Saturday, April 9, 2011

Game On!

Several weeks ago I planted seeds and set them under a grow light in the kitchen. It's been fun to see how quickly the seeds have sprouted and grown.  This is the first time I've started seeds inside and will continue to do starts throughout the next several weeks.  This year I planted seeds from Johnny's Select Seeds, Seeds of Change and the Territorial Seed Company. Seeds I sowed in March are:

Pac Choi - Mei Qing
Onion - Cortland F1
Leek - Scotland
Beet - Red Ace F1
Swiss Chard - Rhubarb and Bright Lights
Asian Green - Green Lance F1
Broccoli - Belstar F1
Kale - Winterbor
Brussels Sprouts - Long Island
Sugar Snap Pea

Today I got to plant some of these seedlings in one of my garden boxes. 

If it doesn't rain tomorrow, I'll be sowing seeds in my garden box with the hoophouse.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Asparagus With Mushroom-Cream Sauce

Asparagus is one of my favorite spring time vegetables and this month it has started arriving in the stores. Yea! I found this asparagus with mushroom-cream sauce recipe in the cookbook Simple to Spectacular, by Jean-Georges Vongerichten & Mark Bittman. This book is about starting with a simple recipe and then expanding the basics into more elaborate creations. As an evolving cook, I have found this recipes in this book easy to follow and feel more confident with my everyday cooking. I do love exploring recipes in the book!

Start with these ingredients and in a matter of 15 minutes you get this! I served this delicious dish with a roasted chicken and a glass of wine. This was definitely a comfort meal for me and fitting as we are still being snowed upon in Seattle.

Asparagus With Mushroom-Cream Sauce
From Simple to Spectacular by Jeans-Georges Vongerichten & Mark Bittman

20 asparagus spears (about 1-1.5 lbs)
1 Tbls butter
1 Tbls olive oil
1 lb shiitake mushrooms chopped
2 shallots peeled and minced
1 C heavy cream
2 Tbls dry (fino) sherry
Chives for garnishing

Cream Sauce:

Heat a skillet to medium-high then add the butter and oil. When the butter is melted add the mushrooms, shallots and salt and pepper to taste. Cook the mushrooms until they have sweated out their liquid and it begins to evaporate. Add the cream and boil gently, stirring until it becomes thick.

For the asparagus:

Bring a pot of salted water (salty like the sea) to boil. Blanch the asparagus until almost done. Drain and keep warm. Spoon the mushroom mixture over the asparagus and sprinkle with chives.

I hope all of you enjoy this very tasty spring time dish!

This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Ok, how does this happen....Ouch!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Fruit Trees

The sun came out for a moment and I took the opportunity to run outside and do a little tree maintenance. My fruit trees are semi dwarf and I'm pruning them in shapes that fit the natural growth of the branches. It is really an art to make the trees have a beautiful shape.

The ladder climbing cat needs to help.

I've trimmed off all the dead and broken branches, then any pieces that were crossing or growing straight up. Now with some sun and a little luck there will be bucket loads of fruit!