Friday, January 30, 2015

Farmers' Market Favorite: Collard Greens Pesto



Let's just be clear about this up front.
Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy, and traditionally consists of crushed garlic, basil, and European pine nuts blended with olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano, and Fiore Sardo. Source: Wikipedia
We've hijacked the classical pesto and now anydarnedthing can call itself a pesto it seems! Sundried tomato pesto, arugula pesto, mint pesto, mushroom pesto. We use all kinds of nuts, oils, herbs, seasonings. We toss them into a blender or processor or whatever we use to whirl these types of things together, we let it hum on the kitchen counter, pat ourselves on the back, and then, ceremoniously, we're all, Voila! Pesto! 

Well, no. Pesto is basil, pine nuts, parmigiano reggiano, garlic, and olive oil. You don't even have to call it basil pesto, because that's redundant. Pesto IS basil. 

Those are the rules.

And now I'm going to break them.  Almost every last one of them. I. am. incorrigible.

I wear quite a few hats these days, or aprons, if you will. One of my favorite roles to fill is that of Guest Chef (and marketing coordinator, and photographer, and content developer, and, and, and.....) for the Texas Farmers' Markets. A few weekend mornings a month, I have the pleasure of teaching market shoppers how to make the most of the foods in season and available at their weekly market. I arrive with NOT ONE IDEA of what I'm going to prepare-- I base the demonstration fully on what is available at the market that day.

Recent themes have included winter salads, bisques, soups, stews, and these few weeks leading up to the big game, healthy snacking.  We're calling it Super Foods for the Super Bowl. In fact if you're in the Austin area, well come on out!

We even tossed a little with the raw vegetable noodles our Market Sprouts made. It was fantastic!

Last week we made quick work of snack pizzas with wood-fired pita bread, coated with this Collard Greens Pesto, with toppings including Organicare Farms ham, Kitchen Pride Mushrooms, B5 Farms Tomatoes, and Brazos Valley Cheese. Stick them under a hot broiler until browned and DONE. But more on those snack pizzas another day.  Today, it's all about the pesto.


  • One bunch fresh collard greens, trimmed and de-stemmed (Johnson's Backyard Garden)
  • 2-3 healthy-sized cloves garlic, peeled, crushed (my pocket.  What? You don't carry garlic? What are you going to repel vampires with? You should give this some thought. Emergency garlic. It's just the smart thing to do.)
  • 1/4 c pecan halves (San Saba Pecans, Yegua Creek Pecans)
  • 1/2 c grated smoked gouda cheese (Brazos Valley Cheese)
  • 2 stems fresh dill (Johnson's Backyard Garden)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (Texas Olive Company)
  • salt, pepper, and lemon juice (optional), to taste
Pulse all ingredients in a blender or processor, gradually adding olive oil, until smooth. Correct seasonings.

Learn more:

Hey friends! Come out and see me at the Cedar Park Farmers' Market this Saturday, 10-12noon, and the Mueller Farmers' Market this Sunday, 11am-1pm.. There's a lot more where this came from! 


Thursday, January 15, 2015

It's the 2015 AWARDS SEASON
Let's Go to the Movies with Oscar!



Sometimes, I do things other than cook, eat, garden, and photograph.  Though you wouldn't know it from this blog.

Sometimes I watch sports. Sometimes I travel. Sometimes I play with makeup. Sometimes I observe (from a middle-aged distance) fashion. One day, I'll share all of the non-food related topics over on this developing blog right HERE. It's a hot mess of construction right now.

Today is not that day. TODAY, I'm itching to talk about my favorite winter season--not post-season football, not basketball, not hockey-- AWARDS SEASON.

And the granddaddy of all of the awards, Oscar himself, has announced his nominations for 2015 JUST THIS MORNING!  I've got to get a move on. The 87th Academy Awards will be televised on February 22, 2015. I have a long list of catching up to do!

Below, find the trailers for all of this year's Best Picture nominees. The Academy chose to nominate only eight films for the ten category slot, leaving out a few that probably ought to have made the cut. But my ballot was lost in the mail, it seems.

