Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Friday, February 20, 2009

February Garden Update

Hello friends!

It's mid-February and that means one thing for Portland Gardeners...Peas planted by President's Day! We love growing peas here in Portland and you can plant them in mid-February by seed right around President's Day. Which was a work day for me, so I bought the seeds on President's Day and planted them 3 days later. My planting day happened to be a beautiful sunshiny warm gorgeous day for gardening! I even got sunburned on my nose and cheeks. Woa.

This year I tried a snap pea variety new to me: Super Sugar Snap and a reliable snow pea variety: Oregon Sugar Pod II, both from Territorial Seeds. In the fall I had prepped this raised bed with Bumper Crop compost and covered it with bark mulch. Today I turned under the bark mulch and worked in: kelpmeal, greensand, rock phosphate, lime and bat guano. These slow-release organic granular fertilizers provide nutrients and a variety of trace minerals to my plants, while balancing the soil Ph and encouraging micro-organisms to thrive. I also added liquid seaweed to each pea planting hole. I secure bamboo stakes at planting time so they are ready as soon as the pea plants are growing.

In addition to peas I planted a second raised bed with strawberry crowns. The past 2 years I've been disappointed by the yields of my everbearing strawberries. So this year I'm trying a June bearing variety (can't remember the name at this moment). In the photo you can't really see the strawberry crowns because they aren't leafed out yet, but you can see my beautiful savoy cabbage that survived the bad winter snow storm! YAY!

This bed was also heavily prepped in the Fall with Bumper Crop compost, earthworm castings and coconut coir. So today I just added kelpmeal, greensand, rock phosphate, lime and bat guano. I also added liquid seaweed to each strawberry planting hold. In the empty areas next to the strawberries I planted from seed a row of arugula, green onions and french breakfast radishes.

Today I also turned the compost bins and found lots of life moving and grooving, including really big worms. It was a little dry so I watered both piles. In the photo you will see my 2 bin compost system. They are simply constructed from scrap pallet wood and chicken wire. The left side is the side that's just cooking. The right side is the side I'm
still adding new material too. The left
side will be ready for my spring planting.
Then I planted some violas in the front yard, pulled out some rotting oozing daffodil bulbs, and planted several varieties of ornamental sweet peas. I love how these spring vines are so fragrant!

That was a lot of gardening work after a few months of gardening rest. Hope you've felt inspired to get back in the garden while making wise planting choices for FEBRUARY and not gotten caught up in Spring Fever. LOL!

Oh yeah, check out how great my Fall-planted garlic & shallots look...

With Dirty Hands & A Happy Heart,
Miss Jolie Ann

Thursday, February 19, 2009

2nd Friday Suppers at Miss Jolie's

Hello friends!

I decided that 2009 is my year of ACTION. For a long time I've wanted to have a frequent dinner party for friends to sample my recipes. I love to cook for others and I want more community. And I've always had an excuse to postpone it from happening. In February I beautifully manifested this dream with starting "2nd Friday Suppers at Miss Jolie's." The first of these monthly dinner parties was great food and wonderful company. And I'm already looking forward to the next one in March.

So friends, I am here to encourage you to follow your dreams. Make a vision board, meditate, pray, talk about it, dream about it, but ACT on it, make it happen because 2009 is your year too!
Blessings of Love & Light,
Miss Jolie Ann

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Greens & Bean Crostini

Greens & Bean Crostini
inspired by "Beans & Greens" recipe
in Moosewood Cooks at Home

I love growing, cooking and eating hardy greens in the winter time. Mustards and Kale grow great here in Portland. We have the perfect climate. If you can keep the aphids and flea beetles off them you are blessed with a nutritious and delicious crop that can withstand most zone 7 winters. My giant red mustard greens did great all the way up to Christmas. I had 2 varieties of kale and greenwave mustards survive the bad storm of December and the 2 feet of snow on top of them! I threw them into this recipe and my guests were eating it before I could even get the platter served on the table. I think some hands were bit in the process. Such a riot over greens makes this girl happy! This recipe makes a great appetizer or main course. The goat cheese is optional, omit it and this recipe is vegan.

