A Community Seed Bank - connect with fellow gardeners in your area, ensuring seed security. A seed bank protects rare and useful local crops. It is also an emergency source of seed if crops fail due to disease, pests, or bad weather.
  • Buy OP or Heirloom - try to stay away from hybridized or  GMO contaminated seeds
Open-pollinated vegetable varieties reproduce themselves in one of two ways: cross-pollination between two plants (via wind, insects or water) or self-pollination (between male and female flower parts contained within the same flower or separate flowers on the same plant). Beets, brassicas, carrots, corn and squash are cross-pollinating, and so require isolation in the field to keep varieties true. Beans, lettuce, peas and tomatoes are self-pollinating, do not require isolation and are the easiest for seed-saving home gardeners to sustain year to year.
“We have neglected to preserve the diversity of our food. Today, we have more brands of shoes than we have of carrots or broccoli.”  —Jules Dervaes
“Seeds are critical to our success as gardeners and farmers. They are compact packages of genetic information and stored food reserves, just waiting for the conditions found in warm, moist soil in order to germinate and create tomatoes, carrots, beans and thousands of other delights out of sunshine, air, water and soil. For most of the last ten thousand years of human history, seed-saving was something nearly everyone practiced, because in order to eat and therefore to survive, it was necessary. The grains and beans which formed the basis of most diets were both seed and food. Grown in large quantities, the best were saved for planting and the rest were eaten. Our ancestors did this each year, generation after generation through the centuries. Variations in climate, soil and techniques from garden to garden and community to community, accumulated through the years, creating the incredible diversity which existed over much of our planet well into this century. These local seeds were integral to life and culture everywhere. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these varieties has disappeared." From Bill Duesing - Living on the Earth 1999
According to Food & Agriculture Organization,  75% of the genetic diversity of crop plants were lost in the last century. A survey by RAFI found that approximately 97% of U.S. Department of Agriculture lists have been lost in the last 80 years.
Seeds companies are being bought up at an alarming rate by Monsanto. Their most recent purchase was Seminis.
It is estimated that Seminis controls 40 percent of the U.S. vegetable seed market and 20 percent of the world market—supplying the genetics for 55 percent of the lettuce on U.S. supermarket shelves, 75 percent of the tomatoes, and 85 percent of the peppers, with strong holdings in beans, cucumbers, squash, melons, broccoli, cabbage, spinach and peas.
The company’s biggest revenue source comes from tomato and peppers seeds, followed by cucumbers and beans.
Here are a few of the published vegetable varieties that we know that Monsanto owns:
Beans: EZ Gold, Eureka, Goldrush, Kentucky King, Lynx, Bush Blue Lake 94
Carrot: Nutri-Red, Sweet Sunshine, Karina, Chantenay #1, Chantilly, Lariat
Cucumber: Dasher II, Daytona, Turbo, Speedway, Sweet Slice, Yellow Submarine, Sweeter Yet
Lettuce: Esmeralda, Lolla Rossa (and derivatives), Red Sails, Red Tide, Blackjack, Summer time, Monet, Baby Star, Red Butterworth
Melons: Alaska, Bush Whopper, Casablanca, Dixie Jumbo, Early Crisp
Onion: Arsenal, Hamlet, Red Zeppelin, Mars, Superstar, Candy
Peppers: Valencia, Camelot, King Arthur, Red Knight, Aristotle, Northstar, Biscane, Caribbean Red, Serrano del Sol, Early Sunsation, Fat and Sassy
Spinach: Melody, Unipack 151Spinach, Bolero, Cypress
Squash: Autumn Delight, Bush Delicata (producer-vendor), Really Big Butternut, Early Butternut, Buckskin Pumpkin (AAS), Seneca Autumn, Table ace
Tomato: Big Beef, Beefmaster, First Lady I and II, Early Girl, Pink Girl, Golden Girl, Sunguard, Sun Chief Sweet, Baby Girl, Sweet Million
Watermelon: Royal Flush, Royal Star (pet), Stargazer, Starbright, Stars and Stripes, Yellow doll, Tiger
Zucchini/Summer Squash: Blackjack, Daisy, Fancycrook, Sunny Delight, Lolita, Sungreen
I pledge to take back control over the most sacred form of plant life - seeds
I will strive to save my own seeds, encourage self pollination and self seeding "volunteers"
I will refrain from purchasing seed varieties controlled by Monsanto
I will support local seed banks
I will purchase organic, heirloom or open pollinated seeds from independent seed companies whose mission is  to save seed diversity
That little seed packet you now have will determine the future of our food -- it’s in your hands.
Urban Homestead Supply heirloom seeds
Millions Against Monsanto