For a complete list of nominees, see the list, following.

American Sniper


Birdman


Boyhood


The Grand Budapest Hotel


The Imitation Game


Selma


The Theory of Everything


Whiplash



Below, find the full list of nominees. I've seen the ones scored through, and look forward to 4 weeks plus change of rushing through viewings of those remaining. What have you seen? What is your early favorite? Let's DISCUSS!


BEST PICTURE
American Sniper
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Selma
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

BEST DIRECTOR
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Alejandro G. Inarritu, Birdman
Wes Anderson, Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher

BEST ACTOR
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher

BEST ACTRESS
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Reese Witherspoon, Wild
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Marion Cotillard, 2 Days, 1 Night

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Edward Norton, Birdman
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
Robert Duvall, The Judge
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Emma Stone, Birdman
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods
Laura Dern, Wild

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
American Sniper
The Imitation Game
Inherent Vice
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Birdman
Boyhood
Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Nightcrawler


The second batch of categories, for me, is not as much must-see viewing as it is like-to-see. Documentary, Foreign Film, and Animated Features often are seen at home, but keep an eye open for local theaters that run special showings. In Austin for instance, Violet Crown Cinema is advertising, coming soon, a viewing of all nominated animated shorts, and action shorts.


BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of the Princess Agua

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Ida (Poland)
Leviathan (Russia)
The Liberator (Venezuela)
Tangerines (Estonia)
Timbuktu (Mauritania)
Wild Tales (Argentina)

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
"Everything is Awesome," The Lego Movie
"Glory," Selma
"Grateful," Beyond the Lights
"Not Gonna Miss You," Glen Campbell...I'll Be Me
"Lost Stars," Begin Again

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
Mr. Turner
The Theory of Everything

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Citizenfour
Last Days of Vietnam
Finding Vivien Maier
The Salt of the Earth
Virunga

BEST EDITING
American Sniper
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Whiplash

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Birdman
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Ida
Mr. Turner
Unbroken

BEST SOUND EDITING
American Sniper
Birdman
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Interstellar
Unbroken

BEST SOUND MIXING
American Sniper
Birdman
Interstellar
Unbroken
Whiplash

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
Into the Woods
Mr. Turner

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
Interstellar
X-Men: Days of Future Past

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Inherent Vice
Into the Woods
Maleficent
Mr. Turner

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
Aya
Boogaloo and Graham
Butter Lamp (La Lampe au Beurre de Yak)
Parvaneh
The Phone Call

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Joanna
Our Curse
The Reaper (La Parka)
White Earth

BEST ANIMATED SHORT
The Bigger Picture
The Dam Keeper
Feast
Me and My Moulton
A Single Life

So tell me about your movie life. Are you a fan? Do you wait for video? Do you have a favorite movie, actor, director, this year?  Did it/he/she/they get snubbed? And does this mean no PittJolies on the red carpet this year?



I can't even imagine.....

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Tips for Tuesday
In the Garden: January

Dorothy, we aren't in Texas anymore.  January finds me in Colorado, a very chilly winter wonderland. 
Travel Notes: Though we're here to talk about gardening in Zone 8, travel along with me by photo all the way up in Zones 4 & 5-- beautiful, frigid and frozen Colorado. By the time this is published, I'll be back in Texas, and above freezing, at least during the day.
Though it's January-dreary and cold, cold, cold in most of the country, Spring, for many of us, is really just around the corner as far as gardening goes. Just as you get the last boxes of holiday decorations stashed away, it's time to prepare for the gardening year, ahead.  

We can expect peas and asparagus early, and those spring greens for which we'll clamor in a few months, need to be in the ground as early as this month or next.  

Today, we'll take a look at the next few weeks of what and when to plant in Zone 8.  For information on planting dates for your particular region, consult this chart to determine the zone in which your garden grows, and then adjust the following to-dos accordingly.  

