03 July 2009

friday photos: belated birthday edition

I realized that I did my annual birthday letter to Evan, but I forgot to post any photos from our birthday festivities. So, as long as I'm still not uploading photos from the new camera, I can at least catch you up on some older photos.

Evan requested a strawberry Pikachu cake this year. Not one of my prettiest efforts, I'm afraid, but it was one of the most delicious birthday cakes I've made. He was pretty happy with it, which is what counts.

He got not one, not two, but THREE giant Star Wars Lego sets for his birthday. This was by far the most exciting birthday event. Here he is showing off all three:

And here he is with one of the finished (or nearly finished) products. Which one, I have no idea. I'm not up to date on my Star Wars ships.

Now that he's four, he's decided he's big enough to really ride his balance bike, and he's been practicing coasting with no feet:

The funnest part of any birthday is the balloons, obviously. But what's more fun than playing with balloons? Drawing scary faces on them! (Ignore the smiles; I think it's the teeth that's supposed to make them scary.)

All in all I think it was a pretty enjoyable day for the birthday boy.


02 July 2009

nature's bounty

We've been getting vegetables from our CSA for six weeks now. It has been a really interesting experience. You sign up months ahead of time and agree to pay a certain amount for months of fresh, seasonal, organic produce, but you never know, beyond a general understanding of what's in season at any given time, exactly what you'll be getting or how much.

We're splitting our share of produce with a friend of mine, so the amount we're getting is pretty manageable, most of the time, and sometimes not enough (for example, splitting an average-sized bunch of asparagus in half, where one half goes to a solo person and the other half goes to my family of four often leaves us wanting more). Up to this point, the spring and early summer have been heavy with leafy green vegetables. I have to tell you, we are eating more leafy green vegetables than ever before, including some things we've never seen or heard of. At first it was a little intimidating and overwhelming, but now that I've gotten used to this abundance of green, I'm wondering what I'll do when it's over for the season.

We've gotten plenty of common produce items: asparagus, lettuce, kale, Swiss chard, spinach, peas in pods, rhubarb, thyme, chives, onions, dill, carrots, radishes. But we've gotten some more unusual items as well. The photo above is of one of the first salads I made this year, created entirely with our farm vegetables. It features two kinds of lettuce, spinach, edible weeds (such as purslane, chick weed and lambsquarter -- I still am not sure what any of those look or taste like, even after eating them), radishes, and chive blossoms. Did you know chive blossoms are edible? They taste very much like concentrated, intense chive flavor, and, much like a strong red onion, will leave a taste in your mouth for hours after eating.

Other new-to-us foods that we've received include watercress, mizuna, bok choi, Chinese cabbage, parsnips, tarragon, pea greens (the leaves from pea plants), garlic scapes, garlic greens, radicchio, senposai, and arugula. Chances are, if you've never heard of something on that list, it's probably a leafy green vegetable.

It's exciting, learning what to do with all these new foods. I'm glad, too, that my kids are getting used to eating all manner of green and/or unusual things in all kinds of dishes, and that, for the most part, they do so willingly. And the fact that everything we're eating from the farm is organic is just a bonus.

As soon as I get some photos uploaded, you'll get to hear about our second trip to the farm, where we got to learn more about where the food on our plates is coming from.