Friday, February 27, 2009

Backyard Beekeepers-in OC weekly!

the awesome ladies that are the Backyard Beekeepers got the cover of the OC Weekly this week-congrats ladies!!!
the BB ladies are a group of local women who rescue bees and transplant them into local backyard gardens. we actually sell their yummy honey and honey products in the store...they're super-popular.
(i love this pix of the body bar)(this is a fence hive, looks cool!)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

master food preserver-week 1

about 3 weeks ago we had a workshop here at the store on truffle making. one of the guests was a gentleman named Ernest, and we struck up a conversation on food. he mentioned that he was going into the Master Food Preserver Program-have you ever heard of this?
kind of like the Master Gardener Program, a Master Food Preserver (MFP)
"is a person who is educated in food preservation and is certified by a university agricultural extension. This person is qualified to not just use his or her knowledge to preserve food, but also to disseminate that knowledge to others, via lectures, talks, and one-on-one instruction."
ummm yeah! i have been wanting to do this forever! learn how to make my own jams and pickles! sign me up!
well, i guess the class is held in San Bernadino (which PS is the closest unless you live in Davis or Sacramento), so it was very fortunate that i met Ernest b/c we are carpool buddies and had our first class this past monday. i will be blogging about the class for the next 12 weeks along with what happens after.
we left early in anticipation of the traffic, thank you for the carpool lane-it totally trimmed out travel by 1 hour- mental note: NEVER go inland without someone so you can be in the carpool lane!
so obviously we got in a little earlier than expected, and we had no idea about the culinary delights of downtown San Berns. so we decided to head over to the one thing that we did know: In'n'Out. i am a vegetarian so i usually order a grilled cheese-"animal style" (which you must get if you have never had it) and Ernest orders something i had never heard of in all my years partaking in the In'n'Out experience: fries-"animal style"

are you checking this out!! and yes it was good :)
our first class-at the USDA Weights and Measurements Building, was a quick introduction to the program and a quick run-down of the what we should not be doing-making people sick. it was the wonderful world of fungus, botulism, e.coli,....basically no fun- i wanna can some green beans, pickle some peppers, make some marmalade people!
i guess we have to get the important stuff over with first-next week- JAM!

cast-iron cleanup

cast iron is one of the best things to use in cooking. not only does it last a long time, it provides small amounts of iron to food (great for women). and don't believe the hype-with proper seasoning cast iron is NON-STICK. if you are having a problem, you didn't season it right (or at all).
but probably the best thing about cast-iron is that you can find it cheap in thrift stores-like what happened to me recently during a recent visit to the Salvation Army. for $2, i picked up this adorable little cast-iron pot which is perfect for making sage butter for my squash gnocchi (will discuss later).

now as you can see the only problem is that this little pot has seen better days-it is dirty and covered with rust. what to do? it is actually very easy:
1. take either sandpaper or steel wool and scrub the crap out of it, make sure you scrub the rusty parts especially well.
2. rinse the pot and check for rust, scrub again.
3. give a good soap + warm water wash
4. cover the ENTIRE pot (inside and out) with a good layer of shortening, applying it with a paper towel-like to use a veggie-based/organic one. i have found that shortening is the BEST way to season cast iron (other people say an inch of oil in the pan-don't listen to them).
5. put the pot in a baking dish-or better yet, another cast iron piece (re-seasoning the other item!) and put in a 300 degree oven for 1 hour.
6. turn off the oven, leave the items in there until cool, wipe away excess oil.
check it out!!
washing cast iron: warm water (DO NOT SOAK) and a thorough dry. i usually just wipe it clean with a clean cloth and hang it up. i am seriously thinking about rehabbing old/vintafe pots and selling them!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

affordable art-Jen Skelly

i am always on the search for art-but not just any art-affordable art.
not that i do not mind paying for creativity, it is just that i cannot afford it! the only thing i can do is search for something in my price-range until i win a million bucks.
i love these prints from Jen Skelly, an artist based out of MA and has these adorable prints that range from $15-40, not bad!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

great depression cooking-awesome

check out a set of these awesome clips from great depression cooking that i found today. Clara, is 91 and she is totally working it in the kitchen. If anyone tries these recipes PLEASE let me know. you might start seeing my results as well.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

quick and easy dressing

we have it completely wrong when it comes to dressing- we smother everything in this chunky sauce (which is not completely bad, i do partake in the heavy sauce every now and then). but what we do not realize is that we are not able to appreciate the things that are actually in the salad. this is especially important when eating farm-fresh produce. here is the most basic dressing recipe that you can make that has been very popular here at home:

delilah's easy-peasy dressing:
(i do everything by eye, but for starters try this, after start adjusting and experimenting until you find something you like)

old tomato jar with lid
1 inch good olive oil
1 inch fresh lime or orange juice
1 inch apple cider juice
scoop of dry mustard
pepper and salt-preferable the spicy salt
if you have any onions or shallots, diced them up (about 1-2 tbs worth) too

-put all the ingredients into the tomato jar and shake well. this keeps for about a week, the shallots/onions get nice and pickily!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

easy spicy salt

for several months we have been getting these dry little peppers in our CSA basket and i have had no idea what to do with them. on a recent cooking trip to Donna's house from Morning Song, we found out what to do with them-make a super cook seasoned salt! it's easy and you do not have to have Donna's peppers to make it:
-take any variety of dried peppers, about 1 cup (not packed), just make sure they are dried.
-if they need some drying, the next time you make something in the oven, after you take everything out and turn off the oven and let the peppers sit in there on a baking sheet until the oven is cool.-put the peppers in a food processor and pulse for a while, couple minutes, DO NOT try to look down into the thing while blending over an opening to the blender-that's how you end up in a lot of pain. also, be careful when dealing with the powder after-it makes me cough.
-grab an old jar and fill 1/2 with sea salt. add a few tablespoons of the pepper mix, shake and try out, adjust depending on how spicy you like things.
i use this on EVERYTHING: dressings, on steamed veggies, dips...basically on anything that calls for salt. make enough of it and it makes a unique & quick gift.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

update on the butterfly garden

last year we planted a native butterfly garden with the assistance and planning of Back to Natives Restoration- a great local non-prof that promotes, plants and educates the public on native Southern CA plants. i was just out in the lot, sampling the culinary delights of our new taco truck when i realized that the garden has really come along nicely.
(the garden, right after we planted it-summer 08)
(the garden-feb 2009!)

it smells so good and we are now starting to get little insects and butterflies, it is really nicec sitting out there and having an iced tea (even if we are sitting in the parking lot). one of the things Reggie from BTN planted was 3 different varieties of local sage, for burning and cooking. now what i need to figure out is how to actually cook with them...more to come...

plants in our butterfly garden just in case you want to make your own-oh yeah there are also teaching a workshop here on March 15th:
black sage
white sage
purple sage
blue-eyed grass

(this is what it looked like before-ugly right?)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

today on etsy-fisherman's girl

everyday i go on Etsy, at least once to check out cute items or to get ideas or look for possible vendors for the store.
today i found Fisherman's Daughter, organic clothing from Cape Cod
arent these just the cutest thermal legwarmers?!?
PS i love the name of the line!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

afternoon at Donna's garden

ever since we started doing the CSA program here at the store i have been wanting to go to Morning Song Farm to visit Donna and see where all of this food comes from. well this pat Sunday, Donna had a "farm work" day and i decided to go out there and sweat it for a bit.
Morning Song Farm is near Temecula in Rainbow County-i had never heard of it until i met Donna.
i was pretty surprised that Morning Song was a little hilly. Donna's house sits on the tops of a hill and it is there that her 4 llamas look out to the orchard and gardens. it's a pretty good workout to walk to the garden and back up to the house.
(the llamas were adorable!)
i honestly thought that we were going to be the only people there-hey Rainbow if far and people are busy. but my faith in the Island (LOST reference) was restored when i saw a good 10 people pulling weeds in one of the smaller gardens. we got to work, pulling weeds and them putting hay between the rows to help with the weeds-Morning song is CCOF organic-no pesticides.
(work-work, heave-ho!)
i have to say, this was such a great workout, and we got a lot done in the few hours that we were there. the best part was that i ate these amazing oranges on our way back to the car! we are hoping that Donna will make this into a monthly thing, if so i will report, i had a blast.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

today on etsy-lacuna work

every week etsy highlights an artist and does a small interview on their creative process, other artists they like, how they started etc...point is, they choose some absolutely wonderful artists to highlight.
this week was Lacuna Work, an artist from Portugal (yeah i know!) who does these amazing books from damaged furniture/recycled wood.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

the finished product-our home!

after a hectic 2 months of holidays and moving, we are finally finished with our new, tiny home! now we can have people over! check it out!
(before living room)(after living room)(kitchen)
(before bedroom)(after bedroom)
i will be talking about what we did and tips in the weeks to come!