grown at home

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 Garlic sprouts in springtime – so exciting to see proof of plant life at the beginning of the season!


Expecting failure, my first go at growing garlic yielded a decent crop of modestly sized bulbs so I was enormously encouraged. This year I put a bit more effort into it and was rewarded with a more than satisfying crop.

Garlic 2

young bulbs – early summer


Out of all the vegetables I’ve grown, I’m not sure why I’m so delighted by garlic, but I am. Maybe it’s because it’s a root crop and you only really know how successful your crop is when you pull it up in August. Or unlike other rootish sorts of vegetables, this one actually does fine in our hard-packed clay soil that blunts carrots and squeezes the life out of beets. Maybe it’s because it’s a year round kitchen staple in my house and I find it easier to use than salad greens which require a certain amount of tedious insect extraction, washing and drying before use. Or because, until recently, the choice of garlic in our local stores left much to be desired (local farmer’s markets are now bursting at the seams with locally grown garlic scapes in June and bundles of healthy looking bulbs in the late summer). Or maybe it’s just because I think, from top to bottom – curling scape to twisting root – it is a beautiful plant.

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The August harvest – minus the few harvested early for home use and host gifts.

My biggest issue with garlic has been that it requires planting around October and I’m rotten at planning ahead – usually the garlic variety I want is sold out by the time I remember. While I can usually find a day here or there in the spring to prep beds and sow seeds, I’m often way too busy with work to get out in the garden in the fall, and am also no longer in the vegetable gardening sort of mood, and rain in the fall is uninviting, dismal, cold, and void of spring rain’s promise of coming greenery.

Garlic 4

This time around, I prepped the beds extra carefully, put a good dose of food in the hole with every clove, fed them a few more times throughout the year and was rewarded with a bunch of nice juicy bulbs, every clove planted yielded a plant.  This year I also left the spade out of it, pulling them or digging them up by hand so there were no gouges or damaged bulbs.

I’ll keep about a 1/3 of the crop, the biggest bulbs, back for next year’s seed, and the rest should ensure we don’t have to purchase horrible supermarket garlic for quite a few months.

Adapted berry pie

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It’s berry season and we’ve got 10lbs of blueberries to deal with and limited freezer space as well as a whole pile of on-the-verge-of-fermentation lemons and limes. Pie time!

This is the from the Canyon Ranch Cooks cookbook – it’s the recipe for Lemon Blackberry Pie. But I used mostly limes, no zest (because the limes were on the old side and the skins were a little yuck), and blueberries and a few raspberries instead of blackberries. Also, I went with 4 whole eggs instead of 3 whole eggs + 2 egg whites because I hate the idea of throwing out egg yolks. The crust is store bought because pastry and I don’t see eye to eye. Without the pastry prep, this is a super easy pie for me to make (extra points!). And it’s delish.

It’s got 3/4c of sugar and 1/4 c of butter in it. The idea behind including recipes like this in a cookbook about healthy eating is portion control; the serving size is supposed to be 1/16 of the pie. But I, um,  just seem to be able to cut them that small…

I’ve also made the lime pot de crème from the same book – which is also super.

Food vacation

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This post has little or nothing to do with art. It is manly about food. It is, in fact, pretty much completely an ode to food.

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A few friends and I took a much needed vacation to Salt Spring Island. We spent much of the weekend enjoying fresh, local, organic, seasonal food (from our own gardens and from the island) at a lovely farm where we had rented an old house. The rest of the time was spent wandering the island to chase down other foods at their source – namely fresh goat cheese from Salt Spring Island Cheese Company.

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