In Health,

Miss Jolie Ann

Greens & Beans Crostini
Makes enough appetizers for a hungry bunch of 10 people

2 red onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 head dinosaur kale, washed and chopped
1 head mustard greens, washed and chopped
1 bunch spinach, washed and chopped
2 14oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes packed in olive oil
1-2 loaves crusty bread, such as a sourdough baguette
1 bunch italian parsley, washed and finely chopped
optional: 1 cup goat cheese, crumbled

1. To caramelize the onions: In a large stockpot place the olive oil and warm over medium heat. Add the onions and salt. Lower heat to medium-low and let the onions saute until soft and lightly brown, about 15 minutes. Cover the pot with lid and continue to cook over medium-low heat for about 30 more minutes. Remove the lid and add the balsamic vinegar. Cover and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Viola! Caramelized onions=delicious!

2. When onions are done cooking, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

3. Bring heat up to medium and add the chopped greens & garlic to the onions in the pot. Cover and let cook down for about 10 minutes. You want the greens to wilt slightly, but to remain bright green. They should be soft and still a little crunchy.

4. Add the beans and sundried tomatoes and continue to cook for only a few more minutes until everything is mixed and warm. Set aside.

5. Slice the bread and lightly coat the top side with olive oil. Bake in oven about 5 minutes until crispy and warm but not hard.

6. Remove bread from oven and mound greens & beans mixture on the top of each slice.

7. Top with a sprinkle of parsley and optional goat cheese. Serve at room temperature. Yum.

Beet & Orange Salad with Cress & Quinoa

Beet and Orange Salad with Cress and Quinoa

original recipe by Miss Jolie Ann

This salad got RAVE reviews at the February 2nd Friday Suppers at Jolie's recipe tasting! Everyone loved it. I found the red onions to be a little much--I think I got a larger slice that was very strong. No one else seemed to mind. My friends licked the serving dish clean on this one! The quinoa adds nice substance to a light salad and provides a great source of vegan protein. Enjoy!

In Health,

Miss Jolie Ann

Beet & Orange Salad with Cress & Quinoa

Serves about 4 as main dish, 8 as side dish

5 medium sized beets

1 cup quinoa

2 medium oranges, peeled and segmented

2 bunches cress, washed & dried

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

5 radishes, thinly sliced

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 tsp prepared mustard

pinch each of: dried cumin, dried thyme, dried tarragon, sea salt, black pepper

1. Cook the beets. I have cooked them several ways including: peel them and thinly slice, place in a baking dish with a little water and cover, then bake on 375 degrees for about 1 hour. Or you can boil them by leaving them unpeeled, bring pot to a boil, lower to medium heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, remove from water and pull of the skins.

2. While beets are cooking prepare the quinoa by rinsing and placing in a saucepan with 2 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to medium low and simmer covered for about 20-30 minutes until the water is absorbed and quinoa is light and fluffy. Turn off heat, leave pan covered on burner for 5 minutes. Remove from stove and fluff with a fork. Set aside.

3. Mix dressing ingredients by combining in a small mason jar, cover and shake. Once beets are done cooking, add dressing to them and place in the refrigerator to marinate for approximately 1 hour or more if you have the time.

4. When you are ready to serve, assemble your ingredients in layers on a large serving dish in this order: cress, quinoa, oranges, red onions, beets with dressing marinade, radishes and walnuts. Let come to room temperature and serve.

Root Vegetable Gratin

Root Vegetable Gratin
Original Recipe by Miss Jolie Ann

This was the main dish at the February 2nd Friday Suppers at Jolie's recipe tasting. It was rich, creamy, satisfying...healthy comfort food. Many of my friends had not ever tried several of these veggies like parsnips and turnips. The key to even cooking in this dish is slicing the veggies all the same size. And, if you use organic produce you can leave the peels on most of these veggies, because there's great nutrition and texture in the skins. This gratin is another pan licked clean by my happy guests. Enjoy!

In Health,
Miss Jolie Ann

Root Vegetable Gratin
Serves about 8
2 yukon gold potatoes, washed & thinly sliced
2 turnips, peeled & thinly sliced
sea salt & black pepper
4 tbsp whole wheat flour
3 medium carrots, washed & thinly sliced
2 medium parsnips, washed & thinly sliced
2 red skin potatoes, washed & thinly sliced
1 fuji apple, peeled, cored, thinly sliced
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 cups unsweetened plain soymilk
2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Prepare a 13x9 baking dish by spaying or thinly coating with olive oil.
3. Layer the yukon gold potatoes and turnips in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and 1 tbsp of the flour.
4. Next layer the parsnips and carrots. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and 1 tbsp of the flour.
5. Next layer the red potatoes and apple. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and 1 tbsp of the flour.
6. Next layer the onion slices. Sprinkle with the last tbsp of flour.
7. Pour over everything the soymilk. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake covered for 1 hour.
8. At 1 hour, remove the pan from the oven, take off the foil. Add cheese on the top. Return pan to oven and bake uncovered for about 30 minutes. Cheese should be bubbly and browned.
9. Remove from oven and let sit about 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Tofu Skillet with Corn Tortillas & Salsa

