May 21, 2010

Barefoot Bloggers - Spring Green Risotto

The Barefoot Bloggers have some kind of nerve. Last month, just as my husband and I vowed abstinence from carbs, two cookie recipes were posted! Normally, I would have made them (and devoured them), but I made a promise to my husband and myself - NO MORE CARBS!!!

Then, just like that, May recipes are posted...Risotto. Damn.

Instead of making it the main dish, it became a side dish for our boneless, skinless, boring chicken breast. The arborio rice was also out. I searched the grocery store for a short grain brown rice to no avail. I settled for the brown version of sushi rice, a medium grain. Besides, it's a two-fer. Now experimentation with brown rice sushi can begin!

The problem with brown rice is that darn bran, the healthy part. White rice is stripped of the bran, therefore more readily gives up all those delicious starches. And starch makes for a creamy risotto. So I stirred and stirred. For an hour I stirred that rice into submission. I even have the blister to prove it.

A few minor substitutions were necessary, besides the rice. I replaced the wine with chicken broth. Cream cheese was substituted for mascarpone. White asparagus was the only variety available at the store. And I cheated - cooking the asparagus and peas WITH the rice instead of blanching separately.

The first picture shows the risotto process first starting. The rice has not absorbed the chicken stock nor released any starch. The second, the rice is plump and there is a thicker consistency to the stock.

I want to love risotto. This version was better than my previous attempt by a mile. The problem is that I always except far more creaminess than actually exists, and when there is still a bite to the rice, I'm put off. It's a texture thang. Plus, the peas weren't fully cooked and soft (cheats never work), so that added another texture issue. My tot loved it. I liked it. My husband would be fine never eating it again. The recipe is a good one, regardless of aforementioned indiscretions.

May 18, 2010

C'mon Big Red!

I'm so proud I was able to accomplish everything on my list over the weekend. Well, truth be told I didn't go fishing. None of us did for fear of the brutal thunderstorms looming on the radar. The only fishing I did that night was fertilize the tomatoes with fish emulsion. As expected with Indiana weather, the rest of the night turned out to be beautiful with nary a raindrop fall.

I only transplanted six of the tomatoes: Matt's Wild Cherry, Green Doctors, Depp's Pink Firefly, Indian Stripe, Kellogg's Breakfast, and Big Beef. They survived a week's worth of hardening off, along with all six of the Odessa Market bell peppers. The problem lies with the others. Not only their leaves but the stems were damaged during hardening off. I left them outside overnight and perhaps watered too infrequently while I was away from home. One is an Indiana Red that I've been anxiously waiting to grow out and taste. Here are a few pictures of the damage.

There are a few developing suckers (one which you can see well in the last photo) that I will grow out to help it develop foliage and better roots. Maybe it's salvageable?

The tomatoes weren't the only plants affected. While the bell peppers have tolerated my negligence with grace, the hot peppers have been a bit nasty. The white habaneros dropped all but four of their leaves and the black pearl has been turning, well, almost purplish-black. They are now back under the lights following a good dose of fish emulsion. Not a one has died and all are sprouting new leaves.

May 15, 2010

Before The Rain


Top Row: 3 year-old Weigela, Newly planted Dahlia, Newly transplanted Matt's Wild Cherry tomato
Middle: Pea, Boxed in garden, Purple Plum radish harvest
Bottom: Newly transplanted Odessa Market bell pepper, New birdhouse, Rocky Top lettuce mix.

Very successful day in the garden! I accomplished all the tasks mentioned in the post below with the help of my husband. All before a big nasty rainstorm approached central Indiana.

The time is right to plant, in my opinion. It will be cloudy and overcast the next 3-4 days, nighttime temperatures will remain in the mid-50s, and rainshowers are expected! I didn't want them to burn up under the hot sun. Only time will tell if I did the right thing. I still have half of the tomatoes left under my lights - they aren't fairing too well. I may pot up those and give them another week or so, along with the hot peppers and eggplant.

The Plan

1. Box in the garden.
2. Plant half the tomatoes & bell peppers.
3. Sow beans, cucumbers, zucchini, and basil.
4. Harvest radishes.
5. Sow more carrots.
6. Plant flowers in the planters & bed in the front.
7. Go fishing!

May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

What a wonderful day it has been. I was woken by my husband and son after a peaceful night's sleep. They came bearing gifts that, while unnecessary, were thoughtful and generous. The three of us have since spent the day together eating a delightful breakfast, shopping, and playing in the park under partly cloudy skies. I do believe I'm just about the luckiest woman alive.

If the weather was warmer, I would spend the afternoon in the garden enjoying its tranquility. Temperatures just above freezing tonight keep me from putting the tomatoes in the ground. My only task right now is weeding, but that too can be oddly therapeutic.

Happy Mother's Day to every mother out there. Keep up the good work of teaching our children many things, but most importantly honesty, respect, and patience.