Pressure Cooker Pozole

pot all together

Pozole is an ancient pre-Colombian corn stew, made with corn kernels that have been soaked in mineral lime. The soaking makes the skins slip off and frees up niacin in the corn to be absorbed by the body. It’s much more nutritional than regular corn. You’ll find it as hominy in the Mexican food aisle of the grocery and it is pureed into a paste to make the masa that fills tamales. I was interested in making a recipe that I’d found on Serious Eats for a pressure cooker chicken enchilada sauce. However, I didn’t want to go through the handwork of making the enchiladas and I was in a stew mood. Check out that recipe and click onward to see how I pulled it together.Read the rest of this post…

Busted Hands, Plenty of Updates

Hey! It’s been a little while since I updated, but I’ve got a lot going on. I ended up falling while stupidly trying to stomp on a box and sprained my left wrist, so I’ve been hobbled in the yard a bit. No matter; plenty is afoot!

  • I put sugar snap peas and favas in the garden because they love this cool weather. The peas are climbers so I’ll be building a collapsible portable trellis and sharing that with you.
  • My cider apple trees arrived and I planted them one-handed. There’s so much that goes into planting them – they’ll be there for thirty years – that I almost felt overwhelmed with decisions. I fell back on my mantra – perfection is the enemy of a planted garden. They’re in the yard and waiting to be written about.
  • I innoculated the root, us of one of the trees with something special, but you’ll have to wait to read about that…
  • I planted twenty asparagus crowns in the yard today, using my new tiller to open up a spot in the front yard and work in compost. I’ve had a decade-long dream of growing asparagus and from high school to college to law school, I never had the time to wait three years for a crop. This is big for me.
  • I’ve got San Marzano tomatoes and shishito peppers planted in pots and sitting in the cold frame. Why start there? The seeds like a temperature over 70 degrees and the cold frame keeps them warm enough so that they’ll germinate, even in April.

How to handle spring rains

weather forecast

I’m eager to get things in the ground, but this week isn’t really complying. Look at that forecast – look at that rain! April’s rains can have a way of halting the best-laid plans of gardeners. Let’s talk about what you can do during those rainstorms to advance your outdoor plans.

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Picking sunny planting spots

pick a better spot

That’s the cold frame again, pulling itself out of winter. I thought I did a good job of siting it in the yard – I even took a time-lapse video to see where the sun usually is. Alas, I put it about 8 feet east of where it should have been. The result is that it loses out on a lot of early-morning sunlight. You can plainly see this in the photo, too. The bed of garlic right in front of it is getting light, while the shadows on the frame look comically abrupt.Read the rest of this post…

Tsukemono, the quick pickle: an ideal snack

cukes up close

I made schnitzel and potato salad for dinner today (no writeups, I was in a hurry!) and I wanted a clean, tasty side dish. Well cucumber salad is a common German/Austrian side dish and it’s typically made with sliced cucumbers, dressed with vinegar, salt and dill – sometimes olive oil, too. I wanted to riff off of that, especially since I lacked dill. Enter tsukemono (skay-moh-noh) (correct me on my pronunciation, I know my Japanese-speaking wife is rolling her eyes)Read the rest of this post…

Update on the Mushroom Farm

mushroom update

Constant obsessive misting has resulted in larger mushrooms. It’ll be fun to try these but sad to cut them down in a few days when they look ready. Expect a fun recipe then (ok, butter and garlic and greedy devouring). Fascinating how they change from blue to brown. My reading has turned up pink oyster mushrooms, but they apparently prefer conifer wood. We’ve got none of that down here, so these enchanting and alien blue specimens will do.


Back to the Roots Mushroom Growing Kit Review

Mushroom box

Awhile back, I picked up this oyster mushroom grow box from the local supermarket. I got it started and it’s been showing some good results, so it’s time to review this. I’ve seen the Back to the Roots kit for sale for at various stores, but you can also pick it up on Amazon. I’ve long been fascinated by mushrooms and I love hunting for them. Occasionally, I have dreams where I find money on the ground .They’re my favorite dreams. The closest I can reliably get to that in real life is spotting garish orange chanterelles or alien morels on the forest floor. So naturally, I was interested in getting that experience in my own kitchen.Read the rest of this post…

Long-braised Pork with Classical Winter Herbs

finished pork plate

I thought we were out of winter, but the 20 degree nights have me covering our flower beds with blankets and bringing in the container plants. It felt right to use woodsy winter herbs in this classical pork braise, then. I cooked spare ribs the other night and trimmed off the section of meat that is attached above the ribs – the rib tips. This section has meat running about eighty different directions and it’s shot through with pieces of cartilage. I don’t cook it with the ribs because it never cooks quite the same as the rest and let’s be honest – nobody is really fighting over that section at dinner. Americans don’t eat cartilage. Off it went into the fridge to be braised over the weekend.Read the rest of this post…

Quick Meal: White Bean Soup with Spring Greens

mizuna closeup

Thanks to my cold frame, I’ve already got a bumper crop of spring greens. The mizuna is going wild in our recent warm and sunny weather, so it was time to trim it out and make something with it. Mizuna is a Japanese green, very delicate with a peppery bite. It’s milder than arugula and at this phase, so tender. It helps that it grows in a wind- and rain-free paradise in that cold frame. Read the rest of this post…