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We’re getting excited! Our primary growing season here in Florida is nearly upon us. We are hard at work prepping the raised beds, earthboxes, and updating the aquaponics system. We’ll be sharing what we learned from phase 1 ...
We’re getting excited! Our primary growing season here in Florida is nearly upon us. We are hard at work prepping the raised beds, earthboxes, and updating the aquaponics system. We’ll be sharing what we learned from phase 1 of our aquaponics in an upcoming post as well as introduce you to phase 2. In the mean time, we wanted to share our fun “Potatoes In A Barrel” project. It’s simple enough that you can do it at home as well. Of course we have incorporated an aquaponics twist to our project just to experiment a little. 4 Steps Simple! Step 1: Select and prepare your barrel. We chose a 55 gallon food grade barrel. 55 Gallon Drum Cut the drum in half to create two planters. Although you could just remove the top of the barrel to create one larger planter.The trade off would be a longer growing process with a lot more potatoes in the end. Marking the center of the barrel. Cut barrel. Drill plenty of drainage holes in the bottom. Potatoes like moist soil, not soggy. Drilled drainage holes. Step 2: Plant your potatoes. Fill the bottom of your planter with approximately 6 inches of soil. I would suggest a good potting soil with something to keep the soil loose and help with water control. Some people suggest a peat moss-like soil amendment. In our case we wanted to try growing things without soil, so we are using a mix of perlite and vermiculite. We will provide nutrients for the plants via water from the aquaponics system. Added 6″ of potting mixture. Next plant 3-4 seed potatoes just under the surface of your potting mix. You can obtain seed potatoes from either a nursery, buy them online or start your own. I would recommend staying away from grocery store potatoes as they are sprayed with a chemical to reduce sprouting. To sprout your potatoes before planting, put them in an open top paper bag, and place the bag in a cool light room. Ensure the bag is not in direct sunlight. When planting your newly sprouted potatoes you can cut them into 2 inch slices to increase the number of plants. Plant the side with the most sprouts facing up. In our experiment we used German Butterball Potatoes and cuttings from a friend’s sweet potatoe plants. Planting sprouted potatoes. Water your plants daily to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Step 3: Adding more soil. When your plants are between 6 to 8 inches tall, it’s time to add a layer of your potting mix. You will want to add about 4 inches of new mix to cover approximately half to three quarters of the exposed stems and foliage. Moisten the mix. As the plants keep growing add more layers of soil till your potting mixture is nearly to the top. Growing Sweet Potatoes almost ready for more potting mix. Step 4: Harvest Time! After approximately 10-12 weeks of growing or your plants flower and leaves start to yellow, it’s harvest time. Dig carefully down through the top layer of potting mix to confirm your potatoes are ready. If they are dump the whole planter onto a tarp or spread out plastic.Harvest your potatoes and put 3 to 4 in and open paper bag to sprout your next crop. Remember to save your soil for reuse. We are trying both a normal potting soil mix as well as the perlite/vermiculite mix to compare the results. We are looking to contrast the volume of potatoes put out as well as the easy of harvesting and recapturing growing media. Potatoes in traditional potting soil. Potatoes in Perlite / Vermiculite mix. And as a fun add on, we decided to try carrots as well. The only thing we did different was to fill the planter nearly full. We will not be adding any potting mixture to this container. All of the containers we are using are being watered by the high nutrient water from the aquaponics system. Tiny baby carrots. We’ll keep you posted as this experiment progresses. ©Steamy Kitchen Recipes, 2013. | Permalink | No comments
about 11 hours ago
I have a secret...I'm totally intimidated by the thought of making cupcakes so I've never made them before! Yes, me who bakes cookies EVERY week has never made a single cupcake in her life. NOT ANYMORE! I knew that the only way to face m...
