California Dreamin'

7:01 PM

I love to read gardening blogs, or any old blog where there's gardening info to be found.  I especially like to read about people like me with backyard gardens.  I love to see how others lay out their garden, what they plant and when they harvest and what they do with it and then hope they have lots of pictures too.  Right now for us, besides the garden chores, it's all about figuring out what to do with the produce.  I love the challenge of finding tasty and healthy ways to use it all.  Every meal, and that includes breakfast, is focused around the garden produce.  Yes, we eat vegetables for breakfast.  A fast meal with our just picked veggies is the best way to use summer's bounty.

During the summer, we try to eat only from our garden, but of course need to buy all the other stuff like dairy, meat, etc.  Today at the grocery store I bought an avocado and some onions, that was it for the produce department.  I preserve the excess bounty, some by canning, some by drying and mostly by freezing.  I have a stand up freezer in my laundry room that is mostly empty now, but will be full by September.  Our garden is completely organic.


The fish looks burnt but it's just blackened.

We picked our first Black Krim tomato of the season, that top slice above.  
 When I took the first bite, I thought, ok, this is why we do all this.



What we're harvesting right now:
tomatoes, green beans, Swiss chard, beets, cucumbers,
summer squash, onions, oranges and all sorts of herbs.
Have I forgotten anything? Don't think so!



The weather decided to show off today.  75 with a wisp of a breeze.
The week will be much of the same, 
supposedly heating up to a blistering 82 this weekend.
Divine.


The garden loves the weather too.  
Soon we'll be picking these gorgeous Japanese eggplant.
I have 8 plants and figure I'll get hundreds of these.
What will I do?




The bell peppers are getting big but I'll wait until they ripen to red before picking,
later this summer.  



I don't know what to say about these two tomatoes that grew noses.





I broke my own rule and made these refrigerator pickles.
In a week when they'll be ready to taste and I'll let you know how they turn out.
I hope this will break my record of making cloudy, soggy, horrible pickles.


Lots of dill and garlic.



Also, my basil started to flower which tells me to hurry up and harvest.
 I cut it back to about half and made 4 logs of pesto to freeze for this winter.
A pesto coin in a bowl of soup in January will take me back to July.
Even with the cutback, I'll still be harvesting the basil all summer.

(7/18, edited to add:  I usually make my freezer pesto a little thicker than usual and scoop it into a zip lock sandwich bag, squeeze the air out and seal and pop in the freezer. I check it in two hours and roll it so it's cylindrical and do that every hour or so until I know it will stay frozen in a roll. Then I double bag it in large zip lock bags and take it out as I need it. I slice it all the way through the sandwich bag and peel off the plastic and in 5 minutes the pesto coin is defrosted. I like this way much better than freezing in ice cube trays, these rolls take less space in the freezer.)






Last week we surprised ourselves and last minute 
took a drive to Napa Valley for lunch and a little wine tasting.



We stopped at an old favorite standby for lunch, Bouchon in Yountville.
They always have a massive floral arrangement when you walk in. 
 I think a tub of red gladioli always looks stunning, don't you?



They are famous for their french fries.
Look what my husband orders when he's away from home!

Next door is their bakery.
It's perfect for window shopping, which is all we did because we went across the street to...


... buy chocolates at Kollar Chocolates
(a candy purchase is mandatory for us day-trippers.)
The chocolates look like little jewels and have jewelry store prices.
  I practically had to scoop my husband off the floor when he heard
the girl ask for $12 for our 6 tiny pieces.  
When he opened the bag I think he half expected to find a diamond among the chocolates.
Or a ten dollar bill maybe.
But, ohhhh, they were good and I would go back again in a heartbeat.



After lunch we took the pretty Yountville Cross Road to the Silverado Trail.
It was hot, in the 90's.  Napa can sizzle in the summer.




We have our favorite wineries but instead stopped at a new-for-us winery,
Miner Winery.  We loved their rose, all frosty and cold, perfect for the heat.



The view from their patio was pretty.
Sigh, I never tire of the California Wine Country.
We've been coming here for almost 40 years and my, has it changed.
There used to be dozens of wineries, now there are hundreds maybe?  Thousands?
I don't know, but it's crowded these days. 
So my advice is to never go on a weekend, it was busy enough on a Tuesday.




But look how pretty!

It was time to head home and I kept busy on the drive with my knitting. 
My new project is Wisdom in white pima cotton.
I'm working feverishly on it so I can wear it this summer.




Stay tuned for my next post.
I've finished my Color Affection Shawl and just need to get some pictures to share. 
I love it.

Thank you for stopping by!

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6 comments

  1. Ohh look at tomatoes noses.. It looks like my big nose..:))
    I always like to look your very nice blog..:))) You have a very beautiful garden.. And I have to say that your fish dish seems so delicious. My daughter is looking your fish meal and trying to cook the same.. She cooks so delicious meals..and she is very curious learning new recipes...
    All best wishes and all happy days...:))

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your blog is so lovely -- fine food, travel, and knitting all in one! :) Thanks for the plethora of pictures.

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  3. ...I have to say, if anything could get me to move to california, it's your blog! life in the bay area is looking lovely.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for sharing! I always enjoy your positive and pretty posts! Inspiring on lots of levels, so very appreciated!!

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  5. So, when you freeze pesto in a log, you just slice a coin at a time when you're ready to use it? (I have basil coming out my ears and have already dried more than I can use...) I'd love to make pesto for the freezer.

    Any tips before I try this?

    Tina J.
    doodle010101@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tina

      I usually make my freezer pesto a little thicker than usual and scoop it into a zip lock sandwich bag, squeeze the air out and seal and pop in the freezer. I check it in two hours and roll it so it's cylindrical and do that every hour or so until I know it will stay frozen into a roll. Then I double bag it in zip lock bags and take it out as I need it. I slice it all the way through the sandwich bag and peel off the plastic and in 5 minutes the pesto coin is defrosted. I like this way much better than freezing in ice cube trays, these rolls take less space in the freezer.

      Delete

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