Posts Tagged ‘garden

30
Aug
10

Zucchini Zombies

“Lock your door” advises my little old lady and gardener extraordinaire next-door-neighbor.  “Don’t answer the door during zucchini harvest.”  Why not?  Are there Zucchini Zombies that I am unaware of?  Will they be shuffling down the middle of the street, lugging baskets full of the dreaded green phallic vegetable?  Will they be scratching and thudding  their grubby dead hands on our doors and windows trying to force us to eat our vegetables? 

Well, all I’m sayin’ is, if you hear something mucking about on your front porch, you best answer the door.  Yours truly, Vampire Gran, could be standing there with a tray of these: 

 

I have admitted in the past to zucchini being one of my least favorite vegetables and now I am literally eating my words.  Or at best, I am eating the zucchini from our garden.  Oh, I am fixing it in healthy ways for meals, but I just can’t help adding sugar and chocolate to it and baking it into something delectable, like these Chocolate Zucchini Walnut cupcakes. 

Dude, look at these things!  They are so moist and oh, so bitable! 

Lick the frosting. Lick it, I say!

Go to this post, Vampire Gran’s Perfect Chocolate Cake and get the recipe for the cupcake base, then add 2 cups of shredded zucchini and 1 cup of chopped walnuts.  Line your muffin pan with cupcake papers, scoop in the batter about 3/4 full and bake at 350 degrees for 23 minutes.  Toothpick inserted into the center of cake should come out clean when done.  Cool on rack.   They are the perfect foil for cream cheese frosting.  

Now, here’s another “grate” way to use zucchini.  Today I made some savory muffins to enjoy with our Sunday brunch on the deck.  Look at this plate and tell me it doesn’t make you just a little bit hungry. 

Now, that’s a healthy brunch

I whipped up a tofu scramble using fresh tomatoes, peppers and leeks from our garden.  The yellow stuff is polenta with butter and pure maple syrup drizzled over the top, a bit of sweet cantaloupe and a zucchini basil muffin. 

Very similar to a popover, but more sturdy

  

ZUCCHINI BASIL MUFFIN 

2 cups all purpose flour 

3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 

1 teaspoon salt 

2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped 

2 eggs, slightly beaten 

1 cup buttermilk 

3 oz butter, melted 

2 medium zucchini, shredded 

1/4 cup chopped walnuts 

Sift flour, baking soda and salt into large mixing bowl.  Add basil and mix.  Make a well in the center of the bowl.  Combine eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and zucchini in another bowl.  Pour zucchini mixture into the well and mix just until all of the dry is incorporated with the wet ingredients.  Batter will be lumpy. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Either grease a 12 cup muffin pan well, or use paper liner.  Evenly divide your batter among the twelve cups.  Top with chopped walnuts.   Bake for 18-20 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool for about 5 minutes before enjoying. 

Well, I better be shuffling off now.  I’ve got a basket I need to haul down the street.  Oh, what do vegetarian zombies eat?  GRAAAAAINS!

My GranSon - cute, ain't he?

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25
Aug
10

Sometimes life just gets in the way

It’s good to be loved.  It’s good to know that people not only read the words I write in this blog, but actually enjoy and learn from them.  Feeling blessed is only the beginning of the gratitude I have for all of you who come to Vampire Gran’s Kitchen.  Thank you all for your kind comments, especially the funny ones!   

 I’ve been getting a lot of “What’s ups?” from many of you.  Some via email and comments here, and some walking down  aisle  1 at work.  Thank you, Cat, for scolding me ever so nicely!   

So, what is up?  Well, summer time for one thing.  I made a conscious decision to enjoy the hot weather this year.  Anyone who knows me well, knows I am not a big fan of hot weather.  That’s why I moved to Portland, after all, for the most-of-the-year cooler weather.  But this year I have been determined to like the summer heat.  Fortunately, we have only had maybe three days this year that reached 100 degrees.  Thank you, Universe, for your support.  This has been a glorious summer, weatherwise.   

We’ve been spending a lot of time outdoors.  Running the streets of downtown Portland, leisurely walks along the Willamette, enjoying street fairs and just hanging out in our park like back yard.  And, I have been working in the garden – a lot.   

It's gotten crazy big since the last time I posted about it

In fact, I think the last time I wrote about the garden I was harvesting beets.  Those are long gone.  I also harvested shelling peas, lettuce and broccoli.   

Here are some of the lovely peas from the garden

I have a whole new crop rotation happening now.  I planted five hot pepper plants, jalapeno, hot cherry, Serrano, Thai and something our neighbor gave us.   

