Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Culinary Experimentation

I'm sure that all four of you dear readers have wondered why the Lady has stopped blogging. Let's just say that I'm not that great at doing routine things other than eating and sleeping. I've been enjoying a summer full of weddings, gardening, beaches, renovating (well sort of) and cooking! If you read the post below, you'll know that the Gentleman and I have been getting tons of fresh local fruits and veggies and I am enjoying preparing. We've been inundated with patty pan squash, peppers, corn, new potatoes and have had happy bellies as a result. After 3 months of marriage, I am learning my husbands favorite foods. The other day he mentioned he loved Hot Pepper Jelly. I have never made or even consumed Hot Pepper Jelly and so on a rainy Monday decided to give it a try for a little surprise-

I must admit, the results have been delicious so far- and have gotten 2 thumbs up from all testers. Canning has turned out to be fun and I'm ready to head on to my next project. Cousin Angie has started making chocolates, I don't think I'm brave enough for that yet. I'll be sure to keep you POSTED on the next adventure...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Community Supported Agriculture = Deliciousness

Sometimes here in Newport News, I hear people say - "There just aren't services or opportunities available here like there are in _____ (fill in the blank with whichever booming metropolis you want). Well, we may be lagging in some areas, but much to my pleasure and delight - I can tell all of you about an experience that the Gentleman and I have been able to take part in, a CSA (community supported agriculture) farm here in Hampton Roads! Clayhill Farms, is a sixth generation family run farm in Suffolk, VA that offers drop-offs points of their locally grown produce all around the area as well as a farmstand out in Suffolk. They offer two levels of subscriptions that you pay for up front to help the farm offset startup costs, and then each week get a huge delivery of fresh produce! The Gentleman and I decided to treat ourselves to this CSA share with some money we got for our wedding, and went in with no expectations.
We received our first delivery this past Saturday and I suppose it was my farming genes I spoke about in an earlier post going to into overdrive that made me so darn excited. A full recyclable sack of maypeas, cabbage, swiss chard, new potatoes, squash and green onions, along with a smile, recipe and helpful advice from farmer Jan made my first pickup awesome. Our goal is to eat everything that comes in the sack during the week. Theortically we will increase our veggie intake and pick up some new favorite foods along the way. Our bodies will hopefully appreciate the effort. I can't wait to see what comes on Saturday.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Missing in Action

So this lady has been a little pre-occupied since I blogged last. I moved (same town, different house) and got married (awesome man, best friend) since my post in February and am finally feeling that between tons of thank you notes and tending my new yard - a little posting wouldn't hurt. Be on the lookout - the Lady is back in action.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hateful Puppy destroys phone..

So this dog looks pretty cute right? Guess again - monster in a puppy body. She took it upon herself to select her mother's brand new Envy 2 out of it's safe location (hidden behind the sofa) and gnaw on it until it transformed from extremely important piece of equipment that allows Mommy to function, to a mangled piece of black plastic.

Mommy now realizes that really she is to blame for leaving Monster unattended - however you'd think that after a year of good home training the puppy clearly knows acceptable chew items and unacceptable chew items. Certainly Father and Mother have spent enough money on cute, squeaky, fuzz filled, joymakers that a cold hard $325 dollar cell phone should be at the bottom of the chew list.

Maybe Mommy will try and embrace the day in a cloistered environment of only a land line.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Look what the wind blew in -

Disclaimer: Rant full speed ahead.

So, in my adult job, I've got two feet firmly planted on the world of retail. This used to require excellent customer service. Crucial elements for any sales person include, but are certainly not limited to, establishing a report with your customers, "May I help you,?" at the bitter minimum a smile and acknowledgment of guests that are currently in a position to keep your company afloat or to keep you in a job.

Why is it that we now promote and hire people who are inefficient, impolite, unhelpful, and generally terrible in the customer service arena? I can think of a few exceptions of places I'm generally always happy to support because they make me feel like they appreciate the hard-earned money I am spending on their watch. Chick - Fil- A and Trader Joes top my list of places that I can 99% of the time say - it was a pleasure to shop/or do business here. Walgreens and Food Lion are at the bottom of the barrel.

Why do we as consumers allow this behavior? I don't consider myself to be a curmudgeon, nor do I need to be coddled by every sales person in the building. I've seen examples of poor management left and right and up and down, and I just don't understand how it got to be this way? What is the solution? As a general rule, I like to support local and family owned businesses and restaurants instead of the big box stores, but sometimes I don't or can't. Sometimes their customer service is just as notorious as Abercrombie & Fitch.

What gives?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Spring Fever Pics

Here are a few pictures from the seeding project

Monday, February 9, 2009

Today is my favorite day of the winter. The day I begin starting my seeds for the spring/summer season wins hands down over Christmas, Valentines and Groundhogs Day. Something inherent knows when it's time, I don't keep track of it by calender but I always seem to get it done within the same week every winter. I should add that this is generally way too early by most people's standards, but clearly I do not care about seed package guidelines. Sowing the herbs, vegetables and flowers that will begin the new season fills me with such excitement - the hardest, darkest days of winter are behind us now. The daffodils and lily of the valley greens start to poke out in the yard and a cursory inspection of the other foliage in the yard reveals buds and new growth.
I was born in the spring and the time of sprouting and blooming is so figurative in my life. Many of my ancestors spent their entire lives toiling in the dirt not only to feed their families, but as some sort of sustenance. Cotton, tobacco, corn and peanuts are all rooted in my history and I can't help but wonder how much of my need/desire to sow are innate. I have the luxury of experimentation and time that my forebears did not.
My journey begins with a trip to the garden center, this year it was Lowes. I've tried several different methods of seeding - the first year I started my crops in random antique teacups that I set around the kitchen - although it was attractive, storing all of those cups during the off season was a pain and you can easily waste a tremendous amount of peat or potting soil getting started. This year I purchased a 72 pellet germinator for a whopping $6.97 that has already saved time and space. I have started basil, cilantro, dill, parsley, cantaloupe, cucumber, eggplant, pepper, Roma tomatoes, Supersweet tomatoes, foxglove and zinnias. I'm going to make a second planting in a week or two - I'll keep you posted and try to add some photos.