Archive for November, 2015


hydroponics review



Seeds , High Mowing Organic, Te You Flowering Brassica, Tat Soi Asian Greens, Red Russian Kale.

Lettuce, Heat wave; Burpee’s


image                                                              Harvested greens for salad

imageI guess that’s why they call it flowering Brassica !

The goal is to provide a year round system for growing edible greens for salad, properly planned to provide periodic  harvesting.

This would include seed starting to either full grown or baby greens. (lettuce, kale and other brassicas).

Later to expand to tall growth plants, tomatoes, peas, etc.

Indoor growth during winter months, out door during seasonable warm weather.


A Deep Water Culture Hydroponic System


Decreased foot print vs. soil containers, generally plants can be spaced closer vs. soil based.

Rapid growth

Little maintenance between nutrient changes ~2weeks

Healthy, disease resistance plants


equipment initial cost  (one time purchase) maybe more costly than container soil based.

electricity requirement (air pump) ; negligible cost.

electrical mechanical device (air pump), Failure might slow the growing process till replacement.


Hydroponic growing system remarks:

Initial equipment purchase  for a system kit: Deep Water Culture tub, top cover , net pots, growing aggregate (lava rocks), air pump, air tubing, air stone, nutrients for the first few weeks. Out of the box setup, Do It Yourself, less cost.

Refills required: nutrients, PH test paper.  pH meter (optional) , TDS meter (optional) , expansion  additional lava rocks for expansion (optional) additional net pots (optional) additional containers (optional)

A soil based system equivalent would  need : containers, soil, nutrients as required by size of plantings

If the a nutrient schedule is used for both hydroponic and soil, the nutrient cost probably would not be that different.

(An NFT Nutrient Film System might require less stored water per plant vs. Deep Water Culture but requires a water pump for circulation of nutrients in addition to the air pump.)

Weekly check of PPM nutrients and Bi weekly change of nutrients, outdoor spring and summer months require topping off of nutrients. Discarded nutrients can be used on other outdoor plantings.

So far the progress was better that previous soil based gardening, the big plus was the nutrient use and schedule which worked well with both the hydroponic and container grown plants, tomato, green and hot pepper. Some separate hydroponic containers were used (less the air pump).

 Most of the greens grown are cold tolerant so an unheated indoor space that doesn’t go below freezing can be used, when outdoors they tolerated a light frost.

Lighting for indoor growth.

Lighting with new technology L.E.D. requires much less power and space than florescent, HPS or metal halide and doesn’t require cooling in small fixtures. Red and blue L.E.D.s provide the necessary wave length for growth.

These fixtures are at reasonable cost compared to the commercial versions and so far have provided adequate light for about a 12 hour on/off cycle.


a good hydroponic online free magazine:

(geared more towards the commercial grower)


  Green Sense Farms is the country’s largest commercial indoor vertical farm.



thanksgiving wrap up

Now that the long Thanksgiving weekend draws to a close, a few pictures to recollect the dinner day.

IMG_9372The table awaits the guests

IMG_9373App (appetizers) table

IMG_9374A well arranged platter

IMG_9375The turkey resting while others plates finish cooking.

IMG_9376Family and guests at the table, some preferred not to be photographed.

IMG_9377Typical place setting

IMG_9379Some of the offered desserts

IMG_9380Apple roses


games of Boulderdash and Pictionary followed dinner.



Interesting website and app, for instance, if I knew fruit and berries were close to a walking path for foraging, I might be more inclined to go there. I’m still looking for an app that will  “facial recognize” a leaf, berry etc for identification as there are different types available outdoors  even around our yard.

Each location even contains a link to the USDA , the ability to upload a photo would be great to update the status so one would not arrive and find the location bare of fruit..


Simple pizza

a few basic ingredients for a quick snack….IMG_9342Onion, garlic, basil, thyme, goat cheese, Parmesan. A light sprinkle of dried hot red peppers, salt and pepper and  a drizzle of olive oil. Basic but good.

IMG_9341before the oven


Friday Night food Fare

From a recent Friday night

maybe what you would get in a pub

IMG_9269Home brew beer, fresh salsa, cheese and hand rolled corn chips.




