Friday, May 30, 2008

spicy oregano in abundance

Kay, so I went through a bit of an oregano phase last year and in my over zealous, blinded by love for forgotten flavor state I planted 3 kinds of oregano around the backyard. Sounds kind of normal right? One would think. But oregano turns out to be a perennial and unlike basil which withers away with the first sub-50º night, oregano marches on. And now my 3 huge plants are living large on composted soil and threatening to take over a good portion of both the vegetable patch and the strawberry barrel.

One of the joys, and there are many, of growing food in your yard is that you are often compelled to eat what's knocking down the back door. Which forces you to get creative with your meals, instead of eating the same things all the time. LUCKY for me right now all I have to manage is a wily herb and handful of delicious berries. Check back with me in a few months when the squash are taking over the kitchen counters.

So I was thinking how delicious would spicy oregano pesto be? I realize that not many people have the spicy variety readily available, but I think as long as you have a good fresh bunch of the "normal" kind, you could throw in some wild arugula and get a similar effect.

Spicy Oregano Pesto

a lot of oregano leaves, preferrably spicy mixed with whatever other varieties you have
a smattering of basil leaves, if you have
some decent quality olive oil
handful of toasted walnuts
2 heads of crushed garlic
fleur de sel (or flor de sal, depending on country of origin. my current favorite is spanish so there)
freshly ground black pepper
(I left out the cheese because I have a cold, but obviously a bit of aged, salty cheese would do well here)

Put everything in a food processor (or mini food processor if you have one, trés ideal for little things like pesto and dressing). Process. I added a teeny bit of water to help things along.
And voila!

I tossed mine with Orecchiette pasta, broccoli, and chard, (because that's what I happened to have in the fridge) but it's also great by the spoonful, alone.

late may in our backyard

I was late planting this year (as always) so while the farmer's markets have squash and tomatoes already, our little garden is a tad behind schedule. BUT the berries, oh yum. They are incredible when they are almost over-ripe and warm from the sun. This is my first time growing boysenberries, and quite frankly I wasn't convinced they would survive. See, I have a decidedly haphazard way of approaching my gardening hobby so when I planted grapes and berries along the fence last summer, (totally wrong time of year to plant which I kind of knew but didn't care), I didn't actually think they'd make it through the winter. BUT THEY DID! And they grew and flowered right on schedule. I'm pretty sure I have our temperate climate to thank for most of my food producing success, but I'll take whatever help I can get.

And that purple flower with the friendly honey bee? A big, beautiful, over-ripe artichoke. Aren't the flowers sort of sea-plant-ish? We've eaten all the artichoke one could possibly stand for the season, which is hilarious because when they first started fruiting I horded them away, saving them for a special dinner or a new recipe. I didn't know that each plant (and we had 5) produced like 100 artichokes. I'm now perfectly content appreciating them in bloom, as opposed to in pasta.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

happy succulents

I'm planning to use succulents in the centerpieces and because they are so beautiful and so easy to grow I figured I'd try to grow the ones for the wedding myself. I love succulents unconditionally for many reasons, but they are especially great for our wedding because 1) the wedding is Palm Springs and succulents seem desert-y and 2) they are live plants (as opposed to cut flowers) making them less wasteful and green.

I'm still living in the fantasy where my mom and I do all the flowers ourselves. Grow succulent babies, grow!

flowers, take one

For Mother's Day, we hosted brunch for 20 in our large and rather wild backyard. It was delicious and sunny and really fun (I do love a good get together at our house), but more importantly it was my mom's and my first chance to test out flowers for the wedding. Such a good sport, my mom. Saturday morning, we braved the pre-Mother's Day streets of downtown's infamous Flower Market. Wha-wha wee-wha. It is crazy down there! But we did make it back with a car full of test flowers. Now I imagine the whole experience could have been more successful had I actually made use of the hours of research I've done for our wedding flowers and planned a little before just jumping into the ruckus. But alas, not really my style. Here we go:

And as an added bonus I took my mom to Alix & Kelly, the designers of what I think is MY DRESS, whose beautiful studio is just a few blocks from the market in the fashion district.

Friday, May 9, 2008

well, good morning!

Whoa, it's hard to write your first post ever on a blog. It's kind of like where do you start, you know? I think I will begin with an ode to my favorite time of day, when things are quiet out there beyond the window pane, when a single biker whirrs down the street, when the light is just creeping over the rooftops and the entire day is ahead. And of course, there's hot Peet's brewing on the kitchen counter.

I'm a graphic designer by day, a gardener, a home chef, an artist, and an aficionado (or is it -a?) of all things creative, handmade, and well... lovely, in my time away from the office. This is a catalog of everything I love.