Tag Archives: Summer

30 Minute Drive: Coronado California 92118

28 Sep

Did you know from overhead these mounds of iceplant spell ‘CORONADO’?
View from South Hotel Del Coronado Walkway by the towers
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Bel-Air estate was a nature sanctuary – amid mansions

4 Sep

Once upon a time, nature conservation was a serious commitment for the rich and famous.

Gene Stratton-Porter fashioned the gardens of her 1920s Bel-Air estate as a nature sanctuary. (Huntington Library, Art Galleries and Botanical Gardens)

Imagine it is Labor Day 1924. You’ve just finished dinner on the porch, the kids are playing next door and the radio just tuned in: “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Today’s story is about bestselling author Gene Stratton-Porter. At this very moment she’s building a castle in Bel-Air and making her garden a bird and wildflower sanctuary.”

Today it’s hard to imagine native bird Paris Hilton tending buttercups at her family’s Bel-Air manse, but a century ago, before the Westside development was paved and clipped, nature conservation was a serious commitment for the rich and famous.

Geneva Grace Stratton was born in 1863 in rural Indiana. She never finished high school, and she married pharmacist Charles D. Porter. Needing extra money, she turned to writing fiction and nonfiction that combined nature essay traditions with 19th century storytelling.

Stratton-Porter published more than two dozen books that were romantic tales set in the Indiana countryside. Her goal, she explained, was to use real-life studies of flowers and trees to describe settings for “moral men and women who are spending their time and strength in an effort to make the world a better place for themselves and their children.”

By 1920 the author’s literary world of sun-filled houses in flower-filled gardens had made her rich, with an estimated 45 million readers. When poor health slowed her output, she moved to Los Angeles.

Here, Stratton-Porter formed a movie production company for her books. She purchased a lot in Bel-Air, launched in the early 1920s by oil man Alphonzo E. Bell. He based it on East Coast enclaves developed as country retreats for New Yorkers and Philadelphians fleeing dirty cities. Lots from 1 acre to 10, on former rancho lands, left room for bridal paths and nature trails running through shady ravines. By present-day standards, the villas and manors were small, a mere 7,000 to 10,000 square feet.

At 395 Madrona Lane, Stratton-Porter built a fairy-tale pile with five bedrooms, four baths and fireplaces faced with Indiana stone. The house was blandly imposing. The garden, planted with California flowers and shrubs for birds and wildlife, distinguished the 3-acre estate.

The citified world that emerged in Stratton-Porter’s childhood brought trauma to American communities. A farming nation watched as small towns with white steeple churches and dry goods stores gave way to industrial centers connected by inefficient railroads. Montana miners gashed open mountains for copper reserves, and Minnesota landowners leveled forests for timber and ore. Steel plants in Pittsburgh and Detroit gushed sludge into rivers, and where wildflowers once fed cattle were Indiana’s Wabash Cannonball Trail and the Southern Pacific’s Road of a Thousand Wonders.

At the turn of the century women, keepers of home and church, organized to save America the Beautiful from extinction. They founded garden clubs and preservation societies, pushed town councils to restore city parks and lobbied congressmen to save coastal redwoods. For visibility, they exploited the era’s new media by bringing photographs of local garden successes to print.

Stratton-Porter was one of these conscientious women. As author, photographer and magazine essayist, she contributed to national betterment. She wrote “What I Have Done With Birds,” “Birds of the Bible” and “Moths of Limberlost,” about her Indiana cabin where she planted a native garden. Her autobiographical novel, “A Girl of the Limberlost,” was a best seller, adapted to film four times.

In December 1924, just weeks before her Bel-Air house was finished, Stratton-Porter died when a streetcar crushed her chauffeured Lincoln sedan as it crossed 3rd Street at Serrano Avenue. She was 61.

The author’s only child, Jeannette Porter Meehan, lived in her mother’s house until 1935. Since then it’s changed hands several times and is now home for Cynthia Beck, Gordon Getty’s former mistress. The place survives with the usual luxury additions, but the nature sanctuary, of course, is lost to a swimming pool and pavilion.

