Monday, May 26, 2008

Grow your own...

Vegetables, of course. What did you think I meant?

We went a little crazy this year at the Seattle Tilth Plant Sale and brought home what we thought were about 60 plant starts, but discovered yesterday that several start containers actually held 4 starts. More spinach for us! Our usual combination of store-bought planters and recycled kitty litter buckets was no match for all the plants we had, so we built a raised vegetable bed in the backyard. It took a few days, but it's all planted now and I can't wait to eat fresh salads and veggies all summer long. I just hope the squirrels and rabbits don't get them first!

This picture skips ahead a few steps in the process. Before we started, Larry sketched out the design and then we went to Home Depot for the wood. They'll cut it for you there so you can make the bed any size you like. We chose 5 x 5 - in hindsight we could have gone larger but that would have required even more soil, and this is a good manageable size.

We needed at least 25 cubic feet of soil and wound up with 27: 18 feet of organic top soil, 6 feet of organic compost, and 3 feet of organic steer-gro manure. We layered it in - 3 bags of soil, one bag of compost, one bag of manure. (Yes, the flies did hang around for a while.)

After we put in each set of layers, we raked it to mix. We also put in some fish bone fertilizer after the first round, just to make the soil extra rich.

Once the soil is in and mixed, you're ready to plant! We started with lettuces, since we have a ton. Here you can see we've planted arugula, buttercrunch, merlot, romaine, radicchio, and summer spinach.

Here's the finished bed. On the other half we planted bok choy, napa cabbage, broccoli and brussels sprouts.

Here's the rest of the garden - like those classy kitty litter buckets? Hey, this is Seattle and we like to recycle. Just drill yourself 7 or so holes in the bottom, rinse it thoroughly and you have a great container for tomatoes, peppers or chard (which is what you see below). There are also some kale, onions and endive that we started from seed in the winter - they're just now starting to thrive.

And the back porch. In the back, broccoli and brussels sprouts started from seed - they take forever to mature, it seems. Then we have sorrel (the tall leafy one), kale, and more peppers, and strawberries on the left.

With all those flowers blooming, maybe we'll actually get to eat some strawberries this summer!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Inspiration in ice cream

Just got home from Molly Moon's, the new ice cream shop in Wallingford where we went for a celebratory scoop after the show. I'm quite sure that Molly Moon's is destined to be my new favorite indulgence. With flavors like Scout Mint (with crushed Thin Mint cookies), Balsamic Strawberry, Honey Lavender and Cardamom, there's bound to be a flavor for every palate, and every day of the week. They also have homemade waffle cones - ours were so fresh and warm that they melted the bottom scoop of ice cream. And did I mention that the ingredients are organic and locally sourced? So many things to love already, but let's get to the point and talk about how it tasted...

I'll just say that we stopped talking entirely because our mouths were constantly full.

Here's what we had:
Balsamic Strawberry - just the right amount of acid to balance out the cream, and little bits of strawberry throughout
Salted Caramel - perfection, although it tasted a little too salty coming right after the strawberry (but was awesome a few bites later), so maybe best to order it alone or with a more natural pairing like Chocolate or Vivace Coffee
Vivace Coffee - I'm not a huge fan of coffee ice cream, but this could win me over; Larry loved it

We went again 2 days later (I can see this becoming a problem - it's almost too conveniently located) and would have gone again this afternoon but the line was out the door. Will try again tonight, but in the meantime...

CARDAMOM!!!!! I think it may be my new all-time favorite ice cream flavor. Refreshing and completely satisfying in an almost savory manner. Sooooooooo good, you have to try it!
Chocolate - pure chocolate goodness without being too rich
Raspberry Sorbet - like eating mashed up frozen raspberries, seriously delicious. Not sure if it's a seasonal offering, but I could picture eating this in the middle of winter for a taste of summer.

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