Growing and Cooking

Ok, last for the day (gotta take advantage of the husband-free time on the computer). I realized that I have also been doing a lot of growing things and cooking things. I haven’t posted about either. So here is the documentation of that portion of my life (I in fact do other things than just drink/make beer).

My tomatoes are going nuts this year. This is a miracle. See, we don’t get summertime in Aptos. We bought this house a little over 3 years ago, and this is the first time we have had a summertime season since then. I’ve never been able to grow anything other than cherry tomatoes (and those end up sort of watery half the time), and definitely no peppers or eggplant. But lo and behold I have tomatoes. LOTS of them. I optimistically planted 6 different types: Early Girl, Cherokee Purple (my only 2 “large” tomatoes due to the lack of success), Sungold (my first love), Sweet Million, Yellow Pear and Isis Candy. All of them are well over 6 feet tall and have loads of tomatoes on them. One of them even broke off in my hand when I tried to pick it up, it was that heavy (bummer on the tomatoes on that branch though). Brandon cut down a branch on the apple tree the other day and it was very, very long. So I used that to prop up a few of the branches – it is barely holding them. I am in complete awe and amazement. Here is photographic evidence that this is happening:

This is the planter box that I somehow stuffed all of these tomatoes into.

See the apple tree branch that’s holding up these Early Girl and Isis Candy vines?

The size of these Cherokee Purple’s baffles me.

Not only am I super excited about the tomatoes, but they have a viney neighbor. HOPS! I guess it had to come back to beer at some point, eh? Last year I planted hops to see what would happen. They didn’t do much, just grew about 1 foot then stopped. I cut them back in the fall, and hoped for good things this season. My hoping (hopping, heh) was a success! I’ve got some beautiful Cascade hops winding their way along the fence and onto my tomato vines (as if they didn’t need enough support as it is).

Hops wrapping themselves around the fence wires.

Beautiful conical flowers.

Since we got our way back to beer, I’ve been cooking. With beer – the grains at least. Again, I hate to waste things so when we make a beer with grains I like to use them rather than dump them in the compost (or give them to my friend’s chickens). I had just been making beer grain bread, but today I wanted to branch out. So out came beer grain muffins from the “She Who Brews Good Ale” blog and beer grain cheddar scones from Broklyn Brewshop’s “The Mash”. They are both delicious and healthier than normal due to the “whole grain” and the re-use of cooking materials.

Cheddar scones on left and muffins on the right.

I’m going to share the cheddar scones with my classroom tomorrow morning and eat the muffins as my own daily breakfast grain, probably with some peach butter that is still in the fridge at work. I was getting kinda antsy this evening with little to do (except of course clean everything in sight… didn’t really want to do that) so cooking it was. That always feels good. And to wrap up, here is me gazing up at an umbrella of hops with a backdrop of tomatoes, in my very fruitful garden.

Happiness.

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