Sunday, January 31, 2010

Barefoot Bloggers: Shrimp Bisque

I guess I better finish this post. This month's second choice was Shrimp Bisque. It was chosen by Jennifer.

OK this recipe did not work out at all for me. I guess I shoulda thought about it some before I made it. Pureed shrimp? Bleh. Oh well. I had a couple spoonfuls. The rest is in the fridge probably to be tossed in a couple days.

Better luck next time!

Saturday, January 30, 2010


It's snowing out. A lot. Especially since I moved to the south and it's not supposed to cold. This is through the window of my front door. Not to mention it is still coming down and is supposed to for the rest of the day.

But that's OK because I can just stay home. I have been thinking about my garden. A lot. Like WAY too much. Like I have the engineering paper out and I am laying out my plots. With exactly where each plant is gonna be.

I've figured out a bit more with my garden. I did a bit more research and now I've decided to get my seeds from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. No one had any negative comments about them online. They are focused on midAtlantic region but I figure I'm close enough and they have lots of info on how to grow them.

But I need to narrow my list. I've already done some narrowing, I swear.

I already have bell pepper seeds (saved from bell peppers I got at the farmer's market last summer)
I think I want some hot peppers so I am thinking
Anaheim Chile's or
Jalapeno Peppers.
I think I want one other pepper so I am deciding between these:
Tequila Sunrise
Jimmy Nardello's Italian Pepper
Doe Hill Golden Bell Pepper

Next up, flowers. I am told you need to have some flowers to help attract honey bees to pollinate your stuff. I decided on sunflowers.
Mammoth Russian Sunflowers - these would be like 9 ft tall and a single flower but big seeds for me to eat
Hopi Dye Sunflowers? - these would probably look a little less out of place because at least they aren't as tall and there would be a bunch of flowers.

Next, tomatoes. I definitely have space for 8 tomato plants. I may have more because I think I can grow them mixed with the melons. Plus I still have a couple square feet that I haven't filled. I was thinking I wanted 2 plants of each type although that's still up in the air. I already have seeds for cherry tomatoes and some random seeds I saved last year. I am planning on getting Wonderberry and Cossack Pineapple Ground Cherries. I am undecided between these:
Sugar Cherry Tomato
Green Grape Tomato
Lollipop Tomato
Mini Orange Tomato
Matt's Wild Cherry
Dr Carolyn Tomato
Do I need some big tomatoes? I always like the little ones better so that's all I've chosen so far but now I am having second thoughts.

So many choices!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My Garden

Yes, I realize it's January.

Yes, I realize it is way too early to start gardening.

But I am excited! I just got a chunk of the local Community Garden! Actually 2 chunks. 2 - 7'x14' chunks with a 3' space between them.

Here's my dilemma. What should I grow? There are so many things that sound yummy that I want to grow. So here's the list. Anyone have any recommendations?

I am planning on getting seeds from Reimer Seeds, anyone have an opinion on them?

Have seeds:
Butternut Squash (these are seeds I saved but I got some to sprout by accident so I figure they will grow)
Cherry Tomatoes
Larger tomatoes (seeds from tomatoes from last summer, who knows what will grow)
Bell Peppers (these were seeds I saved, not sure if they will grow)
Garlic Chives
Daffodils (have bulbs)

Here's the list of stuff I definitely plan on getting seeds for:
Pineapple Tomatillos
Sunflowers (Mammoth Gray Stripe)

Here's the list of other stuff I am thinking about:
Some form of Onion (undecided here)
German Winter Thyme
Mint (not sure if I should do peppermint or spearmint)
Russian Tarragon
Pineapple Tomatoes
Pear Tomatoes (red or yellow or both)
Mountain Sweet Yellow Watermelons
Yellow Doll Watermelons
Congo Watermelons
Teton Spinach
Blushing beauty sweet peppers
Giant Marconi Sweet Peppers
Sweet Banana Sweet Peppers
Imperial 45 Canteloupes
Honey Rock Cantaloupes
Some form of corn (any recommendations?)
Some form of lettuce

Daring Bakers: Nanaimo Bars

This month I actually made the recipe early. As in I made it the first weekend I was home. Which is really impressive for me. I knew I was gonna be out of town later in the month so I wouldn't have a whole lot of time to cook and all.

