{final tomato harvest of 2022}

14 Oct

this foto captures only a fraction of the amount of tomatoes i harvested a couple of weeks ago…

easily, upwards of 10 pounds of tomatoes were on the plants before i decided to pull them up. i lovingly called them “jelly bean tomatoes” and to be honest, i think they may have been a self-seed/rogue plant. they are so prolific and delicious! i am going to save some seeds in hopes of planting them again next year…

since so many of them were still green, i pickled some for the first time ever. and i also made some sauce with a blend of both. 🙂

{inspired by : stracciatella}

1 Oct

this simplistically yummy soup was inspired by the same instagram account i mentioned in a previous post {see recipe here} which i stumbled onto one night while scrolling and searching for recipe inspiration. i had never heard of this dish, but then i did some research and found out that it is derived from roman culture and the word stracciatella actually translates to “little rags” – which i think is both adorable and poignant. it was created to use up kitchen scraps… as {in my humble opinion} some of the best meals always are!

this soup is so simple and easy to make. the chicken stock is the most time-consuming part of this recipe. sure, you can buy it… but homemade is best! in my kitchen, i tend to make chicken stock about once a week. i use it for everything and i sip on the bone broth a lot during cold winter months and/or freeze or can it for future use. and now that we are officially in the autumn season, and the weather is cooling down, i am truly enjoying this soup even more. although, i tend to enjoy soup year round.

as you know, we appreciate simplicity around here at food and foto. quality in = quality out. simple, healthy, clean ingredients lay the foundation and make for the most enjoyable meals.

this is one of my new favourite soups! so soothing, so comforting, so simple, and so delicious.

  • 8-12 oz chicken stock
  • 1-2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup parmigiana reggiana
  • 1/4-1/2 cup fresh spinach
  • S&P to taste
  • parsley, optional

a crumbled up parmigiano reggiano swirl via stovetop sauté pan – also optional. {but adds some great flavour and crunch!}

method :

heat stock on medium to high and wilt in spinach. drop in the egg{s}. stir in grated cheese and season as desired.


#sipsip #nomnom

{homemade chow chow}

14 Sep

i had never heard of chow chow until i lived in the south a few years back. y’all know i’m a big fan of sauerkraut… and this has similar ingredients, but with a different taste and process. chow chow is not fermented, although i’m certain you could change the ingredients and i bet a ferment would also taste amazing!

what i enjoy about making stuff like this is you don’t have to be so specific. you can play around with different measurements and/or sizes of veggies, combinations of veggies, etc. being in the kitchen is all about exploring, and i love to “play” with my food… and that is something i will never stop doing! 😀

some recipes that i explored suggested adding green tomatoes and/or spices or hot peppers… but this is what i came up with :

simple ingredients :

  • cabbage
  • onion
  • green pepper
  • red/yellow pepper

simple brine :

  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 cup water

start by heating brine ingredients in a sauce pan on low-medium heat until salt and sugar dissolve, then allow to cool to room temperature.

if you find that you have extra brine, you can always save it for something else like pickles or whatever other veggie you may want to use.

meanwhile, finely chop up all of the veggies…

pour {slightly cooled} brine mixture over the ingredients…

take some pictures, if you fancy…

then, add lid and store in the refrigerator for about a week. you can also use this same recipe and then pressure can or water-bath can and store in the pantry.

i made it both ways and both were delicious! i have one more jar left in the pantry, and i have been using the jar in the fridge for all kinds of fun stuff! it is SO GOOD with sausage or on a pork roll/bun… it adds the perfect balance of sweet to the savory. and it’s also good as a little snack or adding it to a charcuterie board or on a cracker, etc.

one thing I do like about the “canning” method is that the texture is a little softer. heat-processing this does break down the veggies a bit more and although i like it both ways, i do prefer the canning method. the nice thing is, canning is always an option even if i start with the fridge method.


do you like and/or make chow chow?! please share your comments and/or recipes below!

