Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Yummy Food for 5/22/07
As those who know me will tell you, I'm a bit of a food nut. I love cooking in general, especially when it's off-my-head, spur-of-the-moment style. I can't bake worth a damn (all attempts usually end up either flat as a pancake, or exploding in flames), mostly because it requires such precise measurements.

So, in the great tradition of food bloggies such as Jennifer from Last Night's Dinner, or even Houseblogs.net's own Reluctant Remodeler, I've decided to start posting some of my own creations from time to time. So, without further ado, I give you:

Seared Bay Scallops With Tomato Dill Sauce

This was my first attempt at using the more petite cousin of scallops, and I'm happy to report I found some success with them.

I've been told that the most important thing when picking out scallops is that they smell fresh and salty, and not at all fishy. I then thoroughly rinsed them to rid them of any leftover sand (I don't like my seafood that crunchy), and patted them dry with a towel.

Before searing the scallops, I sauteed some turkey bacon and garlic in the pan to release a little fat and flavor. I then set the bacon aside, and sauteed the scallops for about 3 minutes with just a little salt and pepper as seasoning. You don't want to overcook them because they will become very rubbery.

Next, I poured in about a cup of Chardonnay (Jacob's Creek, of course :)), half a can of diced tomatoes, and a palmful each of dill and parsley (I used dry but I'm sure fresh would be nice as well). This mixture was simmered for around 5 minutes, at which point the scallops were put back in to be warmed through.

For an accompaniment, I steamed some edamame and snow peas. Edamame is a wonderful side that both Amy and I enjoy... too bad it's so expensive!

Finish by sprinkling some of the bacon over top of the scallops, and voila!

We Have A Winner!

Thanks to Larry from Old House Gazette who identified the plant as a Weigela, which Wikipedia states is a shrub native to eastern Asia. Apparently there are a number of different species, but it looks like we may have a Variegata. Congratulations Larry, you are the first winner of Name That Plant!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

In Which Our Homeowners Purchase A New Toy, And Ask For Your Help!

As you can see above, we finally decided to bite the bullet and purchase a nice gas trimmer. After using it, I can really say it makes a world of difference in how the lawn looks. Previously we had been using a pair of large shears to trim where necessary, which was obviously not terribly efficient. But with this new gadget, weeds were falling like logs!
Here's Amy taking it to a patch of grass near our laundry line. Because it's so close to the fence, getting in here with a mower was just about impossible, so we had basically let it just grow out. Not the most visually appealing of stratagies. But now the grass is no match for our gasoline powered killing machine! :)

We also spent a good part of the day weeding our flower beds. It seems that chickory root has a particular liking for our yard, as it seems to sprout up every few inches. And since we've decreed our lawn to be chemical free, it means we have to get rid of it the old fashioned way, with our trusty Cape Cod Weedah (yes, I'm told it is spelled that way) and some elbow grease. In the process we also discovered an ant colony hiding under one of the beds, which was fun until the inhabitants decided to swarm out en masse to meet the intruders in battle. Guess we'll have to come back to that part, huh?

And now, dear friends, we need your help in a big way. You see, we inherited this lovely garden along with the house, but have several plants that neither of us can seem to identify. So without further ado, I proudly announce the first of our series:

Name That Plant!
Our first mystery item is a medium sized shrub that sits in the corner of our yard by the house. It recently burst into glorious white and pink blossoms, and smells somewhat like honeysuckle. As you can see in the picture below, it has a green and white variated (I think that's the technical term for this pattern of color) leaf as well.
The first reader to give us an answer (and I'll have to trust you're right, since I've no clue what it is) will receive a wonderful prize!

Um... ok, so we don't really have a budget for a great prize. But you will have the distinct honor of being the first to answer our little quiz! That and our eternal gratitude of course (not sure if that has any value on the market these days, hehe).

Let the games begin!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

We Have Grass!

Yes, I am happy to report that after 3+ tries and two bags of grass seed, we are finally seeing some growth! Apparently lots and LOTS of water and a little fertilizer does the trick. Hopefully by next year we'll have a nice green lawn where there was once an ugly patch of dirt. And no, the whole lawn doesn't look like this! It's only a specific section that we turned up. It was so full of weeds I suppose it was just easier that way. Now if only I can get the rest the stop growing quite so fast!