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heidih

eG Foodblog: heidih (2011) - A slice of life in the South Bay of Los A

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re:Penzeys. We went in Santa Monica on Thursday so we could use the coupons they sent us( any half cup jar for free). I gotthe Vietnamese Cinnamon and Fox Point. They also gave us 2 magnetic stickers. Love People, Cook them good food.

I planted a dwarf meyer lemon tree on my balcony.It has tons of flowers. I hope next Winter I'll have lemons.

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Those are oranges? They look rather yellow.

You don't have problems with birds trying to eat the fruits when they're small? My parents have been having that problem.

I think the only close up I posted was of the grapefruits. Birds are not a problem with citrus at all. The villains are 'possums, squirrels, and raccoons with anything soft! Even with the stone fruit like the plums, nectarines and peaches it is minimal as to birds but the critters are quite busy at night. Birds do go for the "cheeks" when the stone fruit gets that rosy cheek- if the fruit was any good I would use netting, but they are old trees and not worth the drama.

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Agh! No fair! Do you preserve any of the bounty or do you mostly eat it as it comes? If you've got stuff growing all year it might be hard to come up with a time to use the preserved stuff. That's what we do in Portland when it rains for 8 mos :rolleyes: .

The use of what is abundant is something I will address. Using what is there versus buying something has become a challenge that I take seriously. Stay tuned :biggrin:

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I am going to check out for today. Tomorrow we will head to a small farmers market that I have been faithful to for years. My favorite vendor was an elderly Japanese woman who had a little table with very small quantities of her items. In strawberry season her fingers would be stained fuschia along with the dirt cracks. She picked them in the morning before she came. I treasured every berry. She is no longer there unfortunately. I miss her spinach too. That type with the thick pointy wrinkly leaves. I am a vegetable fiend.

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YAY !!!!!! A South Bay blog ! In some ways, I know that area even better than Long Beach, since I actually spent more TIME there when I was working in Torrance ! I have been at that feed store a million times....they were my regular source for wild bird seed when I was still feeding the birds (before the thug pigeons took over).

The first Thai food I ever ate was at Thai Tiffany on Lomita Blvd. This is going to be so sweet !

There is such a marvelous selection of food outlets in that area, and influences from all over. Go Heidi, I'll be watching with GREAT interest and GREAT nostalgia.

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Lovely kitchen and garden, Heidi! And I didn't miss the tub of gochujang in your fridge either. :laugh: Looking forward to your blog very much.

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In the midst of a crazy, absolutely unneccessary winter snow blizzard here in Manitoba, I so needed your blog from sunny California! The splash of sunshine in your first kitchen shot, the grapefruit tree, the views from your kitchen windows all provided the warmth and sunshine that's missing from my windows this weekend. Thanks, Heidi, and I'm looking forward to the week!

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I am, as the British would say, gobsmacked by your photos of your house and garden as always. Now I can't decide whether to fly directly to your house for a week or two, or to cut you completely out of my life because of soul-destroying envy. :raz:

Do you at least have a mat you stand on in front of your sink?

I have two thriving calamansi seedlings in my front window now in the great frozen north...although not as frozen as Brandon Manitoba...and if I live another 25 years I might get a crop.

Blog on, Heidi. I hang on your every word. :wub:

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Fantastic, Heidi. I am so looking forward to this blog. I'm glad you didn't do this during the depth of winter, I don't think I could have looked at those gorgeous garden pictures without sinking into self-pity.

I hope you'll give us a glimpse of some of the small local grocers and restaurants I've heard you mention. I seem to recall a Japanese bakery and an Indian grocery that had me envious.

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Heidi, as someone who lives directly North of you, (way North of you where it is still snowing), I have a question about the citrus trees. How long do they bear fruit? Do they have a short season like peaches and pears or do they provide fruit for months?

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Heidi, as someone who lives directly North of you, (way North of you where it is still snowing), I have a question about the citrus trees. How long do they bear fruit? Do they have a short season like peaches and pears or do they provide fruit for months?