 

{i’ve always wanted one of these!}

29 Jul

i have some of the best people in my life! thoughtful, genuine, generous people… and i’m so thankful!

for my birthday last year, a dear friend gave me this awesome feather pen and quill ink stamp kit. i have always wanted one! i casually mentioned it to this person, and one day she brought it to me and i just shrieked in excitement! 🙂

i have since written several letters and sent them out to a select few people… it is just so much fun! i found this cool stationery that i had been holding onto for years, and it was just perfect for this kit!

my thoughts are like this – the internet and social media and all of that have great perks… but i also tend to be a little old-school… in that, i will always love sending and receiving mail! so this is just a perfect addition to my artistic studio!



would you like a hand-written wax-stamped letter from me? go to my about me page and fill out the form with your mailing address information and let’s be pen pals! 😀

 

{candy cane beets – aka chioggia beets}

19 Jul

these are one of my all-time favourite vegetables! i do enjoy beets, but i mostly enjoy these because of the way they look! from the outside, you wouldn’t know that they looked like this inside. but that’s part of what i love about them!

please meet the “candy cane beet” – also known as “chioggia beet” – aren’t they just magnificent?!

my two favourite ways to eat them are :

  • raw, sliced thin, with himalayan pink salt
  • steamed then cooled to room temp, just as is

fun food facts :

also known as “bulls eye beets” – this unique specialty produce item has a sweeter, more robust flavour profile compared to its other beet cousins. they are named after a region in italy, where they predominantly grow. chioggia beets are an excellent source of manganese, folate, vitamin c, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. the leaves of this vegetable are also edible, and serve well sautéed, steamed, or as a chard substitute. 

 

{blue cheese steak salad}

11 Jul

i love to enjoy food leftovers the very next day… and it’s even more fun when i create something different with the leftover item i’m using. for example, after making this meal, i use the steak the next day for a yummy salad with blue cheese. it’s one of my favourite go-to meals these days. light and refreshing, but still flavourful and filling. high in protein, and always a crowd-pleaser.

simple ingredients, as per usual {measuring with the heart and “some” of each :

  • leftover room-temp steak {i typically use grass-fed strip loin}
  • hard-boiled egg{s}
  • blue cheese crumbles
  • chopped crisp romaine lettuce
  • chopped scallions
  • blue cheese dressing
  • croutons {optional}
  • tomatoes {optional}


this is a staple in the food & foto household. it’s also a big hit at parties or gatherings and is packed with nutrients and flavour! it also makes a good lettuce wrap! i opt for grass-fed meats whenever possible… they are higher in nutrition and i believe they taste so much better! 

{inspired by : big salad, little steak}

4 Jul

oops, this email was accidentally sent out last month – my mistake… anyway, happy summer, y’all!

i found this recipe through an instagram account {@katherinewants} and i was inspired to try it.

it’s adorably called – “big salad, little steak.”

i have been eating this at least 1-2 times a week, lately. it satiates me in such a way, and it’s also easy to make {now that i’ve mastered it}. i used to be so intimidated by cooking steak… i would always overcook it and/or ruin the overall taste or quality. so i hadn’t tried making it in years. then i discovered this recipe and method for cooking steak, and i am proud to say i’ve been nailing it every time! i don’t have a grill, so using a cast iron pan is perfect for my apartment lifestyle.

i believe three key factors make the main difference in how this steak is prepared :

  • quality of steack
  • quality of butter
  • basting!!!

the best meals always start with some of the simplest ingredients : 

  • grass-fed strip steak
  • garlic
  • shallots
  • rosemary & thyme
  • grass-fed butter
  • romain lettuce
  • parmigiano reggiano
  • caesar dressing

the best meals also start with some of the simplest techniques :

  • bring steak to room temperature
  • season steak liberally with salt & pepper
  • add steak to a very hot cast iron pan and sear on one side for approximately 2-3 minutes
  • turn steak on its side to render the fat
  • flip steak to other side and add butter, garlic, shallots, and herbs
  • baste, baste, baste – approximately another 2-3 minutes or until internal temp of 110
  • remove from heat and allow to rest

slice steak to your desired thickness. serve with caesar salad {croutons optional} and a glass of prosecco {maybe-not-so-optional ;)}. Continue reading

{eating seasonally : the awesome artichoke}

28 Jun

as many of you probably know, i prefer to eat seasonally… it gives me things to look forward to, and it’s also good for the body. now that we are in the prime of summer, i am switching up my diet to include things that are currently in season. which is exciting because my garden is poppin’ right now and i’ll soon have more seasonal produce to enjoy {and share!}

the flip side of eating seasonal is letting go of some of the foods that stop producing as the months progress. for example – peas, arugula, radishes, asparagus, and in the case of this blog – artichokes.

i just love love love artichokes and i do miss them when they are not in season… but i also do get my fill of them during the spring and early summer months. i like to serve them with an aioli or melted butter… nom nom!

aren’t they just so interesting looking? i love vegetable guts, and i have always been fascinated by the insides of certain veggies like artichokes, cabbage, lettuce, etc.

