Monday, March 28, 2016

Hoppin' John Benedict

For Easter I made Hoppin' John  as a side dish, which is black-eyed peas, smoked ham and collards  greens slow cooked in the crockpot.

Soak the black-eyed peas overnight and place in the crockpot with the collard greens and smoked ham and a cup of water.

Basically, I made enough for a small army.

So for breakfast I made, Hoppin' John fritters with a poached egg and a Louisiana Hot Sauce aioli.

1 Cup of leftover Hoppin' John
1/4 cup flour
1 egg
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix the leftover Hoppin' John with the 1/4 cup of flour and egg.

Mix well and let set covered for 30 minutes.

Heat oil in a cast iron fry pan to medium and plop a quarter cup of the mixture in the shimmering oil.

You should get four fritters. Awesome for a potluck or an intimate breakfast with someone you like.

Fry til crispy on one side then flip and repeat.

While frying the fritters, poach eggs for each fritter and make a spicy aioli sauce.

1/4 cup store bought or homemade mayonnaise
2 crushed garlic
10 drops of Louisiana Hot Sauce, depending on how spicy you like it
Salt & Pepper to taste

Once both sides of the fritters are crisp and the center is set, but springy plate up one or two fritters and place poached egg on top.

If you want to be fancy, drop a few small teaspoons of the spicy aioli around the plate and run a skewer through to make it look pretty and spoon the aioli over the poached egg.

Nom! Hoppin' John Egg Benedict!

The other fritters will keep in a container in the fridge and can be warmed to eat with the remaining aioli as a side at dinner or as lunch itself.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Let There Be Light

A couple years back I purchased a few solar lights from Target.  Nothing too fancy, just enough to light up the side of the house to the back gate.

The wonderful thing about these was that I bought them at the end of the summer season and got them for a buck each. I love reasonable deals like that.

But the lights are starting to dim so it was time to change the batteries. Yes, solar lights use batteries. The sunlight is collected in solar cells and store the energy in the batteries to be used when the sun sets.

And the batteries do poop out over time. So can the cells, but these all seem to still be working well. 

So, pop off the head on your light. Most should be detachable so you have the ability to change the batteries.

First, you pop off the covering of the battery case and clean out all the spider eggs, slug eggs and accumulated ick you find within. Give the light a careful dusting, gently scrub off any dirt on the plastic covering the solar cell.

A lot are simple double AA batteries, but of course that can depend on the manufacturer.

Pop in a new battery and replace the lid.

 Test the brightness, by putting the solar cell flat against something that blocks out all the light and the stick the head back on the post and you have light on your path or patio for another season!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Morning Has Broken... Almost

Five a.m.. I wake up early to get ready for work most days. I make my coffee in a small French press, because there is only one person in my household. If it's a particularly low anxiety day, I will practice my yoga, attempt to meditate, drink my coffee and if it is a work day, I spread and pack my work clothing and lunch into my bike panniers and get ready to ride in to work.

These are the good days, when the anxiety is manageable. I like those days. The days are a little longer but with Daylight Savings Time in effect, I've lost an hour of light in the morning so I'm riding into work while it's still dark again.

But when I come home, I open a beer and wander around my garden and can smell the earthy dirt warming and calling out to be worked. Like a lover. The weeds have taken over parts of the beds and since I do not have a lawn mower right now, dandelions are plentiful in the lawn. I might try making dandelion wine this year! I am sure the dandelions make my golf course neighbors crazy. I like them though.

They draw bees, and other beneficial insects that pollinate my vegetables and fruit trees. The leaves make a wonderful kimchi, the flowers make wine and I just think they are pretty.

Today, being that it is caucus day in Washington. My morning will be filled with standing in line to make my voice heard, but the afternoon should be spent picking dandelion heads and leaves. Making kimchi and wine.
There are few weeds I'm willing to keep. Dandelions are definitely one of them. They are the first foods that bees have access to when they emerge starving from winter, they are pretty and they are edible. Pretty hard to go wrong on that front. Other edible weeds include: dead nettle (that a friend sent me a pesto recipe for recently), young chickweed, plantain, shotweed, and more are edible. Make sure to do your research before you start nomming on foraged greens.

