Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Fresh Raspberry Overload

Along the sunny, south-facing edge of a patch of forest in my front yard stands a healthy swath of raspberry canes we planted about 25 years ago. Most years, the birds, squirrels, and other wildlife get the majority of the berries before I do. I'm lucky if I harvest a half pint. But this year, with a bit more free time on my hands, I have already harvested more than 2 full pints, with what I would guess is another 2 pints still on the canes.

Freshly picked raspberries.

The other factor may be that I had given all the canes a pretty severe haircut in the fall. So maybe that pruning encouraged more new growth than normal.

The canes.

It seems a waste of fresh raspberries to boil them into syrup, sauce, or jam, so instead I found a recipe for a clafoutis. A clafoutis is a moist cakey-eggy French dessert that's traditionally loaded with cherries, but there's nothin' wrong with using raspberries. You could even serve this for breakfast.

Thanks to Food and Wine for the recipe.  My only adaptation was using a pie plate in lieu of a gratin dish.


Clafoutis cooling before it gets a dusting with
confectioner's sugar.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Friday, May 29, 2015

Right Up Your Alley -- Food Truck Score on Chincoteague

Loves me some tacos. They ideally are made with corn tortillas, and if I'm really lucky, they're filled with fish, though chicken, pork, beef, or bean/lentil vegetarian will do nicely, too.

What a treat to learn that a Veteran-owned and operated Mexican food truck called Right Up Your Alley opened in an alley off of Main Street in Chincoteague.

The mahi mahi tacos are accompanied by shredded cabbage, mango salsa, and a garlicky sauce. They are served piping hot, and come loaded with big pieces of crispy-fried fish. I love that the taco has a double-wrap of corn tortillas, thus avoiding having the whole thing fall apart half-way through the meal.

Chicken taco minus one bite.

The chicken tacos are just as good, with big generous chunks of white chicken meat.  Several hot sauces are homemade, and service is about as quick as at any food truck.  (Don't expect things to move as fast as at your local golden arches.) It's worth the short wait for homemade, fresh eats.

Umbrellas, tables, and benches in the alley
provide a convenient spot to enjoy your meal.

Right Up Your Alley (RUYA) updates the more traditional (some might say old school) restaurant offerings on the island. While typical seafood restaurants have their place, RUYA provides a welcome, modern, and casual alternative. 

Check their Facebook page to see the whole menu and specials, and to see what their hours are on any given day. Or call (757) 990-2069.  

I wish RUYA much success!

What Chincoteague establishment would be complete without
some ducks/ducklings? 

Friday, May 22, 2015

What Would George (and Martha) Do?

George Washington's Mount Vernon, south of Alexandria, Virginia, has a plant sale each spring. Among the offerings are some of the same types of plants that George and Martha had in their own gardens. I was tempted by several tomato varieties, geraniums, purple cornflower, heliotrope, various herbs, and more.

After taking my time reading about all the plants, I scored something called False Blue Indigo, a perennial that one of the Mount Vernon staff said wouldn't disappoint. Even the leaves are interesting.  It should do well in a sunny spot but tolerates some shade. That's key in my setting in Northern Virginia, surrounded by mature trees.

I also bought yet another lavender, this one of the Provence variety. I'm not sure my woods-surrounded garden will get enough direct sun for the lavender, but I'm going to give it a try.

They had a nice assortment of seeds, too, which were collected from Mount Vernon's actual gardens. Pretty cool.

Learn more here: http://www.mountvernon.org/gifts/mount-vernon-historic-plant-and-garden-sale