Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Chardonnay #2

Opened a bottle of Redwood Creek Chardonnay. It was on sale at Dillon's. I'm on the hunt for wines that taste good that are less than $15. I find it difficult to spend more than that on a bottle of wine, mostly because I don't know what I like and I'm afraid of spending $50 on a bottle of wine that might not taste good.

Well, the Chardonnay... I've learned it tastes better when it's not cold. When it's straight out of the fridge, it is very bitter, but once it comes to room temperature it is sweeter. It has afternotes of honey.

I want to learn more about where these wines are made and where the grapes are grown.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Seed starting while drinking wine!

Today I planted the following herbs inside:
Dill, Sweet Basil, Cilantro and Flat leaf Parsley

I still have several varieties of basil to start, as well as castor beans and marigolds, but there is no room for them at the moment.

I planted onions outside today also. This year I purchased onions from Dixondale Farms. Usually I would purchase onions from the local nursery, but after reading the Farmgirl Fare blog I decided otherwise. And because I wanted different varieties of onions, and I wanted to know the real name of the onions besides "red", "white" or "yellow" because that's the only label they ever give to the onions at the nurseries around here.

So, I bought the Intermediate day sampler and a bunch of Borrettana Cippolini. The intermediate day sampler has: Candy (yellow), Super Star (white) and Red Candy Apple (yup, red!). The cippolini is a flat white onion.

I decided to plant the intermediate day sampler in the same bed where the tomatoes will be later this season. We'll see how they do together as companion plants. I planted a double row of each onion, which divided the rest of the bed into four spaces. Each of the four spaces will have two tomato plants.

The tomatoes I am growing for this year are Amish Paste (for making homemade tomato paste and pizza sauce), Thessaloniki (a slicing type from Greece, hopefully to make juice from), Cour di Bue (hopefully also for juice. This was a free packet sent to me when I ordered seeds from Baker Creek.), and Black Cherry (for eating straight off the vine, and for salads).

And now for the wine! I enjoyed a bottle of Sutter Home Moscato. I have this mental image of Sutter Home being a cheap wine for those who don't know how to choose wine. (right up my alley, right?) It wasn't bad at all. I like Moscato because they're always sweet and I never have to worry about the lemon drop pucker. There are two other Moscato wines that I like: Barefoot and Allegro Moscato. I like drinking Barefoot (not just the Moscato) because part of their profit goes to clean up beaches in California, so people can safely walk on them barefoot. Allegro Moscato is one of my mom's favorite wines, and is easily spotted in the wine aisle because the bottle is taller, the cork cover is lavendar, and there are ballet slippers on the label.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Garden rivals

Peas and onions supposedly don't get along, so I need to find a new home for the onions. I originally planned to interplant them with the root vegetables.
I read that onions are good with the cucurbit and nightshade families.
I also read that squash like having radishes to help deter squash bugs.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Root vegetables in the garden

Today I planted in the garden:
Hollow Crown Parsnips
Chioggia Beets
Golden Beets
Parissienne Carrots
Rocky Top Lettuce Mix
Giant Noble Spinach
Chinese Red Meat Radish
White Vienna Kohlrabi

I also incorporated compoast into this bed.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Peas in the garden

Today I planted peas in the garden: sugar snap, little marvel and melting sugar.

The seed was packaged for 2009; we'll see if anything comes up.

I have a lot of seeds started indoors. I'm running out of space in the cloffice! I've fertilized them with half strength fish emulsion every 10 days. The eggplant are growing very slowly. They are just now setting on their true leaves and they sprouted a month ago.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sourdough Pizza Crust with Homemade sauce

Pizza dough:

1 1/2 c sourdough starter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 c flour

Mix together. Let rest for 30 minutes. Roll out and bake for 7 min at 450. (I rolled out the dough onto a floured baking stone and put it directly in the oven) Remove from oven, put toppings on and bake until toppings are done to your liking.

I started using more whole wheat flour. Right now, my batch of flour is about 50% white/50% wheat.

Tomato sauce:

1 pint stewed tomatoes (that I canned from the garden last year)
1 pint tomato juice (also from the garden)
1 clove of garlic
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp fennel
1/2 tsp basil (I used an ice cube of frozen basil, from this summer when I had WAY TOO MUCH basil to eat)
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp rosemary
Also added fresh parsley, about 2 Tbsp.

Simmer until reduced to the point where it can be used as a sauce. Mine reduced to about a third of what it was when started. I think it took about 30 minutes of simmering.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bread that I made last week

.... That didn't turn out so well. I didn't let it rise long enough so it was flatter, like foccaccia, and dense like a bagel- not tall and fluffy like it was supposed to be! The cilantro in it was good, it had way too much pepper, which might have been better if the loaf wasn't so dense. The cornmeal made it a little painful to knead for 15 minutes; my palms felt very raw!

This recipe is from Bread Alone by Daniel Leader.

Country Style Hearth Loaf with Cornmeal, Cilantro and Coarse Pepper

This is a type of sourdough that uses poolish instead of a sourdough starter. But it's basically the same thing.

1/2 c water (about 75 degrees)
1/2 tsp yeast
3/4 c 20% bran wheat flour (3 parts white flour to 1 part whole wheat flour)

Mix together and let sit for 2 to 10 hours. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit until it has increased in volume.

2 1/2 c water
1/2 tsp yeast
1 1/4 c cornmeal
1 Tbsp sea salt
1/2 c fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp black pepper
3 1/4 to 4 1/2 c 20% bran wheat flour

Add the water and yeast to the poolish. Mix in cornmeal until combined. Add salt, cilantro, pepper, and flour so it is difficult to stir. Dump onto well floured surface and knead for 15 to 17 minutes.

Shape dough into a ball. Lightly oil (I use olive oil) a bowl. Put dough in bowl and then rotate so oil is on all sides of dough. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 2 to 3 hours. It has risen enough when a finger poked into it leaves an indentation.

Punch down the dough in the bowl. Cover again and let rest for 30 minutes

Divide the dough into 2 loaves. Proof for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until about 1 1/2 the size. (The original recipe said to proof in bread baskets, which I don't have. I put floured parchment paper on the counter and let the loaves rise there. Then it was easier to transfer the bread to the baking stones, because the parchment paper can go in with the loaf.)

About an hour prior to baking, preheat the oven to 450. The loaves must bake in the center of the oven.After putting the loaves in the oven, spray the sides of the oven with water. BE CAREFUL NOT TO SPRAY THE OVEN LIGHT AS IT WILL EXPLODE. YES I KNOW FROM EXPERIENCE. Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 400 and bake another 15 to 20 minutes. The bread is done when, if tapped on the bottom of the loaf, it sounds hollow. Cool on a wire rack.
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