Tofu Skillet with Corn Tortillas & Salsa
Original Recipe by Miss Jolie Ann

Hello Readers,

This recipe is oh so delicious, quick & easy and inexpensive. It's also totally vegan without the optional toppings. So it's an all around winner! When I used to live in the Mission District I became so totally addicted to really good fresh corn tortillas. I could live off of corn tortillas sauteed in butter. Oh my God. But, I digress. For this recipe I love using the Trader Joe's brand "high protein" tofu. It has a great texture and taste. It goes above & beyond most extra firm type tofu in holding up it's shape in recipes. Enjoy!

In Health,
Miss Jolie Ann

Tofu Skillet with Corn Tortillas & Salsa
Yields about 4 servings
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
12 oz package corn tortillas
1 tsp dried cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried ground chipotle chili pepper
1 package trader joe's brand high protein tofu or other extra firm tofu
16 oz container salsa of your choice
sea salt and black pepper
handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
1. Cut the corn tortillas in half down the middle. Then slice into ribbons about 1" wide. Set aside.
2. Rinse and drain the tofu. Chop the tofu into small cubes about 1/2". Set aside.
3. In a skillet warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the tortilla ribbons and stir to coat with oil.
4. Add the cumin, oregano and chipotle to the tortillas. Stir to combine the spices.
5. Saute the tortillas over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes until the are soft and crispy around the edges.
6. Add the tofu and the salsa to the tortillas. Cook for about another 5 minutes until everything is warmed together.
7. Remove from heat and add salt & black pepper to your taste. Top with chopped cilantro. Serve warm.
8. Optional toppings could be some grated cheddar cheese or a dollop of sour cream.

Indian Curry of Potatoes, Garbanzo's & Green Peas

Indian Curry of Potatoes, Garbanzo's & Green Peas
Original Recipe by Miss Jolie Ann

I like to serve this one over long grain brown basmti rice. This recipe fills that craving for potatoes while still being healthy and the Indian spices are fragrant and amazing. I've also adapted this one for the crockpot, let me know if you are interested and I'd be happy to pass the details to you. Enjoy!

In Health,
Miss Jolie Ann

Indian Curry with Potatoes, Garbanzo's & Green Peas
Yields about 6 servings
5 tbsp salted butter
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp hot curry powder
1 tsp whole mustard seeds
6 medium yukon gold potatoes, chopped with skins on
1 cup cooked garbanzo beans
About 2-3 cups water
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
sea salt
1. Heat the butter in a stockpot over medium heat
2. Once the butter is melted add the spices and cook for about 5 minutes until bubbling and toasty. Enjoy the delicious fragrance that is released.
3. Add the potatoes and continue to cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes. The potatoes will just start to brown.
4. Add the garbanzo beans and about 2-3 cups water. You want just enough water to cover the potatoes and garbanzo's.
5. Put on a lid and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer at about medium heat. Let cook for about 30 minutes. Occasionally stir to make sure the potatoes are not sticking.
6. Check the texture after 30 minutes, you want the potatoes to be nice and soft and becoming somewhat mushy.
7. Add the green peas and the yogurt. Let cook for about 5 more minutes just until everything is warmed up and combined. You want the peas to remain a nice bright green color and not overcooked.
8. Check the flavor. Add salt to taste and adjust the spices to your liking.
9. Serve warm over long grain brown basmati rice.

Creamy Cabbage Soup

Creamy Cabbage Soup Recipe
Adapted from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest

I love cabbage. I guess I'm a weirdo like that. I love it raw in salads and slaws. And I really love it just steamed plain with no spices. I know weird. Cabbage is a great all season veggie. There are many varieties that mature pretty much every month of the year. Cabbage has great winter survival capacity in the pacific northwest. Currently in my garden I've got some heads of savoy cabbage that should be mature enough for harvest in about another month. I've also got 'red ace' as an overwintering variety that will be ready for harvest in the late spring. On the nutrition side, did you know that cabbage evokes a super high anticancer response in the human body? It offers tons of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. So people, in summary cabbage is an all around super food. Start adding it to your diet if you aren't already.