Stratton-Porter’s faith in nature conservation to heal her America crippled by greed and pollution may seem naive in our America. But she and her crusading friends knew that backyard activism was something men and women could do while waiting for a government that did care about the next generation.

home@latimes.com

Lemon Bar Recipes

31 Aug

 
A recent family request for recipes has my mouth watering. Following are some of my favorite recipes for tart, tangy, mouth puckering Lemon Bars. Classic takes, a lite version, and an inspired variation with grapefruit from a contest blogger. Enjoy

1) Ina Garten Lemon Bars Recipe
Copyright 1999, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

Serves: 20 squares or 40 triangles

Ingredients
For the crust:
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
For the filling:
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.
Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.
Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners’ sugar.
2) Cooks Illustrated Lemon Bars Recipe
The Editors of Cook’s Illustrated | Baking Illustrated | America’s Test Kitchen, 2004 | Makes 16 bars

Lemon bars are pretty easy to make, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to get them just the way you want them. Whether from bakeries or home recipes, the crust is often quite soggy, and many versions are too sweet and lack true lemon flavor. The warm filling must be added to a warm crust. Start preparing the filling when the crust goes into the oven. Be sure to cool the bars completely before cutting them.—the Editors of Cook’s Illustrated
Active time: 25 minutes | Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes, not including cooling time.
Ingredients| metric conversion
For the crust
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more to decorate the finished bars
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into 1-inch pieces
For the lemon filling
  • 7 large egg yolks, plus 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice (from 4 or 5 medium lemons), plus 1/4 cup finely grated zest
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Confectioners’ sugar, optional
Make the crust
1. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Fold two 16-inch pieces of foil or parchment paper lengthwise to measure 9 inches wide. Fit 1 sheet in the bottom of the greased pan, pushing it into the corners and up the sides of the pan (overhang will help in removal of baked bars). Fit the second sheet in the pan in the same manner, perpendicular to the first sheet. Spray the sheets with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Place the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt in a food processor and process briefly. Add the butter and process to blend, 8 to 10 seconds, then process until the mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal, about three 1-second pulses. Sprinkle the mixture into the prepared pan and press firmly with your fingers into an even layer over the entire pan bottom. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Bake the crust until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Make the filling
4. In a medium non-reactive bowl, whisk together the yolks and whole eggs until combined, about 5 seconds. Add the granulated sugar and whisk until just combined, about 5 seconds. Add the lemon juice, zest, and salt; whisk until combined, about 5 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a medium non-reactive saucepan, add the butter pieces, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the curd thickens to a thin sauce-like consistency and registers 170°F (76°C) on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes. Immediately pour the curd through a single-mesh stainless steel strainer set over a clean non-reactive bowl. Stir in the heavy cream; pour the curd into the warm crust immediately.
5. Bake until the filling is shiny and opaque and the center 3 inches jiggle slightly when shaken, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 45 minutes. Remove the bars from the pan using the foil or parchment handles and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 2 1/2 inch squares, wiping the knife clean between cuts as necessary. Sieve confectioners’ sugar over the bars, if desired.
3) Cooks Country Lower-Fat Lemon Squares

They had me at “lemon”.  Add “lower fat” and I pretty much ran to the grocery store for supplies.  Cook’s Country came out with this recipe in their June/July 2011 magazine.  These bars are wonderfully lemony!  The butter was decreased from 12 Tbsp. (in a traditional lemon square recipe), down to 4 Tbsp! 
Crust:
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
Lemon Topping:
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg white
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped lemon zest
  • 6 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. confectioner’s sugar, for dusting top
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place oven rack in the middle.  Line an 8-inch-square baking dish with aluminum foil, allowing foil to hang over pan edges (you will used these foil handles to lift the squares out of the dish after baking).  Spray foil with non-stick spray.
In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, cornstarch, zest, baking powder and salt until combined.  Add butter pieces and milk and pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand.  Pour into pan and press down evenly (I use the bottom of a glass so I don’t get finger divots).  Bake until edges are lightly brown, about 18-20 minutes.  Let cool on wire rack for at least 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
To make the lemon topping, whisk sugar, eggs, egg white, flour and salt together in a bowl until smooth.  Stir in lemon juice and zest. Pour over cooled crust and bake until filling is set, 15-20 minutes.  Cool completely in pan.  Dust with confectioners’ sugar.  Using foil handles, lift lemon squares from pan and cut into 9 squares.

