Thursday, August 27, 2009

Finally, a Harvest and a Mystery

We're finally harvesting a decent amount of tomatoes. And some eggplant. (That's for me, Kim's not a lover of eggplant.)

But does anyone recognize this mystery plant? I thought I had bought a couple of cantaloupes. Now I'm not so sure.

It's about 8 inches long.

Some sort of squash?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fun With Food

I love my new job in the Boise Co-op Bakery. It's fun. It's interesting. I learn stuff.

Like how to make profiteroles. Never heard of profiteroles? I hadn't heard the term either. They're cream puffs.

Just look at the beauties I made this week.

This was my second attempt. The first time I tried to make them they flopped. Horribly. But, with Lucy's help (my bakery co-worker and mentor), the next day I corrected my mistakes and these were the result.

Just look at the finished product. Aren't they gorgeous?

(I also made the pastry cream.)

They taste just as good as they look.

We make all sorts of delicious sugary delights in the bakery including cookies; Lemon Cake, Orange Ginger, Glazed Pumpkin, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Macaroons, Vanilla Macaroons, Glazed Ginger, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Apricot Cornmeal Sage, Cherry Chocolate Chip, Pecan Chocolate, Glazed Pear, Cranberry Walnut, Everything, Pecan Sandies, Oatmeal Scotchies, Raisin Oatmeal, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip and Monster.

Also very popular are our bars; Lemon, Toffee, Raspberry Fudge, Grasshopper, Caramel Cashew, Raspberry Cheesecake, Blueberry Streusel, Brownie Shortbread, Lazy, Key Lime, Macadamia Nut, Kahlua, Cheesecake, Peanut Butter Chocolate, and Edinburgh.

The cakes we make include Black Out (you can imagine just how chocolaty this cake is), Carrot Cake (one of the best I've eaten), Flourless Chocolate Torte (it's like smooth fudge in your mouth), German Chocolate and Ghirardelli Chocolate. (pictured below)

Lucy and I are responsible for a variety of items including cream puffs, pies, quiches, trifles, muffins, scones, etc. The holidays will be a blur of pie crusts and fillings.

This is how I spend my working hours; fulfilling the sweet tooth needs of the co-op customers.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Watermelon Wars

My days off start with our "coffee klatch."
The chicks and I and sometimes Kim belong to this group.

The chicks watch as I drink my coffee and read the paper.

I enjoy letting them out of their coop early on my days off, and they enjoy it also. They come flying out like there's no tomorrow, running/flying into the garden.
Then they settle onto the back porch with me for our coffee time.

They've really been enjoying their watermelon lately.

They had some company the other day.

Evidently they're good at sharing. At least for now.

Chelsea wasn't feeling so generous. She chased the intruder away.

Chelsea decided she wanted some of that delicious fruit too.

Tootsie said, "It's only for us chickens and the occasional squirrel! Now get out of here before I peck your nose again!"

So it goes at our house.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

August is All Green

At least it seems to be in our garden. We don't have many flowers blooming now.

Waiting for the Japanese Anemones to bring some color.

Same goes with the goldenrod 'Fireworks'.

Neither hibiscus plant has bloomed yet, although August is definitely their month.

This is as much bloom as the hops vines ever have. We'll have to whack them off unless we want volunteers everywhere. (we don't)

The many morning glories look nice. But only in the morning.

Still waiting on the Moonvines to bloom.

Datura foliage between bloom time.

This annual Salvia leucantha won't be blooming anytime soon.

Asters in waiting. Notice all the bug bites.

Trying to hold the mums back.

I've always loved this salvia officinalis 'Icterina'. We use it as an edging plant.

Will we be eating fresh corn from our garden this summer? Maybe. We do have some ears growing.

In the front containers the castor beans and elephant ears are looking good. And amaranthus 'Joseph Coat' shows a bit of color in its leaves. The reliable petunias are still blooming their little heads off.

To be perfectly honest we do have a few things blooming now; echinacea, coreopsis, perovskia, sunflowers and a few rudbeckias.

But it's all few and far between and the garden looks dry, bug bitten and tired.
I'm hoping next month for redemption from the mums, asters and anemones.

What is still looking good in your garden?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Chicks New Digs

The chicks actually moved into their new home about a month ago.

Kim worked hard and well on the coop and I think it shows.
We debated for a while about where to build it. We knew we could have a cute little coop incorporated into the garden if we chose. We decided to be practical about it and build it near the compost pile for easy access for cleaning. We'll keep the bedding in the coldframe which is also nearby. Which meant the coop would be built onto the back of the garage.

He started with this.

And finally, all finished.

Side view - with the door into the nesting boxes.

And the chicks put themselves to bed every night now.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Vive la France!

Recently my cousin François sent me this great French cookbook; Secrets gourmands de Provence. All the way from Toulouse, France.

It's one gorgeous book chock full of information about France with great photographs and of course, great recipes.

Lucky for me the book is written in French with the English translation.

Vanessa and Chris were due to come over for dinner so I decided to attempt two of the recipes, which quickly turned into "French night" at our house.

For "French night" you have to set the mood.
I would have liked to set it with something along these lines.....(photos from the book.)

But, *sigh*............... that's not happening. So, I had to make do with what we have:

I did play French music for the evening which helped transport us just a bit.

I chose two recipes from the cookbook; Rosace de melon and Pomme d'amour.
(click to enlarge)

Their Rosace de melon.


I was happy with mine although they don't look quite like the photo. But they were very pretty and tasted great.

The Pomme d'amour I made tasted great but didn't look anything like their gorgeous photo.

I also made Coq au vin, using free range, organic chicken breasts.

And on the side, fresh French Country Bread from Cafe de Paris.

Also a "mood setter"; a good French wine from the Provence area.

Pommes Anna was super easy to make. Everyone loved it.

And for dessert; Genoise cake. Yummy! (Délicieux!)

And, as in France, we followed our meal with a cup of espresso.

Vanessa wanted a Tarot reading after dinner so I brought out the Housewive's Tarot deck which I recently won from Mrs. B. at Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom.

Of course I used the "Dinette" layout which "is inspired by a dinner place setting. The heart of the matter is served on a plate, which is formed by your past, present, and future. Your course of action and outcome are represented by the silverware. This reading is best for specific or important questions or issues, and should be performed at the dining table or breakfast counter."


Great reading. Vanessa really enjoyed the new cards. Her outcome card was the Six of Swords - "......with a spark of insight, it looks like you can finally put your troubles behind you. This is a transitory period in your life; you will be moving out of the darkness and into the sunshine. It's time to release all the pent-up anxiety and aggression and make way for happier times." Nice!

And as if the evening wasn't nice enough already, Tootsie put it over the top by venturing into the kitchen - again! Vanessa scooped her right up, and Tootsie received her share of loving.

What could be more authentically French than pet chickens in the house?

Merci beaucoup pour le livre, François!