Archive for the 'Produce' Category

Square Foot Gardening ‘Live’


August 8th, 2011

sq foot
I just posted a new video for my UNCOOKING SHOW about SQUARE FOOT GARDENING. It walks you through the process of setting up a square foot garden.

hub of heaven
I live in an apartment and don’t have any land of my own. So this is a little insight into the world of community gardening. Anyone can do it. It’s easier than you think!

mary bue
This episode also features another musical guest, MARY BUE (currently of Seattle but not for long). Check out her song ‘The City Trees’ (which incidentally was mixed by my BOYFRIEND).

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Bossy Boots Urban Farm


July 23rd, 2011

bossy boots
Last weekend, I attended an open house at BOSSY BOOTS URBAN FARM. Bossy Boots is one of the local food businesses which also sells products on KRISTEN’S PORCH (a revolutionary concept in local food – or maybe a welcome return to the old fashioned ways).

green
I was so amazed at how much food they were able to grow in a small space. It wasn’t too small. A backyard. But it just goes to show how much unrealized opportunity there is out there.

vertical squash
Look at their amazing vertical squash. It’s beautiful and inspiring.

peter
Here is Peter (a fellow PORCH LOUNGER) checking out the farm.

sarah and megan
These lovely ladies are the proprietors of this amazing farm, Sarah and Megan. Kudos to them for being part of the new local food system. Way to go, ladies.

nullThis is Abby. She did her first ‘Cooking with Abby’ demo. She made a lovely quinoa, kale, cucumber salad featuring fresh farm vegetables. She whipped that up right on the farm. What a pleasant afternoon! You would have never know that we were having a heat wave. You would also never have known that this was her first cooking demo. She was a pro. Great job, Abby!

quinoa salad
YUM!

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Deja Vu


June 20th, 2011

cloudy
Well, the view is a little cloudy these days, but the light is still getting through. Though admittedly, there were a couple days last week when I wasn’t so sure. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will know that I am slowly recovering from a couple different accidents (a TOXIC EXPOSURE and a CAR CRASH). These have been inspiring a number of complications which I am discerning how to navigate. I haven’t figured out all the answers yet, but I can tell you that the outcome is destined to be something unusual. A lot of issues related to this struggle are climaxing right now. In a big way. It’s complicated. As such, I’m going to break them down over a few posts. As I try to digest them.

eyefb
One of my big dramas this week has been with my eye. I was sitting in my apartment, typing on my computer last week. Seemingly out of nowhere, I started to get this really dry feeling in my eye at the same time that it felt like there was a foreign object in it. At first, I thought I got an eyelash in my eye. But when I looked in the mirror, I found this…

eye
A big, ugly, growth on my eyeball. Attractive, right? Now before you get too freaked out, I should tell you that it’s not contagious. And on top of that, this EXACT SAME THING HAPPENED TWO YEARS AGO. It’s some IMMUNE SYSTEM MALFUNCTION, episcleritis. The last time this happened, I was freaked out. They referred me to an immunologist who I waited five months (on pins and needles) to see.

eye up
I went through all manner of testing (which I should add I am still paying off). And where did that get me? Pretty much nowhere. The doctor at the time told me that I didn’t have lupus…YET. Well, last week after this happened, my doctor told me I should go back to rheumatology and get checked (essentially exactly where I went two years ago…for the second time). This would have been my third trip to rheumatology. At this point, I had a meltdown. Seriously. What is the point? Every time I go, it’s this horribly expensive ordeal that’s really stressful, they never figure out anything, and at least half of the time someone (who shouldn’t even be licensed to practice medicine) tells me I’m a hypochondriac. NO WAY, JOSE. I’m not doing that AGAIN.

anomalies
At first, I demanded to get sent to the Mayo. I was really upset. The good news is that this spurred a heart to heart with my doctor that was long overdue. The bad news is that they don’t know what is wrong. It is likely some variation of autoimmune disease. This is completely NOT SHOCKING to me. Unfortunately, autoimmune diseases are hard to diagnose anyway. Especially weird ones. It could be that it’s lupus. Or it could be something else. Whatever it is, it’s not lighting up the classic profile of test results. So they basically just keep an eye on me. And watch out for more complications until they can figure it out. This conundrum has caused a number of complications in my life that also climaxed this week. Epic sagas which deserve their own post. But in essence, I’m not even sure if I want them to figure it out honestly. Because if they do, all they can do is put me on steroids for the rest of my life. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will also know that my LIVER IS NOT RIGHT. So while I would appreciate the validation, I don’t think that is ultimately a viable path for me. Not if I want to live anyway. Have I mentioned that this has been going on for five years? This is difficult enough for me to digest, and I’m a fairly open-minded, free spirit. My poor mother is about to tear her hair out. Yesterday, she hung up the phone on me because I decided to wait on the Mayo. Interestingly, this was my mild drama from last week. There’s a lot more of that coming down the pipe. Let me tell you…