Wherever you find yourself in the gardening calendar, it's time to get ready for a new growing season. Create a garden plan to help organize chores and planting schedules. Sharpen, oil, perform preventative maintenance on garden tools. Pull out pencil and paper and start mapping out what will go where, considering companion planting, sun and wind exposure, and weather forecasts. In January, the year's garden is a tabula rasa, a blank slate, much like the Colorado landscapes I'm enjoying as I type-- blankets of pristine and untouched snow, and a little planning now will go a long way in creating an abundant harvest in the months to come. 
The beginning is the most important part of the work.--Plato.  And Mom.

 In the Garden: January

Fertilize Fertilize asparagus, strawberries, daylilies, iris, pansies and roses. Use compost, manure or a complete fertilizer.

Water Water everything well before a freeze, but avoid overwatering.

Transplant Plant bare root and container grown roses, shrubs, trees, groundcovers and vines. Move hardy seedlings outdoors. Divide and transplant perennial herbs and summer and fall blooming perennial flowers. 

Prepare Soil Add compost and/or fertilizer. Till deeply. Test soil (forms available at the Extension Office). Check winter mulch and replenish, if needed. Stockpile leaves for mulch and composting throughout spring and summer.

Lawn Care If lawn has a history of brown patch problems, treat with a labeled fungicide late in the month. Repeat treatment in 3 to 4 weeks, if needed.

Diseases/Pests to look for Check for mealy bugs and for scale on houseplants. Need a plant problem identified? Bring a sample in a ziplock bag to the a County Extension Office near you.

Wolf Creek Pass, Colorado
Things To Plant In January

Flower Plants Alyssum, Butterfly Weed, Calendula, Candytuft, Cornflower, Dianthus, Daisy (African, Michaelmas and Painted), Gaillardia, Liatris, Edging Lobelia, Nasturtium, Ornamental Cabbage and Kale, Pansy, Phlox paniculata, Snapdragon, Stock.

Flower seeds Ageratum, Alyssum, Balsam, Bluebell, Calendula, Candytuft, Cleome, Coreopsis, Cornflower, Delphinium, Echinacea, Feverfew, Gaillardia, Gayfeather, Gerbera, Hollyhock, Hyacinth, Larkspur, Lobelia, Lupine, Nasturtium, Phlox, Poppy, Queen Anne’s Lace, Petunia, Snapdragon, Sweet Pea, Sweet William.

Bulbs Allium, Alstroemeria, Amarcrinum, Canna, Crinum, Dahlia, Daylily, Gladiolus, Hosta, Hyacinth, Spider Lily (Hymerocallis), Liriope, Monkey Grass, Rain lily, Society Garlic, Tigridia, Tulip

Vegetables Start tomato, pepper and eggplant seedlings indoor under fluorescent lights. Early—Mid Month: asparagus crowns
Mid—Late Month: Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Onion sets, Peas, Spinach

Herbs Garlic chives, Horseradish, Parsley, Chervil

Fruit Bare root or container grown pecans, fruit trees, grapes, berry bushes

Beautiful Boulder, Colorado,

Bundle up, friends!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tips for Tuesday
In Season: December


Eating in season saves money, provides optimal nutrition, and supports local farmers. In North America, find many of the vegetables, fruits, nuts, meat, poultry, and seafood, below, in season, and in markets, for the month of December.

Vegetables
beans (south) + beets + bok choy + broccoli + broccoli rabe + broccolini + brussels sprouts + cabbage + carrots + cauliflower + celery + celery root + chard + collard greens + cucumber + grapefruit + fennel + leeks + lettuce + mushrooms + mustard greens + parsnips + peppers + potatoes + pumpkin + radishes + rutabagas + salsify + scallions + snap peas + spinach + squash + sunchokes + sweet potatoes + turnips

Fruit and Nuts
chestnuts + cranberries + kiwi fruit + oranges + pecans + persimmon + pomegranate + tamarillo + tangerines


Meat & Poultry
duck + goose + partridge + pumpkin + pheasant + quail + rabbit + turkey + venison 

Seafood
clams + crab + mussels + oysters + scallops

And a couple of great links, with maps, charts, and interactive resources, to keep yourself, and those you love, eating well:
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