Monday, September 25, 2006

Little 2x2.5 Beginnings

Last Saturday after work at the Botanical Gardens, Dave "the Worm Guy" helped me put together a beautiful wooden compost bin, 2x2x2. Totally jacked up from using the electric saw and power drill for the first time, I built two raised bed frames as well. This is the baby, with six rows of crops: radishes, lettuce and peas. What we can't harvest before the frost we can eat as sprouts!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Muscoot Farm Trip

Last night I made a dinner inspired by a trip up Westchester to Muscoot Farm, where I fell in love with some chickens wearing feathered disco pants:

End-of-Summer PepperEgg Delight
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 yellow onion, minced
2 eggs (kisses, chickens!)
1/2 cup cooked rice with mild curry seasoning

Saute peppers and onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Clear the center of the pan and fry each egg, scrambling gently. Turn rice and peppers into egg as it scrambles. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Then I made this for desert:
1 very ripe banana
1 ripe peach
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup oats

Cut and mash banana and peach in a bowl. Saute butter and sugar; add fruits. Season with cinnamon. Toss in oats. Stir until hot and oats begin to thicken.

I ate it on top of a small scoop of cinnamon ice cream. Yum!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Home sweet Garden: Before and After

I recently moved to Mott Haven, and with that step, acquired a garden. The bottom photo shows all the weeds that came with it; the top photo is the proud result of eight collective hours of hand-weeding with my young neighbors Ashley and Taysean, aged 12. We've got grand plans: composting, raised bed veggies, herbs galore. And we're keepin' it organic.

Biodynamic! New superhero, or farming fun?

Two weekends ago, as a representative of, uh, myself, Growing Chefs went to a Biodynamic Farming Conference hosted by the wonderful Hawthorne Valley Farm of Ghent, New York. My favorite workshop was "Making Biodiesel Fuel," which, I assure you, is easier to do than you'd think! If you have $3000 to throw down to get the equiptment, it becomes (hurrah!) like cooking shortly after: the right ingredients, the right timing, and poof! you can drive a car with the pleasant aroma of french fries wafting after you in the breeze. Hurrah, hurrah because--One: this is better for the planet, and two: this is cheaper than unleaded.

Any diesel engine can convert to biodiesel, either at 100% or a B-10, B-20, etc. level. If you have an older car, the b-fuel is going to clean it out and make all the old cracks your dirty unleaded has been stopping up wash out. My novice recommendation, therefore, is to try this little project on a well-kept machine. Or start with a percentage of biodiesel before cranking it up to full-on use. Moi, I just own a bicycle. But I think this concept is pretty nifty.

Growing Chefs falls for Fall

It's love at first bite: September's peppers are delicious and fingerpainted with swirling colors. Put aside your stoplight peppers (red/green/yellow) and pick up a purple-streaked green-and-red-and-almost-yellow pepper from your local market. Yum!