Blog - biscuits and such
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Salmon & Vegetable Kabobs

It wasn’t until recently that I really started loving salmon.  I’m picky about fish because my family has always been the fishing sort so I have had the luxury of knowing what fresh caught, fresh cooked fish tastes like.  The past few years we’ve started trying MSC certified salmon, which means it’s caught responsibly and sustainably and, for decidely non-local, tastes incredibly fresh.

We got these skewers for Christmas from my parents and this was our first time trying them out!  In addition to the salmon we grilled squash, red onion, red pepper, and mushrooms.  Let me tell you, I am so thrilled it’s grilling season again!

My favorite site in the warm months

Salmon Skewers (For Two)

2 salmon filets

1 squash

1 red pepper

1/2 red onion

10 mushrooms

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Salt & pepper

Slice salmon, pepper, squash, and onion.  Remove stalks from mushrooms.  Put all ingredients in a bag/bowl for 30 minutes to marinate.

Slide pieces on skewers, alternating between salmon and the various vegetables.  Grill for 10 minutes.  Flip and grill an additional 10 minutes.

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Our Garden

Our dwarf pomegranate tree

We have big plans this summer. Big garden plans.  Big vegetable garden plans.  Last year we grew our first outdoor vegetable garden and while it was wonderful it was not nearly as ambitious as we wanted.  This year is completely different.  We have twice the space, ten times the variety, and big dreams.  I thought that because what we cook, eat, and write about this summer (and hopefully this year as we use food we’ve preserved) will be coming from this garden, it would be fun to occasionally give you a look into how things are growing.

The biggest perk (and selling point) of our sometimes painfully small urban apartment is that we have a backyard.  And because we live in the garden apartment, we consider this little corner of Baltimore to be the best part of our home (side note: we’ve declared it an embassy of North Carolina).  Last year in the little plot we grew pink ponderosa and beefsteak tomatoes, TWO incredibly fruitful habanero plants, cajun jewel okra, eggplant, royal burgandy beans, hot and spicy oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, and a dwarf pomegranate tree.  In the fall we planted spinach, arugula, and garlic.  We had a lot of problems last year.  It was so hot that most of the plants wouldn’t set fruit until early fall, some plants (cough, habanero, cough) way overproduced while others (like okra) put out only one fruit at a time.  It was amazing to eat from our own backyard all summer but we learned a lot.

Scarlet Emperor Beans

Mystery gourd

One of the biggest lessons we took away from last summer was that it didn’t make sense to divide our limited growing space between all the tenets in our building.  We live in a 19th century rowhouse in a historic neighborhood, which is split into a number of apartments.  We’re lucky in that our housemates are wonderful people.  And last summer a few of us had backyard plots and all grew the same thing.  Which meant that we had a lot of tomatoes and habaneros.  So this year we’ve decided to garden together. Maximizing the space we’re growing a huge variety that will keep us all in the vegetable way.

Dan’s creation, something for his hops to climb

This year in the backyard we’re growing: washday peas, cucumber, cajun jewel okra, summer squash, winter squash, watermelon, sugar pumpkins, eggplant, jalapeño, bell peppers, roma tomatoes, pink ponderosa tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, yellow pear tomatoes, cantaloupe, scarlet emperor beans, mint, basil, thyme, oregano, hot and spicy oregano, rosemary, lavender, cascade hops, nugget hops, strawberries, lettuce, red potatoes, a dwarf pomegranate tree, and a mystery gourd (or maybe a watermelon?).  In the fall we’ll put in greens, carrots, and another crop of garlic.

This summer is also our first in a community garden.  We were lucky enough to get a (huge) plot in Baltimore’s Roosevelt Park Garden.  It’s about two miles north of our house, which I learned today is a lovely (if not a bit hilly) bike ride that smells perfectly like honeysuckle.  At this garden we’ve planted a variety of tomatoes, okra, squash, melons, cucumbers, and peppers.

For now, we’re thrilled.  But this Saturday is Baltimore’s Herb Festival, so I have a feeling we’ll be making some additions.  What are you growing this summer?

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Paula’s Potato Salad

This week I’m excited to share my Aunt Paula’s potato salad.  I love potato salad, especially the grilled potato salad we made last summer (I can’t wait to make that again).  As the weather warms up I’m thinking about picnics more and more, and no picnic is complete without a potato salad!

Paula says:

When our son Matthew was seven and had developed into a strong swimmer my husband Richard and I thought it was time to include him in one of our favorite outdoor activities- kayaking.  As he was too young to kayak on his own we bought a two-person kayak so one of us could help steer and paddle.  He quickly caught on and kayaking has become a fun family event that’s enjoyed from Spring to Fall.

We’ve begun an annual tradition of kicking off the summer season by going to one of our local lakes, either Mercer County Park or Assunpink Nature Preserve.   We spend most of the day paddling around, exploring the local wildlife, watching fishermen and other boating enthusiasts and then pulling over for a family picnic.  The picnic is never fancy, but it’s something we look forward to.  We search the bank for a good spot, one with a clearing, and pull the kayaks over.  We eat our lunch and talk about what we’ve seen that day.  Matt sometimes wades into the water or skims rocks on the surface.  All in all, it’s a great way to start the summer.

Matthew, 2005, on a visit to Baltimore

Paula’s Potato Salad

1 lb russet potatoes

1 egg

2 stalks celery

1/2 red onion

3 carrots

1 tbsp mayo or greek yogurt

1 tbsp brown mustard

1 tbsp red vinegar

2 roasted red peppers

Salt & pepper

Boil and quarter your potatoes. Hard boil and dice your egg.  Peel and chop carrots.  Dice celery, red onion, and red peppers.  Mix all ingredients together.  Adjust seasoning and consistency.  Chill.

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