look at that color! and that devine design! ❤

 

 

{praying mantis hatching}

20 Jun

i thought this would be a good post to celebrate the summer solstice! 😀

i have always been somewhat obsessed with the praying mantis. for as long as i can remember, i just thought they were so cool, and when i was a kid i used to look for them everywhere i would go! i saw one giving itself a bath one time and it was just about the most amazing thing ever. until i saw THIS! something i have had on my “bucket list” for a while…

backtrack a bit – when i lived in north carolina, a friend of mine found a praying mantis pod {aka ootheca} and saved it for me. i, of course, totally freaked out about it and immediately went to read about how to care for it… then i took a bunch of photos of it and eventually put in my garden…

i did not get to see that one hatch at that time, but this year… i totally made up for it. i found at least a dozen of these in my garden earlier this year. and in late spring, they all began to hatch… and all of these baby praying mantids started to emerge!

IT WAS SO COOL!!!


fun facts :

baby praying mantids are called nymphs. they hatch by the dozens {or sometimes hundreds} a while after the mama creates her ootheca pod {which tranlates to “a place to keep.”} praying mantids are so good for the garden! they are beneficial predatory insects… which basically means they prey the harmful insects which would otherwise harm or eat plants! and i just totally adore them!

{strawberry full moon}

15 Jun

obviously i have a little theme going here, lately… 😉

all things strawberry!!!

upon waking {accidentally super early} this morning, i went down to the park and captured a few fotos of the beautiful full {strawberry} moon. while there, i made friends with a few ducks, and even finally got to see some baby ducklings for the first time this season!

please enjoy these lovely fotos!


i just love that gradient sky! good morning {and good night} moon! ❤

see the blue herring?!

i just love a pier on a summer morning…

mama and baby ducks… they followed me around for a bit… it was so cute!

baby ducklings splashing around…

aaahhhhhh, morning golden hour! the best!


how was your morning? have a great day!

{diy dehydrated strawberries}

13 Jun

speaking of strawberries… these are like nature’s candy!

i love to make dehydrated fruit of all kinds! one of my other favourite things to dehydrate is bananas. it’s a great way to preserve in-season foods and enjoy them later. it’s also easy and cost-effective.

strawberries are one of my top favourite fruits to enjoy when they are dehydrated. they are so sweet and so delicious! they curb my craving for gummy bears or gummy snacks, and obviously have way less sugar! the only issue is, they don’t last very long! 😉


{garden fresh strawberries}

10 Jun

aren’t these just the most beautiful strawberries you’ve ever seen?!

and i promise you, they taste better than they look, if you can imagine 😉

by the way, which background do you like better?! comment below…


fun food facts :

strawberries contain more vitamin c than oranges. they are also high in antioxidants and are super easy to grow! they self-seed and make a fun little patch to pick from. they are the only fruit with seeds on the outside. some strawberries contain over 200 seeds! they have a short season, so continuous harvesting is necessary for optimum enjoyment. also, to maintain the sweet flavour, strawberries are better served at room temperature.

 

 

{garden update – volume 2}

7 Jun

this update is a little late… so much has been going on at the garden! we had a lot of rain here, and so the plants are growing and thriving so well!

i typically plant seasonally. so i started with my cool season crops like radishes, peas, beets, spinach, kale, arugula, and lettuce… most of which i have harvested lately. i also harvested the garlic and onions that i adopted from last year. the peas are starting to produce fruit which is exciting, and the lettuce is still thriving and i planted more this week. i started planting my summer crops – cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, squash, and more lettuce. i also planted flowers this year, which is kind of new for me – nasturtiums, calendula, and coneflower.

here is a progress report on what my overall garden plot looks like. i currently have a lot of seeds in the ground, and i take some pride in having beautiful soil and very little to no weeds. i am so excited to continue to watch the growth and progress! 🙂

do you have a garden? what are you growing?


          
Continue reading

{garden update}

30 Apr

the weather here in Maryland has been so confusing for the last two months. i think we even had a frost last week! however, i do believe we are finally hitting that spring stride… and i’m so ready!

i’ve been steadily getting my garden ready, also! currently, i have lots of sprouts coming up, hooray! i also have a lot of weeds, boo! but i’m holding off on doing too much weeding just yet so i make sure not to pull any sprouts. typically i don’t have any weeds and i take pride in that… but i’ll just have to be patient for now. 😉

here are some pics to show the progress. {if you follow me on instagram, you’ve probably already seen these… and if you don’t, please do – here.}


Continue reading

{homemade infused butter}

29 Apr

i’m calling this “infused” – with grass fed butter, shallots, garlic, rosemary, and thyme…


heated on low for 10-15 minutes until melted and then cooled…

apparently this changes the structure of the butter, but i use it for when i cook steak and it seems to do fine…

i just freeze it after i melt/infuse it and it use it to baste in the cast iron!


what do you think of this method? have you ever tried it?

