Bzzzz October 26th, 2008

Here it is the end of October and the garden is still pushing out things we can eat—red peppers, Swiss chard, lettuce, lots of herbs. I just harvested the last of the lima beans. I also have a beautiful and abundance lemon grass plant, so am seeking recipes that use more than just one stalk.

The garden is still a lovely place to visit. I believe that my habit of mixing vegetables, herbs and flowers contributes to the garden looking rather nice even now since there aren’t large bare patches where summer vegetables have been ripped out. Also, we haven’t yet had a killing frost, so there are flowers blooming on the ice plant, Miss Huff lantana, cock’s comb and cat mint, among others.

I have planted broccoli, but decided to forego the collards and Brussels sprouts this year, since I am the only one here who really eats them. In my enthusiasm for winter productivity I managed to buy 2.5 pounds of different types of garlic from Seeds of Change. They all got into the ground today, so I’m patting myself on the back for completing that big chore.

Last week I planted more spinach and lettuce in a coldframe and am keeping my fingers crossed that we can get a good enough harvest in the winter to avoid buying a few of those fancy salad greens my husband favors at $4 a bag. I am also keeping my fingers crossed that the whole coldframe doesn’t sail away with a good gust of wind. I have it anchored on all sides, of course, but I can’t help envisioning the worst—coldframe flying away in the dark of night and leaving my baby greens exposed to the elements.

I am interested in hearing your fall and winter strategies for keeping the garden going. Any ideas you can share?

Keep warm!

Posted In: Gardening

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Bzzzz October 25th, 2008

When I was a kid, my mom would make the same things over and over for dinner. I know there wasn’t a lot of money to throw around on fancy ingredients. And my dad was a beef and potatoes kind of fellow. But Mom came up with some pretty wacky food combinations. Hot dogs in Ragu over white rice anyone? And, as I recall, there was a good deal of hamburger and the occasional Spam meal.

Frankly, now that I am the head chef Chez Bumblebee I can empathize with her frustration cooking seven nights a week for a crowd with widely varied ideas about what constitutes a good meal.

But where my mom became truly inspired was in cooking desserts. We had big glass jars in the kitchen that Mom kept filled with cookies and sweet bars. There was always at least one cake, and often two, made from scratch. I don’t believe the sun ever went down on a day when I didn’t have a delicious homemade treat.

One of my favorite cakes was a fabulously rich Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Cake. We just called it Yum Yum Cake.

I loved the cake so much that before I went off to college I copied down the recipe—along with several of my other favorite cake recipes—on notebook paper. This yellowed notebook page is still in my recipe binder and now I regularly make this cake for my own family.

If you’ve never made a cake from scratch, this is a perfect one to try. Once you get the hang of baking cakes you’ll never want to buy store-bought again.

Cake Ingredients

1 cup sugar 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) 2 cups flour 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 egg 3/4 cup buttermilk 1 cup miniature marshmallows 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream together sugar and butter with a mixer. Mix flour, baking powder, soda and salt in a bowl. Add egg, vanilla and buttermilk to the sugar and butter mixture. Gradually add the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Fold in marshmallows and chocolate chips by hand.

Spread batter into a well buttered 9″ x 13″ x 2″ baking pan. (I use a glass one.) The batter will be extremely thick.

Cook in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

Cool for about 10 to 15 minutes before topping.

Topping Ingredients

1 cup sugar 1/3 can evaporated milk 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) 6 ounces chocolate chips

Bring sugar, milk and butter to a boil. Remove from heat, add chips and stir until melted.

Bon appetit!

Posted In: Food and Recipes

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