Scenes from an Urban Garden Dinner Party: Part II

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Last week, I showed you the appetizers that I helped put together for a dinner benefiting the Portland Fruit Tree Project. My husband, the chef for the event, didn’t just stop at creative snacks. He prepared a five-course dinner as well, one that was so delicious we converted a 10-year vegetarian into a carnivore for the evening. I’d call that a massive success!

Here’s what we served after the passed appetizers were done.

Course 1: Salad of roasted beets, plums, goat cheese, mung bean sprouts and crispy quinoa.

Course 1: Beets, plums, goat cheese, mung bean sprouts and crispy quinoa

The beets were roasted, the plums firm but juicy, the cheesy was tangy and the fried quinoa added a happy crunchy texture.

Course 2: Homemade tomato leaf strozzapreti with Connie’s tomatoes and fresh basil in a  Parmesan brodo.

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Tales from the Garden: Can you dig it?

Sunchokes from my garden

Sunchokes from my garden

My single sunchoke plant from last year turned into 30 this year. The plants grew like crazy, each one boasting tons of pretty flowers:

Sunchoke blossoms

Sunchoke blossoms

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Tales from the Garden: The first berry blush

My friend DB recently gave me some of his amazing strawberry plants since the starters I bought three years ago never produced a single berry. I was hopeful that his would be more successful and they are definitely off to a great start!

Strawberry ripening

One strawberry is already starting to ripen!

First berry blush

I’m so excited!

Flowers for Mothers…

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Irises

It’s pretty fun being able to pick flowers right from my garden…

Iris

It’s also very convenient that my mom loves irises!

And as a side note: I have finally recovered from my vacation withdrawal and will be back to posting regularly starting tomorrow.

Tales from the Garden: April Showers, Forgotten Flowers

I am sure I’m not the only one guilty of planting a bulb and then six month later, when it pokes out from the ground, having absolutely no recollection of what it was. Take this little guy for instance. I bought a bag of bulbs from Costco last fall — 30 were crocuses and 15 were daffodils. The other 5 were a species I couldn’t have remembered if my life depended on it.

Top view of a fritillaria

I kept looking at the leaves thinking…hm…a lily of some kind? A few friends thought hibiscus. My husband swore they were alliums. Finally once the first flower bloomed, I showed a picture to another friend who does wedding bouquets as a side business and she figured it out.

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Things That Make Me Happy: Spring is Coming!

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Spring Crocus

The first of many….

Last fall I planted 30 spring crocus bulbs and I’ve been impatiently waiting for them to bloom. Finally Friday afternoon I noticed I had one perfect bloom in my backyard. After years of thinking that I was born with a black thumb, bulbs are becoming my redemption. For a little effort, you get a whole lot of reward!