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Showing posts from January, 2017

2017 Master Plan: The Driveway Quadrant

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It’s that time of year again! We’ve been a little slower than usual to get the garden plan done this winter, as we’ve been driven to distraction by current events. Still, we finally finished that work today, and leek and onion seeds have already been started. Here’s hoping that the spring will bring the goodness and light of things growing and being nurtured in your corner of the world, too.

Starting in the center C, you can see dots that indicate the spots where PVC pipes will be inserted for pole beans. We’re doing the bean house again here! Around the outside is a traditional companion planting of squash and pumpkins. 
Across the top of the top bed is a long row of trellises cucumbers, both pickling and slicing. We’re going all in on these this year, since last summer’s drought left us with just one cucumber for the whole season. Behind the cucumbers will be bell peppers, hot peppers, eggplant, head lettuce, and a few succession plantings of cilantro.
To the right is a large block…

Cold Winter, Hot Toddy

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Hot toddies have come my way several times this season, and I must say, I’m a fan. I wrote about them for a client in an article about warm cocktails, and discovered then that there are lots of ways to make them. In general, think of the tea you’d drink to soothe a cold, and add a shot of liquor – you know, for comfort. 
I was served one at a Christmas party that was lovely. It was, I think, based pretty closely on Jamie Oliver’s hot toddy recipe, but with the addition of some ginger to the general mix of honey, lemon, and spices. 
This week I have been struggling with a killer head cold, so I took the opportunity to make a hot toddy for myself. 

First, this hip retro mug was originally Kirk’s grandmother’s. She was a nurse, and everyone on her floor had one – the back has her shift hours.
Next, I made this with a mug of herbal tea, a slice of ginger, and a wedge of lemon studded with a couple cloves. The tea had a fair amount of stevia in it already, so I skipped the honey. In the f…

New Year’s Dessert

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Like just about everyone I know, we were not at all sorry to kiss 2016 goodbye last night – and we had fun doing it! Friends in town had a great idea to have a traveling New Year’s house party, where each family hosted a position of the meal (apps, dinner, dessert, and champagne toast) and we all walked from house to house throughout the evening to change venue (and, truth be told, get some fresh air and a breather from all the rich food and drink!).
It was a lot of fun, and I highly recommend it if you live within walking distance of your friends!
Our job was dessert, and we found two recipes we liked a lot. First, mulled wine:

For this we followed Jamie Oliver’s recipe using Beaujolais Nouveau, though I skipped the bay (because we didn’t have any) and added a cardamon pod and a few slices of ginger instead. What you see above is the initial syrup making process, which lets you get all the flavor without burning off all the alcohol by heating all the wine at once. 
Hot mulled wine w…