kale bed
In other more inspiring news, my garden is looking great! Here is my KALE FOREST. On the end, we have a couple rows of dino kale. The rest is green curly kale. The two plants that are flowering are actually the two that survived the winter. Amazing! I have been munching off of this bed a lot this week. We had a few nice rainstorms that really perked up all my lettuces.

lettuce bed
Speaking of, check out my other lettuces. Looking good!! The swiss chard and the romaine are looking mighty fine! I filmed a video for PRL TV of me setting up my garden beds this year. I hope to have that ready soon.


I have some arugula and WILD SPINACH that is going to peak soon too. I love summertime! My grocery bill is going down, down, down.

berries
I also picked some perfect alpine strawberries the other day. These are the best berries I will eat all year. So good! They are red all the way through. Not like the big white in the middle ones you get at the store.

So all in all, I’m hangin’ pretty tough out here. I don’t think I have ever experienced such dramatic and rapid change in my life as I am currently experiencing. And I should add that I am a change embracing bohemian type of girl. But this. This is truly epic. More on that later…

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Head In The Clouds


June 2nd, 2011

clouds
Well, I think it’s fair to say that I’ve had my head in the clouds lately while I contemplate my next move. If you’re just tuning in, I found out last week that I have a ‘FISSURE’ IN A DISC in my lower back. I just had a follow up with my doctor and learned some interesting things. It could be that there is just a rip in the disc OR it could be that it’s actually ruptured and the goo is leaking out. They can’t tell for sure until they do a discogram. Needless to say, my head is spinning with possibilities. Like, what does this mean for my nascent CHEF BUSINESS? Do I have time for this? Can’t they see that my business is taking off? I mean, don’t they know that I’m HUGE IN NEW YORK? :) (Kind of like the Tom Waits song. BIG IN JAPAN). Admittedly, this is not exactly how I planned things would go. But really, none of this has gone ACCORDING TO PLAN, and it hasn’t stopped me yet. It’s just a matter of unlocking the key to the silver lining. Right now, I’m still a bit puzzled…trying to make some sense of it. I just have to remember to stay open to the answers.

kale bed
In the meantime, gardening is a great way to keep your feet on the ground while you contemplate possibilities. This is my up and coming kale forest. I had one LAST YEAR too. Though last year, I didn’t get to tend to my garden as well as I would have liked because of the ACCIDENT. Actually, last year my garden was kind of a chaotic mess. This year is going to be better. I can tell. The weather is already being much more cooperative.

tomatos herbs lettuce
This bed is a little more heterogeneous than the kale forest. It’s got tomatoes, herbs, peppers, and several varieties of lettuce/greens. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE GARDENING? I filmed a video of me setting up my garden this year for PUNK RAWK LABS TV. It’s going to be a good one…

arugula sprouts
These cute little arugula sprouts that are just starting to see the light of day. This year, I think I timed things better. So that everything won’t come due at the same time. Hopefully this will help me eat things more efficiently.

wild spinach
This little guy is a wild spinach seedling sprouted from the BLACKBIRD NATURALS seeds I GOT IN THE MAIL recently. They are purple! The swiss chard behind it is also looking lovely. It’s just starting to perk up.

strawberries
The strawberry plant is starting to flower too. Soon, I will be enjoying the best strawberries I will have all year. I can’t wait.

straw lemonadeThis is a glass of raspberry lemonade I made for myself right before I took my bike ride to the garden. I just threw a couple raspberries in at the end and did a pulse. Mmm…so good! I highly recommend this. A very refreshing pre-bike ride delight for a hot summer day. Summer comes in short spurts up here in the NORTH COUNTRY. So you’ve got to appreciate it while you can.
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mississippi
Here is me riding my bike over the mighty Mississippi on my way home from the garden. I try to ride my bike there a few times a week as part of my physical therapy. I love having a reason to check in with her (the river). She has inspired so many great works of art.


