June 30, 2011

Samosa Pie

Samosa Pie

I’ve been wanting to make Summer of Pie’s Vegetable Samosa Pie since she blogged it last summer. My CSA’s first round of potatoes and parsnips was the perfect excuse to give it a roll. I did make a few changes, such as using half parsnips with the mashed potatoes and putting cauliflower, carrots and peas in the top.

It is a formidable tower of buttery crust and has kept its shape with no help from the outside. It is less like a giant samosa and more of a French take on Indian cuisine (aka wrap it in butter). The end result came out a little sweet, maybe from the parsnips or the tomato paste, but overall a wonderful, impressive dish.

I had never made a pie crust using the vodka method and while the crust came out beautiful, I don’t think it really would have been different if I’d used all ice water instead. I know this is a hotly debated topic in pie circles, so I’ll leave at that.

Samosa Pie
June 29, 2011

A tree of interest

Shrub Free Front

We had some trees removed from our backyard and while the big machinery was around, I had them pull out the old evergreen shrubs running along the front of our house. Taking out the bushes brought the look of the house from 1970s to a timeless classic. Next up is planting a butterfly garden in the front. As part of this new garden I really wanted to put a beautiful Japanese Maple in the front left corner of the yard. This would be the anchoring focal point, the show piece.

I’ve always wanted a Japanese Maple and marched off to the nursery to pick one out. Of course, when I got there I learned that they are a fussy tree, preferring afternoon shade rather than the full-on, unobstructed, southern exposure that I have. The experts at the nursery convinced me that if I planted one of these maples they’d look like burned-out shells all the time.

Now what? I would like a tree or shrub that never gets too large, that has “interesting” color, multi-trunk and an overall round shape. Working with the nursery we came up with four options:

Black Lace Elder – The “poor man’s japanese maple”, it has the dark lacy leaves and dainty flowers but is it too bushy
Smoke Bush – Beautiful leaf color and interesting flowers but is it too common
Contorted Filbert aka Corkscrew Hazel – Great winter interest but the summer greenery is less exciting
Weeping Pussy Willow – Fun, weeping shape but I’m not sure how well it will really do in my climate and how round it will be at full size

Right now I’m leaning towards the elder or the filbert, but I’m still looking for other options and other opinions. Maybe there is another shrub/tree out there that would be even better. All opinions or suggestions welcome!

June 28, 2011

CSA Box #2

Strawberries

Just a few days over, I finished off the last of box one. I did make that asian green recipe. It was awful!!! I refused to eat and while SB powered through for one meal, we ended up throwing out the rest of the dish. I’m still searching for a good asian greens recipe, but no fear, because the new box is not as challenging.

The big success of last week was tossing the collard greens into some risotto with the asparagus. Fantastic! We will be doing that again!

Box #2 includes:
– Baby turnips
– French breakfast radishes
– Garlic scape
– Italian parsley
– Kohlrabi
– Napa cabbage
– Rainbow chard
– Red lettuce
– Scallions
– Strawberries!!!

We bought two extra quarts of strawberries and have by plagued with many strawberry decisions. It must be summer. The most challenging item in the box has got to be the huge napa cabbage. It was literally a challenge to get it in the fridge. Any great suggestions for napa cabbage? I see lots of asian slaw in my future.

June 27, 2011

Fleur de lis Throw

Fleur de lis throw

Sweet number seven, the Fleur de lis Throw. The crocheted stitch pattern of this blanket made a thick, but not stiff fabric. It will be a wonderful winter weight couch warmer. I really like the lattice pattern and how your eye creates the fleur de lis shape out of the crosses. The only thing I would change, if I made it again, would be to make a slightly narrower and longer version. The edge on this blanket is so clean, no additional border was needed. No complaints there!

One blanket to go!

June 15, 2011

First 2011 CSA Box

Green Onion

An new season of CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) boxes has just begun. We get a box full of organic veggies every two weeks, straight from a local farmer. This week was our first box of 2011 and included:
– Asparagus
– Asian greens mix
– Baby Broccoli
– Collard Greens
– Green Garlic
– Parsnips
– Pea Vine
– Radishes
– Spinach
– Thyme
– Tsoi-Sim
– Yellow Potatoes

The trickiest items in the box are the Asian greens and the Tsoi-Sim, which is a specific type of Asian green. The CSA suggests a stir-fry but that seems a little boring. According to this Saveur article, pea shoots (vine) are also part of the Asian mix.

Maybe I will try this Grilled Tofu and Sauteed Asian Greens recipe from Epicurious. Any other suggestions for creative ways to prepare these greens?

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