Thursday, June 12, 2008

Finding a wedding spot, spring harvest, grass fed beef

We decided to get married on June 21st......about 2 weeks ago! I have never done anything this last minute in my life! Don't worry though, I'm already planning for a party next year. My parents were already visiting that weekend for graduation, so we figured if the Shryocks could come too it would be a perfect, small ceremony with just the 6 of us. Almost everything has worked out for planning how to spend the day. We originally wanted to have it at the Washington Arboretum, but it turns out that Seattle only allows one wedding per day per park. And of course considering it was 2 weeks away, that spot was taken. Surprisingly Discovery Park wasn't taken, so we decided that would work and hoped for the best before we went to check it out. At 534 acres , it is Seattle's biggest park with amazing views of the Puget Sound, the Cascade and Olympic Mountains. Maybe it will be sunny so we can see these spectacular views.

Now that school is pretty much over I had some time to work in the garden today. We planted two types of fava beans this year, one for shelling and one for eating fresh. Unfortunately we lost our garden journal and can't remember which side is which. I just decided to harvest what seemed like the smaller, more delicate beans and see how it goes. Last year I used our one meal worth of fava harvest to make a gnocchi dish with fava beans and roasted peppers. This year we will be able to do more experimenting because I dedicated a whole bed to them. They are so easy to grow and help the soil by fixing nitrogen.

Fava bean recipe # 2 (2008). I'm going to make this for dinner tonight.

Lemon-Basil Risotto With Greens and Fava Beans (adapted from a NY times recipe)

1½ pounds fava beans in their pods
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
5 tablespoons butter or oil or a combination
3 shoots spring garlic or 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
4 shoots spring shallots or 4 shallots, minced
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 bunch greens (chard, kale, collards)
½ cup grated shepherd's basket or pecorino cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
25 basil leaves, shredded
1 tablespoon minced lemon balm leaves or 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

1. Remove fava beans from pods. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and submerge beans for 1 minute, then drain and chill in cold water. Slit translucent skin of each bean and discard. Test a bean for tenderness: if hard, simmer for 2 to 8 minutes, until tender. Cover and refrigerate until needed, up to 2 days.

2. Pour broth into a saucepan, bring to a simmer and keep warm. Place a heavy-bottomed pot on stove. Divide butter or oil, garlic and shallots between the two pans.

3. Place Dutch oven over medium heat and sauté garlic and shallots until translucent. Add rice and stir for 2 minutes. Add wine and lemon zest and continue stirring until all the wine is absorbed. Begin stirring in the broth, one ladleful at a time, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding the next. Meanwhile (after about the second ladleful of broth), place skillet over medium-high heat. Stir until garlic is light gold. Add greens and sauté 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

4. When most of the broth is incorporated, taste rice; it should be creamy with a slightly firm center. Remove from heat and mix in cheese. Cover and allow to rest for 1 minute. Meanwhile, return greens mixture to medium heat. Add favas and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir just until mixture is warm, then remove from heat.

5. Add half the basil to greens and mix gently. Stir remaining basil and lemon balm or lemon juice into risotto. Place a portion of each on plates and serve immediately.

Todays harvest

Our first artichokes! Hopefully we get to them before the aphids.

I really wanted to grow fennel bulb this year, so I' m hoping it keeps getting needs to be at least tennis ball size at the base. Seattle gardeners seem to have mixed results with getting the bulb to get big enough, depending on the amount of sun we get.

Feverfew is a medicinal plant from Europe that is used for treating a headache, fever and arthritis.

I finally learned to plant peas at the end ofMarch and despite the 40 degree weather we're having we are going to have a decent crop of snow peas!

Since we started eating a little bit of meat, our favorite has been grass fed beef burgers. We decided to eat meat for many reasons and I feel very strongly about only eating meat from animals that lived healthy lives and were treated humanely. Cows are designed to eat grass, not corn or other makes them sick and wastes the resources it takes to grow the grains. Also grass fed beef is a good source of omega 3 fatty acids, which are also found in fatty fish. The problem with eating this fish is that we are depleting our oceans and the problem is getting worse. The best place to find 100% grass fed meat is the farmers market or from a local farm.

Now that we are animal eaters we have been on a search to find all of the restaurants that serve this type of meat. The Lunch Box Laboratory in Ballard opened recently and serves upscale fast food. There are many choices of cheeses, sauces, and meat for the burgers. They also have a choice of onion rings, tator tots, thin fries, thick fries and sweet potato fries. They have a vegan falafel option that looked really good, but today for lunch we shared a beef burger with no cheese or sauces ( I wasn't feeling adventurous) and I had sweet potato fries and Ben was in heaven with his tator tots. It was good, but a little bit too greasy.

Ari had a few bites and was impressed

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