Monday, February 28, 2011

Edamame, Black Bean and Cilantro Salad

Edamame, Black Bean and Cilantro Salad
from Diana's kitchen


3 TB extra virgin olive oil
2 TB lime juice
1 TB red wine vinegar
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 - 1 tsp Splenda or sugar (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon sea salt (to taste)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cloves garlic, minced

1 (12 ounce) package frozen shelled edamame
1 red bell pepper, chopped (or 1 pint red cherry tomatoes)
1 small red onion, diced or 2-3 green onions, diced
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (11 ounce) can corn kernels, rinsed and drained

Combine the olive oil, lime juice, red wine vinegar, cilantro, Splenda, cumin, salt, cayenne pepper and garlic. Set aside.

Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the edamame (soybeans) and boil for just a few minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain well and pour into a large bowl. Add to that the red peppers, onion, black beans and corn. Pour dressing over the vegetables and gently mix it all together with a spatula. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight in order to blend the flavors.

Note: Serve as an appetizer, side or a main dish. Add cooked shrimp, avocado… be creative and enjoy.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

SkyWatch Sunset

One of the most satisfying feelings I know... comes from my appreciating this individual in the same way that I appreciate a sunset... When I look at a sunset...I don't find myself saying, "Soften the orange a little more on the right hand corner, and put a bit more purple along the base, and use a little more pink in the cloud color." I don't do that. I don't try to control a sunset. I watch it with awe as it unfolds.

Be sure to visit SkyWatch Friday
for beautiful skies around the world

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Red-tailed Hawk

I am thankful for many things, and at this moment it is that there is a large picture window in my studio and that my peripheral vision remains good. (wink) At the edge of the property, high atop one of the Douglas Fir branches, this beautiful fella decided to pay me a visit.

The bird has an honor that man does not have. Man lives in the traps of his abdicated laws and traditions but the birds live according to the natural law of God who causes the earth to turn around the sun.

~ Kahlil Gibran

Followup note: I have made a correction to the post following comments from Randy and Curbstone Valley, and after reviewing many photos from other sources. I thought the hawk to be a young Red-shouldered, but in fact it appears he is a Red-tailed Hawk. Thank you Randy and Clare. Aren't internet friends wonderful?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Waning Wolf Moon Riding High and GBBC

We have had a recent blast of cold from the north and with that our little feathered friends have been a bit sparse, until today that is.

The GBBC (Great Backyard Bird Count) of February 18 through 21, yielded the following species during the various time periods I observed:

1 - Bald Eagle
1 - Hawk, Cooper's
1 - Hawk, Red-shouldered
1 - Hawk, Sharp-shinned
1 - Hawk, Sharp-shinned or Cooper's
100's - Canadian Geese
1 - Chickadee, Chestnut-backed
3 - Chickadee, Black-capped
6 - Dark-eyed Junco
1 - Red-breasted Nuthatch
1 - Ring-necked Pheasant
6 - Mountain Quail
2 - Song Sparrow
3 - Spotted Towhee
5 - Steller's Jay
6 - Wild Turkeys

This Sharp-shinned hawk flew into the window, but quickly gained his footing, flew to the paperbark Maple, and subsequently went on his way.

Right outside my window: by the time I saw and grabbed my camera, the camera got so excited that it couldn't focus. Sharp-shinned or Cooper's Hawk?... not distinguishable. I'm assuming he flew in for a quick bite to eat.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wild Salmon, Kale, and Sweet Potato Fries

It is as easy as one, two, three. What can be better for you than grilled wild Alaskan Salmon, sauteed Kale, and baked sweet potato fries and that can be prepared in under 30 minutes?


We enjoy the simplicity of grilling salmon: coat the fillet with a little extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with lemon pepper, and maybe even a little extra freshly ground pepper. Grill, and always be certain to not overcook.

Sauteed Kale

First, I will admit to having taken it out of the freezer. Pounds of kale were harvested from our garden this fall, cooked and frozen in pint and quart-sized containers for moments such as this. You can go here for the recipe.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

1 large sweet potato
Extra virgin olive oil
garlic powder
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Peel the sweet potato; cut in half lengthwise and each half again lengthwise; then cut into wedges. In a medium bowl coat the potato wedges with oil, sprinkle with the paprika, garlic powder and salt and pepper (according to taste). Using your hand, mix well.

Spread the sweet potatoes out on a baking sheet with spaces among them. Bake until they are tender and browned, 15-20 minutes. Check with a fork after 10-12 minutes.

If you enjoy wine with your dinner, a Pinot Gris would serve up nicely.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Best Garden Blogs

If you have not had an opportunity to visit Best Garden Blogs, then you must. Anna of FlowerGardenGirl created this site to help you find quality gardening websites on the internet by state, zone, and expertise. And tomorrow is an extra special day as she launches her new online garden magazine Toil the Soil.

The first issue is FREE and once you see this beautiful piece of work she has created, I am certain you will want to subscribe for the full year; but hurry, tomorrow is the last day you can sign up for all 12 months, and it is only $20.

February’s issue is all about spring– with seeds, benches, potting benches, potting sheds, spring blooms, azaleas, valentines, mud boots, gloves;

– potagers, kitchen gardens, greenhouses, vegetables;

– Chickens...

To see what other wonderful topics are in store for the entire year and for further information, go HERE and sign up now!

Don't you think it is appropriate that Anna has launched her magazine on Valentine's Day? What a sweetheart! Thank you Anna!

PS: you might even find an article by yours truly in this issue.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Organic Elite Surrenders to Monsanto

I just happened upon this article by Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association and am appalled by its content. And the US Department of Agriculture is in agreement? Who out there is concerned about our food source and safety?

The Organic Elite Surrenders to Monsanto: What Now?

By Ronnie Cummins Jan 27, 2011

"The policy set for GE alfalfa will most likely guide policies for other GE crops as well. True coexistence is a must." - Whole Foods Market, Jan. 21, 2011

In the wake of a 12-year battle to keep Monsanto's Genetically Engineered (GE) crops from contaminating the nation's 25,000 organic farms and ranches, America's organic consumers and producers are facing betrayal. A self-appointed cabal of the Organic Elite, spearheaded by Whole Foods Market, Organic Valley, and Stonyfield Farm, has decided it's time to surrender to Monsanto. Top executives from these companies have publicly admitted that they no longer oppose the mass commercialization of GE crops, such as Monsanto's controversial Roundup Ready alfalfa, and are prepared to sit down and cut a deal for "coexistence" with Monsanto and USDA biotech cheerleader Tom Vilsack.

You may continue with the article here...

And when you finish with that, here is a more recent update.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Seeds and Seed Exchange

One of the very best things about blogging and being a gardener is the information we share with one another, but another very best thing is being able to exchange the seed from our gardens. Since last fall I have mailed a number of you heirloom seeds that were saved from our summer vegetables.

A most recent exchange was with Meems (Gardening in the Boroughs of NYC), and these are those I selected from her collection and received this past weekend: Melting Sugar Snow Pea, Chinese Mustard Greens and Cayenne Pepper.

Would you look at the lovely little seed envelopes she made from seed catalogs, and here are instructions. Now that is clever and a great idea. Thank you, Meems.

PS: I still have heirloom tomato seeds, beans, hot peppers, cantaloupe, mizuna, tatsoi... should anyone like some.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sunrise, Sunset

This morning's sunrise

Last night's sunset

Be sure to visit SkyWatch Friday
for beautiful skies around the world

Sunrise, sunset

Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days

Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers

Blossoming even as we gaze

~ Fiddler on the Roof