These were very popular at work. VERY popular. As one of my coworkers put it, 'they are better than dope.' And there were requests for more. Immediately. Of course this was also the first thing I brought in after the baking hiatus so that could be part of it. But I'll choose to say it's because I'm such a good baker. Haha. I made a funny. And now I am actually sitting here laughing out loud at myself.

Um anyway....

I found them rather sweet. As in I cut the batch to make 36 about 1x1 squares, ate one and felt kinda sick from all the sugar in it. Or maybe it was all the butter in it. Who knows. But obviously they liked them a lot.

I would probably make these again with some adjustments. I'd cut back the sugar quite a bit. Probably about half. And I'm not sure I'd make the graham crackers again. It was a lot of work and everything textural and fresh about them gets obliterated once you chop them up. They were also rather sweet. I think I'd use a box next time.

PS Although I had them made early, doesn't mean I'm any less lazy about getting the pics off my camera!

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Barefoot Bloggers: Indonesian Ginger Chicken

The first recipe for this month is Indonesian Ginger Chicken. It was chosen by Todd. It was a good choice. It's something I would not have chosen on my own but is pretty good.

I halved the recipe. I am not going to eat 2 chickens. Even 1 chicken is a lot more meat than I typically eat in a week. Some of it will probably end up in the freezer. And some of it ended up in the trash when I forgot to put it in the fridge for a day and a half.

I didn't know what to serve with this so I served it over a bed of rice. A bed of slightly overcooked rice but that's OK. That's why you should measure the water before adding it to the rice cooker, not just add and say eh, that should be good.

It's fairly sweet for a chicken dish. The dark meat was excellent and juicy. The breasts were a little dry. I strained off the pan drippings, separated the fat and saved the juices. I put some of them with the chicken breasts to help with the dryness. The pan drippings are a good alternative to chicken stock if you want to mix up the flavor a bit (thanks, Lynn Rosetto Kasper) with some saute'd vegetables or something.

Here is the recipe. Look, I even posted it on time!

And now I've even added a pic!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Key Lime Curd

So I was out of town over the holidays. I did my roadtrip where I visited assorted people everywhere along the way and burned through way too much gas. I was gone for 12 days. 12 whole days, my poor house missed me. See, I'm a bit of a homebody. That's the nice way to put it. Hermit might be more accurate. I like puttering around the house and not really doing anything. So 12 days away is a lot.

Before I had gone, I had bought some key limes. They were on sale so I couldn't resist. Had no plans for what I was gonna do with them but the bag was $1. How could I resist? Then they sat in the fridge for almost 3 weeks. By the time I got back, they were not at their prime. Still juicable but not in their prime.

So it's the weekend after I got back. I have a million things around the house that I should do. Clean, laundry, pay bills, you know how that goes. Instead I decided to make lime curd.

First off, juicing key limes is a pain. The whole bag of them made about 1/3 cup of juice. But each one gives you what seems like 2 drops. But after I went through the whole bag (you know what I'm talking about, you see them at all grocery stores at some point) I had 1/3 cup of juice.

This recipe requires a lot of whisking. Be prepared to whisk for 15 minutes straight. On the plus side, if you are pathetic like me, you can consider that a work out for the day :) Which makes it justified to eat spoonfuls of this stuff when it's done.

Let me just say this is delicious. So far, I've just been eating it off a spoon. Or a spatula. Or the bowl. Any suggestions on how to use it? I want something that will highlight the absolute amazingness of this stuff. Yes, that is a word. Never mind the red underline under it.

Oh and this recipe makes just enough to fill a small jelly jar and have a little taste. I used a Smuckers jar, I think it's 18 oz. but I ripped the label (partially) off and didn't bother to look first.

Key Lime Curd
based on Alton Brown's recipe for Lemon Curd

1/3 cup key lime juice
1 tbsp zest (i used a mix of lemon and lime that I had in the freezer)
5 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter

Whisk eggs and sugar together until it is pale yellow. Put bowl over a pot of boiling water. Add lemon juice and whisk constantly until thickened. Take off heat and strain through a very fine mesh strainer. Mix in the butter, a pat at a time, letting each pat dissolve before the next addition. Pour into a jar or other vessel for storage. Store in the refrigerator.