Radish Snack and New Toy

I have been snacking on radishes from our front yard raised bed.  This gives me a lot of joy and feels like quite the triumph because radishes were low on my list of things I thought we should grow.  For one thing, we rarely ever buy them.  When we did buy them, I’d often forget to use most of them and they’d get all rubbery or slimey in the veggie drawer.  They are also quite inexpensive to buy, so I really didn’t know if it would be worth the trouble.  What sold me on giving it a try is 1) they are very quick to mature – about 4-6 weeks.  2) I saw a variety mix and I was tickled at the idea of having different color radishes for the hell of it.  (yeah, it doesn’t take much to amuse me) 

I am so glad I went for it because I just think they are beautiful!  Yesterday, I made a little snack of thinly sliced radishes with a little rock salt from hawaii that I picked up when we were visiting there last year. 

On to the new toy:

Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted a food dehydrator.  I remember a friend having one at home and snacking on apple chips, which I thought were about the yummiest thing ever.

As time went on, I talked myself out of having one.  The primary reasons were: it’s too much counter space, and surely the novelty of this would quickly wear off and I’d be stuck with junk.  Also, it appeared that dehydrators were a bit pricy and it would take a whole lot of dried apples to make that investment pay off.

Well, last year my love affair with this concept re-kindled.  Yes, it’s still too much counter space.  Yes, the chance of the novelty wearing off (like the Jack LaLane juicer may he and it rest in peace) is still very much a real possibility.  But I figured if I can capitalize on other people’s impulse purchases and find a barely used one on craigslist, it may be worth the experiment anyway.  Last week I picked up a $20 still in its original package never been used Ronco food dehydrator — just like my childhood friend had.  (Ah, nostalgia).

That night I dehydrated some of my homegrown herbs (parsley, oregano, and thyme).  We have a ton of Parsley and thyme and the oregano was left over from too much that I had snipped for our lasagne dinner.  I’ve actually been worried that the parsley would go to seed if I didn’t harvest more of it, so it’s a perfect excuse.  I also dehydrated a little bit of garlic as I have seen a few recipes for dehydrated garlic (as opposed to garlic salt or garlic powder) and was curious.

When it was done, I stuffed the contents in a jar (but didn’t crush them all the way) and let J. smell it.  He said that’s what italian seasonings are supposed to taste like!  Tonight we’re going to blend it with the spice grinder and rub it on a whole chicken that we’ll roast.  When Max goes down for his nap, I’ll try my hand at banana chips.  (I’m not a fan but maybe Max will be).  It also occurred to me that radish chips would make an excellent snacking chip — but I’m not sure any will last long enough to make it into the dehydrator.

Now, I still have a bunch of dried herbs in my pantry (which taste like nothing and I paid a small fortune for).  Trying to figure out what to use those for… maybe roasted potatoes.  Maybe confetti.

She Wore Lemon…

Ah, that brings me back.  I may not have mentioned it in a few years, but I’m a massive U2 fan (hence the Lemon title).   This year, I’ll literally be a “massive” U2 fan.  We have tickets to the U2 concert coming up and they are 3 days past my due date.  Yes, I’m planning to hold her in so I can go.

Anyhoo, our tiny little meyer lemon tree has produced a nice batch of lemons.  We use them in soda, iced tea, gin & tonics (none for me), etc.  One of the things I’ve wanted to do was to try my hand at preserved lemons.  But somehow, I felt it was too indulgent to do it with our relatively small crop.  However, tonight J. encouraged me to clean up the remainder of the crop to do with it whatever my heart desired.

It took me all of 2 seconds to jump on it and make preserved lemons tonight.  I plan on using them in middle eastern dishes, or with seafood, cous cous, who knows.  It’s so easy!  I used this recipe.  Now, the month-long wait to use it.

P.S., I enjoy the irony of using a “no preservatives” label on my recycled jar. for my preserved lemon.  It’s just so beautifully yellow… not sure the picture captures it.

P.P.S.  If any of you locals have an abundance of citrus — or any other crop for that matter, drop me a line and let’s see if we can hook up a marmalade/jam exchange or something.

Springing into Spring

Tonight we almost went out to dinner, but Max was having a mini-fit.  So, rather than subjecting the restaurant (and us) to a public tantrum, we went straight home.  My initial panic was that I remembered the fridge looking sort of empty as we hadn’t planned to eat at home tonight.  I told J. in a panic — but we have no food in the house.  He reminded me of a few things we had on hand that Max could eat, and if we had to, we’d make do with Mac & Cheese.

As we pulled up to the driveway, I realized how silly I’d been.  Sure, my fridge may look like a collection of condiments, but the front yard is our other fridge!  Even though it was still lightly raining, I popped outside and picked a handful of radishes, a Max-size serving of fresh peas, a few snow peas and spinach.  Yes, we did eat pot-stickers from the freezer — one of the few processed foods I haven’t let go of, but all in all, we all got our veggies in.  The radishes tasted amazing!  Almost sweet.  I’ll definitely be enjoying this crop and planting more as they only take 5 weeks or so to mature.

I Do By Myself!

That’s a phrase heard around our house a lot.  Usually uttered by our two year old.  He is fiercely independent.  Wonder where he gets this from?

Today I planted our next batch of lettuce and arugula seedlings.  We got a ton of use out of the last crop from the Fall.  Yesterday I transplanted a few pole bean plants and pickling cucumbers into one of our new raised beds in the front yard.  (pictures coming soon).

I’m exhausted, but can’t seem to nap.  Figured I shouldn’t waste Max’s epic nap, so I’ve been cleaning.  I had to research how to approach mopping our engineered hard wood floor.  Wouldn’t you know, the first few hits that I found recommended to use whatever cleaning product the manufacturer recommends.  Well, I didn’t install these floors myself, so who the hell knows what the manufacturer recommends.  And, I’d bet you $4 that the manufacturer stands to make some money off of whatever they recommend.

In the end, I settled on a solution that was 1 to 4 ratio of vinegar to hot water & a little essential oil with orange sent.  I don’t think the orange came through, because I smell mostly vinegar.  So, next time I’ll use more.  I’m thinking that I’ll try more vinegar next time because I do see a little bit of streaking — so maybe it didn’t cut grease well enough with this diluted recipe.

Then, I finished off our Meyer’s all purpose cleaner and took the opportunity to make a fresh batch of all-purpose cleaner myself.  I used a 1 to 1 ratio of water to vinegar with more orange oil.  This actually smelled like orange.  And it worked amazingly well.

While I’m even more tired now, it feels good to know that I don’t have to worry about Max making contact with toxic products that don’t even work all that well …  (the spray I made cleaned up things that Meyer’s didn’t).  Also, from a cost perspective, I am pretty sure we paid something like $6.99 for the Meyer’s spray.  The batch I made up was pennies because we get our vinegar in bulk at costco for like $5-6 (if memory serves).

One thing that is kind of a bummer about no longer using the cleaning service is that I don’t feel like there’s ever a time when the whole house is clean.  We triage different areas based on our tolerance level, but there’s no coming home to a totally clean house.  Oh well. Trade offs.

Through the Worm Hole…

Our worms arrived!  They are hopefully eating our food scraps as I type.

And, no, I didn’t dress to match the worm bin.  This is what I wore to work today and it happens to match.