This is a blog featuring my personal stories of food, gardening, yachting, photography, travel and life.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Simple Delicious Dinner

After a wonderful, overwhelming fieldtrip to the Saturday Bellingham Farmer's Market this morning, we brought home a bevy of taste treats, all organic and fresh as the morning dew. A bunch of chioggia beets with their trademark red and white bullseye interior went into our blue Chico bag first. We promenaded up and down each of the colorful rows sampling pungent cheeses, stopping to listen to a jazz riff from one of the buskers, breathing in the flavors at the Ethiopian or Greek or Mexican food booths. Now and again we stopped to make another purchase, a cucumber, a bunch of carrots with their shiny green tops still fresh, red cabbage, broccoli, and a big bag of salad greens.

Tonight for part of our dinner plan I decided to cut the greens off the beets while they were still fresh. A bit of butter in a pan set on low heat, and the greens were braised in no time. 45 minutes before I had rubbed a little olive oil into a bone-in chicken breast, salted and peppered it and began roasting it in a 425 convection oven. The breast came out perfectly browned on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside. Along with the chicken and greens I decided on a creamy risotto. A cup of arborio rice tossed into a pan with hot olive oil, a few stamen of crocus and some chicken broth started things off. Keep stirring as you add a little more liquid at a time. As the mixture begins to thicken add a little more stock and continue stirring. After 10 minutes taste a grain or two of rice for doneness. Continue adding liquid each time the risotto begins to thicken. The last time you add liquid make it a 1/2 cup of dry white wine and continue stirring. Near the end stir in a cup of parmesan regianno and a small handful of fresh peas.

It doesn't much matter what you put into your risotto, mushrooms, asparagus, whatever is in season as long as the final product is rich and creamy.
I plated up the beet greens on the plate, cut the chicken breast in half and placed a piece on top of the greens and spooned the risotto onto the plate.

Raccoon Pal

Again this morning, and by that I mean 3 am, I was awakened by a noise out in the back garden. After lying there for sometime waiting for the noise to repeat itself, suddenly I heard it again. Not exactly the same noise but enough to let me know something was up in the yard that needed investigating.

I crept downstairs and tip-toed across the kitchen to our back door which had been left open. Whatever it was, only a screen door separated us. I stood there listening in the dark and heard a soft purring, the pitter-pat of little feet and a swishing sound. Flicking on the porch light a large raccoon suddenly froze in the middle of a swim in our fountain. His fun and games were evident all over the deck. Tiny wet raccoon footprints were repeated over and over, the table, the lawn swing and covered the deck. After staring at me for a time, I suppose waiting to see what I would do next, and finding I seemed frozen in my own tracks, the raccoon slowly climbed down out of the fountain and carefully padded over to the screen door.

We held the first annual raccoon/human staring contest for a good 60 seconds, little growls emanating from his throat before he decided he'd let me go my way and he his. He waddled over to the edge of the deck, slowly crawled underneath the tip of his handsome ringed tail the last bit to disappear.

We usually see the evidence of our little raccoon friend nearly every morning and for a long time though most of the evidence was dried up. We have been both convinced and frustrated by the fact that our beautiful fountain seemed to have sprung a leak. Most everyday we find the water level is significantly lower than the day before. Glancing around the deck it appeared the raccoon had had a water fight with the neighborhood raccoons. Now we know the source of the leak and I suppose the small inconvenience of having to refill the fountain everyday is a small price to pay for our furry animal friends to enjoy the ritual of their nightly nocturnal fun.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Our Yacht Photos

A number of people have asked to see photos of our yacht. So I have loaded a number of photos onto the blog. They are visible as a slideshow of thumbnails on the right margin of this page. Clicking on the slideshow will open up a much larger version of them in Picassa.

These photos were mostly taken during our first look at the boat while it was berthed in Seattle. A couple of them were taken off the broker websites. Specifically the photo of it out in the water with the bridge in the background and the layout diagram of the boat.

Tomorrow I take our signed addendum to the purchasing agreement to our broker's office. It agrees to let the seller have specific damaged areas on the boat fixed, have it inspected and then we will purchase the boat. He needs about 2-3 weeks but depending upon the amount of damage found as the work is done it may take longer. We are hoping for no more than a month so we will still have the boat for the rest of the sailing season. September and October can be beautiful for cruising and sailing here in the northwest so we are looking forward to that. We also want to be able to take our kids out on the boat when they visit from Britain in late August and early September. Then we also need to have it operational so we can practice the things we will have learned in our boating classes this fall.