For people who eat very few packaged foods this would seem like an easy task. I went into it confident that it would not be a problem. On day three we ran out of coffee. . .oops! It was either cheat or go without coffee. . .any guesses on what happened here? A couple of days later I was in Costco and headed for the produce section intent on getting avocados and onions. I got them in the cart and then remembered the challenge. . . (more…)
Category Archives: New Orleans
Don’t get me wrong, I like eggplant. I use it in various Asian dishes, grilled (used as a sandwich filling), in salads and still I have more eggplant. (more…)
I haven’t written anything for weeks. Mornings have been spent doing things to get us settled. Afternoons have been hot and humid and are officially designated as nap time.
The heat and the bugs have pretty much eaten or killed the garden. So there isn’t much material there except that we have a lot to learn about gardening in this environment!
The kitchen is still unfinished. No counters, no cupboards, no dishwasher or garbage disposal and no window covering. It is hot and primitive. Before we do cupboards, counters, dishwasher etc we need to lay a sub floor and tile the entire kitchen and pantry. We have had 4 different attempts to get the work done and so far not one of them have panned out. Very frustrating! We finally decided we should do it ourselves. Scheduled to start next week. All of which is the the long way of saying that it is pretty hard to write about food when your kitchen is inadequate and you aren’t cooking very much.
Last week I finally got a little smart and bought a new appliance: an electric pressure cooker. We need to be able to cook quickly and with as little heat as possible. If you read this site you know that I am a long-time fan of pressure cookers. The problem with them in this environment is that the steam heats up the kitchen. So I finally started looking at electric versions. (more…)
The funny thing about gardening is that once you figure it out in one place there is NO guarantee you will be successful (at first) in a different place.
Some of the tomatoes are being eaten by something – not cutworms, but something I have yet to identify. There are bugs and worms that I have never seen before! So far no aphids like the ones that drove me crazy in Prescott last year. Instead we have Assassin bugs (good), beetles (bad) and and other very strange insects like wasp moths. The insect identification book is getting heavy use.
The soil here is amazing; river bottom mud. Really sad to not be using it this year. Until we have it tested it is unwise to plant food. Katrina left a lot of chemicals in the ground, so until you have your own soil tested you can’t know if you have any contaminates like lead or mercury. And if there are contaminates we need to know what they are! For this year we have contented ourselves with grow beds.
The one thing we have planted in the ground was milkweed. Someone told Meggan it would attract Monarchs. She bought some and planted it. No Monarchs! We started to think that milkweed and Monarchs were an urban legend. And then. . .the Monarch’s appeared. We have quite a collection that fly around all day. They put on a real show! The Monarchs have been joined by Black Swallow Tail and a couple of other ones I can’t identify.
Here is a picture of the milkweed and a Monarch – just look for the circle; I know it’s hard to see but you will get the idea. They are so beautiful!
Meg and I went to the nursery over the weekend and invested in $70 worth of butterfly and hummingbird attracting plants to create a “butterfly garden.” They are all planted neatly along the front fence.
So far – no butterflies and no hummingbirds. Either another urban legend or a lesson in patience. . . we’ll see.
My head is still spinning – over the last two months we packed up our home in Prescott, drove ourselves and the three cats 1650 miles across company and have more or less moved into to our new home. What an incredible amount of experience crammed into a few weeks!
We got here and walked into an exquisitely painted but very bare kitchen – the only item in it was the lonely little utility sink.
We think that the kitchen is the most important room in the house so we started there; literally started from the ground up. We were told that there was a lovely long-leaf pine floor under the tile debris. Which is why David spent the first day we were here sanding of the glue and junk off the floor. When he was done we saw that there was indeed beautiful wood. Beautiful wood badly in need of repair and loving care. Decided to delay immediate work and instead lay down cheap vinyl to protect the from any further damage. We will tackle this in the fall when it gets a little cooler!
Once we had a decision on the floor we moved in a fridge, a toaster oven, microwave and electric frying pan. Went out and got a gas grill and on the way home stopped at Farmer’s Market. While there we scored some corn, tomatoes, onions and greens. Later that afternoon we had our first home cooked meal in a couple of weeks: roasted corn on the cob along with grilled onions and tomatoes. I don’t think I have ever enjoyed a meal more!
We were in business. Although I have to say that cooking with no counter space is a trick. David set up a rolling island, a couple of folding tables and put together a rolling storage rack. We gleefully refer to the process as camping in our own house. Very comfortable camping all things considered!
While we camped for the next couple of days, we feasted on a big salad made from fresh greens, tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers. Grilled and enjoyed eggplant, squash, tomatoes, carrots and potatoes. Even if we were camping it still felt downright luxurious to eat simple, home prepared fresh veggies.
At the end of the first week we had the most exciting day of all — the day we got a real gas stove and range!! I immediately made pasta sauce, started soaking black beans and dug out some rice.
The other exciting thing was the gift of a triple bowl 44 inch sink. Now all we need is something to put it on. That is next weeks project: find kitchen cabinets and the counter top to get installed asap. Did I mention that in the meantime we are just happy to be eating real food again?
One of the wonderful things about New Orleans at this time of year are all the Farmer’s Markets. You can find ones on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. We are taking full advantage! Today we got 10 lbs of “seconds” tomatoes and a bunch of peppers and onions so tomorrow we make salsa!
Life should be calming down a bit in the next couple of weeks. I will finally get to start posting on a regular basis. I have missed writing more than I thought possible. So watch for new posts. Lots of nutrition news, garden updates, cooking tips and our other NOLA adventures.
And there, my friends, you have it – the NOLA adventure update! Stayed tuned!