Hot Cherry pepper - it will turn red when it is ready

Thai chili - will also turn ready when it is good n' hot

Pepper from the neighbor - he says it's mild, not sure what kind it is

I work in a nice grocery store where we are well taken care of.  One of the perks we receive is free food and plants!  I spent some time checking out the back lot every day in search of homeless plants that needed some TLC.  I rescued a scraggly tomatillo plant and it blossomed into this:   

Now, what am I gonna do with all of these tomatillos?

All of my tomato plants were freebies, too.  Three from my neighbor and three from work.   

I can always use tomatoes

There's a nice big 'un

Every garden has to have one - the obligatory zucchini plant

The final garden picture is the butternut squash plant.  I am in awe of how one tiny plant can take over the entire garden, if I let it.  The garden expert neighbor told me I could cut it back and it would still live and produce.  Thank god, cause I thought it was gonna attach itself to everything, including me if I didn’t move fast enough!   

Hard to believe that is one plant

Ok, I lied.  Here are two more shots because these squash are so photogenic.   

Look how pretty that guy is. And there are those grabby tendrils, just poising itself to latch onto anything in its path

Another thing we have been having fun with is dinner and a movie al fresco.  We set up the computer on the patio, haul our dinner out and presto – instant good time.  

Yeah, I look like crap. It's hot, what do you expect?

What’s the pink stuff on our plate?  Beautiful candy stripe beets.  So good.  

Steamed golden and candy stripe beets tossed with orange muscat vinegar, kosher salt and cracked pepper served on a bed of steamed beet greens

So many more things have been going on this summer, but I think this post has gone on long enough.  I will be participating in the Blog Challenge on Foodbuzz so there will definitely be more to share with you as that progresses.  The work on my self published cook book  continues and looks like I am  about a quarter of the way done with that.  So much to look forward to.  So enjoying this journey called life.

20
May
10

Daylight in the Garden of Good and Tasty

I am so glad I planted early this year!

A couple of months ago, March 30th,  to be exact, I wrote a post about planting our garden.  I likened myself to Martha Stewart, sort of, well, in the fact that we both have gardens on our estates.  I sure wish I had a couple of henchmen though, like Martha, who could help with all of the details of said garden.  Oh, I guess they are called gardeners, not henchmen.  Drat!  I really want a henchman.

Anyway, this short post is an update complete with a few photos of how the garden is progressing.  The top shot is of a Golden Beet plant.  We’re pretty stoked about growing our own beets.  I think I’d like to show some before and current views of the raised beds.  Here goes:

Day one - Lettuce

When I first planted the lettuce, some kinda bug thought it was Hometown Buffet or something.  Small bug teeth sized holes started to appear in the leaves almost immediately.  Katie was concerned as was our friend Emily.  I’m the kind of gardener who plants things and just expects them to grow.  I believed that if I was meant to grow lettuce, it would grow.  My inner being never lets me down.  Here is what the lettuce looked like this morning and, mind you, I added nothing to the soil nor did I put anything on the leaves.  100% natural and organic, baby.

Can you believe it?

Here’s a nice close up shot:

Pretty!

So, let’s take a look at the beets progress.  We are really looking forward to not only eating the beet roots, but also the tasty greens.  This is the ultimate no waste vegetable.

Day one - Beets

The plant front and center in this shot is the same Golden Beet whose picture graced the beginning of this report.  Not bad, eh?  Here’s a shot of the whole group.

Growing like, dare I say it, weeds?

The plants in the background are broccoli.  You may be noticing the yellowing outer leaves here.  I’m leaving  those leaves on, even though the pictures would look better if I manicured the plants a bit.  But I’m thinkin’ maybe if the moocher bugs return, they can gnaw on the crappy leaves a bit, get pissed off and move on.  Ours is not the only garden on the block, ya’ know?

Some new additions

If you recall, the chives, on the right, were the only thing that survived the winter.  Since March, I’ve planted parsley and some Orange Thyme, back in the corner.  I still need to buy some basil and I would also like cilantro.

Yeah, I know I need to weed, but it's been raining cats and dogs here in Portland!

These are shelling peas and in the background you can see leeks.  In the past I have only ever grown tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and a few herbs.  This is really fun growing our food.  Speaking of tomatoes, I need to get some planted soon.  I mentioned in my other gardening post that our next door neighbor is a Master Gardener.  She generously shared three tomato plants and a green bell pepper with us.  She has the coolest little greenhouse and always something growing in there.  No, I haven’t noticed any bright lights coming from there at odd hours.   Man, you guys!

Thanks to Miss Snowy, we will have tomatoes

Okay, well that’s my update for now.  Oh, there’s a break in the rain.  I’m outta here.  I have some weeds to pull!




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