Our Garden Companions

by Steve, June 8th, 2014

Pacific chorus frog

full bloom

by Steve, June 4th, 2014



by Steve, May 24th, 2014


Western Rhododendron

by Steve, April 20th, 2014

Blooming in the understory

Pesto primavera

by Steve, June 30th, 2013

Yeah, it’s l’estate, not la primavera, but the peas are just coming on strong, and so are the carrots. And we had some red bells and pesto in the fridge, ergo:
Pesto primavera


    1 Red bell pepper, sliced
    1 handful fresh carrots, sliced thinly on a diagonal
    2 handfuls snow peas, sliced into bite-size chunks
    1/2 sweet onion, chopped
    6 cloves garlic, sliced
    1 handful sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (I like the kind packed with olive oil)
    Grated Parmesan
    1/2 cup pesto
    Zest of 1 lemon
    Olive oil


Saute onion, carrot and pepper in olive oil over medium heat until soft. Add peas, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes. Saute until soft, then turn up heat and sear. When carrots and onions are browned a little, turn off heat and toss in pesto. Serve over capellini, top with a sprinkle of Parmesan and another sprinkle of lemon zest.

Strawberry season in Oregon

by Steve, June 2nd, 2013

This year’s snake

by Steve, May 29th, 2013

Our first year here, we had snakes. Last year, not so much (cats, we figured). This year, we have one who has taken up residence in the tall grass, raspberries and iris along the top of the terrace wall.

My top secret marinara plus no-fuss lasagna

by Steve, September 30th, 2012

Put 'em in a pot

Okay, not so top secret. It’s different every time I make it, anyway. Here’s How I did it today.


    Big bowl of sauce tomatoes from the garden (“federle” variety, start from Fair Weather Farm, Lebanon, Ore.)
    2 onions
    3 stalks celery
    1 bulb garlic
    1 bunch fresh basil (from Gathering Together Farm, Philomath, Ore., bought at Beaverton Farmers Market)
    3 small zucchini (from Dennison Farms, Corvallis, Ore., bought at Beaverton Farmers Market)
    2 red bell peppers (Dennison)
    Dried herbs: oregano, thyme, basil, tarragon, crushed red peppers (the hot kind)
    Salt and pepper
    Olive oil

Start a saute with olive oil (don’t be shy, use a little more!), chopped onions, garlic, celery and red pepper. Add salt and pepper, crushed red pepper and dried herbs. I use just a pinch of tarragon, and a good dash or two each of oregano, thyme and basil. Let it cook to bring out the sweetness.

Gad zukes!

While the saute is working, look in the fridge and add any other veggies you can sneak in (this will all be blended later, so you can do just about anything if you’re trying to sneak it past a picky eater). This being September, I found some zucchini.


Add extra veggies to the saute, and cook some more.


While that’s cooking, start cutting up the tomatoes. If you’re really picky, you can parboil them and peel them, but I’m not picky. I never do this. Just dice them into small enough pieces that the skins don’t get huge and curly in your sauce. Add the tomatoes as they’re chopped, and cook all day.


After simmering all day, chop up the fresh basil and mix it in. Turn off heat and puree with a hand blender.


Then, make lasagna!


    Sauce (see above)
    1 box no-boil noodles
    1 32 oz. container ricotta
    4 eggs
    Mozzarella, grated
    Parmesan, grated

Preheat oven to 350. Mix eggs, ricotta and a dash of nutmeg. Ladle a generous layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Layer with noodles. Space them out and don’t overlap; they’ll expand. Add a layer of the ricotta mixture and another layer of sauce. Add another layer of noodles, then more sauce, and ricotta mixture. Top with grated mozzarella and parmesan. Bake for 45 minutes or until top is browned. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

sauce & salsa time!

by Steve, September 22nd, 2012

Pico de gallo this morning, marinara tomorow.

Pico de gallo (crow of the cock)

    Lime juice

Chop all ingredients and mix in a bowl. If you like it spicier, increase the proportion of onion, chilis and cillantro to tomatoes.

Jar full of bugs

by Steve, June 20th, 2012