But there are a lot of weeds that are just nuisances and I have no problems with them going in the compost bin.

Off to caucus and then this to the garden!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Become my Patron on Patreon

Sometimes, you gotta try for a dream. Even a farfetched one.


I have an anxiety disorder and there are days that I can only get as far as the front gate.  My garden is the best place for me. It gives me comfort and I work hard and I feel like I belong. Today seems to be that day. But the garden is as far as I need to go today.

I am good enough to get into the yard today. That means I am working in getting the garden cleaned up. Because of my anxiety, I have been lax in taking care of my garden over autumn and winter. And I have been lax in documenting my garden's waxes and wanes.

I have allowed it to grow wild which I am sure the neighbors are just oh so pleased with.

I have spent the morning yanking weeds and moving plants from one place to another and planting Caladium corms and peas.

Working the dirt is a visceral and reassuring feeling for me. I know that soon I will have vegetables to eat and flowers that hum with bees. My neighbors will give me less dirty looks and I will feel like I have accomplish something.

It also gives me an opportunity to try to talk to people who wander by and say hello. When you have anxiety, talking to people can sometimes be a nearly impossible task. Being in a place that I am comfortable, my garden, makes it easier to interact and reduce the anxiety.

This garden is my happy place and watching it getting slowly cleaned and ready for the spring makes me happy and comforts me. Planting the seeds and knowing that in 90 days I should have peas to shell and freeze.

I have so many big plans for the back yard this year. Expanding the patio, fix the back fence and the chicken coop and building a tiki bar. Eventually, I might get a small hot-tub.

The vegetable garden will have peas and spinach, onions, lettuce. Still have some kale that over wintered, but they are coming to the end. I still have canned carrots from last year as well as green beans so I think I will avoid those. June bearing strawberries are perking up and I still have three beds to consider.

I have tomato'd and potato'd all the beds so I will avoid nightshades for the next couple of seasons.  So many things to consider, but for now, I am content in just weeding and enjoying the gorgeous Seattle day.

It seems to help the sane.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Seed Catalogs

It used to be that seed catalogs just suddenly appeared in your mailbox every February, like a present from the Vernal Goddess herself, but now you have to request many of them.

You can order them online, which seems to defeat the purpose, since you can also view and order the seeds online.

I am a tactile person, it is one of the many reasons I garden. I like the way it feels. Same with the garden catalogs, I love the way they feel as I read them out on my bed and look at all the pictures and oogle all the varieties of beans, squash and tomatoes. This is what I love about seed catalogs.

I understand it is cheaper for the companies to not send out the catalogs, more and more people turn to the internet to look at and order their seeds and plants, but for those of us who wait with bated breath for spring need those catalogs for the assurance that it is coming.
Seeds of Change 

So now you have to ask for paper catalogs, which might not be ecologically sound, but it does satisfy the soul, both things which should make you happy.

This company doesn't have a catalog, but they are local to Seattle and awesome:

When flipping through the pages and dog earring all the pages of the plants you hope to plan that year, there is satisfaction, there is that sensual completion of feeling the paper between your fingers that you do not get when clicking along through screens. You get the same info, the same pictures, but you don't get the same connections.

Order the catalogs. Order from the catalogs. It is satisfying getting a small box of seeds in the mail. Again, like a present from the Vernal Goddess. ( bonus points if you can name her)

Monday, March 7, 2016

Spring Is Just Around the Corner

The first dry days in Seattle.

Dry days in Seattle lately have been scarce. Seattle has had over 100 days of wet weather since October. The most rainy days since 1950s.

My garden beds are waterlogged, but mostly workable. A few bags of steer compost worked in and 100 white onion bulbs in the ground.