I have a secret...I'm totally intimidated by the thought of making cupcakes so I've never made them before! Yes, me who bakes cookies EVERY week has never made a single cupcake in her life. NOT ANYMORE! I knew that the only way to face my fears was to start making cupcakes but where do I begin? I thought about using a store-bought cake mix and icing but that seemed like cheating. I knew I didn't want to make a dozen cupcakes either because I can't easily take them to work like cookies. After MUCH Googling, I found a recipe that makes only 2 cupcakes. (Actually I found several but this seemed the most promising!) So over the weekend, I decided to embark on my cupcake-making mission. First, I sprinkled the frosting with yellow sprinkles for a fun summer look. Next I dropped some pink food coloring into the frosting and sprinkled some hearts on top for a very cute lovey dovey look. They both tasted the same, sweet and more sweet, and I must say that I'm very proud of myself! There will be lots more cupcake-making practice to come until I find perfection!
about 11 hours ago
On the dinner plate, Chicken has been the reigning king of fowl for far too long. I’ve been asking my meat market to stock a more diversified fresh poultry section, but apparently, I’m the only fool asking for such. Any poult...
On the dinner plate, Chicken has been the reigning king of fowl for far too long. I’ve been asking my meat market to stock a more diversified fresh poultry section, but apparently, I’m the only fool asking for such. Any poultry other than chicken and ground turkey gets banned to the frozen foods department: quail, duck, goose and turkey. (Guinea fowl, partridge, pheasant and pigeons can be had but only on special order). I’m on a quest to lay off chicken for a while and explore some of the “other poultry”- both in the kitchen as well as on our homestead. While it’s a little too early to talk about the 20, 18, 17 duck eggs that we’re incubating (they’ll hatch this week), our plan all along is to raise our own meats. Oh, before any of my readers freak out, no we haven’t cooked Duckie Momo or Nibbles. Both of them are on the “protected list” and are considered our pets.  The past two weeks of recipe testing were devoted to taking one of the most elaborate Chinese dishes and creating a no-fuss, simple recipe that anyone can make. Have you ever tried one of China’s most celebrated dishes – the sublime Roast Peking Duck with its crackling, crispy skin served in a fluffy Chinese steamed bun? It’s a complicated, multi-step recipe that involves air-drying the duck, blowing the duck to separate the skin from the body (essential to get the crackly-thin skin), pouring boiling water over the duck to tighten the skin, and roasting the duck while hanging (the duck, not you). If you’re interested, Serious Eats has an easier version. I wasn’t interested in getting my version of the recipe to match Peking Duck, but rather to create a recipe that we could build on and that any kitchen novice to tackle. I distilled the dish to just 3 main ingredients. 1) duck 2) green onion (scallion) 3) bun made with a brilliant secret ingredient Prep and hands-on cooking is less than 1 hour. (The duck will take longer in the oven, but it’s inactive, hands-off babysitting) Roasting the Duck The original Peking Duck is slathered and basted with a sweet/salty liquid of soy sauce and honey. I opted to simply season the duck with salt and pepper. Why make it any more complicated than than, when the duck itself has such incredible flavor? I’m using our outdoor wood-fired grill from Memphis Grills, which acts as our outdoor oven. Yes, it’s wood-fired! We use 100% hardwood wood pellets that fuel the grill. It’s cleaner and healthier than charcoal and gives everything we cook a natural wood-fired taste. You can roast your duck in your oven or out in your BBQ grill.  The most foolproof method of cooking duck is low and slow to keep the meat moist and tender — and then finish off with a blast of high heat to crisp up the skin. Green Onion Goodness In Asian cookery, green onion (or scallion) is used more than just for garnish. Raw green onion, cut into very thin, long slivers  and soaked in ice-cold water adds curly crunch texture! Plus, soaking it in water mellows out the spicy/harsh flavor of raw green onion. Give it a try. Here’s a more in-depth post on how to do this as a garnish. In addition to curly-crunchies, I also minced some of the green onion with salt and flash-cooked with smoking-hot cooking oil to make “Scallion Oil.” It’s easy. It takes 5 minutes. Cheater Chinese Steamed Buns Okay, get ready for my secret ingredient. Prepared dough! This is a trick I learned from my Mom. A can of prepared sourdough biscuit dough creates light, fluffy, pillowy steamed buns! All you have to do is roll out the dough discs into ovals and fold over. Steam for 8 minutes. Done. The only thing missing now is the Sweet Chili Sauce, which you can make yourself, purchase (try finding Mae Ploy brand) or use purchased sweet plum sauce. Roasted Duck with Chinese Steamed Buns Recipe Video ***  Smoked Duck with Chinese Steamed Buns
about 12 hours ago
About Uncommon Goods UncommonGoods is an online marketplace offering creatively designed, high-quality merchandise at affordable prices. At UncommonGoods, we believe that creativity and the expression of individuality represent two great...