When I first tried the Creamy Cabbage Soup Recipe one year ago I was disappointed. It was watery and bland. So I've given it another try and adjusted the ingredients. I was quite pleased with the result this week. It was like a mashed potatoes-with-cabbage soup surprise. Yummy and satisfying. Enjoy!

In Health,
Miss Jolie Ann

Creamy Cabbage Soup
Yields about 6 servings
4 medium sized yukon gold potatoes, chopped with skin on
1/2-1 cup plain soymilk or milk
1/2-1 cup lite sour cream
4 tbsp salted butter
1 clove garlic, minced
sea salt
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tsp dried whole caraway seed
1 medium head green cabbage, shredded
3 cups (approx) water
fresh ground black pepper
1. Bring a stock pot of water to boil and add the chopped potatoes. Let boil until very soft, about 30 minutes.
2. Drain potatoes, reserving a little water for mashing.
3. Add enough soymilk and sour cream for the mashed potato consistency that you like-creamy or chunky. Also add butter, garlic and salt (to taste) to the potatoes. Mash or whip-whichever is your desired method. Taste and adjust salt. Set aside.
4. In a stockpot warm olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until soft and slightly browned, about 10 minutes.
5. Add caraway seed and let warm for about 1 minute.
6. Add the cabbage and cook for about 2 more minutes.
7. Add enough water to just barely cover the cabbage. Place a lid on the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling turn heat down to medium and let simmer.
8. Simmer for approximately 10-15 minutes if you like your cabbage bright green and a little crunchy. Simmer for 20-30 minutes if you like your cabbage softer, which will change the color from bright to blah.
9. Once the cabbage is done cooking, remove from heat. Add the mashed potato mixture and black pepper. Stir well and check the flavor. Add more salt and/or pepper to your liking.
10. Serve warm.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Chipotle Split Pea Soup with Barley for Crockpot

Chipotle Split Pea Soup with Barley for Crockpot
Recipe adapted from
Makes 5 big servings

I love my crockpot in the winter. Especially now that I have school on Saturdays. My work week starts on Sunday, so traditionally I cook several meals for my week on Saturdays. By using my crockpot I can throw together ingredients in the morning before I leave for school and come home to a delicious smelling house and dinner ready for my work week. This version of split pea soup is spiced up with chipotle peppers and given more substance by whole grain earthy barley. Perfect to come home to on a cold winter day.

In Health,
Miss Jolie Ann

1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 stalks celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup dried split peas
1 box vegetable broth
1 tsp ground chipotle pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme
sea salt and pepper to taste
1/2 uncooked pearl barley

1. Place olive oil in a skillet and bring to medium heat.
2. Saute onion over medium heat for about 10 minutes until soft and starting to brown.
3. Add garlic, celery and carrots and saute for 5 minutes more.
4. Add split peas, sauteed veggies, broth, chipotle and thyme into crockpot.
5. Set crockpot on high and cover. Cook for approximately 6 hours until peas are soft.
6. Add barley and stir. Cover and let cook 1 hour or until barley is soft but not mushy and overcooked.
7. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

Oatmeal Spelt Muffins with Banana & Blueberries

Oatmeal Spelt Muffins with Banana & Blueberries
Original Recipe by Miss Jolie Ann
Yields about 9 muffins

These muffins are so easy to make and actually good for you too! You may notice these muffins have no sugar, honey, etc. The ripe bananas & blueberries sweeten them and really who needs all that sugar anyways? I love um just warmed up with some melted butter. Mmmm so good for breakfast. Enjoy!
In Health,
Miss Jolie Ann

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup blueberries fresh or frozen (thawed)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 brown egg

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a muffin pan.
2. Place oatmeal in a large mixing bowl. Sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Mix all dry ingredients.
3. In a small bowl combine the bananas, blueberries, oil and egg. Stir until mixed.
4. Combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients in large bowl. Mix until just combined.
5. Pour batter into greased muffin pan. About 1/4 cup batter per muffin.
6. Bake in 375 degree oven for 18 minutes.
7. Let cool and enjoy warm with butter.