One of my favorite songs about her is BIG RIVER by JOHNNY CASH. I love how he talks about meeting her accidentally in St. Paul, MN. Just like me. I live in St. Paul, but my garden is in Minneapolis (just across the river).

mpls skyline
Here’s a pic of the Minneapolis skyline from the Mississippi River bridge the other day. Part stormy. Part inspired. That’s pretty much me right now in a nutshell. :)

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Third Time's A Charm


September 18th, 2009

lasagna
This is my third attempt at making the lasagna from RAW FOOD REAL WORLD. I was inspired by the STUDENTS of 105 DEGREES and the abundance of tomatoes and zucchini in my GARDEN of late.

lasagna side
I suppose that now is as good a time as any to mention that I am the latest recruit to the 105 DEGREES ACADEMY. Or one of them anyway. Not entirely shocking, I suppose, given my penchant for following MATTHEW KENNEY recipes. That coupled with the fact that my entire family lives in Oklahoma makes it kind of a no brainer! Anyway, I’ll be there from Nov-Mar. YAY! (Speaking of Matthew Kenney, did you see the article yesterday in the NY TIMES? It’s kind of funny actually. The writer is clearly not a connoisseur of raw food. In fact, he’s still hung up on a pork chop he had in the mid-90’s. That pork chop really must have made an impression. This was particularly funny to me yesterday since we were having a discussion about how the EGGPLANT BACON didn’t really taste like bacon).

nyagous
Anyway, back to the lasagna. Check out this black tomato I grew in my garden. It’s a NYAGOUS variety. They’re apparently highly sought after for their rich flavor. This is what I used for my tomato sauce. Things have come a long way from my FIRST LASAGNA which I cluelessly made in the middle of winter. Last year, I had at least figured out the SEASONS.

zucchini
But this year, I was able to season my own homegrown zucchini with my own homegrown herbs!

caspian pink
I had quite a few varieties of tomatoes to choose from. Everyone said I wouldn’t be able to grow heirloom tomatoes in a community garden. Apparently, our garden had a fungus problem or something. I used some EFFECTIVE MICROORGANISMS in the soil. I’m not sure if that’s what did the trick, but they grew up beautifully. Anyway, these are some CASPIAN PINK tomatoes.

green zebra
Probably our most abundant tomotoes this year were the GREEN ZEBRAS (which is perfect for this recipe). Ours came up this beautiful golden color.

layers
The tomatoes were layered with a pine nut pignoli, a basil and pistachio pesto, and the marinated zucchini in a casserole dish.

lasagna
Bon Appetit! (I wonder if I’ll be talking about this lasagna in fifteen years :) ).

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Harvest Moon


September 6th, 2009

me gardening
I got a cue from the moon that it was time for a GARDEN update. I have to say that after my first season gardening, I am hooked! I absolutely LOVE gardening. It’s so relaxing, and we’ve hardly had to buy any food this summer.

swirls
I was worried at first when I saw this marvelously psychedelic swirl on one of our tomatoes. My boyfriend was convinced it was a worm eating our tomatoes.  I was so relieved to find that it just meant they were growing too fast, and the skin was cracking.

This is my boyfriend’s nephew holding our very first ripe tomato of the season. It was a caspian pink tomato and the flavor was stupendous. It was also perfect and flawless. The prettiest tomato to date. Though we have some really pretty ones that are just starting to turn now.

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stevia
This is my beautiful stevia plant. I’ve dried down the leaves and ground them into a powder to make sweetener. Though admittedly, it takes a lot of leaves to make not very much powder. I should save the seeds so I can grow a bunch next year (or whenever I actually have a yard at some nebulous point in the future).

habanero
Yesterday, I picked the first habanero! I think I’m going to make kale chips with it. I’m really addicted to this new chip we’ve developed. It was inspired by my recent trip to the West Coast. They were HUGE there. Though I think we encountered them first in PORTLAND. They’re a notcho cheese variety that will knock your socks off.

peppers
Everything is coming up peppers right now. We’ve got a couple red jalepenos. And a bunch of this Korean hot pepper. They’re HO CHI MINH‘s. They’re kind of like cayenne…but yellow…and surprisingly hotter.

nasturtium
I also have these edible flowers called nasturtiums. They didn’t really go in this salad so well. They’re kinda spicy. So I’ll check back with you about those…

kale
But all in all, the garden’s good! Now it’s time to start sharing the wealth.

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Ch..Ch..Ch..Ch..Ch..Ch..Ch..Ch….


July 3rd, 2009

cherry bomb

CHERRY BOMB. Cherries are in season here in full force! And that is a very good sign!!

picking cherriesThe other day, HEIDI and I went foraging for cherries in the city. There was a tree that she knew of (in a secret location). It was timed PERFECTLY. We couldn’t have picked a better day. They were perfectly ripe and SO ABUNDANT.  Here’s a pic of Heidi in the tree.

