Monthly Archives: May 2009

I Didn’t Know Beans

Grow so quickly!

We planted our pole beans at the beginning of May, and they are already taller than the trellis and are blooming. See:


Bean flowers!

Meanwhile, the sugar snap peas are finally coming out. It has taken forever. I can’t wait to enjoy these guys:


Today was a work day for me. I pulled out junky plants from the yard and pruned the tomato plants. The tomatoes really shot up in the past two weeks, and they are totally out of control. I’m hoping the pruning restores some order without hurting them (I took off quite a few branches).

Our squash plants are in desperate need for their trellis supports. Although we intended on installing these today, we were both too tired from other things. So, tomorrow, tomorrow.

After cleaning up and making dinner, we went over to South Grand and enjoyed dessert at the Gelateria. My dish of chocolate and coconut was delicious, and I plan to stop by a lot more often this summer.

A snack of gelato called for a walk in Tower Grove Park, which was packed with families holding events in the pavilions. And understandably so as the weather was perfect.

I hope tomorrow is just as nice. Porkchop is playing in an ice hockey scrimmage (yay!), and I imagine I will do more garden and yard work (it really is never-ending).

Have a great Sunday!

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This is what 28 pounds of Strawberries look Like

These are some of Porkchop’s homegrown strawberries:

And these are the 28 pounds of strawberries we picked at Eckert’s on Saturday:

We froze a lot of our strawberries:

And made jam out of the rest:

For our first canning venture, we made three varieties: plain old strawberry jam, lemony strawberry jam, and strawberry-balsamic vinegar jam.

Strawberries, strawberries, strawberries! I really don’t care to see another one for a few days. (Sad, eh?)

Saturday was a day full of strawberry picking and processing, and going to Porkchop’s brother’s place for a birthday SingStar party. Unfortunately, I was completely exhausted by 11 pm, so we had to bail out early.

You’d think we would have slept in Sunday morning, but no, we rose bright and early to clean house some before leaving for Porkchop’s parents’ place outside of Rolla.

Our plan was to camp in her parents’ yard (don’t laugh, they live in the woods!). The rain cancelled that, so instead we put up our tent on their wraparound porch. Impressive, eh?

So, don’t laugh when I say that we didn’t even spend the whole night in the tent! That’s right, we were too chicken to camp on a porch!

First off, Porkchop’s mom’s cat scared the crap out of us by sneaking up and clawing the tent. Then there was a seriously scary sound coming from the creek area behind the house. It was either a couple of crazy wild turkeys, or a mountain lion screaming. Finally, critters kept coming up on the porch and making noises. Raccoon or opossum, Porkchop grew tired of waking up to their thumping around. So we went inside for the rest of the night and stole back outside in the early morning. Listening to the rain was so pleasant as it hit the porch instead of the tent rain fly.

Monday went by too quickly, and we didn’t find ourselves back in St. Louis until after 8 pm. Once back, we had to deal with more strawberries (didn’t have time to finish them on Saturday). And today was exhausting because everyone at work needs something RIGHT NOW. Ugh! I’m having a little drinky-drink at the moment to relax (don’t worry – not a habit of mine).

Tonight I harvested lettuce and radishes from the garden, and realized that I have a big slug problem! I would put out beer to drown them, but the rain won’t stop long enough for this method to be effective. Yuck.

For dinner, I made this beef curry recipe. Yum! It would have been better had I cooked it for the full two hours, but I didn’t read the recipe very closely before starting and didn’t plan for a 2+ hour dish! Anyway, 1 hour meant it was still quite tasty (and I don’t like beef that much).

All for now!

Recent Food Things

Hello, I’m finally writing about food again…

Tonight I made two new-to-me dishes: tamarind orange glazed tofu and roasted kale. The tofu received two thumbs way up from Porkchop and me. The kale…was a different story. Porkchop took one taste and declined the rest of her serving. I was rather intrigued by it and couldn’t stop eating it. Roasted kale is like a kale cracker, and kind of reminded me of papadum (a stretch, I know, but that’s what I thought of while eating the kale).

The roasted kale was mainly a good way to use up the huge thing of kale included in our Fair Shares pick up. I love my vegetables, but I’m not the biggest kale eater.

On another note, we received beef stew meat in our share…any suggestions for it? I’m still not a big beef eater, so I’ve never ventured into beef stews.

BBC Asian Cafe
Last night we tried this little eatery in the CWE. It has recently reopened since being closed for a remodel, a renaming, and a menu retooling, but since we never went to the original restaurant, I can’t make a comparison. All I can say is that my unagi crepe was pretty darn good. Eel, avocado, cheese, and some spicy-ish sauces. Unagi is one of my favorite foods, so I was quite happy! Porkchop had a crepe with chicken, basil, and a creamy sauce…rather standard.

