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Everything posted by Wayne

  1. What a difference a few weeks makes. Nice to see everyone's efforts and results. Here are a few photos from this morning: One of the garlic beds (and some rhubarb to the right). This bed clockwise from bottom left: Bok choy, spring onions, mixed Romaine varieties, tarragon, white onions, Swiss Chard, kale, collards, Black Valentine bush beans and finally 4 Scotch Bonnet pepper plants. The other garlic bed is visible to the left. This bed, again from bottom left clockwise: white onions, Tatsoi, Portugese Hot and Cherry Bomb peppers, Thai basil and French breakfast radishes. The tomato cages are useless for tomatoes but great for supporting heavily laden pepper plants. Summer squash (cucumbers and yard long beans are also popping out): Other beds are looking good as well. Tomorrow I'll be picking up my tomatoes as well as 2 hard to find hot pepper varieties. Most of today's haul: rhubarb jam, radishes and asparagus. A mixed greens 'thinnings' salad and some herbs not shown.
  2. Wayne

    To Pea or not to Pea

    I'm only growing sugar snap peas these days and because of my limited production most of them get eaten on the way back into the house or raw sliced into a salad. Frozen baby peas are my go to. I grew up with canned peas and cannot even look at a can without feeling queasy. Same for canned creamed corn. Staples of my childhood .
  3. This is my most recent lacto-fermented pickle: starting with 2 lb. sliced jalapenos, 1 each of a red and orange bell pepper and 1 large head of garlic in a 6 %(w/v) solution and fermented at approximately 65 F. The first photo is day 0. Peppers are a nice bright green, the brine is clear and the jar's contents are resting on the bottom. This photo is day 7. Note the color change and the presence of bubbles indicative of CO2 evolving. Also notice the contents are floating away from the bottom and the brine is getting somewhat cloudy. This is the day 10 photo. The fermentation has slowed down considerably and the peppers have a pronounced sour component to their taste. CO2 production has slowed down and the brine is very cloudy. The jar will go in the fridge overnight to cool and be ready to start consuming tomorrow.
  4. A little late but my suggestion would be Lapin a la moutarde (rabbit braised in white wine and Dijon mustard).
  5. Glad you posted it. I know I will have a similar one in the next few weeks and was debating whether to post it or not. And yes it will become dinner.
  6. I also doubt they would get away with it. I also believe they're too oblivious, self absorbed, self righteous (whatever fits) not to try. On an unrelated subject kudos to your blog. Started reading it a few weeks ago. Cheers.
  7. There are a lot of strategies for growing tomatoes and everyone does what works for them. These are mine and they've worked for me for many years. I'm constrained by limited space, want good production that is continuous rather than batch, want varieties that are otherwise not available and will trade great taste for other considerations such as quantity..... This is one of my two setups. I only grow indeterminate varieties, which require a solid support system and periodic maintenance, but produce until frost kills the plants. The supports in the photo are rebar to anchor with bamboo extensions and back anchored to the hedge behind. I'll train each plant to one or at the most two vines. They are six feet but will be extended when necessary (one year I had a black cherry tomato vine that topped the hedge and had to be trained sideways). Since the hedge is south facing I believe it gives me a slightly longer season. The lines in the background are for growing yard long beans and cucumbers. The rhubarb is late but finally showing good growth: And after two weeks the other beds are starting to show green. These are French Breakfast radishes, white onions and kohlrabi. Trust me
  8. I'm still not sure if your pizza is on the stone or on the steel. But if you are baking the pizza with the setup in your OP my guess is there is too much heat from below. Try inverting with the stone below and the steel above, heat the oven, and bake on the stone. The heat absorbed by the steel should radiate down to cook the top properly. Good luck. It's the best pizza since you can control the quality of the ingredients.
  9. I'm inferring from your comments about moving the steel that you're baking the pizza on the steel. I haven't used a steel but have used stone (specifically firebricks) for pizza in both a conventional oven and a gas grill. When using the oven, which is a self cleaning one, I set it at 500 F. and leave it on for 45 min. before putting in the pizza directly on the stone. The setting actually gets the oven to 550 F. It takes about 6-8 min. for the bottom crust to start developing char spots and for the cheese to 50% brown on top (this is using a fairly thin crust from a no-knead 24 hr. ferment dough). It also necessitates a restrained hand with the toppings. The bricks are on the middle rack of the oven. Just speculating, and anyone with experience using steel can correct me, is that the heat transfer from the steel is much more efficient than using stone and overcooking the bottom before the top is done.
  10. I've always heard of this as camp or canoe coffee but some call it cowboy coffee (not too many cowboys in my part of the country) Always made by boiling water, taking it off the fire, throwing in the grounds, waiting a few minutes then pouring in some cold water to settle the grounds.
  11. Not a shortage but a price increase from $0.10 - $0.15 to $0.33 - $0.50 per lime at my local FreshCo.
  12. I love fresh fish however the availability in my area is mediocre to poor. We don't have a dedicated fish market such as SeaCore and Diana's in Toronto (which I'll drop into whenever in T.O.) and the local grocery store offerings are sad. Mostly frozen fillets. Finding whole red snapper or mackerel is a fantasy. The local fishery is Lake Erie for yellow perch and walleye but very seasonal and expensive. Most of the fresh fish I catch myself in season in central and northern Ontario (Georgian Bay, lake and river fishing). Although I prefer cooking and eating whole fish (head and all) some species have to be handled with the most suitable method. In short: Fillet and skin: pike and walleye (not forgetting the cheeks), perch, bass and any large laker or steelhead over 8-9 lbs. Whole: smelt, brook and lake trout under 2 lbs. Not really inflexible rules as, if I had the good fortune to catch one, a whole walleye makes a fantastic roasted whole fish to be picked off the bones. If I can visit my sister in Nova Scotia the availability of fish is outstanding. Either fish freshwater or tap the network of relatives and friends who always seem to know someone. @liuzhou That group probably acts the same way in their home country.
  13. Nice to see everyone's gardening season progressing. I built some new raised beds this spring and had a fair amount of quad mix remaining. Decided to try something new (for me) and covered a square yard of my asparagus patch with 6 inches of the soil. The result: (with apologies for the quality of the photography) I've harvested them as soon as the tip pops out of the soil.
  14. Wayne