Fall colors

a break from the food scene…… with one night that hovered just below freezing, the weather has remained mild for fall .











A celebratory Dinner

Thanks to Justine and Kaila…… and Diane and Renee

IMG_9215Kitchen command center (with home brew)

IMG_9217Mushroom and onion pastries , other apps not shown.

IMG_9218fresh salad

IMG_9219orecchietta with bolognese. (Ina Garten recipe)



onion and mushroom pastries

IMG_9196we all took turns making the mini turnovers


IMG_9216be careful with the egg wash application or they will stick to pan.


Glazed Roast Chicken



ever had Peking duck ?

The crispy skin is a treat, here we are going for a crispy finish following the recommendations of America’s Test kitchen.

Basically you slow roast a chicken till almost dine, increase oven temp , apply glaze and finish cooking so skin is crisp when done.

A five pound bird, prepped as the recipe suggest, some recipes would not have you poke holes in the chicken and let the juices escape but this method does. Also similar to hanging and drying a duck, the bird is placed in the fridge to dry out. After about an hour in the fridge, set up, if possible in  a vertical roaster position in a 325 degrees Fahrenheit oven.

IMG_9151 IMG_9152

while the chicken cooks, prepare the glaze, modified as follows;

in a pan, combine :

1/2 cup maple syrup (I used maple syrup pancake variety, yes, none of the pure stuff was available).

1/2 cup orange marmalade, (the local store bought variety)

1/4 cup Peabody Pico Home Brewery Kombucha, Green tea variety, vs the cider vinegar, or utilize GT’S Original Kombucha.

2 tablespoons Justine & Kaila’s Homemade Spicy Brown mustard (with Mustard Seed), or Dijon mustard.

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, medium grind.

cook and reduce the above to about 3/4 cup.

IMG_9149 IMG_9150

When the chicken is done to a recommended 140 at the breast, remove from oven.

The 5 lb bird I have went for about 1 hr and 15  minutes.

My registered about 130 or so at the thigh, and more than the called for 140 at the breast.

Increase the oven temp to about 500 degrees.

The glaze was applied straight away instead of additional cooking with out the glaze at the higher temperature.




Foil tent was required on the top of the vertical chicken.

Every 10 minutes or so the bird was checked and another application of glaze was applied.

Also the chicken was rotated to distribute the browning if the bird as some like it well done.


It is a nice sweet glaze and I just ended up wrapping a small pieces in lettuce leafs to eat.









soup’s ON !


 Recently made soup from chicken carcass.

fresh made noodles, Garden grown Red Russian Kale, Tat Soi Asian Greens, and Te You Flowering Broccoli

IMG_9210IMG_9204 IMG_9209


Just your basic scone

Recipe to follow…….

Cooking/baking  doesn’t always follow a schedule, stores maybe closed when one starts a recipe so substitutions are inevitable. Take for instance currants, raisins are an acceptable substitute.

With a new cookbook in the house , looking for a new scone recipe, America’s Test Kitchen had 3 , as usual I read the three and picked the closest one to the ingredients I had in the pantry.

Cream Scones

2 cups flour

3 tablespoons sugar, I used unrefined cane sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder  (Yes more than a usual amount for a lighter crumb)

1/2 teaspoon salt

about 3 tablespoons butter AND 2 tablespoons lard ( for flakiness and flavor, the ATK version uses all butter)

Chopped raisins, vs. the currents

1 cup heavy cream


Oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit

mix the dry ingredients,  if without a food processor, by hand in a bowl, cut chilled butter and lard into small pieces and work in with fingers, like a pie crust recipe.  Add the raisins to the mixture and then add the cream, mix by hand or with a spatula till the mix comes together. Form up on a surface and then cut into wedges, or desired shapes, working the dough as little as possible.

Place on an un-greased baking sheet and bake 12-15 minutes till the tops are browned to your liking.

Possibly not as savory as expected with the butter and lard blend but subjectively more to my liking as the lard gives it a pie crust flavor and scones are usually served with a jam or marmalade.

The measured amount of baking soda gives the scones a fluffy crumb.










November 2015

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