Sunday, June 28, 2009

Finding My Mojo Again Just in Time for 500 Posts!

It sure has been dead around here the past two weeks hasn't it?

I'm not sure what happened but somewhere between Virginia and home in Connecticut, I think my baking/cooking/blogging mojo got out of the car, decided to hitchhike back home, and got lost.

When you combine a serious case of writers/kitchen block with the crazy travel schedule of the past thirty days you get nothing coming out of the kitchen.

Or, maybe it was performance anxiety.

I've been mulling over this post for almost as long as I've not been blogging because this post marks the 500th post on The Sour Dough. I had all these grand plans to make it a special post complete with a glance back at some of my favorite posts and food I've made/baked and eaten over the past five and half years. I wanted Post 500 to be momentous.

But, instead, you are going to have to content yourself with a little tour of my back yard and deck in all its summer/spring glory

My Back Deck with My "Deck Chair"
(Amazing that after two straight weeks of rain anything is still alive!)

and a peek at my birthday meal from a few weeks ago, where I made grill braised greens from part of my CSA box.

This summer, I joined a CSA and I've down scaled my garden a bit as a result. Oh, who am I kidding. I was going to downsize my garden to only include two tomato plants I brought home from Tennessee

Tennessee Tomato Plant

but before I knew it, I had walked out of Russell's, where I stopped on one of my many trips back and forth between Boston and Connecticut the past three months, with a little red wagon full of flowers

I Have No Idea What This is But it is pretty!
(what ARE these?!)


My little herb garden

some marigolds to plant between the chives and peppermint

Chives, Marigolds, and Pepperming

and a nifty pole for my bird feeder,

Nifty Porch Birdfeeder Holder

that the squirrels are still trying to figure out much to LB's chagrin, as I think he enjoys meowing at squirrels on the bird feeder more than window stalking birds.

The flowers around the house are enjoying a bit of sunshine in between the rain. The snap dragons are thriving

Snap Dragons

and despite the daily drenching, a few pretty roses made a brief appearance.

Pink Roses along side of house

A few weeks ago I turned Fortysomething (third anniversary of my 39th birthday if you must know). On the day I celebrated my birthday, I also picked up my first box from my CSA, The Hickories. It was a typical late spring box filled with lettuces, early onions, spinach and greens.

Weedhopper and I are sharing a box this year. As he and Wife of Weedhopper are expecting Jr. Weedhopper any day now and my crazy summer schedule, we both figured we would have smaller gardens (Um, yea...see above and he has just a tad smaller garden this year) and we wanted to experience a CSA.

Along with my first CSA experience, I also have been seriously into meat, curing meats, and everything meat in the kitchen all spring. First it was curing my own corned beef for St. Paddy's Day. Then it was make my own sausage. Now, it is age my own steak.

My birthday meal consisted of a fourteen day aged t-bone steak and grill braised greens.

What the heck are grill braised greens you ask?

Greens you pack in tin foil

Braising Greens from My CSA

with a pat of butter, a little sodium free or extremely low sodium powdered chicken stock, a clove of garlic and three pieces of pre-cooked bacon crumbled (I used store bought pre-cooked bacon, thick cut).

Grill Braised Greens Before the Grill

Wrap up the greens tightly, and toss on the cool side of the grill while your steak cooks.

Grill Braised Greens and 14 Day Aged Steak

There is no need to add any water as the moisture from the greens in the foil will be sufficient.

The result is heavenly,

Grill Braised Greens

I assure you.

Well, there you have it! 500th post all finished and it didn't hurt too bad now did it?

I've got two more posts this week before I take off for a much needed vacation, including a late Daring Baker's post.

I'm heading up north to sit on a dock at a rental house drinking adult libations with some friends for a few days and then we're sailing their 38' sailboat out on Lake Superior between Sault Ste. Marie and Isle Royale and back.

I'm paying my way by offering my services in the galley to avoid swabbing any decks. I've been told the oven works, there is a grill that mounts to the railing of the sailboat, and the galley has a three burner stove. It will be a good excuse to use a cookbook, Dining on Deck: Fine Foods for Sailing & Boating. I bought this cookbook many years ago in hopes of someday having just this opportunity.

I'll bet some grilled braised greens make it to the table somewhere between Rock Harbor and Paradise.

Grill Braised Greens

1 lb braising greens (Chard, beet tops, collard greens, what have you)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 packet powdered sodium free or low sodium chicken stock
1 clove of garlic, crushed
3 pieces pre-cooked bacon, cut up in little bits

Rinse and dry the greens. Trim any heavy stalks from the greens. Mix greens with bacon bits and garlic.

In large piece of foil (I use the Reynolds Non-Stick Foil when doing packages on the grill), place greens mixture. Sprinkle with chicken stock and seal foil pack.

Place over cool side of grill and cook for 15 minutes or until greens cooked through.