Citrus are magical. The fruit can stay on the tree for months and not lose much quality. The tangerines being the exception as they start to lose juiciness. If you pick most of your fruit there will be a gap between crops. The citrus trees were fully loaded around January. I invite neighbors to come and pick, although in this area many of them have their own trees. I would pick the tangerines and perhaps freeze the juice and preserve the peel in some way but the fruit is way high up and if you use a picker with them, they open up at the stem attachment and you have to use them right away. I may borrow a picker this week and see what we come up with. Will be posting some pics in a bit of the trees.

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YAY !!!!!! A South Bay blog ! In some ways, I know that area even better than Long Beach, since I actually spent more TIME there when I was working in Torrance ! I have been at that feed store a million times....they were my regular source for wild bird seed when I was still feeding the birds (before the thug pigeons took over).

The first Thai food I ever ate was at Thai Tiffany on Lomita Blvd. This is going to be so sweet !

There is such a marvelous selection of food outlets in that area, and influences from all over. Go Heidi, I'll be watching with GREAT interest and GREAT nostalgia.

Thai Tiffany is still around (on Pacific Coast Highway at Narbonne). My neighbors like to walk over on the weekend and do the buffet.

I have been going to Lomita Feed since I was a girl. You can't beat the smell of fresh alfalfa hay.

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The bread dough looks happy and is going into the fridge now.

dough.JPG

I picked this baby just now (hazelnut next to it for size reference) Hopefully it will ripen by the end of the week and I will make some guacamole and a salad.

avocado.JPG

My landlord grew the tree from a pit a few years ago. Everyone told him he was a doofus and that it would never bear fruit, that he needed to get a grafted tree from a nursery. Well a number of months ago I noticed some little pea sized fruits and we ended up with 10 of the behemoths. There are a number of huge avocado trees in the area and we have lots of bees so I think whatever pollination had to happen was facilitated by nature. Of course the pit is proportionately sized but there is lots of creamy sweet flesh. I have had one. Two fell and were cracked so I gave them to a neighbor having a party the next day, and several went to the landlord.

Here is the little tree.

avo tree.JPG

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I was just going to ask about avocados. I am so jealous! They are my very favorite food and I would love to have my own tree. Maybe I'll just go ahead and plant the next pit and keep my fingers crossed.

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This is the tangerine tree

tangerine.JPG

The grape vine is looking good. I get really nervous when I prune it way back and it looks like life will never happen again.

grape vine.JPG

The baby grapes are thriving

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As I mentioned in this topic last year, the grapes are seedy but flavorful. I am looking forward to making the syrup again. Looking out the window at the thriving vine I know it will require some pruning in a while and it will be time for stuffed grape leaves.

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Here are just a few more garden shots before I head up the hill to the farmer's market.

Milkweed to attract the monarch butterflies

milkweed.JPG

The only open area that I could vegetable garden in has horrible soil with big chunks of concrete mixed in. I adopted a solution I saw on line to use kiddie pools as instant raised bed gardens. I find them on the curb all the time because people throw them out when they spring a leak. I have four of these going now.

pool gardens.JPG

And just because they make me smile - one of the 40 roses bushes. The first massive flood of blooms is waning and they are getting ready for the next explosion

roses.JPG

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Here are just a few more garden shots before I head up the hill to the farmer's market.

Milkweed to attract the monarch butterflies

milkweed.JPG

I don't understand. Which are the milkweed? Could your milkweed look that different from ours in East Central Ontario?

Just looked at the googled images and apparently it can and does...

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Back from the farmers market. It is hot today - expected high of 82.

