Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
The radishes are in full party mode, spicy, crisp--bite into one and know the taste of a Spring fiesta. Pásame el guacamole, por favor! An army of squash--winter, summer, yellow, acorn, butternut, pumpkin and the venerable foot soldier, zucchini, are vigorously conquering their northwestern patch of the garden, intent on the invasion of the entire yard. The peppers, egg plant and melons are petulant, peevishly waiting for summer, for the fog to dissipate and the heat to coax them into sweetness.
Dozens of seedlings are growing restive and rangy in starter beds, waiting for us to tuck them into the beds. The borders of the yard have been amended, too. A phalanx of vines growing on the fences have been put at bay, at least momentarily. Time to get to work, to scratch a few more furrows, to sow a few more seeds, appease the seedlings, water, weed...plant some more.
A garden party is in the planning stages. We beta-tested last Sunday with sons and girlfriends, celebrating Luke's MFA and Mark's MRED acceptance. The sun was warm, the kids lounged under the persimmon's shade, we picked herbs and limes to dress the meal with, tossed garden greens into a salad, munched radishes and peas, and savored chocolate love cakes with rasberries and ice cream. Life is good.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
I get the same thing every time because I can't imagine my dining experience without them. I have been more adventerous in the past and recommend many things on the vast menu, of late, I find my order to remain consistant mignon enchiladas
Saturday, March 20, 2010
I love that food can transport you to far-a-way places like another country or your grandmother's kitchen. I often recall a "food event" or menu that was so over-top good in such detail to friends, family and co-workers that
I'm sure their polite nods and smiles signal their boredom with my alacrity. Only another foodie gets it and when we meet up, can we both enjoy such simple pleasures as a spoonful of mouthwatering and fragrant Passionfruit.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
I'm percolating. That's the best I can do while stewing with the flu. Of course, what I'm percolating in my body wouldn't look pretty on a petri dish. Perhaps my mental percolations might be prettier. Let's see...the view from my bed is gorgeous. The grass is a brilliant green, matched only by the slopes rolling beneath the blue, blue (did I say, 'blue'?) sky behind it. I'm imaging the grass in roto-tilled glory before the end of next week, the soil amended and the rows hoed into soft, compliant geometric beds, just waiting for the seedlings that are now busting out of their containers on the back patio. (Someone needs to send in a posse with hoes and a good bag of horse manure to stop them!) I'm imaging the blowzy heads of roses, perfuming the air, pink, crimson and white petals confetti-ing the yard (can you tell I'm a Kurosawa fan?), butterflies, bees and hummingbirds busily doing whatever it is butterflies, bees and hummingbirds do best. I'm imagining a jewel box of purple and crimson berries on vines and trellises. I'm not imagining vegetables, though, because...well, there's the flu and...lettuce, turnips and beets...oh, my! Today, I'm going to find a source for hay, horse manure and help. Even though what I really need is straw and relief from this flu, you gotta love how those alliteratives work in the garden, too.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Magic! True, less legerdemain (we crudely dumped dirt and sifted seeds) than bio-wonder of sunlight, rain, and earth, but still...magic! How easy it is to take sunlight, water and dirt for granted, that is until you need a harmonious marriage to produce the edible fourth bio-wonder that is food, in this case, Mesclun! It had been three days since we put the seeds into ground when these little ladies began peering from their cozy beds. I first noticed a sprinkle of green knots on Monday afternoon, but was too busy cooking for company (a warm and savory squash and red rice salad) to give them my full attention. Yesterday shreds of dark clouds teased but didn't deliver rain, so I recruited the watering can and gave the girls a bath (Yet more magic--the magic of the tap!). Today, the shoots have multiplied and all three pots are promising salad days ahead. The radish seeds and two hardy green bean seeds are also working their way to the salad bowl. I feel somewhat rapacious talking about mini-miracles as dinner...I'll have to rely on forgiveness through a heartfelt and thankful grace. Please pass the salad dressing!
On a sober note, because the Catholic in me has to balance the pagan, we will have to address "the magic of the tap" in future posts. There is only so much hubris a belly can host without getting completely bloated. For today, I'll thank the water gods and the city of Ventura's Environmental and Water Resources agency and the city's water sources. According to information on the city's public works page
there are five water sources that provide water to the City water system:
1. Ventura River surface and subsurface water intakes and four shallow wells (Foster Park)
2. Casitas Municipal Water District (Casitas)
3. Mound Groundwater Basin
4. Oxnard Plain Groundwater Basin (Fox Canyon Aquifer)
5. Santa Paula Groundwater Basin
6. Saticoy Yard Well
Perhaps Belly First could go on a pilgrimage to pay homage to the source!
Saturday, February 27, 2010
I prepared dinner in a rush last night having spent most of the day in the garden with Mary. Larry was engrossed in fixing a computer virus and I didn't want to change out of my cozy sweats to go out to eat. So, I rummaged some shrimp out of the freezer and foraged through the vegetable bins. I tossed together the following shrimp stir fry in a little over thirty minutes. It was tasty and beautiful--purple cabbage, red pepper, green beans, orange carrots and shrimp on a bed of rice. Lovely (and a piece of visual art). http://www.bellyfirst.com/p/recipes.html
Friday, February 26, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
We're starting a garden! We've figured it's all about the garden when it comes to Belly First. Mary bought a starter flat today, to fill with the seedling soil that has been sitting in bags in my front yard for the past few months. What's first, to dig or plant? We've decided to plant, just because it is irresistible to get those seedlings started! We want to see the little green sprouts waving at us from their rich little soil beds. We have a hodge-podge of seeds--lettuce, basil, beets, carrots, cucumbers, green beans--some of our favorite veggies to toss into a salad or grill in the oven or over a few hot coals--but we've also included a few others that are experimental, at least for us. We are curious to know what brussel sprouts look like on a plant or how artichokes look when a few are left to flower. Tuesday night is planting night. We'll get the seeds into their respective cubicles to begin germination. Then Friday we'll spend time planning the design of our garden. Mary has a Victory Garden bug which I'm sure she'll pass on to me, though I'm not yet exactly certain what that means. Lots of bending over and getting dirt under my nails, I'm sure. Dirt! It's going to smell and feel so good under our hands.
One of the many goals we have is to satisfy our curiosity about sustainable gardening: how is it done, how can we do it inexpensively, using local resources and beneficial plants and insects? Of course we'll compost but how do we do that without using plastic bins or purchasing goods that have to be shipped from miles away? We're excited because we've just begun to discover a rich community of gardeners in Ventura and know that this region has a deep history devoted to farming. Another goal that we have is to make this blog a place where others can learn from our gardening experiment. We hope you learn from our efforts and from our mistakes...hopefully, there won't be too many of those. Along with growing our food, we'll be preparing it and posting recipes.