The red bean milk tea (sans boba for me) was pretty good too. However, I felt silly drinking it because it was served in the Biggest Chalice Ever.

Unfortunately, the summer rolls were a huge disappointment. The noodles were a big mushy mash, and the wrapper was super gummy. Overall, they didn’t pack a lot of taste, save for the fresh mint leaves.

Of course, after experiencing Banh Mih So #1, it’s hard to have other spring/summer rolls.

All in all, alright, but we probably won’t go back unless there is a compelling reason.

La Dolce Via
Is back! Okay, they reopened a few months ago, but yay! They’re back!

We stopped in a couple of weeks ago for dessert.

Yum, yum, yum! I had the flourless chocolate hazelnut torte, which was kind of like eating a giant Ferrero Rocher candy, only a million times better. Porkchop had a piece of the Elizabetta cake: vanilla sponge cake infused with sweetened lemon juice, layered with lemon curd, and frosted with lemon cream.

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a million times, if you’ve never been to La Dolce Via…GO!

I’m Amused

The title of today’s staff and faculty meeting is “A Busy and Productive Summer.”

I love that our meeting is titled! Seriously, I am amused to no end by it.

I can only hope for similar scintillating follow-up titles. Maybe “Fall: A Time to Reflect upon our Harvest of Grants” or “A Long and Lonely Winter as Everyone goes on Vacation except Me.”

This isn’t Supposed to be a Monthly Blog

Time has just gotten away from me lately. I can’t believe it’s mid-May, commencement is over, and temperatures are climbing towards the 80s!

We’ve packed a lot into the last few weeks. This weekend we went to the Tower Grove farmers’ market (basil, strawberries, and pain au chocolate), worked on the yard A LOT both days, missed out on a patio set on Craigslist (dang it), and I went a Rehabber’s Club tour of some recently finished properties and works-in-progress in our neighborhood (also on the tour was a woman who was head of the student Senate when I was at Mizzou…very strange). Also, we cooked! A lot! Lemon-basil chicken with orzo and asparagus, waffles and bacon, grilled porkchops and potatoes, curried chicken-mango salad (for a work potluck tomorrow), and vanilla pound cake.

The garden is starting to take off. Here are the two big beds this morning:


(Porkchop and Keetah are also in the photo. See if you can find them.)

Porkchop’s potatoes-in-a-trashcan experiment is also going well:


Wow, I am hitting a wall of tiredness, so I have to hurry the rest of this post.

Our biggest excitement of the month was flying out to Portland to see our friend Kathy before she moves to Peru (she leaves very, very soon!). While we were there, our friend Sabrina flew out from New York for the reunion trip (Kathy, Sabrina, and Porkchop were all MFA students at Wisconsin together…I was a tag-along).

Portland was beautiful and the company was fantastic! I haven’t smiled and laughed so much in a long time. Oh, and our accommodations were vintage midcentury modern – truly fantastic.

In addition to spending a couple of hours in Powell’s and hitting the PSU farmers’ market, we went to the beach:


(Sabrina taking Kathy’s photo.)

And we took a drive just east of Portland along the Columbia River Gorge. Pretty and pretty windy:


Along the scenic road, we stopped at quite a few waterfalls. All spectacular in their own way. This one is Bridal Veil Falls:


The whole area was covered in moss – very neat! And soft.

The day trip culminated at a fish hatchery where we saw a 10-foot, 70-something year-old sturgeon. It was huge!

Other highlights of the trip include eating crazy-good french fries and poutine at Potato Champion, and the world’s best waffles at Waffle Window.

Seriously, you can’t go to Portland without hitting the Waffle Window. It shares a kitchen with a larger cafe, but WW itself is just a little half door around the corner from the main cafe. You order your waffle at the window, and then there’s a special section in the cafe where you can eat.

The waffles are spectacular. Sabrina and I both had the huckleberry waffle – a fluffy waffle coated in pearl sugar and topped with huckleberry jam and syrup, whipped cream, and lemon panna cotta. The panna cotta really made the waffle – yum, yum, yum! I also enjoyed tasting Porkchop’s waffle topped with ham, gruyere cheese, and maple syrup.

We loved seeing Kathy and Sabrina again, and we hope the next visit isn’t so far away (okay, Porkchop saw Kathy last year, but I hadn’t seen Kathy in a few years, and I hadn’t seen Sabrina since 2005!).

Okay, I’m tired and I have to check my laundry. Have a great week!