Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Summertime Living

Last Sat. we got together for a cook out and enjoyed some more of the delicious fruits of our gardening labor including a cuke and some tomatoes.

Even though we have been eating many of them, there are still many more on the way. Here are some pics:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tomato Development

Updated photo of the tomatoes as they ripen:

Cukes... Yum!

I was so happy to get a chance to enjoy the first of our cukes from the garden. It was delicious and HUGE! Take a look:

I put the comparison shot in there for you to demonstrate how fantastic this cuke turned out. With all the excitement, we started to pull out the seeds as we ate the chopped up cuke (to plant next year).

Unfortunately, I found out later from Home Hort Hints, "Cucumber seeds at the eating stage are not ripe and will not germinate if saved. You must allow the fruit and seed to fully mature."

After looking into it a bit more, I found out how complex it will be to save these seeds from motherearthnews.com. It will involve allowing the cucumbers to ripen on the vine until they turn yellow and the vines die. Then, allow the cucumber to get soft before scooping out the seed mass and letting the seeds ferment in a jar of water. Then, you have to dry the seeds out.

The good news is that if you are able to get through this process the seeds will last for 8-10 years. I'm not sure that we will have enough cukes to decide to save one for seeds, and we still may have seeds left over from the beginning of the season. But it was truly an exciting evening.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bring on the Harvest

Dare We Declare V-I-C-T-O-R-Y?

More than 3 months after our first intrepid steps into the wide world of urban gardening, our containers have come a long way. Over the course of this journey we've [on numerous occasions] wanted for soil, space, sunlight, and time, and questioned whether we would ever reap the benefits of our labor. But just as the torrential rains of May and June have passed on to a sunnier July, so have our doubts given way to the sweet satisfaction of the evidence of our success.


baby tomatoes...

and watermelon, oh my!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Beer Can Chicken

Recipe: Beer Can Chicken

Here’s an innovative way to guarantee a flavorful, juicy chicken roasting experience, with minimal work involved! I tried this recipe out recently for a friendly chicken cook-off, and was very pleased with the outcome. While it would have been even more delicious had I been able to cook the chicken on a grill (alas, an upright chicken requires quite a bit of head room- which most small hibachi grills do not have, and further- I don’t own a grill myself), the result was still delicious.


  • 2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion flakes
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 (3 1/2 to 4-pound) chicken
  • 1 (12-ounce) can beer


  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
  • Mix the spice rub ingredients in a medium bowl until they are well blended.
  • Rinse your bird, pat it dry, and rub it all over with olive oil (I know, it feels a bit like rubbing tanning oil all over an eager beach-goer).
  • Rub your bird with the dry-rub, covering it all over, inside and out.
  • Crack open the beer, and empty out about a third of it. Poke a few holes in the top. Pour some of the dry rub – if you have any left - into the can.
  • Place the chicken on top of the can. This involves some somewhat awkward finagling, and the result should look like your chicken is perched, legs on the bottom and wings on the top, quite naturally.
  • Place the chicken (on the can) on a baking sheet with sides, and bake for about one hour. For crispier skin, broil the chicken for the last 10 minutes.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

We Have Some Tomatoes.... Almost

Our rooftop tomato plants are looking fantastic and even have some little tomatoes growing. Take a look at their photo shoot:

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

4th of July: Food Independence Day

HR 2749: Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009

Last week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted in favor of the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009. Now the bill is headed to the House floor for consideration. You can read a draft of the bill here.

Take a look at a post on La Vida Locavore about some of the merits of the bill and additional ways to support it. La Vida Locavore also points to important deficiencies and issues regarding the bill, particularly the impact on small farmers.

To read another point of view, take a look at Food Freedom's post on Totalitarian Control of the Food System. Food Freedom argues that giving additional power to the FDA will in fact hurt organic and small farms. Food Freedom writes: "The bill would impose a one-size-fits-all regulatory scheme on small farms and local artisanal producers; and it would disproportionately impact their operations for the worse."

While the bill is far from perfect and there are concerns for the impact to small farmers, food safety is an important issue that requires attention. One of the best parts of the bill is that it empowers the FDA to issue mandatory recalls of food. This is key, as we have seen with the recent food recalls this summer.

I hope that this bill helps to turn some focus onto food issues. While we are hearing a lot about the new energy bill as well as health care reform, we need to address the integral issue that impacts energy use, the environment, and health. This important linkage is, you guessed it, food.

I am concerned that the restrictions in the bill will disproportionally impact small farms/operations, as large companies/operations will not feel the squeeze from the fees and fines associates with the bill. But, on the other hand, it is essential that we empower the government to stand up to large companies regarding food safety!

For the time being, I think the best we can do is encourage Congree to change the bill to ensure the security of small, organic farms and artisanal producers, but also support Food Safety for all of us.