    The March of Asparagus

    No photo but I had my first asparagus and chive omelette for breakfast this morning immediately after harvesting. As they say in the MasterCard ads: Priceless
  15. Wayne

    "Kissing Garlic"

    I would agree that the 'garlic' in the article is indeed a variety of elephant garlic. The article states an absence of allicin and that the garlic was propagated by seeds. Neither of these traits are characteristic of garlic but they are of other alliums such as leeks. I once dated a woman who wouldn't touch garlic, or any allium for the matter. It was doomed from the start
  16. We've had some real spring weather for the first time this season and things are moving along: One of the garlic beds: Asparagus just starting to poke through: Chives coming up: Time to get lettuces, beets, peas, kale, collards, spring radishes and onion sets in.
  17. That daikon kimchi looks intriguing. Last season I ended up growing about 40 daikon and was challenged finding enough things to do with it. I'd like to try this. I did check out Maangchi's recipe online and will try it. Did you let it ferment or did you use it as is? Cheers.
  18. Can do. I do a lot of ferments once the garden is cranking out produce. I'll be doing pickling cucumbers, jalapenos, hot cherry peppers, hot sauces and am planning to try green beans this year. Later on it will be daikon, watermelon radish and green tomatoes. I also want to experiment with an Ethiopian recipe I found for fermented collards. I will post photos and comments in the preserving thread. Cheers.
  19. I'll add my $0.02 I've been doing lacto-fermented half sours and full sours for a number of years and the loss of the bright green colour into a dull green is one of the indicators of a progressing fermentation. Chlorophyll's colour is pH dependent and as the pH drops (as the fermentation progresses and lactic acid is produced) the bright green fades to dull olive green. You will lose some of the crunch however this can be minimized by trimming off the blossom ends of the cucumber and adding a tannin source (such as grape or oak leaves) to the fermentation container. I get the same results lacto-fermenting green jalapenos. Sorry to be so long winded. The short answer is they weren't allowed to ferment to full sours .
  20. I've employed a number of strategies to create microclimates to increase my growing season for lettuces including your shade method. I haven't tried misting so I'll give it a go. I've also transplanted established lettuce plant which puts off bolting for 1-2 weeks as the plants re-establish themselves. Got to keep that lettuce happy and productive .
  21. Wayne

    What kind of lettuce?

    I have to agree with ElainaA concerning having a greenhouse to extend the season for lettuce/green growing. I usually grow about 5-10 varieties and can have lettuce from mid-May until the plants bolt and a replant in late summer. Otherwise I'm stuck with grocery store varieties and quality. As with most things I grow I concentrate on what is not normally found in food stores. A favorite are Forellenschuss cultivars of romaine and butterhead. Taste great but it is their colouring that is striking. Both appear in the photo below in a mixed bed (photo from early June last season).
  22. It is with sadness that I read about the passing of Jim Harrison. http://www.cbc.ca/books/2016/03/jim-harrison-author-of-legends-of-the-fall-dead-at-78.html An internationally respected novelist, poet and essayist, he also held a self described obsession with food and wine. His collection of essays "The Raw and the Cooked" is worthwhile reading. Food plays a significant thread through some of his fiction: notably the novella "The Man Who Gave Away his Name" and the "Brown Dog" stories. He was also featured in Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations episode on Montana. I will miss his writing.
  23. I've been growing kale for quite a few years and plan to apply that experience to growing collards. They do have very similar cultivation profiles. Kale can be planted 4 weeks before the last frost date (mid-May in my part of the world) and takes about 8 until I can start harvesting. The trick is to harvest the lowest (most mature) 3-4 leaves from each plant and do so every 5-10 days (depending on the growth of the plant). That way you get the leaves before they get too tough and fibrous and you can continue to harvest until the plant freezes solid . Most of it ends up in the freezer (lots of caldo verde through the winter). By late fall the plants look like palm trees with 2-3 feet of bare stalk with a cluster of leaves on top foot of stalk. I've also had success growing okra (Clemson Spineless (a short season variety)).
  24. I'll add my $0.02 to the above comments. Most grocery stores in my area carry them and have done so for as long as I've lived here. I'll be growing them for the first time this season as their growth profile is pretty much the same as kale and I've learned how to cook them properly.
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