I hope I never lose my sense of wonder. If that makes me naive, then so be it.

Monday, 25 April 2011

planning and scheming

Spring is here. I know because the flies have been emerging from the windows, buzzing around in their dopey hey-I-slept-in-a-window-frame-and-just-woke-up manner. I know because I can hear the waterfall from the house. I know because the crocuses, and now the daffodils, have dared to poke their heads up and start blooming. I know because the grass has green shoots peeping out. I know because the sump pump runs on a regular basis, removing the melt water from our cellar. I know because the chickens no longer stay in their coop, but wander over to the house - though we seem to have lost two yesterday, thanks to a fox or something.

I know because we had the conversation.

"What do we want to do on the farm this year?"

Oh. So, so much to do. But we prioritized.

1.the garden boxes repaired and the whole garden back to full production on the veggie front. We don't need to enlarge it, as it is large and can put out all the produce we need for a summer and even some to freeze for winter. The herb box alone makes me smile. I love fresh herbs.
2. some sort of fence around said veggie garden, so the chickens can't wander through at will and demolish the lettuce I'm trying to grow (see #1 on full production). They also love fresh veggies and just look at me when I scold them for decimating the new greens.
3. continued cleanup of underbrush along the laneway (a never-ending job if ever there was one).
4. grading the footprint of a barn torn down a couple of years ago, making it mower-safe.
5. two batches of meat birds, the first one coming in a week or so.
6. I might raise some ducks for meat this year along with batch #2 of chickens.
7. host a few dinner/pool parties (gotta have some fun plans along with the work ones, after all!).
8. plant some honeysuckle around the house. I fell in love with the smell of it at Disney World and want some here, too.

And today? Nothing so ambitious. School projects, housecleaning, and some laundry on the line. That smell alone is enough to convince me it's spring.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

daring cooks, april

This month brought a fun new challenge - edible containers. This was a fun challenge, as it was a little more about taking flavours I knew and combining them into a bowl that could be eaten, rather than trying entirely new cuisine. I have loved the journeys through Peru, Japan, and France these past months, but this month's was enjoyable in its own way.

Renata of Testado, Provado & Aprovado! was our Daring Cooks’ April 2011 hostess. Renata challenged us to think “outside the plate” and create our own edible containers! Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 17th to May 16th at

I did two variations, both appetizer-type things that were enjoyed by the tasting panel (my family, my sister, and brother-in-law). First was a polenta cup with a Caprese-type salad. I love polenta, it's a summer favourite when I grill squares of it on the BBQ. I made a batch with onion and herbs, then shaped it into cups in oiled muffin cups (a sticky effort, so took some time) then chilled until it set. The cups were filled with a mix of grape tomato, boccancini, fresh basil, salt, pepper, and prosciutto. Nice and fresh, and had me itching for summer when my garden will be full of fresh herbs. Yummm...

The second version was made from cups of overlapped oiled wonton wrappers that I baked until they were crispy and golden. These were filled with some noodles that I'd coated with a sauce made with peanut butter, soy sauce, Thai chili paste, minced hot chilies, and oyster sauce for an Asian version. These were the favourite with most of the taste panel.

Another fun month in the kitchen! Thanks to a family holiday, my time to experiment was shortened this month, but it definitely got me thinking of new ways to serve goodies.