Sunday, April 19, 2009

Almost Alive

I have what you call "Seasonal Affective Disorder." (i.e. I hate bad weather and I want the fact that I tend to be a jerk in winter chalked up to something other than the simple fact that I am a depraved jerk). Due to this tragic condition (I love being a victim...just like everyone else) I am about next to elated when the sun appears.

Today was such a day.

When early spring and sun collide in this corner of the world it is time to get outside. For me that means getting my hands in the dirt and growing all the wonderful things we are too broke to buy. That's right, you've got me pegged mostly right. At the heart of it, gardening is for me, largely pragmatic. Sure, I like thinking that my food is coming from less that 100 yards away, its organic, I played a role in bringing about life, but mostly it is about having what I want to eat when I want to eat it...I'm a horrible neo-hippy, but I'm honest.

Here are some rather unimpressive photos from the garden today with a little running commentary.

Not much to look at yet, but it will be awesome come July. Up front we have some shallots and chives. Middle right has San Marzano tomatoes and Ground Cherries. In back are Glacier and Goldings hops. They are super small still, but in a few weeks they will be exploding.

This bed is a bit more active. In front we have the first greens of the season. 5 kinds of leaf lettuce, two types of spinach, mustard greens, Bok Choi, and french breakfast radishes. These will all be planted every few weeks in order to have a full season of glorified rabbit food. Scrumptious. Off to the right is tomato row. Sweet 100, Sun Sugar, and Brandywine all in a row. Garlic is coming along nice on the left...cant wait for that stuff. Three kinds of peas in back. Planted every two weeks for a season long harvest. Hops are in the back corners. Chinook and Cascade...porter hops if there ever were any.

Last but not least myself planting some cilantro between the shallots. I just thought I looked unusually rugged and all American-hero in this shot so I decided to include it.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Carrot Cake

This is a really yummy cake that wasn't too dry or too wet or too sweet. Just awesome! I didn't have plain yogurt so I used sour cream :)

2 1/2 cups, all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp salt
4 grated carrots
1 cup sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar firmly packed
3 large eggs
6 ounces plain yogurt
¼ c pineapple nectar
6 ounces extra light olive oil

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9 X 13 pan.
Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in a large bowl. Add the carrots and toss until they are well-coated with the flour.
In another bowl combine the sugar, brown sugar, eggs, yogurt, and juice. With the mixer still running drizzle in the oil. Pour this mixture into the carrot mixture and stir until just combined. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 25 minutes. Reduce the heat to 300 degrees F and bake for another 35 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and allow cake to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, room temp
¼ c unsalted butter, room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

In the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter on medium until blended. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. With the speed on low, add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth.