marinated kale parmesan salad


Oh you sweet beautiful salad.

I guess not sweet because it's kale. But sweet in the sense of victory... because it came from my garden. After watching only two Youtube videos about how to harvest kale, I felt ready to actually do it. I used to get this awesome kale salad from B. Good that was pure heaven. A large part of the heaven came from the "marinated kale". Thus, marinated kale was the inspiration for this dinner. 

grow baby grow


 Please consider this the Garden Progress Update.

I almost bought a webcam a few weeks ago just so I could watch my garden all day long. So that's just a little hint of how obsessed I am with every little damn flower that grows here. Besides the family contest of "First to Fruit" I'm also just really excited to eat from the yard. I am particularly invested in the snap peas, sweet yellow peppers and the Mexican gherkin cucumbers... the later two of which aren't looking incredibly strong. I'm optimistic.

precious tiny poppy flower


Just last week I was swearing the left third of my garden was a bloomless wasteland. Slightly dramatic but it felt accurate... especially when compared to the bountiful garden that I had imaged and planned. The benefit of being home sick for nearly the entire month of February was that I had plenty of time to plan my vegetable garden and alleged cutting garden.

The downfall of the garden came when a lot of the bulbs were initially out of stock from Floret and then continued when the seedlings did the opposite of thrive. The bright side has always been the sunflowers. So damn easy and so damn hearty. Lessons learned for the future. 
Other bright spots? The Dusty Miller. I love this one for so many reasons. It has a subtle sage color to it and the leaves are almost a little fuzzy. A few weeks after transplanting them in the garden they really took root and have nearly doubled in size. I'm not exactly sure how to treat them like a "cutting flower" but I imagine they look beautifully romantic in almost any arrangement. That being said, they'll probably just stay in the garden all summer because I love seeing them there with their scallop shell row marker.
Then, the unthinkable happened. One of the poppies bloomed over the weekend. Like overnight ... all of sudden ... a tiny white flower appeared out of the middle of nowhere. I think I actually shrieked out loud. I had completely given up hope on them. Despite how weak these seedlings felt, I decided to transplant them several weeks back and just give it a shot. A few more of them suffered some severe blows by the wind (literally).
And while I wouldn't consider these poppies a "success", I am beyond excited by the few blooms that seem to be popping up. On Saturday? One Poppy. On Sunday? Two Poppies. It does look like there will be a few more coming but I do not expect them to look like bountiful, strong flowers on the Floret website. Boo hiss.

Other garden posts to come? My love of geraniums and slate walkways.
Previous posts? Meet my garden. What I planted.

peony season is back


Oh you beautiful little wonder. The peony.

So bright and cheerful. So feathery. So elegant. So lightly fragrant. Also, so damn seasonal.

So sad.

I didn't understand the magic of the peony until probably like 5 years ago. I'm not sure what world I lived in. But peonies are just amazing. The house we grew up in had a semi-circle driveway surrounded by peony bushes. This meant absolutely nothing to me. But I do remember peeking out the living room window curtains and catching stranger ladies cutting our flowers. I had no idea why.

what I planted

I began to plan my garden in February. Yes, February. I wanted to be very intentional with what I decided to grow and I wanted to do it from scratch. No pre-manufactured solutions here. I cobbled together a grow station with lights in the garage. I lovingly selected the seeds for things that I would be excited to see grow.

Not everything was a success. Pretty much all the flowers I tried to grow from seed were a failure - except the sunflowers. This was particularly disappointing because I was so excited about them. I had selected a few options from a west coast flower farm called Floret Flowers. Their Instagram will make you feel like you are living in a pastel pollen filled dream. Maybe I'll try again next year.

meet my garden


I think I read somewhere in the last year that to garden is to essentially have hope or a plan for the future. I fully believe and embrace this. For the past 4 years, my garden has slowly expanded from 1 tomato plant on my fire escape to a garden that my landlord deemed a fire hazard (2013, 2014, 2015). Now, I live in the burbs... and while there are many perks to this, the highest for me is time spent outside... and specifically in the garden.

gnocchi with fiddleheads and lemony spinach


Every so often I make something in the kitchen that delights me to no end. This gnocchi dish was absolutely that - and almost nearly by accident. I last cooked with fiddleheads in May 2013 at a phenomenal cooking class. It might have been one of the best meals ever and so much fun. Since then, I've always wanted to tackle fiddleheads again.

The thing with fiddleheads is... they are super seasonal. So you literally get a few weeks a year - maybe - to play with them before you lose your opportunity. And for the last 3 years I've let that opportunity just skate by... UNTIL last week when I was at Whole Foods during lunch. I saw those curly little delights and bagged a handful before I could think otherwise.

hoisin turkey burger with ginger-garlic green beans


I'll admit that this doesn't perhaps look like the most appetizing meal. But that's my poor work-night, too hungry to care, just feed me now.... photography. I'm not alone in this sentiment. I know it.

But unless the meal is an absolute g-d trainwreck, I'm going to write about it... so that I can make it again. Or learn from my mistakes. When making burgers, I've always let the meat shine and been resistent to add many flavors. I think my burgers end up being a beer, kosher salt, garlic powder, and maybe like two other things. I honestly can't remember. I should fix that.

But you can see rather quickly how different this recipe is from my straight forward burger. There are a LOT of flavors being tossed in here. Plus, they are spicy flavors. I did love the idea of the heavy scallions, cilantro, and lime .... but perhaps will hold back on the cayenne and 5-spice going forward.

Here's how it goes.

(1) Combine ground turkey with 1 T hoisin sauce. Then add in the cilantro, lime juice, cayenne, 5-spice powder, 1/3 of the scallions chopped, half of the ginger. Season with salt and pepper

(2) Preheat broiler to high with the rack about 6-8 inches from the heat.

(3) Shape turkey mixture into 2 patties and place on a rimmed baking sheet. The patties will be about 4 inches wide.

(4) Broil patties until browned and then flip and brown the other side. It should be about 5 minutes each side. Pull from the oven and set aside.

(5) Toasted Buns? Lay buns open flat on a baking sheet ... or just the rack. I went with the rack. Broil until toasty - which is about a minute.

(6) Heat a skillet to medium-high heat and add olive oil. Then add ginger and scallions for a minute or two until it smells nice. Then add beans and garlic. Cook until beans are tender. Probably about 4 minutes.

(7) Assemble! Patties go onto buns, top with a bit more hoisin sauce. Serve with those tasty green beans and a lime wedge.

Shopping List
2 oz scallions
1 oz fresh ginger
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 oz fresh cilantro
1 lime
1/2 lb green beans
3/4 lb ground turkey
2 T hoisin sauce
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 t five-spice powder
olive oil
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