My Own Chicken Catchatori

I made chicken Catchatori this week. I didn't follow a recipe at all, but afterward I looked at a few recipes and it looks like I did it almost exactly right! This is the chicken and sauce going into the oven.

It all started with these gorgeous heirloom tomatoes from Tutti Frutti Farms in Lompoc, CA, on the Central coast. We get a lot of produce from this farm at the Co-op, through our favorite distributor in San Fransisco. It's definitely not local, but I've met the farmer, and it seems like a pretty cool place. Everything comes into season earlier down there, so it gives us a preview of what's coming into season locally. I bought a whole lot of these beautiful Cherokee Purple heirloom tomatoes for the Co-op last week, and I just had to buy a whole lot for myself! If ever a tomato was sexy, these tomatoes are!

I started the chicken baking (sauce-less,) and sauteed the tomatoes in olive oil....

....added garlic from the garden, let it cook down for about 15 minutes, and then took the chicken out of the oven, poured the sauce on top, and put it back in the oven to finish cooking.

While it was baking I scrubbed some of the Russian banana potatoes from the garden, cubed them, and boiled them. I also had some yellow wax beans from Willow Creek that I steamed.

....and here's the finished meal! We put the extra sauce from the chicken on the potatoes and beans. A very yellow meal, but delicious just the same, and surprisingly easy. Who needs canned tomato sauce anyway? (especially this time of year!)
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July Garden Pics

The onions are blooming! I think they're just about ready to pull.

Lots of garden pictures to post today! I've been spending quite a bit of my free time in the garden, which means I haven't had much time for blogging....

The sweet peas in the back garden are just beautiful. They smell really nice too!

I'm not too proud of my squash and tomato plants. Most of them were volunteers, and none are very healthy. This one is blooming, but the plant it tiny. We just had about two weeks of straight fog, which meant cold temperatures and no sun - not the kind of weather that encourages squash to grow. Oh well....

The apples are looking great! They're especially rosy this year, and there's a lot of them! They're still pretty small and unripe, but in another month or so, we'll have tons of them!

The day-lily out back is blooming really nicely. This is one of the plants that the lady who moved here in the 1950s planted. It's at least 30 or 40 years old.

Chives blooming on the front porch. Last year they had aphids really badly and we couldn't use any of them. We have more than we can use this year!

This is the small Manzanita olive tree on the porch. It's supposed to produce edible olives, but I've never gotten them to ripen correctly. I'm contemplating thinning the fruit this year to see if that helps....it might just be too cold here though.

My beautiful little Kaffir lime tree. It's so happy and bushy! The leaves are an essential ingredient in Thai food. I'll have to make some soon!

The garden has gone through some major transformation in the past few weeks. This is what it looked like two weeks ago....

Then I dug the potatoes and cut back the parsley and sage last weekend....

Today I pulled the garlic and planted a bunch of things....

Here's the potatoes I dug. It's not all of them - I left two patches to keep growing. Most of these are Russian banana potatoes, and also a few reds and yellow Finns. I think I planted them too close together - I didn't get as many as I thought I might. They sure are good though, and they'll last us for at least a month or so.

I tried to dry the parsley and sage in the sun last weekend, but then the fog rolled in and I had to put them in the oven. I washed the herbs, put them on cookie sheets, warmed the oven, then turned it off and put the herbs in and left them over night. Unfortunately, our oven is electric and doesn't have a pilot light. I think it would have worked a lot better and faster if we did.

Here's the finished dried parsley....

....and the sage.

Today I pulled most of the garlic that we planted last fall! I didn't really know how to braid it, but I did my best - it made a really long braid! We hung it on the porch to start curing. Once it's dryer, I'll probably try to clean it up a little and re-braid it. We got a pretty good yield! It'll last us at least through the fall.

Once I pulled the garlic, you could see this wild cacophony of catnip, sweet peas, onions, and pumpkin plant a lot better! The Lumina pumpkin on the left is the healthiest of all the squash plants, which I don't quite understand since it's so crowded by the peas....maybe it's because the peas fix nitrogen in the ground....

I went to the garden center today and got a few plants and some seeds. I couldn't help but buy two healthy looking basil plants. I don't really expect them to grow too well, but you never know....I try growing basil every year even though I know it's too cold for it - I just love cooking with it so much! We usually get more sun in the mid to late summer, so maybe it will grow this year. (I can't help but hope!) I also planted a small dill plant (for autumn pickles!) and a six pack of cilantro.

They were having a "save a pepper" sale at the garden center. Only $.50 for these little plants! I got three different hot peppers. They're pretty small and sickly, but they have lots of blooms on them. If we do get some sun in the next few weeks, I think we may get at least a few peppers from them. You don't need too many hot peppers anyway.... I also planted some lettuce seeds (an "heirloom" mix,) some Rapini seeds, and some sugar snap pea seeds. If all goes well we'll be eating all of it this autumn!
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Eating a Peach

I was lucky enough to score a few Willow Creek peaches from Amy and Jacque Neukom at the farmer's market this Saturday. There's a limited supply - many of the farmers are having problems with the smoke from all the wildfires - it's filtering the sunlight, and things aren't ripening as quickly as they should.

These peaches are literally melt in your mouth delicious. They're messy, but totally worth the juicy stickiness! I've visited the orchard where they're grown, just an hour or so up in the mountains - it's a wonderful. peaceful place. I was more than happy to give one to my friend Erin, a nursing mother, and her 5 month old baby, Acacia. This was Acacia's first taste of peach, and though she only "gummed" it, she enjoyed it thoroughly! She got a wide-eyed look of wonder and surprise, and kept grabbing at it to bring it toward her month. How amazing it must be to taste something like that for the first time!
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Raw Milk

I've been doing some research on raw milk, and found this YouTube video that talks about recent raw milk legislation in California, and explains the many reasons for drinking raw milk, and dairy products made from raw milk.

I'm a big fan of raw milk. I grew up on the stuff, and I would love to get a-hold of some, but it turns out that Humboldt County is the only county in California that bans the sale of raw milk. Bummer. It's just amazing to me that we're banning the sale of raw milk instead of making sure that dairies are clean, healthful places. The human race did really well on raw milk for a long time - if we hadn't, we would have stopped drinking it! It was only with the industrialization of farming and the breaking of traditional ties between farmers and eaters that milk safety really became a big issue....watch the video, it explains it all a lot better than I can.
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