Friday, May 31, 2013

Lemon Poppyseed Mini Muffins

Plate of squarish flat-top muffins, perfectly golden and delicious
Next Time They'll Look Better

Recipe by Robin

We have a lemon angel at my day job. Every week or two during winter and early spring, a sign appears outside the techie’s printing/photocopying/microwaving room. “Free Lemons,” it declares, punctuated by a few yellow clip art lemons in case techies need visual convincing. I picked up quite a few of these throughout the season, and wanted to surprise my colleagues and give something back to Source—source of the lemons, that is. I had poppyseeds in the freezer from last year’s harvest, and dreamed of perfect poppyseed mini muffins. Unfortunately, the muffin reality didn’t match the dream.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Strawberry and Spring Vegetable Salad

Bowl of Salad with Napkin and Fork
First Salad Attempt: Made with Chopped Nuts while Intoxicated

Recipe by Robin

In a way, creating recipes is like reinventing the wheel. Somewhere, sometime, someone has put together a dish similar to what you’re creating. It might have even been you, especially if you belong to a CSA farm and get similar veggies for weeks at a time from a local farm. And so it is with strawberries in salad. I’ve combined them with spinach, Parmesan and pine nuts, with radicchio, butter lettuce, and feta, and simplest of all with arugula and goat cheese. And yet a bounty of mixed spring lettuce from our DIY square foot garden plus 5 pints of strawberries and some basil from our CSA inspired me to make yet another strawberry salad.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Farm Report

Hungarian Breadseed White Poppy with Several Seedpods
Culinary Poppies Hoping for Some Rain Today

At Robin & Bruce’s House

Along with honoring veterans, participating in parades, and barbecuing, for many of us Memorial Day weekend means cleaning up the yard and doing some work in the garden. When I lived in New England, this was the weekend that I’d finally get to the planting, after much planning and soil preparation. In the Santa Cruz mountains, we started planting last month and are now harvesting lettuce and greens. And yet, harvesting a few veggies always seems to lead to planting more when it’s still early in the season. What are you planting this week?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Spring Stir Fry

Bowl of stir fry with sesame seeds on top
Spring Pea Pods Kick it up a Notch

Recipe by Bruce

It’s a perfect day when your CSA share provides all the veggies you need to make a tasty springtime dish, and then the Farmers’ Market fills in the exact veggie that will make the dish fabulous (& publishable!). It’s even better when that missing ingredient comes from the tried, trusted, and true farm that provides your CSA shares. Thank you Live Earth Farm and the Felton Farmers’ Market for the fresh spring snap peas. What’s even better than that? LEF gave us a discount for being CSA member and double-dippin’ at the Market! Better still? Bruce is the family stir-fry king, so I got to take the photos with two hands instead of the usual one! And of course, stir fries are delicious and healthful.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Strawberry Trifle

Robin holding huge strawberry trifle at party
Just a Trifle for Dessert

Recipe by Robin

Seasonal Eating has just passed the 100,000 mark for individual pageviews. Thank you, readers! In celebration, here is a recipe from another recent celebration, the Celtic/UK Themed 50th Natal Anniversary of my friend Rox, an enthusiast of all things British, from King Arthur to Stonehenge to fine tea. As Ms. Rox was garbed in uncharacteristically royal attire (stitched up locally by the Royal Dressmaker, no less), this queenly dessert was perfect for the occasion. But let me back up. How many non-Brit readers have ever tasted a trifle or know how they’re made? If my research is any indicator, not many…including myself until just recently.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Quick Ginger Pickled Beets

Bowl of Ginger Pickled Beets
Ruby Red Pickles

Recipe by Recipes from the Root Cellar

Our garden is getting more complicated and time consuming this year. In addition to the new raised beds and the usual containers, I just put in a few winter squash hills and have alpine strawberries and sunflowers to plant. But in spite of all of this springtime effort, we’re  still awaiting the majority of our harvest. Meanwhile we're finishing up our wintery root veggies like beets. Here’s a simple recipe from my new favorite cookbook, Recipes from the Root Cellar. Unlike the Polish-style beets and other hot-dressed beets I’ve blogged about, this recipe is served cool, and is more of a true pickle than a side dish, but with an unexpected pop of ginger.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

May Veggies and Recipes

Pink Heritage Rose
Old English Rose in our Garden

May Flowers Despite Few Showers

May is skipping by, and I’ve not yet posted May’s in-season veggies and favorite recipes. I blame both the balmy weather and the intensive gardening projects that seem happen every May. This year has been particularly hot and dry, perfect for planting tomatoes, peppers, and sunflowers. Longer days make it easier to find time to garden, and easier to become overly ambitious in the number of plants to be added to the garden. With weather so beautiful, though, I’m probably not the only one who’s choosing to putter in the yard rather than plan in the kitchen.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Top 7 Plants for Container Gardens

Classic Container Plant, courtesy

Plus 3 Container No-nos

Container gardens are all the rage right now, according to popular garden periodicals from budget-conscious Better Homes and Gardens to spare-no-expense Sunset Magazine. Containers come in all shapes and sizes, and more container-friendly plants are hybridized every year. Containers can provide inexpensive patio d├ęcor, and can be moved around during the growing season as temperature and light exposure changes. Container gardens require less soil and less manual labor to get started than larger beds, but they also require more frequent watering and fertilizing during the growing season. Be prepared to check the soil moisture and plant wiltiness every day when it’s hot out. Some plants will need daily watering when the weather is especially toasty.

Here are a few easy-to-grow plants that adapt well to containers, plus a few that I wouldn’t recommend under most circumstances. For other ideas, check your local garden store for new container-friendly varieties. Try chatting up workers and shoppers, if the opportunity presents itself.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Arugula and Strawberry Salad

Closeup of Salad
Arugula, Berries, Cheese, Simple Dressing, That's It!

Recipe by Let’s Cook and Chef Eric Carter

I’ve already blogged two strawberry salads, one with butter lettuce, radicchio, and feta topped with strawberry dressing and another with arugula, spinach, pine nuts and Parmesan. This is the simplest and quickest one yet. Ironically, I learned it at a Succulent Seafood class at Let’s Cook, taught by Eric Carter, culinary program director at Cabrillo College. This was our simple accompaniment to our stewed, seared, baked, and grilled fish and shellfish. Yes, we made four entrees, including bouillabaisse, in less than 3 hours. So Eric and Let’s Cook owner Patricia decided upon a quick salad with just a few ingredients to pair with the seafood. This recipe can be handy for your own cooking-intensive menus, especially during spring and summer when strawberries and fresh arugula abound. And it's delicious. My husband, who formerly said "No more arugula in salads!" had two helpings. The recipe can be doubled, as we did, for larger groups.