Wild garden curry started

Waking up at godawfulthirty in the morning has its benefits.  Apparently I am more motivated to do stuff if I have hours of free time before the sun is fully up.

A few years ago, my amazing wife got me a portobello mushroom kit in a box.  After 3 months of mushroom harvests it stopped producing, so I spread the remains of the soil in the box underneath a row of pine trees along the border of my driveway.  Now every time that it rains for the first time after a dry spell, I get a bunch of mushrooms popping up.  The other day I noticed there were about 15 - 20 coaster to platter sized mushrooms popping up.  I picked about 12 of them under the hazy glow of the security lights this morning.

Now, fully awake and dusting portobello dust off of my hands (and cooking and packing some away in the freezer for later), I fall under the gaze of the slightly dusty, clearly neglected can of coconut milk I set out two weeks earlier.  "What else have you got to do?", it taunts me.  Fine.

Now I have a crock pot of:
chicken breasts
chicken stock
coconut milk
curry paste
grain mix, for texture (Israeli-style couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo beans and red quinoa)
wild portobello mushrooms (from the garden)
roasted carrots (from the garden)
sugar snap peas (from the garden)
roasted and fried butternut squash (from the garden)
shallots (from the garden)
garlic (from the garden)
pineapple sage (from the garden)
curry (from the garden)

cooking its little heart out.
I am also going golfing later today.

Yeah, I can get used to getting up early with a three day weekend every week.

New, favorite Japanese restaurant - Shiki

Shiki has the best sushi and some of the best Japanese food I have ever had the pleasure to eat.  W. and I went for dinner and everything was great.  The Age Dashi Tofu was amazing, with all of the flavors blending perfectly.  The sliced beef teriyaki was superb, and the quality of the steak and other ingredients was noticeable.  The only thing that wasn't perfect was the Chicken Karaage...and that may have just been me.  The chicken was juicy, but the breading was dryer than I expected.

After eating there for dinner and being amazed at the smells and the food, I came back today to try the sushi.

The fish was unbelievably fresh, and the rolls were artfully created.  Each flavor in the roll was seperate, rather than all one-roll flavored.

I had the pleasure of sitting next to Surja Tjahaja, who puts on cooking classes for West Linn Parks and Recreation.  Here is a.pdf in which you will find his classes for this summer, which include sushi and Green Curry Paste for only $25 each!  Yum!  He had a conversation with the owner/sushi chef and was asking him all kinds of specific questions about the sushi, and kept commenting on how the freshness and quality of the sushi was better than any place in town.  Did I mention Mr. Tjahaja is from Japan?

Shiki.  Try it. 8931 SE Foster Rd., Portland, OR

First batch of Limoncello finished!

After straining the lemon peel bits out, then pouring into bottles, it is finished!

I had some left over, so of course I had to refrigerate and taste test it.  WHAM!  130 proof of lemony goodness!  Some people think it may be too strong, but I still need to poll my drinkin' friends ;)


Garden planted!

So, wisely or not, I planted most of my seeds today, along with 4 asparagus crowns.
Here is basically what I planted and where.  Lines of text = rows planted. ? and () = still to plant.
Excitement.  I haz it.

Garden planning

(no subject)

I got the two yards of dirt delivered on Wednesday.  It rained the whole day.  By the end of the shoveling I figured the soil (or more commonly know in it's present state, 'mud') weighed closer to 5000-6000 pounds.  I got it from Mt Scott Fuel and it is a blend of humus, yard debris compost, processed cow manure and some sand.  It is pretty!

I had planned on having it dumped right next to two of my boxes, unfortunately, one of my trees is growing in such a way as to block accesss to the dumptruck into the back portion of my yard.  So instead of dropping near my boxes, it gets dropped in the middle of my driveway, 30 feet away from the closest box
2 yards is big!

After 4 hours of shoeveling and carting, the driveway is finally clear and it turns out that 2 yards of soil was WAY too much.  So I have a new garden on the side of my driveway, and a large 'spare' pile of soil as well!

I say this as if it were an exciting thing, but about 2/3rds of the way through I was sorely (seriously, I haven't performed this much manual labor in years, so I DO mean sorely) tempted to put an add on craigslist for free garden soil just to get rid of it.  However I took inspiration from whipartist and pushed my way on through.

Sorry, couldnt figure out how to do a LJ cut before work.  There is a link to a movie at the bottom!
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Limoncello Phase One: Complete!  Limoncello Phase Two: In Progress!  Limoncello Phase Three: 40 more days!

Phase One: mix two bottles of Everclear and the zest of 18 lemons.  Allow to comingle for 40 days in a cool place.
Limoncello and gift bottle

Phase Two: mix 3.5 cups of water with 3 cups of sugar and heat slowly until clear.  Let the newly created simple sugar cool to room temperature.  Blend with lemony Everclear.  Let sit for 40 more days in a cool place.
Ready to go back to mingle for 40 more days

Limoncello Phase Three: strain solids though cheesecloth and bottle in rubber stoppered botles with custom labels.  Give away as gifts around mid-march.