BaltimOregon to Maine

Locavore Cooking with Southern Efficiency and Northern Charm

Posts Tagged ‘cold

False Spring

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The shocking pink flowering quince have blossomed.

This shaggy shrub needs pruning.

Just when we thought spring had sprung, near freezing temperatures plunge us back down again. But apparently that’s typical for Oregon in March. I’m finally learning the rhythm of her seasons.

We had balmy weather this past month, making it hard to fathom the snowpocalypse that descended on our loved ones back East. But then snap! it turns cold here and Mom’s on the phone from Virginia, talking about her beautiful, seems like the upper 60s, spring day.

It’s hard to figure out how unpredictable spring affects one’s garden. Survival of the fittest, right? I was concerned about the rhubarb and strawberries and peas growing most vigorously, so I threw some plastic bags over them. Maybe I’ll build a plastic hoophouse for protection, oh, one of these days. For now, I’m a laissez-faire gardener. So I fitfully sowed tiny carrot, radish, lettuce and spinach seeds, allowing them to come up where they like. With them and the onions, I tend to oversow seeds too tightly together. It’s just so hard to fathom each will become a full-size vegetable. I’ll just have to remember to thin when they sprout. Now if that cold would only kill off those ubiquitous garden slugs I tend to murder almost daily.

The window treatment.

Speaking of cold, we finally got some much-needed weatherization work done on our 1939 house today. I’m most excited about scrapping the drafty aluminum sliding basement windows, which were replaced with much more insulated (and easier to climb out of in case of fire) vinyl ones. We care because we sleep in the room. We also had insulation blown into the attic. I have only kind words so far about Total Comfort Weatherization, which is also supposed to help us with paperwork for all the state and federal tax credits once the work is done.

Lucky to live next to master gardeners.

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Written by baltimoregon

March 10, 2010 at 1:21 am

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Chocolate Chili, with Local Beans, Local Grain

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Kronis Purple and Moon Beam chili beans from nearby Matt-Cyn Farms.

Plus Stahlford Seed's Wheat berries

It’s been wicked cold, windy and usually dry (until today) in Oregon this week. You want to stay huddled under the covers, wear a hat and gloves even in the house when you emerge and eat steamy soup for dinner. So a hearty batch of refreshingly vegetarian soup we cooked up this week. I first made this Wheat Berry Chili recipe from the Ten Rivers Food Web last year. It’s not the most flavorful or unusual chili I’ve ever had, but it’s a great canvas on which I could showcase the locally grown wheat from Stalford Seed Farms and for the first time, locally grown dried beans lovingly raised by the husband-wife team behind Matt-Cyn Farms.

Matt and Cyndie grow a rainbow of 20-plus varieties of  heirloom beans, including the Moon Beam chili ones and Kronis Purple kidney shaped ones that I used in the soup. Another secret ingredient: I substituted some spoonfuls of semi-sweet chocolate chips for the cocoa power the soup’s recipe called for. It’s not that far-fetched when you think of spicy chocolate mole sauces and the fact that most chili recipes feature a tiny bit of cocoa. But I can’t claim credit for the idea. I conveniently heard Nigella Lawson talking up such a recipe on NPR. The chips imbued the soup with creamy flavor that remained subtle, not in your face. Things did get a bit too spicy with the addition of jalapeno peppers I didn’t de-seed enough. It’s amazing how much pepper to pepper varies in heat.

I’ll post the simple recipe here tomorrow, as I’m now nodding off to sleep. But considering the warming pleasure of barley-like wheat berries and dried beans, especially if local farms are selling these crops in your area.

The chocolatey chili.

Written by baltimoregon

December 12, 2009 at 2:30 am

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