Raspberry Vinaigrette

I’ve been so busy with school and work I’ve barely been cooking, let alone making anything worth posting about.  The most I’ve done on the weekends is bake bread, make applesauce, apple butter, and pumpkin puree.  I did pickle some hot peppers and have a bunch of little hot pepper plants growing like weeds under my grow light.  My rosemary is finally growing thanks to a friend’s organic fertilizer (thanks Claude!) and both lemon trees are doing well, although one of them is no longer a resident of my apartment.  I am trying to sprout some apple seeds currently and would totally plant a pumpkin seed when I puree the last 3 pumpkins I have if I wasn’t terrified of it taking over my livingroom.

On non-food related news, I have a real livingroom now!  Claude and Dallas were generous and wonderful enough to give me their entertainment unit and were at my place for about 2 hours on Monday evening helping me move everything around.  My computer desk is now in my bedroom and then tv, ps3 and ps2 are all in the livingroom on the entertainment unit.  I can now look for a coffee table and end tables!  So excited! 

Back to food…I have been searching for months for a salad dressing I love that I can make at home.  I finally found it this weekend.  I made a homemade raspberry vinaigrette for our thanksgiving supper and I adore it.  I’ve never liked storebought raspberry vinaigrettes before so it was surprising.  It’s simple to make and I have all the ingredients at home, amazingly.  It keeps well in the fridge, and just needs a shake or whisk to put it back together for serving. 

Raspberry Vinaigrette

2 tbsp homemade raspberry sauce (basically try to make raspberry jam but don’t add enough sugar or pectin for it to set, lol)

1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar

1 tbsp White Vinegar

1/8 cup Olive Oil

1/8 cup Canola Oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Wisk the raspberry sauce and vinegars together.  Slowly drizzle in the oils, whisking constantly.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Stores well in the fridge, just shake or whisk before serving.

Organic Produce Delivery and Rental Garden Plots

I’m so excited about spring this year, which is crazy!  I don’t like the heat and I don’t like bugs so normally spring and summer are pretty…well…”meh”.  This year is different.  I hope.  I’m testing two new things (to me) this year that I’m hoping will make life that much better. 

The first new thing I decided on was finally signing up with a company that delivers produce to your home weekly or bi-weekly.  They do their best to provide local grown, organic produce whenever possible.  I got my first tub of food yesterday evening!  I signed up for the medium box, which is $50 (including delivery) and am getting bi-weekly delivery.  I probably end up spending over $100 on produce in a month anyway and at least this way I get a nice variety, can try new things, and don’t have to leave my house. 

These are the contents of the box I received last night:

2 apples

4 pears

3 kiwi

1/4 seedless watermelon

2 navel oranges

1 valencia orange

1 grapefruit

2 potatoes (yes…only 2…I was disappointed, lol)

1 yellow onion

7 carrots

1 bunch of asparagus (some of the stalks were over a foot long!)

1 bunch of celery

1 head of romaine lettuce

2 zucchini

2 tomatoes

Overall, a lot of it I would’ve bought anyway, but I will still have to purchase some veggies from the grocery store, specifically mushrooms, peppers and potatoes.  I’m fairly sure it will last me two weeks.  One of the really cool things about the whole process is that when you sign up you can specify things you love and things you never ever want.  You can also make substitutions and add other items from their grocery store to be included in your box.    You can find more information here.

The second activity I’m wanting to get involved with is Renting a Garden Plot.  Some community centers have them, and the city of Winnipeg has a few locations that have garden allotments.  Unfortunatly they are all taken so I’m on the waiting list for next year.  Since people who are renting this year have first choice next year, I doubt I’ll get one next year either!  Thankfully the guy I spoke with at the Parks division of the city directed me to a contact from the Lord Robert’s Community Center.  Apparently they’re starting to rent out garden plots this year and might have something available.  I called and left a voice mail with my contact information, hopefully they have something and I can maybe start this weekend, it’s almost getting too late to plant!

Lemons? In Manitoba??

I’ve been reading a bunch of vegetarian and eco-focused blogs lately and have been inspired!  I want to grow citrus trees in my apartment.  My bedroom is the only room that has south windows, and I’m thinking about moving my desk out to the livingroom once my current roommate moves out so that I have more room in my bedroom for plants and other things (dirty laundry mostly I bet).  So far the easiest and most common indoor citrus tree seems to be the Meyer Lemon.  Other fruits that are mentioned are usually key limes, dwarf grapefruits, kumquats, dwarf oranges, or Calamondin.  I figure I’ll start with something easy…ish and see how that goes.  Considering my first attempt at growing herbs from seeds ended disasterously, I’m hopeful but not overly so.  First issue I have to deal with is finding a greenhouse that actually carries meyer lemon trees!  I emailed Screimer’s greenhouse a little while ago and am just waiting for a response.

My somewhat green thumb

This winter was quite odd for me in general, I was working at a bookstore part time and found myself taking up interest in hobbies that I never had before.  One of these interests has actually become something that I can handle…plants!  I’ve been reading quite a bit about growing herbs indoors as I love to use fresh herbs when I cook and since I live in an apartment, I don’t have any kind of outdoor space I can use.

About 6 weeks ago I went to wal-mart and decided that I had the money to get some plants and supplies.  I picked up some potting soil and cactus soil, and three plants: a moses in the cradle, an english ivy and some kind of cactus.  I transplanted all three as soon as I got them home as they were all horribly root bound, the cactus was the worst. 

I didn’t know much about the moses in the cradle, and it wasn’t in any of the books I had at home from work so I went online and tried to find some information about it.  The information I found was interesting, you’re basically supposed to treat it as a succulent, water it sparingly and give it lots and lots of sun.  The bloody thing is growing like a weed!  It’s gained probably about 3-4 inches of height and probably 10 new leaves.  The purple colour on the underside of the leaves isn’t as dark on the new leaves as it is on the old ones, and it just leeeeeans towards the sun as much as possible.  I transplanted it to a much larger pot the other day and it still seems to be doing well, although I need to find a new place for it, I put my air conditioner in and it blocks most of the sun.  Once my current roommate moves out and I can actually put stuff outside of my bedroom it’ll be easier as my apartment gets a ton of light.  I can’t wait!