The weather forecasters are predicting a blustery blizzard. I’m ready. I’m nesting. Griffy’s spare blanket is laundered if the one he’s wearing gets soaked. Fleurry and Libby are comfy in their Andean coats. The chickens and Ping the duck have three full water barrels and three cans of feed to wait out the storm. Magoo is cuddled on the couch with Aunt France’s latest toys – a hedgehog and an elephant. The cats, Nick and Dot, can’t decide whether to snooze in front of the pellet stove or on my wrists as I tap the computer keyboard.
The kitchen smells of chicken broth that’s been simmering all day long. I have a fresh batch of homemade Four Seasons Honey-Cinnamon Granola for my oatmeal or yogurt. I’m fermenting a jar of kimchi in the cellar. The Easter Peeps are ordered. So are the potatoes and strawberries. Our vegetable seeds have arrived. Spring is … just around the corner.
So I thought I might share Fleur-de-Lys’ growing season forecast to help you get through these last few weeks of winter. For those who enjoy trying our “new” heirloom vegetables, 2010 will be quite the year. Our friends Robyn Jasko and Paul David run the website dineindie.com (featuring independent eateries and food purveyors) and this site has spawned grow indie, with tips on how to grow and prepare vegetables at home, and travel indie, which can take you to such places as The Pinball Museum in Asbury Park, N.J. Robyn got in touch with some of her favorite seed catalogs and offered to trial (with reports, photographs, and tastings) several of their seed varieties. And, she asked Fleur-de-Lys Farm Market to help her. So, we will be trialing the following seeds from Bakers Creek Heirloom Seeds, Happy Cat Farm, Renee’s Garden, and Seed Savers Exchange:
Tomatoes: Roughwood Golden Plum, Tim’s Black Ruffles, Pompeii Roma, Carbon, and Violet Jasper.
Peppers: Tobago Seasoning, Wisconsin Lakes and Tolli’s Sweet Italian.
Beans: Little Brown Cat, Red Lima, Golden Roc d’ Or, and Pencil Pod Wax.
Cucumbers: Persian and sweet Armenian.
Lettuces: Sanguine Ameliore, Rouge Grenobloise and Merveille de Quatre Saisons.
Squash: Verte et Blanc and Thelma Sander’s Sweet Potato Squash.
And, of course, I’ve selected a few new seeds of my own to try, such as Giant Prague celeriac, Ali Baba watermelon, banana melon, green apple cucumbers, and a peck of Peruvian peppers from my sister Patty. Try saying that three times!
I have not placed my sweet potato order yet – the slips can’t be planted until Memorial Day. We will be ordering slips of the orange-fleshed sweet potatoes — Carolina Ruby, Georgia Jet, Beauregard and Vardeman – as well as the white-fleshed Red Japanese. If you would like to order some (12 slips for $10), let me know.
I got the following recipe from Bon Appetit’s restaurant recipes column. I’m sure I will never stay at the Beverly Hills Four Seasons, but I can breakfast on their Honey-Cinnamon Granola anytime:
4 cups toasted whole grain cereal (such as Mueslix)
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup sliced almonds
¾ cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts
½ cup honey
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup dried blueberries
½ cup dried sweetened cranberries
½ cup golden raisins
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 275°. Mix cereal, oats, and assorted nuts in large bowl. Bring honey and oil just to boil in small saucepan; drizzle over cereal mixture and toss to coat evenly. Spread mixture onto large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until golden brown and dry, stirring every 15 minutes, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Scatter dried fruit over. Sprinkle with cinnamon and toss. Cool granola completely in pan on rack, stirring occasionally to prevent clumping. Store airtight at room temperature. (I found dried blueberries and hazelnuts at Echo Hill, near Fleetwood.)
Stay well and warm. Laurie Lynch