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Posts Tagged ‘autumn’

Monarchs come around here to put up for the winter, specifically congregating in a eucalyptus grove nearby. I went with two of my favorite people to check it out today.

monarch-butterfly-cluster

They hang out in these clusters — the tannish spots are them with their wings closed — and are most active during warmer parts of the day. Estimates say there are about 3,000 of them there right now.

monarch-butterflies

The world’s pretty cool sometimes.

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I’m drowning in greens. No, seriously.

I might be keeping them in my laundry room. There's no more room in the fridge!

I might be keeping them in my laundry room. There's no more room in the fridge!

I came home with a LOT of greens from the farmers’ market. I already had some beet greens and one bunch of golden chard (I couldn’t resist, and it was one dollar). Then at the market on Saturday I bought two bunches of kale (russian and some other kind) and two bunches of rainbow chard, all from a vendor who has the smallest most tender greens. But then my partner in crime at the stand told me to see another farmer down the way for greens as the market was closing. He gave me six bunches of greens — four kale (one curly, two lactino, one russian purple), and two rainbow chard. That’s a total of ten bunches of greens.

Naturally, I’m looking for a way to get through them. Some of the daintier chard became a breakfasty thing yesterday morning. One beautiful bundle of the smaller-leafed kale was destined last night for colcannon. Colcannon, I learned today, is a traditional Irish dish (some say the traditional Irish dish), meant for serving on Halloween. How appropriate! It is made with a combination of potatoes, onion or leeks, and cabbage or kale. Differing sources will tell you that cabbage or kale are the more correct green. Considering that kale is a relative of cabbage, I say it’s all good.

Here’s how I made colcannon — a delicious, healthy comfort food.

You need:
– Potatoes (I used one big one and four little ones), chopped into 1″ cubes
– One medium leek, cut into 1/2″ pieces
– One bunch kale, stems trimmed and cut into 1″ strips
– Milk of your choice, 1/2 – 1 cup
– Margarine or butter-like substance of your choice
– Salt and pepper

Start by boiling the potatoes in salted water. These take the longest. Then move on to the leeks (wash well!), which are sauteed in olive oil on medium heat until soft. The kale gets cooked (see how to cook kale) — do this last, as greens get cool very quickly and only take 5-7 minutes.

Once potatoes are fork-pierceable, drain water and transfer to bowl. Add leeks and 1/2 – 1 cup of milk. Mash. I like some chunks in there (and I leave the potato skins on anyway). Season liberally with salt and pepper. Create a crater, into which you put the (drained) kale. Top with a pat of butter-like substance. Curl up and carb out.

This is dirt-cheap and takes under an hour. Making kale tonight illustrated to me what a difference good produce makes in meal preparation — the kale I got was made of very young leaves, which cooked quickly and were tender and not bitter at all. If you’re looking for how to cook kale to make it taste good and so that it isn’t bitter, get ye to a farmers’ market! Get good kale! Your efforts will be rewarded.

Also, a reminder of why we wash our vegetables:

Go forth and celebrate the coming of Halloween with some colcannon!

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I woke up this morning. It’s October. It’s been October for a week now. And what was the thing that got me out of bed?

Pumpkin! It’s pumpkin-flavored-coffee-drink season!!

Decaf pumpkin soy latte. Seasonal flavored goodness.

And, of course, the (October) February Lady Sweater continues apace. I’ve got a few more inches left on the body and then it’s on to the arms. I may be a convert to top-down knitting for sweaters. Call me an instant gratification fiend. Go on, do it!

Decided to commit a little time tonight to a more epic dinner, since the boy’s been a little stressed. How very domestic of me. Enter: vegan “chicken” Caesar salad from Veganomicon, complete with home-made dressing, home-made croutons, plus some of the delicious tofu I keep making that I just can’t get over.

I loved the tanginess of the dressing, plus the fact that, hello, my salad dressing is made of to-freakin-fu so I can eat as much of it as I want. The croutons were a little tedious, but a good adventure. And this tofu keeps performing! It was the perfect complement to the lemon of the dressing, and cut the intensity of the garlic nicely.

He and I both reek to high heaven right now, but it was worth it.

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