4) Texas Pink Grapefruit Bars with Cardamom Shortbread Crust by Camilla Cooks
Cook’s Country Cookie Contest 2007

 


Ingredients:

1 and 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 large eggs
1 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated grapefruit zest
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
2/3 cup freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Optional: 3 drops red food coloring (optional—to further tint the filling pink)
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch metal pan with foil; spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Process the flour, brown sugar, cardamom and salt in a food processor. Add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Press mixture into prepared pan. Bake shortbread in middle of oven until golden brown, 30-35 minutes. While shortbread is baking, prepare topping.

Whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, grapefruit zest, lime zest, grapefruit juice, lime juice and food coloring in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until pudding-like consistency, about 6-8 minutes. Strain over warm crust and spread into even layer.

Bake until filling is set, about 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours. Cut into 2-inch squares. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving. Makes 16 bars. 

This week in San Diego history: Beatlemania

28 Aug

Aug. 28: In 1965, the Beatles played Balboa Stadium in San Diego before 17,000 fans. The band requested and received three portable TV sets, two tubs of fried chicken and a portable piano. Read what else they enjoyed backstage, the 12 songs the band played in 31 minutes and more here.

Fun quote from that story about the fans who kept trying to jump a 4-foot-high fence set up around the perimeter of the field and the 150 police officers who stopped them:

“There were all kinds of cops who were chasing the kids down, one by one, and tackling them. I think the cops were probably better than the Chargers were in those days.”

The Fab Four’s sole San Diego concert, it came one year to the week before the band’s final tour concluded with an Aug. 29, 1966 show at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park.

The band’s set list at Balboa included “Twist and Shout,” “She’s a Woman,” “I Feel Fine,” “Dizzy Miss Lizzy,” “Ticket to Ride,”Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby,” “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Baby’s in Black,” “I Wanna Be Your Man,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Help!” and “I’m Down.”

On this day last year, we wrote at length about The Beatles’ Balboa Stadium gig to commemorate the event’s 45th anniversary. (You can read that in-depth article with one click.)

This year, with a twist (if not a shout), we thought it would be fun to share some relatively rare video footage of The Beatles performing in Sweden in 1963. The band is in spirited form, but what makes this footage memorable is how sedate the young Nordic audience is throughout the performance, which begins with “She Loves You” and concludes with a lively cover of Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally.”

Beatlemania had apparently not yet hit Sweden, judging by the fact that the audience remains seated despite the fact that there are no visible security guards and the front row is so close to the band that fans could easily have reached out and touched or grabbed John, Paul or George. To make matters more amusing, The Beatles are performing on the floor in front of the stage, while an unidentified Swedish band (the show’s apparent headliners) mull about on stage behind the Fab Four, instruments in hand, looking mildly bemused at the young upstarts from Liverpool in front of them.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/aug/28/happy-anniversray-beatles-balboa-stadium/

This week in San Diego history: Beatlemania | SignOnSanDiego.com

8-28-65 – the Beatles: For the Beatles’ one and only local appearance, at Balboa Stadium, radio station KCBQ declared that Saturday “Beatle Day” and gave out pins saying so to attendees.

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Four local teenagers won a contest to present ceremonial keys to the city to the band at an afternoon press conference.
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(The Beatles being awarded the key to San Diego – hey, wake up, George!)

Area DJ “Happy Hare” (aka Harry Martin) recalled for Kicks Magazine that “Joan Baez was going to visit John Lennon [backstage], and she was caught up in the human riptide, because she was on the outside of the fence with all the kids. I literally lifted her up and pushed her over the fence. She eventually got backstage, but she came close to being crushed to death.” Around 150 San Diego cops were on hand to help give peace a chance.