About Uncommon Goods UncommonGoods is an online marketplace offering creatively designed, high-quality merchandise at affordable prices. At UncommonGoods, we believe that creativity and the expression of individuality represent two great human treasures. We have set out to create a business that makes uncommon goods accessible to everyone. About the Artisanal Bamboo Salt Chest Variety may be the spice of life, but you don’t have to book a flight to indulge in the exotic when you can take any dish on a globe spanning taste tour with this gorgeous, gourmet sampler. Featuring 24 sprinklings from around the world, this artisan set is the definitive gourmet salt collection. Each hearty pinch is contained in a lovely mini glass jar and sealed with a hand-milled cork stopper. The entire set is displayed in a stunning bamboo and glass display case affixed with stainless steel hardware. Whet the appetite of any food fanatic when you present this delectably diverse collection of international dashes made for memorable meals and unforgettable finishes. Included in this Giveaway (1) Artisanal Bamboo Salt Chest (approximate value $125) How to enter this giveaway Please fill out the entry form below. For good contest karma, like Uncommon Goods on Facebook and sign up for their email newsletter! ©Steamy Kitchen Recipes, 2013. | Permalink | No comments
about 13 hours ago
Join the Food Gal and Joyce Goldstein For a Berkeley Event I couldn’t be more honored to have been asked to help host an upcoming event with legendary cookbook author and chef, Joyce Goldstein. Join us for a conversation, 6:30 p.m....
Join the Food Gal and Joyce Goldstein For a Berkeley Event I couldn’t be more honored to have been asked to help host an upcoming event with legendary cookbook author and chef, Joyce Goldstein. Join us for a conversation, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 17, at the Marsh Arts Center in Berkeley. It’s all part of Litquake, [...]
about 18 hours ago
  Randall Grahm, the visionary behind Santa Cruz’s Bonny Doon Vineyard has always followed his own path. When Chardonnay dominated, he fostered a thirst for lesser-known Rhone varietals. When he opened his tasting room, it was...
  Randall Grahm, the visionary behind Santa Cruz’s Bonny Doon Vineyard has always followed his own path. When Chardonnay dominated, he fostered a thirst for lesser-known Rhone varietals. When he opened his tasting room, it wasn’t in the faux Mediterranean style so en vogue, but a most quirky spot adorned with spaceships. Now, leave it [...]
4 days ago
If you know me, you know I LOVE pink so of course, I had to enter Dynamic Duo's Get Your Pink On Challenge. Also along with some super cute Pink Heart-shaped Sugar Cookies!
If you know me, you know I LOVE pink so of course, I had to enter Dynamic Duo's Get Your Pink On Challenge. Also along with some super cute Pink Heart-shaped Sugar Cookies!
5 days ago
Want to know a secret?  When I planned to make this dish there was a small part of me that imagined this might end up in the compost bin, uneaten.  Earlier in the week when I visited the farmers market the fennel bulbs looked so crisp an...
