...Growing, Building, Cooking, Preserving, Crafting...

2006 began our urban homestead when I broke ground on a garden, which now includes perennial fruits, flowers, & many vegetable varieties. We dream of solar panels, keeping bees and hens. Until then we'll continue growing and preserving our own fruits and vegetables, building what we can for our home, cooking from scratch, and crafting most days.


Nothing Goes to Waste

Radish Greens
The balance of rain and warm weather has been good to our garden.  Especially the radishes, which are absolutely flourishing right now.  This time of the season I'm typically inundated with lettuces, but because the lettuce I planted this year in the front yard raised is very slooooowly creeping taller, I haven't had such a back log of salads.  The greens we have harvested have been supplemented with radish greens, herbs, and edible flowers.  I'm trying to stay on top of the radish greens which are particularly prolific so I've been chopping and mixing them into just about every fresh dish I prepare.

Millet Salad with Dried Apricots
Makes about 8 side-dish servings

I made this salad last week from one that originally called for wheat berries, which are not in my current eating plan.  You could substitute any grain--quinoa, couscous--even beans.  

2 c. cooked millet (see cooking hint below)
2 c. cooked garbanzo beans (soak 1 c. in water overnight then cook until tender)
1/2 c. packed radish leaves, chopped
1/2 c. dried apricots, snipped
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1/4 c. chopped green onions (or ramps if they're still around)
3 T. flaxseed oil
1 T. lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients (except oil, lemon juice, and seasoning) and mix well.  In a small bowl, whisk flaxseed oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Pour over millet mixture and stir to coat.  Add seasoning, if desired.  Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours.

Cooking Millet:
1 T. oil
1 c. millet
2 c. boiling water

Heat the oil in a 1 1/2 qt. saucepan.  Add the millet; cook, stirring, until some grains have browned.  Add the boiling water.  Cover and simmer 30 min. or until liquid is absorbed.  Let stand 5 min.

Asparagus Ready to Grill
Rhubarb Plum Crisp
Last weekend we had a houseguest, which always gives us an opportunity to explore what's going on around town.  Our neighborhood farmers' market won't start until this coming weekend so we hit one of the downtown farmers' markets to pick up some seasonal goodies for an impromptu dinner.  This may come as a surprise to you but I don't often go to the market seeking out dinner ingredients.  I mean, I usually have a recipe in mind so I shop to plug veggies into the menu plan.  But last Saturday I had no clue what I was going to make for dinner--other than some type of burger.  I bought lettuce, asparagus, and rhubarb and let them take the lead once we got home.  The lettuce didn't make the cut for Saturday night, but it's been the center of our salad bowl all week.  The asparagus was lightly tossed in oil and seasoned with salt and pepper; we grilled it along with our burgers.  The rhubarb went into a gluten-free vegan crisp along with some canned plums from my 2010 larder.  We rounded out the menu with a potato and raw beet salad with mustard vinaigrette and called it supper.  It was all very simple, which is what I'd like to practice more this summer.  After our market jaunt we strolled Brady St. and popped into the newly moved Glorioso's, which was most recently squeezed into a tiny store on the opposite side of this historic street.  Let me tell you, I was in heaven--gluten-free, dairy/egg-free or not.  The first thought that crossed my mind was that I needed to put a return trip on my next staycation itinerary; it would be fun to revisit and linger without anyone's naps or snack breaks to distract me.  Knowing I'd have more fun exploring when I came back, I didn't purchase much though I couldn't pass up the lovely meats in the
deli case.  I bought a little salami and some finocchina (fennel) sausage.  I'd forgotten how lovely these dried, cured Italian meats can be.  They were a perfect addition to a pre-dinner nosh plate next to the requisite cheese curds that we picked up at the farmers' market to let our Chicagoland guest have a sample.
Delicious Italian Meats!
Potato and Raw Beet Salad w/ Mustard Vin.
This weekend holds our first family camping trip of the season.  We're hoping it won't be too buggy or cold/rainy at the state park.  Though I'd tough it out with the weather ANY day if we didn't have to battle the buggies.  And last year we strung a rope on some stakes across our site to keep Vera from running into the road.  We basically told her "do not cross this line" and she easily complied.  This year will certainly be a challenge as I know she's grown more intelligent to figure out that she's not going to get zapped or something if she steps over.  We are camping with other kids, including one who is a bit older and--rumor has it--right at the tattling age.  I'm counting on him to rat all the others out if they disobey.  At any rate, it should be fun and we're hoping for some beach time on Saturday.  We'll be treating the dads (we're camping with two other families) to Father's Day Brunch around the campfire (or more likely the camp stove) on Sunday.  I spent a good amount of time today making Ben's Father's Day gift.  I will have pics and feedback next week.  Can't reveal anything yet because he occasionally reads this blog.  Till then.  

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