“We had limited problems,” San Diego Police Chief Ray Hoobler told the San Diego Union in 1984. “I remember one youngster scaled the fence and ran out onto the playing field, and Officer Rufino Yaptangco made one of the finest open field tackles I’ve ever seen…the noise was damned near debilitating. It was bedlam.”

“I wouldn’t let my two daughters, who were 13 and 15 at the time, go to the concert. It created a lot of dissension, but based on the news clips of the concerts at other locations, I didn’t know what to expect.”

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Local headlines the next day read “Beatles Quip at a Fast Clip” and “Ecstasy and Emotion: Beatles and Beatlemania Erupt.” The band played a dozen songs in around 35 minutes, with some of the show surreptitiously recorded by KGTV chief photographer Lee Louis, who smuggled in a 16mm film camera (a portion of his footage is posted on YouTube below). Click here for another link to the film.

Around 27,000 tickets were printed, priced at $3.50 and $5.50, though only about 17,000 were sold. The Beatles were reportedly paid a little more than $50,000, while promoters said their cut was around $6000. The band’s backstage requirements reportedly included three portable TV sets, two cases of soda, two tubs of fried chicken, and a rented portable piano.

San Diego Setlist: “Twist and Shout,” “She’s a Woman,” “I Feel Fine,” “Dizzy Miss Lizzy,” “Ticket to Ride,” “Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby,” “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Baby’s in Black,” “I Wanna Be Your Man,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Help!” “I’m Down.”

The acts who opened the show were sax symbol King Curtis, Cannibal and the Headhunters, Brenda Holloway, and a British band called Sounds Incorporated.

The night before the San Diego gig, August 27, the Beatles met Elvis Presley for the first time, spending around an hour in his Bel Air mansion. According to Disc Weekly at the time (9-4-65), Elvis jammed with the Beatles to a tune played on his jukebox. A member of Elvis’ Memphic Mafia talked the Beatles into signing a piece of Elvis stationary, which is due to be auctioned with an opening bid of $50,000.

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Helen Halmay interviewed the Beatles before their only San Diego concert. Halmay, who was 20 at the time, says she has a few regrets.

“Nobody who interviewed them asked for their autograph…I had never been to a press conference before. I didn’t know I didn’t need tickets since I was with the press. After the press conference, we went out and went in through the gates. I thought, ‘By God, if I bought tickets, I’m going to use them.’ Do you know how much those tickets would be worth if I had saved them?”

What questions did reporters ask the Beatles? “People tended to ask them what they thought of San Diego. That was really dumb. They had never been here before, and they had just gotten off the bus. My one question was ‘What’s your favorite American TV show?’ I think they said The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”

Halmay, who was the society editor for the weekly La Mesa Scout, says she “asked my owner/editor/publisher if I could cover it. He said, ‘None of our readers are interested in the Beatles.’ ” Halmay got permission to go (off the job) and bought her own film to take pictures.

“They are not very exciting. It just shows them sitting in a row at a table.” She says all four were heavy smokers. “I guess I’ve forgotten how much people used to smoke in those days.”

As it was with Balboa Stadium, Halmay says the La Mesa Scout “…never made it out of the ’70s.” (Some material for this capsule written by Ken Leighton)

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(Beatles at San Diego press conference)
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6-16-76 – Paul McCartney and Wings at San Diego Sports Arena: McCartney brought his Wings Over America tour to the Sports Arena just as Wings at the Speed of Sound was topping the U.S. charts. “They flew in on a private jet, [and] people literally wept when McCartney hit the stage,” recalls local music historian and Shambles front man Bart Mendoza. “He played a hit-filled show, lasting just over two hours, and included a few Beatles tunes — ‘I’ve Just Seen a Face,’ ‘Lady Madonna,’ etc. — but stuck heavily to his solo tunes.” 

Mendoza says that a high point came with “a pyrotechnic-laden ‘Live and Let Die.’ But the defining moment was likely those first two seconds as the crowd realized that, yes, he was about to play ‘Yesterday.’ It was pandemonium.”