Want to know a secret?  When I planned to make this dish there was a small part of me that imagined this might end up in the compost bin, uneaten.  Earlier in the week when I visited the farmers market the fennel bulbs looked so crisp and fresh that I couldn’t resist picking up […] [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
5 days ago
  After hosting a cooking demo in August at Santana Row in San Jose with Chef Bradley Cenyowa of Pizza Antica, he had me intrigued. Responding to customers’ needs, Pizza Antica — which has four locations — had begu...
  After hosting a cooking demo in August at Santana Row in San Jose with Chef Bradley Cenyowa of Pizza Antica, he had me intrigued. Responding to customers’ needs, Pizza Antica — which has four locations — had begun to offer a gluten-free pizza crust. It can quite challenging to get the texture just right [...]
6 days ago
We liked Lorenzo Migliorini before we met him. Before we even set foot on Italian soil. If his emails were a day or two late, he always apologized, saying he'd been busy "working out." (Later, we realized he'd just meant "w...
We liked Lorenzo Migliorini before we met him. Before we even set foot on Italian soil. If his emails were a day or two late, he always apologized, saying he'd been busy "working out." (Later, we realized he'd just meant "working," but we preferred the mistranslation.) Lorenzo is a private chef, caterer, market guide, and deli owner in Tuscany. He comes from a long line of Tuscans, all of whom have lived within a 15 mile radius "forever." I look outside when he tells me this, at my dad who's here from New York, at my brother who's here from Boston, at my husband and kids, here with me from California. I tell Lorenzo, "It's not like this where I'm from," and I'm both sad and glad as I say it. I'm hanging with Lorenzo as he cooks in the kitchen of the house we're renting. My stepmom spluged on this treat for us all, figuring, rightly so, that on day two of our trip we'd just as soon eat at home as go to a restaurant as a big group.  The large windows are open and a breeze floats in. I watch Lorenzo work. He sears a veal loin on all sides, sprinkles it with salt, and adds wine, which bursts into controlled flames as he tips the skillet. He covers the pot, allowing the meat to braise slowly while he sets to work on the sauce. From his bag Lorenzo pulls out tiny glass jars, each one filled with a different treasure: pink peppercorns, pistachios, pine nuts, juniper berries. He minces rosemary and sage on a board, adds in the nuts, and transfers it to what looks like a metal fish poacher. In goes the olive oil, the peppercorns, the juniper, some fennel seed, and a big squeeze of orange juice. Whisk, whisk, whisk.  Lorenzo tells me stories as he cooks. "Our grandmothers used to cook the food," he says. "They'd put it on the fire, go to work in the fields, and when they'd come back, it would be cooked."  I think of my grandmothers, long gone, one a teacher, the other a jewelry store owner with my grandfather. "It's not like this where I'm from," I say. There are no screens on the windows. A few bees buzz in. I try to ignore them, failing, but Lorenzo pays them no heed.  "When I was a child," he tells me, "I went to the cemetry once with my mother and stuck my head in a tomb. There was a hive in there. I got stung eleven times." I blink. Eleven times? "Aren't you afraid of bees now, Lorenzo, given what happened?" He laughs. "No," he says. "They can't hurt me now." When the veal is cooked through, Lorenzo transfers it to the fish poacher with the seasoned herb paste. Covers it with foil and allows the meat to absorb the flavors as it rests on the mantel.  He dresses the salad. Composes the antipasti. It's a beautiful plate of food, this starter. Fresh figs he's pierced with rounds of salame, two types of pecorino, marinated artichokes, and arugula simply dressed with syrupy balsamic. He later lays a sheet of braseola over the greens. Earlier in the day, he'd made fresh tagliatelli. He drops it in water and re-heats a sauce from porcinis he's foraged. Soon, Lorenzo carriers the food outside. And we gather. Californians, Bostonians, New Yorkers together, passing food prepared by this charming Italian man, on a cool Sunday night in Tuscany. It may not be like this where I'm from, but for a moment, it's like this where I am. And that's good enough for me.
6 days ago