Archive for November, 2008

To Beet or Not to Beet

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

When I chanced to read about our new ‘foodie-in-chief’, President-elect Obama’s dislike of beets in the New York Times Diner’s Journal, I couldn’t help thinking what my Dad always said: “beets taste like mud.”

I like the earthy tasting beets – especially dug fresh from our garden – whether steamed, roasted, pickled or juiced raw with apple juice and ‘double’ ginger from the Reading Terminal Market. (This is one of my favorite energy boosters when working our CobraHead booth at the Philadelphia Flower Show .) And I love a good beet salad topped with blue cheese and toasted walnuts. But as with anything they’re not for everyone.

I would like to share my recipe for a simple garlic mustard vinaigrette. When the sliced cooked beets are lightly marinated in this the flavor is so enhanced it elevates them to star status. Just ask my daughter.

1 fresh clove garlic, pressed and mixed with ¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. Dijon or brown seeded mustard
1 Tbl. Seasoned rice vinegar
1 Tbl. Extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Using a small fork (or tiny wire whisk) stir the mustard into the garlic/salt mixture. Mix in the vinegar and beat in the olive oil. Add the pepper to taste. Fold gently into about 2 cups sliced cooked beets.

Mike's Gravatar this is an interesting recipe, one that i will def try in the future. thanks.
# Posted By Mike | 12/16/08 6:00 AM

Going Green from Coast to Coast

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

The past two weeks have been quite hectic for me and Geoff. We exhibited at Green Festivals two weekends in a row, and they were on opposite coasts. It’s a tiring schedule, to be sure, but we like being busy like that. The Green Festivals are always interesting and a lot of fun. At each festival we end up making new friends, and we often see a lot of old friends, too.

Two weeks ago the Green Festival was in Washington DC. A number of folks from the gardening world were on hand to promote better gardening practices. Some very nice folks from Purple Mountain Organics were there selling books and gear to help with organic growing, Kathy Jentz had a booth with Washington Gardener Magazine, Susan Harris from Garden Rant stopped by (see her picture of Geoff at the booth here ), as did Viveka Neveln from The American Gardener Magazine. My friend Martha Stauss of Green and Sticky, Inc. also came to the festival with her son Forrest, and our friend Joe Lamp’l gave a talk on greener gardening practices. He was kind enough to give us each a “Growing a Greener World” wristband. I was happy to wear it for the rest of the festival, but I have to admit that I’m not much of wristband wearer. The wristband is now serving a far more useful and visible purpose as a travel mug grip band. It makes my stainless steel tea mug easier to grab, and it helps to keep the slippery container from sliding out of my backpack water bottle pouch. Joe seemed to like the idea, and he even posted a picture that I sent him on his blog. Maybe I’ve started a trend!

We were only home two days before we left again for the San Francisco Green Festival. There weren’t as many gardening exhibits this time (with the exception of our friends at Rain Reserve), but there were still a lot of people interested in gardening and food growing. We were very fortunate to meet some really wonderful folks. Across the aisle from us was Anne Thibeau from The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Co.. They make no VOC paints using old fashioned methods. Next door was our new very cool friend Jenny. Jenny makes aromatherapy sprays for stress, relaxation and revitalization. I was also lucky enough to be visited by my friend Brad, who I know from back in my drum and bugle corps days. Brad and his girlfriend Jennifer are expecting their first child, and they were glad to learn about the dangers of Bisphenol-A and other potentially toxic compounds in baby bottles and other baby items. They were able to pick up a few safe baby items from a company called ZoLi while visiting the Green Festival.

Geoff and I are now decompressing back in our respective home states. Traveling can be fun, but it’s always nice to come home. Starting in early 2009, we’ll be back on the road again for garden show season. Watch for us at a garden show near you!

Joe Lamp'l's Gravatar You DID start a trend with the all new “bottle band”! Interest is spreading. I should have thought of that a long time ago. Thanks for the suggestion. Hope you guys get some down time for the holidays! Cheers,
Joe Lamp’l
# Posted By Joe Lamp’l | 11/20/08 6:20 AM
Anneliese's Gravatar You’re welcome, Joe! And thanks again for the “bottle band”! My mug looks much cooler now. It’s also easier to spot and distinctively mine.

I hope we get some down time, too!

# Posted By Anneliese | 11/20/08 10:29 AM

There Are Leaks and There Are Leeks!

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

Well we harvested our leeks. I couldn’t face the thought of mulching them heavily, covering them up and hoping they wouldn’t be so frozen into the ground that I couldn’t dig them out when I felt the need for a batch of leek and potato soup!

The leek section was about 3 feet by 4 feet on the end of the same raised bed on which we grew our onions.

I’d been harvesting a few here and there for the last couple of months taking only the biggest ones. The ones I wanted were not always on the edge of the patch so I used my trusty CobraHead to assist me as I picked and chose. Harvesting is just like weeding in this case except the plants go to the kitchen not the compost pile!

As you can see from the picture the root system is extremely bushy (unlike onions which pop out of the ground quite easily) so one leek’s roots can be intertwined with its neighbor. When that happens I’ll just push the ‘neighboring leek’ back into the ground if it looks like it has a good chance to survive. Otherwise it gets harvested too.

Harvesting the whole patch at once was a little different. We used our digging fork to loosen up clumps of leeks then used the CobraHead to separate them and beat the excess soil from the roots as much as possible.

A little prep time now washing and freezing my sliced leeks will save my sous chef (me) some kitchen time in the winter!