Just when we thought winter had made its exit, a snowfall set us straight. Who’d have thought that our largest snowfall of the year would come April 29th? Twelve inches of soft powder blanketed our community. Jerry LOVED IT. Temps are dipping into the 20’s tonight. We’ll see what survives. Boxes are sheltering peonies which were on the verge of blooming. We lost a few tree limbs due to the weight of the snow. Good excuse to stay indoors and binge watch some television. Hope temps are more moderate where you are!
Well, we dodged another “frozen bullet”. Temps hit the mid 20’s the other evening. No damage. However, we can’t relax yet. Work continues on the garden project. Liners were added for weed protection. 11 yards of top soil was delivered. Mixing in some fertilizer, worms, compost….good start for our veggies. Blooming continues to catch the eye: peonies are on the verge of opening, Russian olive trees are sprouting, honeysuckle is thriving, ground cover is thick and lush and grasses sway. PVC pipe makes a hoop-like frame for the raised bed covers. Progress. Stay tuned!
Begin with a 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes. (San Marzano preferred.) Use an immersion stick and puree tomatoes until smooth. In a skillet, sauté some onion, garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil until fragrant. Add tomato puree, salt and a pinch of sugar. Simmer until flavors meld. Check for seasoning and make adjustments.
Drain a can of garbanzo beans and rinse. Add beans to tomato sauce and continue to simmer.
Prepare quinoa according to instructions. 1 C dry would feed four. I added some salt and bay leaves to the cooking pot.
I had some small sweet peppers in the fridge and I decided to roast them up. Line a baking sheet with foil. Spray foil with non-stick spray. Oil your peppers with EVOO. A pinch of salt and pepper and in they go to a preheated 425 degree oven. Roast until slightly charred. Rotate peppers at least once for even cooking.
Make a salad. I had some arugula, cucumber and avocado on hand. Simple dressing: lemon juice, EVOO, cracked black pepper and a pinch of salt.
For service: fresh basil, shredded parmesan and a drizzle of EVOO.
Some old crusty bread found new life in the toaster oven. Drizzle a bit of EVOO and lightly toast.
Filling, vegetarian, delicious and guilt-free!
The garden project is moving along. Hugo’s handiwork can be seen in the beautiful outdoor dining table: a simple Parson’s design with graphic tiles to top. We are ready for our first gathering.
The waterfall is running once again after a winter rest. “White fish”, “black fish” and the two “orangies” are happy after their dormancy. Little black fish was hiding.
“Critter proofing” the garden is essential. A band of chicken wire will run the entire base of the garden fence. Cue the rabbits! Redwood boards are assembled using these nifty corner devices purchased through Gardener’s Supply Company. Check them out online. Powdered coated aluminum in a dark brown. Clamps are screwed to the inside at measured intervals for PVC pipe which will create the frame for the covers.
Our project manager Jerry is a good supervisor, but not much help.
Retaining blocks have created a nice curved wall.
Lily pads are slowly releasing their leaves as the sunshine coaxes them out of their slumber.
Stucco lath has to be screwed to the bottoms of the bed frames. Once again, critters here are relentless. In this case, GOPHERS!
Laying out the garden plan with spray paint gives a sense of the final vision. Crushed granite walkways, fruit trees, whiskey barrels of flowers, a sculpture piece, clothesline (artistically realized, of course) should bring this garden to full fruition.
Can’t wait for those veggies!
More to come.
The climate here in Santa Fe is perfect for growing…abundant sunshine and mild temperatures. The soil is another matter! Creating raised beds is the only option. Eight 4′ X 8′ beds for vegetables, herbs and flowers. Add in some fruit trees, clothesline!, a wind sculpture, chicken wire for critter control and the garden will be complete.
This meal was a hit the other night.
Oven broiled salmon with teriyaki glaze
Jasmine rice with chives and cilantro
stir-fried vegetables (sweet peppers, crimini mushrooms and blanched green beans)
1/4 C soy sauce
2 T honey
2 T rice wine vinegar
2 T fresh squeezed orange juice
1 T minced garlic
1 T minced fresh ginger
Combine ingredients and whisk until honey is well incorporated. Place salmon filets in a zip-lock bag using half of the marinade. Reserve the other half. Marinate salmon for about 20 minutes. Remove salmon from marinade and brush off any pieces of garlic or ginger. Place salmon on a foil-lined cookie sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Thinner ends of the filet can be tucked under to create a more uniform thickness. Place salmon under a broiler on high setting about 10 inches from the heat source. Keep an eye on it. Broil until filets are just firm to touch.
Reduce remaining marinade over high heat until thickened.
Place vegetables in a preheated large skillet. Using high heat, add about 2 T of olive oil to the pan. Throw in veggies (these are what I had on hand), and spritz with salt and pepper. Resist the urge to stir a lot. Allow them to brown a bit before moving them around. Once good color has developed, add about 1 T of dark sesame oil. This gives great flavor. I also added about a tablespoon of the reduced marinade.
Cook Jasmine rice according to instructions. Add fresh herbs at the very end.
A sprinkle of black sesame seeds and a spoonful of reduced marinade make a nice finish.
Don’t forget to enjoy the process! Pour yourself a glass. I recommend this wine, purchased for $8.99 at Trader Joe’s, for the meal. It is delicious and I’m sure available at other stores.
Our journey began in Santa Fe. From there, we headed toward Las Vegas – the New Mexico version. Great downtown: a vibrant square with restored buildings, thriving businesses and streets of nice Victorian homes. On to Mora and scenic views…Jerry got a little bored. A few photography stops as we headed through the mountains toward Chimayo. Getting hungry, we decided to stop at the well-known and revered Rancho de Chimayo for some lunch. A full house showed their popularity is still strong. From there on to Las Trampas and eventually back home to Santa Fe. A varied landscape, historical treasures, good food, and Jerry’s company…a great outing in the land of enchantment.
(recipe can be cut in half)
3 tri-colored bells peppers, finely diced
2 small yellow onions, finely diced
2 pounds tomatillos, husks removed, washed, finely diced
1/4 C finely chopped fresh ginger
2 C apple cider vinegar
1 C sugar
1 T dry mustard
1 T ground turmeric
1 T mustard seeds
1 T celery seeds
1 t cayenne
2 t salt
Combine all ingredients in a stainless steel pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened and most of the liquid has evaporated. Cool and refrigerate for later use. This, stored in the refrigerator, has a long shelf life.