Life of Megan

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Food This Week

This week, our grocery selection included pork belly confit, pork chops, rib tips, kale, spinach, and oyster mushrooms, among other things. We will also be eating arugula, lettuce, and radishes from our own garden. Woohoo! On the one hand, we eat a ton of pork. On the other hand, we haven't really been eating any other meat. I figure it mostly balance out. We've had plenty of nearly vegetarian weeks, anyhow.

Yesterday, I cooked pork chops and served them with a dijon-cherry-white wine sauce. I served them with asparagus cooked with butter and toasted pine nuts, topped with a little vinegar and some parmesan cheese. We also had a salad of our homegrown arugula with a vinaigrette made with red wine vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, dijon mustard, and a hint of honey, plus salt and pepper. It was all very good, but I think the highlight for me was how well my sauce turned out.

Anyway, moving on... Judson cooked rib tips tonight, low and slow, and finally glazed and topped with a homemade barbecue sauce. With that, we had spinach that was blanched and then mixed with a bechamel sauce.

Tomorrow is homemade pasta with mushrooms, lemon, and white wine.

Later this week, we'll be having pork belly confit burritos and a navy bean and kale soup (finally using some of our parmesan rinds for the broth!).

We are going out with friends one night, and we'll have to go with leftovers or a pantry dish another.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

There's Still Dirt under my Fingernails

Yesterday, when I got home, I wandered around our garden and noticed little red semispheres here and there, hiding under the radish greens. Because we had planted radishes in almost all the blank spaces in our garden to ward off weeds, and because I knew we'd be planting most of our remaining vegetables, I decided to pick a few.

Behold, the first of our garden bounty:

Judson did the same thing when he got home, so together we shared our small bounty of radishes (around eight each) with some butter and salt. This is practically the only way I know how to eat radishes. I thought the French were crazy for liking radishes this way when I was in France in college; now I see that I was the crazy one. Maybe it was the butter, or maybe it was just pride in eating something that I actually grew, but I don't think so. These radishes were delicious. Crisp and flavorful and surprisingly spicy.

Today, the real work began. We headed to the Farmer's Market just as it opened today, picking up vegetables for the week, a genuine porktopia from The Piggery (sausages, chorizo, pork jowl confit, rib tips, lard), and a number of vegetables we needed to start from plants, including most of the herbs we plan to grow, plus tomatoes and tomatillos.

We picked up some tomato cages and bean poles from Agway, and we rounded out our vegetables to plant from the collection at Early Bird Farm, a really cool nursery we recently discovered (thanks, Sue, for recommending it!).

Then we picked radishes, thinned our lettuce and arugula, weeded, planted, and sank the tomato cages. Tomorrow, we'll probably string our barbed wire and thin and support our fava beans.

Here's a little view of our garden:
View from the back corner

Arugula and radishes


Rhubarb, radishes, chives, garlic, lettuce

Endive, kohlrabi, arugula

Peas and fava beans

Tomatillos and tomatoes



Sunday, May 17, 2009

Garden Update

We are one week from the last expected frost date here in Ithaca. Our hearty, cold-weather crops have now been growing for three weeks, and they seem to be doing pretty well. We'd been a bit concerned about our fava beans, parsley, and dill, but it seems those all take quite some time to germinate. The fava beans, in particular, seem to be doing well. Our spinach, arugula, and radishes are all getting their real leaves, which look significantly different from their seed leaves. We just planted a few new things: borage, lemon balm, flowers for our garden's perimeter, among others.

We spent a few hours weeding and thinning yesterday. I don't think I really realized how annoying weeding would be. Fortunately, I got a free pass on a lot of that work so that I could get our lawn mowed before the rain.

Tonight, we're supposed to have a freeze, so we have covered our plants. Judson made a special cover for our little baby melon. Judson actually did a ton of work today, patching areas where the chicken wire was torn (it unrolled that way), filling in holes, planting stuff, removing remaining grass patches, and burying chicken wire at our gate. He even put in a little threshold at the gate.

Next week is the huge gardening push, which means that we can't escape town for Memorial Day weekend and, more importantly, Cornell graduation. Oh well. At least we'll be busy.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What's in Season?

Seems like a lot of people have been asking me what exactly one can find at the Farmer's Market this time of year. According to the wonderful (and free!) magazine Edible Finger Lakes, the following foods are in season in Spring in the Finger Lakes:

Artichokes (someone at work just asked me how to prepare these)
Arugula (yep)
Asparagus (yep, appeared last week)
Beets (always?)
Beet Greens (duh)
Bok Choy (haven't seen it yet)
Broccoli (lies, I say, lies!)
Burdock (haven't seen it, but it's not popular)
Cabbage (true)
Collards (yes)
Dandelion Greens (definitely)
Fiddleheads (yes, but McGee says you shouldn't eat them)
Garlic Scapes (there are some in our fridge)
Herbs (yep)
Lettuce (yep)
Mesclun (that's a green, yes)
Mizuna (another green, yes)
Mushrooms (tasty--we missed the trumpet mushroom guy last week)
Mustard Greens (yes)
Parsnips (yes, but I'm allergic)
Peas: Snow & Snap (still a tiny bit too soon)
Radishes (yes)
Ramps (these are wild leeks, and they're here, and they're awesome)
Rhubarb (yes, witness the pie and the sauce in our fridge)
Scallions (yes)
Sorrel (yes)
Spinach (yep)
Sprouts (never see them at the Market though)
Strawberries (still too soon for Ithaca)
Swiss Chard (that's just another beet green, yes)
Tatsoi (that's like baby bok choy, yes)
Turnip Greens (yes)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Before and After

Last year around this time, I started taking weight loss seriously. I found Calorie Count. I slowly but steadily increased my running. I ignored the Biggest Loser efforts around work and on TV to focus on something more sustainable. And slowly but surely, I lost the weight.

By mid-February, I had lost at least 50 pounds and achieved my goal weight. My BMI is now 23. For my body type, my weight is ideal. I feel good, and I look good. I still have plenty of days where I think I have a big tummy. I wish my face were more oval. I actually repeat a mantra daily that I should be happy with myself just the way I am. I try to see myself the way others see me. And I have to say that I'm more secure with myself than I have ever been. I like shopping now and getting dressed. I think I look cool when I'm out running. I don't mind having my picture taken. I feel sexy.

We all know that we can make little life changes that have great impacts in the long run. Here's a little more proof. Here's what a daily calorie deficit of 500-800 did for me:

Oh, and in case you are as critical of photos of me as I am (unlikely), that is not a tummy pouch on the right--that is me stupidly pushing my shirt out. I think. Yeah, I'm still a little crazy--what can you do? Also, sorry, Dad, that I cut you out of the picture on the left. ;-)