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bowl cherriesWe picked about TEN POUNDS of perfect cherries. Rainier and Bing Cherries! And they were so much better than the store.  So we made some raw cherry jam.  I remembered reading this recipe on ANTHONY’S BLOG eons ago, and it came in really handy.  It was really tasty, and we didn’t add anything.  Just Cherries.

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biking
Speaking of cherries, I should mention that I won’t be posting for a few weeks.  My band (not  THE CHERRY BOMBS, but close)  is playing a short tour on the West Coast.  The dates are HERE.  I think I’m finally going to meet DEBBIE and go to AU LAC.  I’ll let you know how it goes…Wish me luck! :)

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Getting My Garden Fix


July 2nd, 2009

garden
Since I’m away from my own GARDEN now, I’m having to get my garden fix elsewhere. But as luck would have it my friend, Heidi, is happy to oblige.

heidi
She made an APPEARANCE on my blog at this time last year too. We signed up for BIKRAM YOGA this week. There was an intro deal at a STUDIO here – unlimited classes for one week for $20). Here she is doing a spontaneous yoga pose on a cement divider.

toilet planterI love how they used their old toilet as a planter. I suppose it’s not technically a planter. I think she originally planted something else in it, but now it is FULL of super nutritious chickweed. We put some in our smoothie this morning. We’ve also harvested some radishes, baby beets, and raspberries. Her garden is SO HUGE. I need a garden this huge (especially if we are going to start a catering empire with locally grown produce from our own gardens – our not so secret dream).
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spider
This is the cute little spider that made a home for itself between her tomato plants.

nn
MMM…SMOOTHIE. It’s starting to turn into a tradition as I always seem to show up when her raspberries are in season.

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Exceeding My Expectations


June 27th, 2009

tomato bush
I think it’s safe to say at this point that my GARDEN is exceeding my expectations. Being that it’s my first one, I would have been happy to get ANY growth whatsoever. But yesterday, my boyfriend sent me this insane picture of the monstrosities that our tomato plants have become (Did I mention that I am out of town? I left him in charge of the garden for five weeks. I’m MISSING EVERYTHING.)

sunny side
This is that same area a month ago. AMAZING!

aquacones
I’m wondering if these aquacones have contributed to the growth spurt. It HAS been hot and sunny. But apparently, we’ve outgrown all the plants in our community garden. My boyfriend had to rip holes in the netting to make room.

lettuce side
This is the other side of the garden. The shady side…where we are growing many varieties of lettuce. I am so spoiled now. I can never go back. GOURMET SALADS for FREE.

happy plants
They just look so happy. And they taste that way too.

salad mix
It would cost a fortune to buy this many heads of lettuce every couple days.

marigolds
This garden has been blowing my mind. I’ve been thinking crazy thoughts. Things that I would have never EVER considered. Things like…moving out of the city?!

kale
This is going to be the year of the KALE CHIP. I have at least fifteen kale plants going right now!

chard
I think the chard has been the most persnickety of the greens. There is some kind of pest that is making the leaves get this fungus-like illness. We’ve been mostly spraying with cayenne and picking yucky leaves. And that seems to be working alright.

stone arch
I am a little sad I’m missing this. I miss Minneapolis and going to the garden with my boyfriend. If I weren’t having so much fun, I’d be really homesick. But I’m actually finding Seattle to be really friendly to my dietary issues. More updates soon…

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First Harvest


June 18th, 2009

aerial shot
Time for a GARDEN UPDATE. This is an aerial shot of our garden plot. We actually just inherited a second smaller plot, but I don’t have pictures of that yet.

garden back
Being that this is our first garden, I wasn’t sure if it was going to be worth the investment. I would have just been happy if anything came up. But so far, I can say that the output has definitely exceeded my expectations. I think we will save a lot of money on groceries this season. We trying to keep a tally. So we’ll see where we are at the end of the season.

greens
We have a really lovely variety of greens right now. Here you can see the arugula, kale, a little chard, some romaine-like mystery lettuce, and some of the mixed microgreens we have going.

harvesting
Here’s me pulling our first harvest.

first harvest
It’s a nice mix of greens. The chard is so much puffier than it is in the store.

first salad
This was our first garden salad with some blackberries and dried fennel. WOW. Gourmet greens and they are so fresh.

We got some other things popping up too. But I’ll save that for another post…

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