March 2009

Strawberry Shortcakes with Meyer Lemon Buttermilk Biscuits

March 30, 2009
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Over the weekend, when we went to TomatoMania, we bought some incredible strawberries from the farm where the event was being held. What to do, what to do? These berries were so spectacular, they deserved something special.

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Contrary to what most grocery stores would lead you to believe, “shortcakes” are not scary yellow sponge-like cakes, but rather a slightly sweet rolled biscuit. I had just picked a bowlful of meyer lemons off my tree so I decided to add a little to the mix to see what happened. They added a nice bit of sweet/tart to the buttery biscuits. Of course, you can substitute regular lemons or leave them out all together

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Tomato Obsession

March 29, 2009

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Ask anyone who gardens what type of tomatoes they grow and you are likely to get an impassioned response about varieties, the merits of hybrids vs. heirlooms, and frequency of watering. Few vegetables (yes, I know tomatoes are a fruit) spark such an obsession among gardeners.

My garden this year is all about redemption for me. After a few years of bad luck with my tomatoes I am determined to have success. So it was with great expectations and anticipation that we set out yesterday for the annual TomatoMania seeding sale. TomatoMania is a roving plant sale which sells over 300 varieties of tomato seedlings.

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Red Curry Noodles with Tofu

March 26, 2009

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I’ve been meaning to do a non-meat dish for a while lest you all think I’m a complete carnivore. While I do like my proteins, I’m happy to take them in any form. Still waiting to try the fried bugs next time we’re in Bangkok, but that’s a whole ‘nother story!

This dish is not traditional Thai, but rather Thai inspired. I love Thai food and fortunately for me, Southern California has the largest Thai community outside of Thailand. This means that not only do we have fantastic restaurants, but great markets filled with just about anything you would need to make Thai food. At minimum, I always like to keep a few cans of coconut milk, a couple of tins of different curries and some fish sauce in my cabinet.

In Thailand, curry paste is sold fresh in the open markets in big, wet, colorful piles. Here in the …

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How to Fill a Raised Garden Bed with the "No Dig" Method

March 26, 2009
The “No Dig” method for gardening is supposed to use less water, take less effort (no digging, no rotatilling) and raise superior vegetables.
Ok, sign me up.
I had two references. One, a story I’d read in the LA times last summer (http://www.latimes.com/features/home/la-hm-nodig12-2008jun12,0,55177.story) and the other, the website, http://www.no-dig-vegetablegarden.com/
I started saving newspapers about a month ago.
On Saturday David went to Stephen’s Hay and Grain in Glendale and bought 2 bales of Alfalfa and 2 bales of Hay. It’s times like this I’m very happy we have a pick-up truck.

On Sunday morning my mother and I went to Armstrong. We weren’t certain how much compost or fertilizer we’d need so we bought 6 bags of Organic Compost and 6 bags of Chicken Manure/Fertilizer and we figured we’d see how far we get.
We began by leveling out the two rectangular beds, both the walls …

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How Pork Chops Lead to a Garden or, How to Build Raised Garden Beds

March 26, 2009
A couple of nights ago I had the worst tomato of my life. It looked pretty, but it was completely devoid of any flavor. Sorta like blondes. Ok, I take that back. Some of my closest friends are blondes. But you know what I mean…this is LA after all.
Anyway, we’ve had bad luck in the last couple of years growing tomatoes. They grow big and strong, set some fruit, and then start to die from the bottom up, quickly, before the tomatoes can grow and ripen. It looks likes some sort of “blight” and it’s very frustrating. We can’t pinpoint the cause. At first we thought it was the soil, but it happened even when I planted the tomatoes in big pots of fresh soil on my patio. My theory is that it’s the damp, foggy, “June gloom” we get on summer mornings. But I am a glutton …
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Pork Chops and Apple Sauce

March 26, 2009

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My plan was a meatless meal. Really. But then I saw those extra thick pork chops on sale in my local market and was smitten.

When I was a kid, one of my favorite meals was Pork Chops and Applesauce, though it probably came in second to my mother’s Fried Chicken and Mashed Potatoes, at least on my 6th birthday. I forgive my Mother for forcing me to eat Liver and Onions (can’t stomach it to this day) and the two years of nothing but vegetarian stir-fries for that Fried Chicken.

Alas, she never makes the Fried Chicken any more. But this post is not about chicken, it’s about the Pork Chops and how my mom used to make them.

 

  

This meal really doesn’t have a “recipe”, but I think it’s a good example of one which can be tossed together in about 20 minutes and still be fresh and …

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