Monday, May 18, 2009

What's on the Menu

My menu is abbreviated this week, because we're going out of town starting Thursday afternoon through Monday. Part of the time we'll be staying with my parents and cooking there, but we'll also be attending our first Unschooling Conference, Life is Good - we're so excited! So we'll be staying at the hotel two of those nights for the fully steeped con experience.

Monday: Tofu Pineapple Curry over Brown Basmati Rice (recipe from Vegan Express - new!)

: Gimme Chimis (out of Eat, Drink and Be Vegan - one of our faves!) and Mashed Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

: African Peanut Soup (from Local Bounty - new specific recipe, though we've had versions of this soup before)

Thursday: Leftover smorgasboard

What I've Been Up To...

I just took that bad boy out of the oven a few minutes ago. Yay, bread! It's half whole wheat and half (local!) white. I made some last week and it was really, really good and probably cost me less than $2 to make.

Farmer's Market, Revisited
This weekend we made it to the local farmer's market, and boy howdy has it picked up since the last time I was there! I was there probably a month or maybe a month and a half ago (it's year-round) but man, was I disappointed. There were so few veggies and they were SO expensive! And tiny. I can't even remember what I bought, but I walked away quite a bit poorer and much more down-trodden than when I arrived. Not so yesterday! Yesterday it was positively bustling with fresh food fervor - people lined up for local organic plant starts, veggies were piled high and inspiring, there was a band playing...and it didn't hurt that it was a gorgeous, sunny day! So I stuck to my meal plan and only bought a few food items, namely, some fresh asparagus, some spring carrots, an awesome mix of salad greens, including baby spinach and pea shoots (!!!), and some spring onions and garlic.

For lunch, I made Asparagus Leek Curry out of Local Bounty.
It was crazy good! I made a few substitutions: instead of leeks I used some of the spring onions and garlic, and I didn't want to open a can of coconut milk (it only called for 1 cup) so I used one of the plain coconut milk yogurts that have been haunting my fridge for a while now. The results were really, really good! I would probably use regular coconut milk next time (the yogurt has a sweetness to it, despite being labeled "plain). The spice combo of this recipe is off the hook - turmeric, cumin, cardamom, cayenne - really really amazing. We ate this over white Jasmine rice. And I was super proud of myself for using some previously frozen homecooked chickpeas instead of opening a new can. Bonus!

Leftover Transformation Shenanigans
I didn't get a picture of this meal, but I gotta say I *LOVE* transforming leftovers (that nobody wants) into new meals that we all do a little dance for! Last night for dinner I was poking around the fridge trying to figure out what we would eat then and what we would be eating for lunch today. The leftover Rustic Black-Eyed Peas and Mushrooms were glaring at me - I knew it was time to eat them or freeze them, and I honestly didn't think that I liked them enough to freeze them. So, to the cookbooks I went. I dug out Passionate Vegetarian and found a recipe for Hillbilly Hummus - and it saved the day!!! I threw my beans, some peanut butter, some of the spring garlic, salt, apple cider vinegar and some sage in the food processor, and voila! Totally new meal. We had the hummus in whole wheat pita pockets with some Chow Chow (also been haunting my fridge forever) and some of the fresh salad mix. What hummus was left over was devoured with the aid of tortilla chips. And my fridge is haunted no more!

Crazy Container and Topsoil-Bag Garden
On our farmer's market extravaganza we also purchased a bunch of plant starts (6 alpine strawberry, 3 (or 9?!?) broccoli starts, and 6 basil). Yay! We planted the strawberries and broccoli in bags of topsoil.

After we transplanted the broccoli, we started to wonder if there were more than one plant in each's a close-up, can anyone weigh in? We think there might have actually been 3 starts in each be continued.

We also had three tomato starts that we planted and I transplanted my perennial herbs (rosemary, oregano, chives) to bigger pots. (The thyme looks bad, but I think it's going to rally!)

Some of the basil went in the tomato containers, others are on their own in other containers.

We even planted some lettuce seed in two bags of topsoil. Oh, and some nasturtium seeds in a weird container left by the former tenants (trellis included!). So we're on our way with our goofy garden. Next up: peas! We just need more dirtbags. Heh heh.

Super Duper Bonus Points to anyone who can tell me what kind of flowers are growing behind the lettuce bags (the red ones). Peonies? I'll get a close up soon. There are a lot of mystery flowers on this property. Bless the former owner, she had a green thumb and we now we are lucky enough to reap the rewards.


Lisa -- Cravin' Veggies said...

Lucky you inheriting a garden! And great idea with the topsoil bags!!

They sure look like peonies...

Still sort of hard to see the broccoli, but it looks like more than one plant there.

Bethany said...

that's so cool that you got stuff planted. I have to get it in gear and arrange my bricks in a circle so I can plant my herb garden. seattle tilth is having their plant sale on the 30th in issaquah, so I plan on getting some herbs there.

i learned a bunch of stuff from the class I took from them. though i did skip a bunch of them because I was getting tired of classes in general.

i think you're right, it was salt/soy sauce that she said in class.

warbler said...

definitely looks like more than one broc in there. :)

Anonymous said...

Your bread looks delicious. And I"d never heard of gardening in bags like that, but why not? The farmers markets are still sparse here too, but I'm so glad for anything green at this point! Hopefully in the next few weeks it'll pick up.

Tammy James said...

Your bread look divine! Farmers market sounds wonderful. Its hard for me to guess what those pretty flowers are without seeing foliage, they look a bit like very full carnations... I'm just guessing though, I guess you have some flowers over there that we don't here and vice versa.

Chessa said...

Lisa - Thanks! We'll see how productive the bags are, but I'm all for experimentation. Plus, Mother Earth News said I could, so I'm feeling ok about it. :)

Bethany - which class from Tilth did you take? I did the Comprehensive Organic Gardener class last fall and it was great - though a TON of info. I'm having to really scratch my brain deep to remember it all - glad I took notes!

Warbler - Ack! I know, we have to get them separated soon...I wonder if it would be too traumatic to do it now or next week...

LiaLZ - Thanks! I'm digging on the bread, a lot. Someday maybe I'll try kneading by hand again, but the bread machine dough cycle sure is sweet. Particularly for a really cheap garage sale bread machine. :)

Tammy - Thanks! Yeah, I need to take a close-up of the flowers before they die, they're so cool. I do think they're Peonies, but I'm pretty sure we get carnations here later in the season!