 Source: by Anais Dervaes Note: I'm sharing this info and have no interest in their personal lives, for educational purposes only. The Dervaes Family retain all right to this material.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cabernet Sauvignon Update

On February 26th we started our1st wine making process using a french cab by World Vineyard. There is a local wine supply store in Atlanta GA. (Wine Craft), that sells World Vineyard products and many other so we picked up a box along with a deluxe wine making kit that had everything we'd need along the way. Let me say, the owners of the shop are a friendly pair and open to answering any questions you might have so don't be shy. I called on them myself once and sent an email later on in the process. The service is fantastic! Overall it was quite easy if you followed the instructions and watch some videos they have online on Youtube. Still, to familiarize myself with the tools I decided to make a small batch of what's called "inmates brew" which I learned how to do on Craig's Tube. By purchasing a bottle of 100% grape juice, and following his video, I was able to use many of my new toys and practice on something smaller before attacking the real thing.

There were only 4 big steps in the entire process.

  1. Primary Fermentation
  2. Secondary Fermentation
  3. Stabilizing & Clearing 
  4. Bottling 

Remember this... ? Wine Day #1, that was that wonderful oak we added  ...mmmmmmm

So fast forward to present day. We are just a little shy of two months at this stage. The wine has been bottled and sat on the kitchen counter top for 5-7 days and now lies on wire shelves in my office along with my camera gear. The bottles are not included in the kit. These are ones that were saved over some time that were sanitized and washed to reuse. 
Very economical!!  

You can see the reflection from the open windows but my office is usually very dark and cool so the perfect spot for now until I make wine racks, but that's another project for some other day. Now I wait... May 1st taste testing day. 

Here I've finished the bottle off with something I recently purchased online at a lovely little etsy store. Le Box Boutique. The perfect finish to gift this bottle to a friend. ;) ;) 

Today I have to say I feel just that much closer to actually seeing my small vineyard off the coast somewhere. My advice, Find time... make wine! 

Update: This photo won a competition on Le Box Boutique's Blog

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

This Spring

Since moving in to this beautiful home which I like to call "a cabin in the city", because we are still in the city but also surrounded by the tallest trees. Let me share that is was vacant for a long time so everything on the property was overgrown and just lush with life by the end of summer 2011. Experiencing the changes of the season from the comfort of a cozy sofa on the back deck where I'm able to look out into the trees and watch the leaves fall, and return. I sit here now listening to the many song birds echo for miles in the light rain. Spring has blessed our home  with a birds nest inside the drain pipe against the side of the back deck. Friends for my beloved Cat... Consuela. There's a stream that wraps around the long half of the property which adds that extra sound of water trickling off in the distance. The wild coyotes that use it's path to cross the stream and freely roam over the back 1.5 acre which we don't use is now completely hidden for safe passage. They were so beautiful to watch during winter with tan coat of fur.

Since this post upon moving in, We've answered the question. "Where will our garden go?"

Right here.... well partially. ;) 

click on image to enlarge

Say hello to our raised garden bed. We used large and small rocks found scattered around the property without disturbing the grounds foundation. We also have the large pots from last year we can use so we washed them out and gave them a good scrub with a small bit of all natural dish soap and a scrubber. 

click to enlarge images

Here are the tomatoes we started indoors while there was still a bit of cool weather and frost. This year we bought our seed from a company in NC, Sow True Seed who sells open-pollinated/non-hybrid and untreated seed. So what you are looking at are the Native Cherokee and the Yellow Pear tomatoes.   

photo courtesy of sow true seed

photo courtesy of sow true seed

I plan on jarring plenty of tomato sauce using old authentic Italian recipes ;) Yummy, and hope to share them on Who knows... Is there a market for that? 
Where was I? who knows here's some more photos and we're done till next time. 

wild strawberries 

The warmest wishes to the 4 people that read this blog.... May you be inspired to start growing within.