Coming into the market

FM.JPG

One of the stands I like- it was already 11 am and hot so things are a bit picked over and droopy. They label "organic" but do not display a certificate

organic.JPG

Japanese greens

Japanese.JPG

The best Fuji apples and super nice farmers

Fuji.JPG

The Crepe stand - they do a rip roaring business with the young families - serving both sweet and savory crepes. I caught them in a lull

crepes1.JPG

crepes2.JPG

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More Farmer's Market

Chicken on the grill

chicken.JPG

Inside view of the big kettle corn vat- he does about 50 to 75 pounds of seed at this small market- every little kid is clutching a bag

kettlecorn.JPG

The most unusual mandarins I have ever seen. They are really bumpy. The flesh is a deep orange, firm, and very sweet. I think I prefer a bit more tang in mine, but I can see these as a hit

mandarins.JPG

I picked up some opaka from this fish vendor

fish.JPG

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And more FM

These guys are so charming - their comments are peppered with French words - one would buy from them without tasting the product. Their product is fresh and lively and lovely. I could live off an assortment of it in the summer along with fresh corn and tomatoes.

babaguy.JPGbabaproduct.JPG

I could smell these deep red strawberries from several stands away

berries.JPG

This stand sells citrus and specializes in large bags of juice oranges. They are at the edge of the market so that people can just drive up and have them loaded into their cars

oranges.JPG

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This is another of my favorite stands. The young woman is very enthusiastic about their produce. A few years ago she got me started on cooking fat green beans until just tender in salted water and dipping them in mayo mixed with a bit of soy. Her grandmother served them to the kids as a snack. The beans are not trimmed so the water does not seep in. Clever, simple and delicious. In the first shot she is trying to whisk a stray plastic bag away so as not to detract from the vegetables.

sweetie.JPG

sweetie2.JPG

This stand has a fantastically fresh and varied selection of produce focusing on "Asian" ingredients. They farm in Fresno and came down to Los Angeles early yesterday for the Torrance Farmers Market, and stay the second day for this one. That is one long drive. I am in awe of the hard work these farmers do.

Asian1.JPG

Asian2.JPG

Asian3.JPG

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I plucked off some wild fennel the other day on a walk and that scent memory has been haunting me. I kept thinking about the fennel fronds with seafood. Since I picked up some fish at the farmer's market, I decided to stop at a trail well off the road and gather some for tonight.

fennel.JPG

I also stopped to get a shot of one of the big old avocado trees in the 'hood

bigavo.JPG

And here is the haul from the market

haul.JPG

The list is green garlic (kinda mature- I missed the baby ones), green onions, little beets with their tops, cauliflower, fava beans (also on the mature side), a bag of baby kale, Japanese cucumbers, a container of taboulie from the cute guys, as well as something they called a layered dip consisting of feta, sun dried tomato, pesto made with walnuts, parsley, basil, oregano and olive oil. It is really good.

I have been munching on tastes of the taboulie (very fresh, light and heavily weighted on the parsley end), and the "dip" with some broken bits of baked pita. I will admit to also picking up a passion iced tea from Starbucks to carry me through the outing.

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Thanks for the therapeutic trip to the market, from chilly, grey Chicago. Those greens and daikon from the Asian farmers look amazing. :wub:

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Thanks for the therapeutic trip to the market, from chilly, grey Chicago. Those greens and daikon from the Asian farmers look amazing. :wub:

The greens really are wonderful. I have to rein myself in at the market. That is one of the things I wanted to discuss on this blog - using what you buy. There was a time when I would come home with so much produce that there was no way to use it to good effect before it lost its vitality. Today I am committed to using everything I purchase. I will be posting a list of my proposed dishes in a bit. I usually cook or prep everything within a day or two. A super fresh well cooked vegetable reheated is better to me than a geriatric vegetable prepped well past its prime. PLUS - there will a farmstand to visit in the next day or two, as well as some vibrant produce at some Asian markets.

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The first teaser shot showed iced tea in a vintage pitcher so I thought I would address my iced tea. It is my all day beverage. Several years ago I picked up a brewing method from a friend that is simple and works for me. I nuke a cup of water in a pyrex measuring cup and then add 4 to 6 tea bags, depending on the type. Today I used 3 bags of the Safeway brand black tea and 2 of Bigelow Perfect Peach. I let it steep for a few minutes, again depending on the tea, pour into the pitcher and fill with water from the tap. As summer approaches I will have different flavors going in pitchers. Anyone an iced tea fiend?

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