Long time…

It’s been a long time- Nick’s Kitchen has been moving and shaking on a variety of fronts… except WordPress.

Oops.  

Well nonetheless, I am still here, still available on Etsy and still coming to events near you!

I am attending the Care Begins With Me event this evening in Sacramento.  Great lifestyle event to help promote women’s health.  Hope to see you there!

New Item: Organic Seedless Raspberry Jam!

I have a new item in my Etsy ShopOrganic Seedless Raspberry Jam!

Delicious, amazing and fantastic!  Everything that you would expect from Raspberry Jam; plus, no seeds!  Woot!  Woot!

Whitney and I headed up to Auburn on one summer morning, and picked these from a U-Pick Farm ourselves! We had lots of fun picking the berries, and there were so many on the bushes that we picked over 30 lbs. in less than an hour!  Before it even got SUPER hot (it turned into a 100°+ day).

Grown in the rolling foothills of true California Gold County in the small town of Auburn. These organic raspberry bushes have never seen a drop of pesticides or fumigants. Grown at an organic U-Pick Farm ran by an awesome Husband – Wife Team that has been in operation since the 1980s, each raspberry was selected by yours truly!

Vegetable Garden, July 18, 2011

All is well in the garden.  Whitney and I went away for a couple of days, came back and were amazed by how much the tomatoes and peppers have grown.

Some of the peppers that I have started late have really taken off, like this cubanelle.

Some of the Listada de Gandia eggplants were eaten up by caterpillars and other insects (aphids?) while we were gone, but I found this Garden Hero doing its job.

Predator on the prowl

Have a new product that I am really excited to share and the story behind it.  I need to take some photos and will post later this week and get it on Etsy.

Vegetable Garden, July 18, 2011

Vegetable Garden, July 11, 2011

Yeah this is just a quick one.  With the temps soaring into the 100′s all last week, the tomatoes grew a lot, but a lot of that growth was leggy.  So several of the plants fell over.  Today was trying yet another method to keep the tomatoes growing up for as long as possible.  Let’s hope it works.

Before

After. Vegetable Garden, July 11, 2011

Vegetable Garden, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!  All is well in the garden – the seeds that I just planted (eggplants and some herbs) have sprouted – which I am actually surprised since it has been so ridiculously hot.  100+ temps every day for the past 3 or 4 with it continuing for a couple more days.  But the plants that have already grown, are loving the summer heat.  Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend and had a safe 4th of July!

Found these mushrooms growing around all of the tomatoes this morning. I believe they are the Genus Mycena, but unsure of anything else. I hope that it is a good sign! They died by Noon from the sun.

First tomato holla! It is one of the special Yellow San Marzanos too! So we know that they are not sterile at least! Let's hope they turn yellow again instead of red!

 

My neighbor's climbing rose bush bloomed again. Very pretty.

Vegetable Garden, July 4, 2011

Vegetable Garden, June 27, 2011

I’m reviving an oldie but goodie.  I am always so amazed by how fast a garden will grow.  So I will do my best to take a picture every Monday and post it that night.

This is currently my Garden for 2011:

Tomatoes

Copia – slicing tomato named after the now defunct COPIA center in Napa.  Developed in their gardens (which were AWESOME!)

Juane Flamme – French orange fleshed globe tomato – tons of tomato flavor

Yellow San Marzano – this might be a new strain, from right here in Sacramento!  Let’s hope that out of the three that I planted that one stays true to the fruit!  They were gorgeous San Marzano tomatoes – just a bright yellow!  A little more acidic too- which I liked in sauce that I made with them last year.

Red Zebra – Oldie but a goodie heirloom

Hartman’s Gooseberry – Yellow cherry type tomato – good for eating right off of the plant

Beam’s Yellow Pear – Yellow pear type tomato – great for salads

Then I have my Ajicito Plants in the front purple pot (aka Aji Dulce, Cachucha Pepper) that I overwintered in my home, since they are so special to Puerto Ricans!  Looking lovely and sprouting tons of flowers.

Crecer Hijo de puta! Crecer!

My strawberries are doing very well too- their second set of fruit should be ready in a week or so.  And the Rosemary bush completely hacked back to allow as much light to the tomatoes as possible.

And then in the black tray in the front, I am trying to grow more Ajicitos, my favorite eggplant: Listada de Gandia, and just some extra herbs like oregano and cilantro.  I know it is very late to grow from seeds, but I figured, why not?  After all the craziness of this growing season, I think anything is possible.  So I am crossing my fingers for the peppers and eggplants, but prepared for nothing to happen.

Well that about covers it- excited to see if by next week the seeds will sprout in these high temps.  Also, Whitney’s Gladiolus and Lily bed sent up its first flower spike.  If you know anything about Whitney, of course it is purple!

Purple? Surprising!

Vegetable Garden, June 27, 2011

New Item: Organic Apricot Jam

I have a new item in my Etsy Shop: Organic Apricot Jam!

I have been waiting for this jam for over a year!  Last year, unfortunate late spring storms pretty much decimated the organic apricots in Northern California, and those that were left over were either hit with diseases or were outrageously expensive.  So last year, I made no apricot jam.  I ate the last of 2009′s jam early this year and I was definitely sad that there was no more to take its place!

Surprisingly, this year the apricots were once again hit by late storms, a freak frost, etc. but somehow persevered and I was lucky enough to get a couple dozen pounds of primo organic fruit from a great family farm out of the Stockton, CA area.  I have to say that this is the best batch of apricot jam that I have ever made.  And really I had very little to do with it; the fruit is just amazing.  Perfectly balanced sweetness and tartness and a lovely strong taste and aroma of apricots.

$6 a half pint.

And here are a couple of recipes for using Apricot Jam in desserts:

Apricot Jam Cookies (with a ginger kick!)

Baked Brie in Puff Pastry (super easy dessert! just substitute with apricot jam!)

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