Getting Back in the Groove!

Last week turned out to be a rather unintentional blog hiatus. While I don’t regret using the time to do other things for my mental health, I kept getting ideas and new posts started without actually finishing them, which annoys me a bit.

So, to ease myself back into this wonderful habit of writing again, I’ll start with an update of my current projects and activities:

(1) Resetting my “garden” area of the apartment. For at least six months, all of the plants were separated between a wall nook and the windowsill. As hot as the temperatures have risen of late, they’ve caused some issues with the poor babies in the window (especially the mushrooms) so I had to find a better solution. Behold!

All three of the Aerogardens are set up on a tiered shelf, with the wiring secured and out of the way with zip ties. Many thanks to Tyler for assisting with the wire consolidation! It looks so much better now. 🤩

To make use of cooler temperatures and eventually the grow lights from the gardens, I stuck my Hamama microgreens setup on an extendable table. I’m actually doing some new process tweaking with that kit, which I’ll discuss at a later point.

Below the table is a sanitized plastic bin on casters where the mushrooms now live; it’s a sort of humidity tent, in essence. I took a class a couple of weeks ago about mushroom cultivation and gained so much new information — with highlights I’ll share later this week — about creating an ideal environment. Hopefully, I can save these King Oysters purchased back in May but still refuse to pin and fruit.

And then, of course, the nook needed some pretty-ing up, hence the Legend of Zelda canvas and some old artwork I created a few months ago. “Feature Space” seems to define that whole area nicely, don’t you think?

(2) Collecting and cooking new or limited-season market finds. Last Saturday I successfully snagged some squash blossoms and Hatch chilies, two of my absolute favorite late summer treats.

Hatch chili mac and cheese was the first cooking endeavor after that market visit, courtesy of this recipe by Michelle at Brown-Eyed Baker.

Yes, I actually followed the directions to the letter… yes, yes, I can hear your gasps of surprise. Carry on.

It smelled so good I ended up eating some of the mac and cheese before I remembered to take the picture. Ooooooops…

Another culinary discovery included using lion’s mane mushrooms as a substitute for crab in some super flavorful, melt-in-your-mouth “crab” cakes. Look for my adapted recipe here soon.

Here’s a sneak peek of the final product:

Even better with hot sauce! Nom nom nom…

(3) Continuing to practice baking. Recently, I’ve had several goes at a three-ingredient cake (only flour, eggs and sugar). The first ended up super dry, but it actually turned out fine with fresh fruit on top and a night in the fridge to soften it. Go figure!

Later incarnations had me childishly attempting to play with fruit decoration, with a somewhat disappointing, if whimsical, result. That said, I’ll likely improve with practice and better online tutorials.

(4) Sampling some fun wine and spirits. With full write-ups to come on a few of these, vacation doesn’t stop my brain from picking apart a new wine with riotous glee. I took many notes on my phone and on scrap pieces of paper to jog my memory later, as I mentioned as a helpful practice in this previous post.

Whew! Looking back, I suppose I did keep myself busy with a multitude of projects, many of which are still ongoing. The microgreens should sprout by the end of the week, I have Hatch chili enchiladas to make, and I’m hoping to see the start of mushrooms no later than Monday.

That is, of course, on top of any other recipe or cooking idea that strikes my fancy. I did purchase a large number of Palisade peaches last week… hmmm.

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Look for more details on some of the aforementioned projects very soon.

Published by Allie

Foodie explorer with Stardew Valley dreams. Lover of wine but not beer, cheese but not milk, and all things chocolate. Working to learn as many self-sufficient, at-home food production skills as possible.

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