Several songs from this show appear on the bootleg album Oriental Nightfish, produced in 1977 by Reading Railroad Records (aka Hoffman Avenue Industries, Inc.). A double LP on colored vinyl, San Diego cuts include “Jet,” “Magneto and Titanium Man,” “My Love,” “Soily,” and “Beware My Love.”

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(Beatle at birthday bash)

2-22-03 – Paul McCartney plays a private party in Rancho Santa Fe: When Ralph Whitworth threw his wife a 50th birthday party at Delicias restaurant, he forked out a million bucks (for charity) to have McCartney perform for the crowd of around 150. Macca and band (including guitarist Rusty Anderson) did 19 songs, as well as the Beatles’ rarely performed “Birthday” (which was later added to the tour’s setlist).

In a press release, McCartney said, “Normally I don’t do this sort of gig, but I was chuffed to do it because it was a ‘win-win’ show. Ralph gets to be the great husband for organizing the surprise, his wife gets a rocking party, I get to rehearse the band for the tour, and most important, Adopt-A-Minefield gets one million dollars.”

“Crasher” columnist Josh Board knows Rusty Anderson’s sister, who lives in San Diego. “The day after the Rancho Santa Fe concert, I called to ask if she was there. She said, ‘No, I didn’t make it. Rusty left a few messages on my machine, but I got them too late. I can’t believe it. For them to be so close like that. And I went all the way to Russia to see them.'”

Less than a year later, the Whitworths filed for divorce.

Garden Update: Tomatoes and Basil Galore – The Bitten Word Blog

28 Aug

An Update on Our Backyard Garden (Repost)

IMG_4532

We came in from the garden this morning with a handful of tomatoes. That, friends, is something to celebrate.

You see, the cycle of boom and bust continues in our garden. In the month since our last update, we’ve had substantial growth and a few losses, too.

Let’s start with the positive.

The good news is that we have tomato and basil plants galore. The basil is especially doing well — the plants are huge and no matter how much we pick, there always seems to be more. We have Thai, Genovese, Fine Herb and Purple varieties, and they’re all doing well. So now our challenge is to use it. We’ve been tossing it into all sorts of dishes, making vinaigrettes and pestos (or at least pesto-like sauces). Before long, we’ll likely harvest a bunch and freeze it for use this winter.

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Purple(ish) basil

We have one sungold tomato plant that is doing amazingly well. It’s massive: If it was standing straight up, it would likely be at least seven feet tall. And it’s producing — we’ve already harvested at least a dozen tomatoes from the plant.

IMG_4901
(sun)Gold!

Three other tomato plants are doing well, all with green fruit that is beginning to ripen. But all these plants — including our sungold star — have leaves that have been yellowing and branches that have turned brittle. We’ve been removing these as it has happened. Perhaps the two remaining tomato plants are a sign of things to come – they’ve all but withered down to nothing and have very few leaves (though they, too, have some very small, green fruit). Hang in there, tomatoes!

We have four red okra plants, which have been interesting to watch. We started two of these plants indoors, and sowed the seeds for the other two directly in the ground more than a month later. Though the plants started indoors have a huge advantage over the direct-sow plants in terms of time, the direct-sow plants are at least a foot taller than those earlier plants. The plants that we started indoors, though, have been the first to produce. We’ve now harvested two okra and more are forming.

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Grow, okra, grow!

Watching okra grow is especially exciting. (Yeah, we just said that sentence.) They’re massively quick! Each of the two okra we’ve already harvested were growing about an inch a day. We’re not sure what to expect from this point forward. But we’re hoping the plants produce, because we would love to make Pan Roasted Corn and Okra using this red okra variety. It would be stunning.

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A struggling bean plant

Last month we shared that we had replanted beans after losing our first crop to disease, pests or some combination of both. We did and they eagerly sprang out of the ground. Aaaaaaand now they’re already dead, lasting even less time than the first crop.

The spray that we purchased seemed to have no effect whatsoever on the problems (unless its effect was to kill the beans). So we’re officially waving the white flag when it comes to beans. The Bitten Word Boys, it seems, are not destined to be bean farmers.

Let’s also have a moment of silence for our beets. The plants started off strong. We had beautiful beet greens in May, but then in June, it seemed that their growth just stopped. They remained healthy looking, but didn’t increase in size.

