Thursday, January 24, 2008

The AeroGarden

Truly the best gift of Christmas was this AeroGarden from my Mom-in-Law, Connie.

I made my initial "planting" of the gourmet herb garden nearly three weeks ago.

In the seed pods are a variety of basils, chives, and other nice cooking herbs. For 18 hours a day, the grow lights beam onto the little pods, and water courses over the bottoms of the pods, which contain the seeds in a spongy mass. Every two weeks I add nutrient tablets.

Here you can see the basil just beginning to poke up through the label after just a few days.

After the new growth emerged from the label (about a week later), I removed the little plastic cover that acted like a greenhouse.

And, today, I moved the top part of the lamp up to accommodate all the exciting new growth from my wee herb garden. Unfortunately, it looks like the cilantro may be a dud, but everything else is doing very well.

Do you have an indoor herb garden? If so, what are you growing?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Moosewood and Other Fun in Ithaca

Back before the December holidays, John and I drove up to Ithaca, NY, for a tiny getaway. Good thing we bought the Subaru because the drive up there in the sleet and snow was harrowing, to say the least. But, the following day, although the sky was still gray (portending more snow), the snow blanket made everything all the more beautiful.

During the time I had to myself, I vowed I would lunch at Moosewood Restaurant, home to some of my favorite cookbooks. The place did not disappoint me. Because the menu changes every day, I asked my server if I could save mine, and I'm glad I did because I didn't know I'd wait this long to share the story with you.

When I arrived at the restaurant, I was seated right away. It tough to choose between a steaming fragrant soup or a salad, but since I'd decided on an entree, I would have a salad anyway. I selected a fresh, tangy lemon-tahini dressing for my salad topper. It was a delightful dish of organic greens, olives, tomatoes and carrots.

For the entree, I had a mushroom pecan tofu burger. It was topped with the most wonderful, savory caramelized onions and sharp cheddar cheese. It was easily the best tofu burger I've ever tasted.

The service was speedy and attentive, and the atmosphere was just what you'd expect from a college-town vegetarian restaurant -- friendly and lively.

Prior to lunch, I had time to explore the campus of Cornell a tiny bit. Even in the dead of winter, it's a very pretty place. Probably my favorite place was the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art.

It's an interesting building with a wide range of art on every floor, except the 3rd and 4th floors, to which the public has no access. However, there's lots to see from the basement up to the top floor, which has some spectacular views on all sides.

It was nice to be able to walk around the Asian art, turn the corner, and see this

Here's another view

Here you can see one of the region's famous finger lakes in the distance (not a very far distance, actually).

Taking that short trip to upstate NY made me think once again how lucky we are to have so many interesting places to see just a few hours away. Oh, and so many great places to eat!

Have you ever been to Moosewood, or another place that spawned a cookbook (or two) that you use on a regular basis?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Menu for Hope Raffle Winner!

The winner of my prize for the Menu for Hope raffle is Francie Salle! Congratulations, Francie -- you've won a copy of Veganomicon and a six-pack of organic, raw agave nectar.

So, please contact me ASAP so that I can send you your prize. And, thanks for helping us raise more than $91,000 to help the kids of Lesotho, Africa.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Naan Pizza

The past few times I've baked naan bread, John has said that it would make a superior pizza crust. Well, he was right.

Using a pizza stone and cranking the oven up as high as possible, we made these awesome naan pizzas. While they may look a bit white, I assure you, they were seriously tasty and golden brown on the bottoms. But, they were even better as leftovers.

I used the naan recipe from here, and topped the pizzas with my homemade tomato sauce; grated cheeses (mozz., fontina, parmigiana and asiago); oregano; and on mine, soy sausage. They were the best homemade pizzas we've made yet. I'm really looking forward to making them again some time.

And, I promise, just for Adam Kuban of Slice, I will take a photo of the upskirt. ;D

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Back from Utah -- Snow, Snow, Snow

This was a very snowy Christmas in Utah, for a change. On the day John and I arrived, we had to shovel over 10 inches of snow from his parents' driveway (they were away). But the next day at Alta, the skiing was great!

I took another lesson with Terry, a fun instructor who said, "When in doubt, belly button out!" This is Terry.

We skied a few times until my knees gave out, and even then, I went with John to Brighton and read a good book while he skied for a few hours. It was a bit chilly, even indoors in the cafeteria, which by the way, was way too small for the number of people snaked across the thing and back waiting on line for fries and burgers. However, I made the most of it, sat in the sun and watched all manner of snowboarder wipe out on the final slope. Ha!

We tend to go to Alta because it's for skiers only, and it's really a nice place to ski. People are generally kind (except the tourists who do NOT respect the skier's code, especially the part of yielding to the downhill skier) and it doesn't get overly crowded, at least in the morning.

Other than skiing, we spent a lovely Christmas vacation and New Year's with John's parents and sister's family. They're such nice hosts!

John's mom gave my the best present:

The Aero Garden!

I'll be posting much more on that in a future blog item.

But for now, have a good laugh at my silly home movies of the snow we experienced during our vacation.