 

{nature hike}

30 Mar

nothing like a stroll in nature to clear the mind, connect with the earth, and welcome the new season!

it’s been a little chilly here lately {boo!} but just recently, i took a little walk with my cousin through a beautiful trail nearby and we both had our cameras in hand.

here are a few of my favourite images from the day.

happy spring, y’all – hope it’s springing where you are!


stumbled onto this along the way!

had a little fun taking pics of it…

these trees kind of remind of me aspens

nothing like sunset over the water…


how’s the weather where you live?

{thirsty thursday – beer journal #2}

3 Mar

ahh, i missed out on posting an autumn beer journal in 2021. oh well… you can see some samples on these blogs – usually my indulgences in the months of fall consist mostly of oktoberfest and brown ales.

and this post is a wee late, considering it’s already march! {yay spring!}

but anyway, here are a few of my favourite winter beers that i tend to enjoy and have explored between the months of december and february… mostly browns, porters, and stouts… many of which are rich in flavour and paired beautifully with notes of peanut butter, chocolate, and sometimes even hints of barrel-aged bourbon.

YES please!



what are some of your favourite winter beers?!

{flashback friday – homegrown cabbage}

25 Feb

i hope y’all well and healthy and finding joy in the little things.

with all the changes happening for so many of us over the last almost 2 years, my green thumb has been turning slightly brown as of late. what i mean by that is, i have not had access to a regular garden setting in two seasons. {*gasp!*} which, as many of you that know me well truly understand, felt like a hole in my soul. nothing brings me more joy than getting my hands in the dirt, growing food, and being in touch with the earth – mind, body, and spirit.

this season, i plan to get back into the swing of things {see previous blog about my new plot!} and i have lots of exciting opportunities sprouting at this time. {see what i did there?!}

flashback to the only time i ever successfully grew cabbage… late fall of 2019. that seems like a lifetime ago. anyway, i’m planning to try to grow it again this year. probably in the fall versus the spring… but since i have so much space, one can never be sure what farmeraudrey will try 😉

{belated full moon post}

19 Feb

i took some pretty pictures of the moon a while back and never got around to posting them. since we recently experienced a full moon, i thought i would share some of those images here with you.

also – my favourite quote :

“to be nobody but yourself in a world that is doing its best to make you something else, is to fight the hardest battle you are going to fight… never stop fighting.” – ee cummings


{new garden season!}

15 Feb

hey y’all!

it’s a bit early in the year for such things, but this area in the northeast offered some nice weather this past weekend, so i was eager to get outside and get my hands in the dirt! as you know, there isn’t much that makes me feel happier than being in nature – and especially, being in a garden!!!

#farmeraudrey

it pleases me to say – that i finally found a community garden that is only about 15 minutes from where i currently live. i am so excited about it! i was also pleasantly surprised to discover that the plot i adopted is about 3 times the size of the last one i took care of in north carolina! this gives me so many ideas on what to plant, and i am feeling so grateful!!!

please stay tuned… as there will be more updates to come… but for now, here’s a brief overview of the work i did this past saturday when the temperatures were in the high 50s!

before…

during…

after…

the person who took care of this plot last season planted lots of beautiful garlic and onions… which apparently are mine now! and although i am very grateful to have them, i will have to figure out what to do with some of the crops since ultimately i will need to have access to the foundation before it’s time to harvest them…

also – i feel like it doesn’t look like i did much {haha}… and i still have a lot of work to do… but i was there for about 3 hours and i was able to clear out a lot of weeds, etc… i also brought a souvenir home, in the form of a slight rash on my arms from all of the random things i was pulling out of the ground and off the fence line, in my attempt to start prepping the soil {haha!} but fret not, my body and skin are just fine now… that said – next time, i ought to consider and/or be more conscious about wearing longer sleeves… sometimes i just get right into the thick of things, without thinking much… 😉


are you prepping for a garden this year? please comment and share what you plan on growing and any tips you may have! i love to hear from and talk with fellow gardeners! ❤

also – please follow me on instagram for more updates!

 

 

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