This weekend, Clay pulled a few of them to see how they were doing beneath the soil. The answer: pathetically. The beets were tiny — not even the size of a marble. We decided to just pull the rest of the plants and use the space for other veggies. We’ll spare you a photo of these sad beets.

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Jalapeños, turning colors.

Peppers are a bright spot. We have two pepper plants that are thriving. One has three large jalapeños growing on it. They’re purple jalapeños, and they’re now in the process of turning darker.

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Tomatoes on the left, okra in the back, and the rest is basil and peppers.

We haven’t talked about this much, but we do have a few things that are growing outside of the garden. Ever since we moved into our current apartment nearly six years ago, we had little window box gardens. There are three boxes, one with thyme and sage, and a second box with thyme, oregano and rosemary. All of these are plants from previous years that have returned and thrived.

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Window boxes filled with herbs.

Because our basil is out in the garden and no longer in these boxes, we decided to fully turn over one of these boxes to mint. Mint is truly a weed that nearly refuses to die. Earlier this summer, we thought this plant in particular had died after it was left outside and not watered. Its leaves were crunchy and its life seemed over. But then we replanted it, watered it and now it’s huge.

IMG_4938Thriving mint.

So what’s next?

copied from: http://www.thebittenword.com/thebittenword/2011/07/garden-update-tomatoes-and-basil-galore.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheBittenWord+%28The+Bitten+Word%29

Well, we’ve gone ahead and planted a second crop of basil for this fall. We’re assuming that most of our plants won’t be around past August, but that there will still be plenty of time for basil to thrive. So we replanted seeds in the indoor greenhouse and already have little seedlings already popping out of the soil.

Once we get most of August behind us, we plan to return to some crops from this spring, like snow peas, that respond better to cooler weather.

Though our garden continues to have its struggles, we’re pretty pleased at this point with how it’s going. The success of the tomato plants is greater than we had expected, and the experience of growing items like okra has been a thrill in our little backyard.

So how about you? How’s your garden faring in this warm summer days?

Ice Box Dessert images to beat the heat, Enjoy!

27 Aug


This story was inspired by the following link http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/howtocook/dishes/iceboxdesserts

Mango-Grapefruit Palomas – Antojitos cookbook « Katie at the Kitchen Door

25 Aug

These mango-grapefruit palomas might be the best drink I’ve ever tasted. Which may not be that convincing, coming from someone who has just graduated from Franzia, Busch Light, and Pink Panty Punch, but my parents agreed that it was great, and they have considerably more experience. I couldn’t find the mezcal (a single-distilled tequila) that the recipe calls for, but regular tequila works just fine.

It’s simple enough to put together – frozen mango pureed with citrusy Italian soda, and mixed with Tequila and cilantro (optional) – and the end result is sublime: fizzy, refreshing, not too sweet, fruity, and, duh, there’s tequila in it.

Mango-Grapefruit Palomas
Adapted from Antojitos. Serves 4.
  • 2 c. frozen mango cubes
  • 1 1-liter bottle grapefruit or blood orange italian soda
  • 8 oz. tequila
  • 4 tsp chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • ice cubes
  • 1 lime
  • margarita salt, or 2 TBS kosher salt mixed with 1/2 tsp chile powder for chile salt!

Note: this is more of a flavor as you go sort of recipe, so the quantities used here are approximately what I used to get a drink with the flavor, consistency, and strength that I like. Feel free to adjust to your taste!

  1. In a blender, puree the mango cubes and 2 cups of the grapefruit soda until smooth. The consistency should be that of a thick applesauce. Add more soda as needed.
  2. Quarter the lime and rim the edge of each glass with its juice. Roll the glasses on a plate full of margarita salt or chile salt to coat the rim of each glass. To each glass, add 3 to 4 ice cubes, 2/3 c. mango puree, and 2 oz. (1/4 c.) tequila. Top off with grapefruit soda, and stir to mix. Add a tsp of fresh cilantro if desired. Serve cold and enjoy!

Cookbook of the Month: Antojitos « Katie at the Kitchen Door