Monday, May 31, 2010

White Bean and Grape Tomato Salad

I just moved into a new house this weekend up in Berwyn Heights MD (near College Park). It has been very hectic with the packing, moving, unpacking, cleaning and cleaning. I haven't had any chance to cook. But, I was able to get the to Takoma Park Food Co-op this afternoon to get the ingredients to make this wonderful white bean salad. It was the first thing I made in my new house.

White Bean and Grape Tomato Salad (adapted from Bon Appetit)

What You Need

- 2 15-ounce cans white kidney beans, rinsed, drained
- 2 1/2 cups halved grape tomatoes (about 12 ounces) or cherry tomatoes
- 2/3 cup diced red onion
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill (I couldn't find dill, so I used basil)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed

What You Do

1. Toss all ingredients in large bowl.
2. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Let marinate at room temperature 1 hour.
4. Cover and chill.
5. Bring salad to room temperature before serving.

I am so excited to share pictures, plans, and news about my new yard and garden, as well as all the delicious food I plan to prepare in my new kitchen.

I'm off to start googling nearby farmers markets.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Crop Mob

This is cool. Just got a story about a new type of collaboration between farmers called a "Crop Mob". The idea is to create community through shared work and shared meals. Check it out at cropmob. There is one in the DC area. Take a look here.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Our Garden Map

Take a look at the map of our garden:


You'll notice that the onions, eggplant, and sweet peppers are all grey. We haven't planted these in the ground yet. We just started the seeds inside and are waiting for some healthy seedlings before transplanting them into the garden.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

As you have probably guessed, I love the springtime. If only the weather here in DC would cooperate. At the farmer's market last weekend, I picked up some of the first strawberrys of the season and two bunches of rhubarb. The result: a wonderful pie perfect when eaten with vanilla ice cream.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (adapted from PieChef)

What You Need
- 2 9” pie crusts
- 2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced (I didn't measure this out. I just used about double the rhubarb as I did strawberries)
- 4 cups rhubarb, sliced (again, I didn't measure this. I just used the container of strawberries plus two bunches of rhubarb.)
- 1 cup sugar (I was very generous here)
- 1/2 cup flour
- Dash of cinnamon
- Dash of brown sugar

What You Do
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Clean and slice fruit and combine in large bowl.
3. Mix sugar and flour in small bowl. Add cinnamon.
4. Add sugar and flour mixture to fruit and stir to mix. Let the fruit mixture sit for about 10 minutes so the juices release.
5. Pour the filling evenly into the crust.
6. Top with second crust and make a couple slits in the top.
7. Bake for 10 minutes at 425, then lower heat to 325 and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes. (I had to let it bake for a bit more time, until the crust looked nicely browned).

I forgot how delicious and easy this pie is. Please try it out!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Asparagus. Springtime. Amazing. I steamed fresh asparagus from the Dupont Farmer's Market yesterday and it was just perfect.

What You Need

Fresh, local asparagus

What You Do

1. Set your steamer in a pot with some water.
2. Bring the water to a boil.
3. Cut off the ends of the asparagus by snapping them by hand.
4. Cut asparagus to make sure they fit in the pot.
5. When steaming, add asparagus to the pot on the steamer.
6. Steam for 1-2 minutes.
7. Add some salt.
8. ENJOY and know that it is really springtime (even if the weather is cold and rainy... like today for those of you in DC).

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cucumbers = R.I.P.

With the windy day we had yesterday, I got the following message about the garden:

Email Title: Cucumbers = R.I.P.

"Our cucumbers didn't make it. Either they got blown away by the wind, or some bird/ vermin pulled them up. Everything else looks healthy.

Guess I should start some more cucumbers inside."

Start over. Good thing we have tons and tons of cucumber seeds.

Back to the Soil

We sent the afternoon on Sat. in the garden. The lettuce and other greens are growing, slowly, but still growing. When we looked at our soil in the rest of the garden, however, we were a little concerned. It was like cement. Very rocky and very hard. A bit frustrated, we set to the task of adding in some soil conditioner from Home Depot. After turning it and adding in some more bags, it was starting to look a lot better.

We then added in the fence around the garden to keep creatures (including the dog) out and prevent harm to our veggie hopefuls. We also cleaned up other areas of the yard that we used for much of our initial garden debris.

Finally, we got to the task of planting! We planted most of the area with the exception of the a few plants that need to be started inside. I will provide a map of the garden in the next couple days. For now, here are some pics:

Also growing very nicely are my herbs inside my apartment. The basil and cilantro look amazing. Even the rosemary has sprouted!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Seed Update 4: In Containers!

The seeds have made it out to the porch and into their containers. They seem to be surviving the back and forth weather we've been having.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pad Thai at Home

I like to order pad thai on Sundays for dinner. Today I tried it at home and it went pretty well! It is fun because you can add and omit items based on your preferences.

Vegetarian Pad Thai (adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Eat Everything Vegetarian and

What You Need:

- 14 ounces dried flat rice noodles, 1/4 inch thick
- 5 tablespoons peanut or neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn (I used olive oil to make the egg and sesame oil to make the veggies)
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 8 ounces pressed tofu, or extra-firm tofu, blotted dry, sliced
- 3 scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths
- 1 cup bean sprouts, rinsed and trimmed (I didn't have any and I don't really like them that much, instead I used about a cup or two of shredded green cabbage)
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- 4 teaspoons tamarind paste or ketchup (I used ketchup)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce (add more depending on your preference)
- 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 lime, cut into wedges

What You Do

1. Put the noodles in a bowl and pour boiling water over them to cover. Soak until softened, at least 15 minutes; if you want to hold them a little longer, drain them, fill the bowl with cold water, and return the noodles to the bowl.

2. Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the eggs and scramble.

3. Raise the heat to high and add the remaining oil. When hot, add the garlic, tofu, cabbage (or bean sprouts), and scallions about 3 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate.

4. Put the drained noodles, eggs, and remainder of ingredients in the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are heated through, then add the stir-fried tofu mixture. Toss once or twice and transfer the contents of the pan to a serving platter. Top with the peanuts, cilantro and anything else you like. Serve with the lime wedges.

It was very easy and now I have tons of leftovers for lunch during the week.

Summer Gardening in May

Today was in the mid 80s in Washington DC. It felt just like summer, a bit muggy and a chance of thunderstorms. And it was time to get back into the garden. After taking a weekend off to go to the Foxfield Races down in Charlottesville, VA, I was eager to see how our seeds were doing and if they were able to withstand the crazy spring weather. I was happy to see that all the seeds sprouted.

I was so excited to get started we put in a few too many seeds. I spent time thinning out the rows of spinach, leeks, and lettuce varieties. The plants that look the best so far are the spinach (big surprise for me!) and chard. The slowest growers so far are the scallions.

We also spent the afternoon adding in a border around our second garden area. We are going to be putting in a small fence around the garden to try to keep unwanted visitors out. Additionally, we added in three walkways to make sure we are able to walk through the garden to take care of it and harvest when the time comes.

The garden is in great shape. We added in some additional lettuce seedlings that we began in a make-shift seed starting planter (using a gallon of milk jug). Next Sat. we begin to plant the rest of the seeds and seedlings including tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, peppers, okra, and much much more!