My one requirement for moving from Middle Village to Rego Park (I know I am sellout!) was a backyard. The yard in the new place is really nice, and I have a lot of edible plants and herbs growing, a few that were adoptions from the Rooftop Farm. The rain has kept me inside, but has made my garden very happy. Now that it has stopped raining finally (as I write this dark clouds are descending), we can enjoy some dining al fresco.
The first outdoor dining experience was the Farm Fresh Local Breakfast, which featured all local CSA and Farmer's Market food, but that didn't last very long because by the time we finished the last of the bacon we were blistering in the sun. So I just got an umbrella and we had our first special guests Mo and Yelena over for a mostly local impromptu al fresco dinner. I made some couscous seasoned with turmeric, cumin, fresh basil, parsley and pignola nuts. The kale, from the Woodside CSA and the star of the show, was sauteed in butter (that'll do it), fresh garlic, peperoncino and toasted pignola nuts. The round zucchini, which I got at the Unfancy Food Show from the Queen's Farm stand, was made the old fashioned Stewed Zucchini way, and the chicken sausage was from Trader Joe's. (I the sausage is not local and probably not humane, but Yelena is with child and I felt it was only right to give her some protein.)
For dessert I whipped up a variation on Strawberry Shortcake, inspired by Jennie's Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes. I cut up some local strawberries and marinated them in sugar, fresh mint from the yard and lemon juice. Then I made whipped cream with sugar and some lemon zest and I used a store bought Angel's Food Cake (from Trader Joe's) as the shortcake.
While we were dining a gigantic raccoon ran over the garage roofs in the back! It was bigger than "C" my twenty pound cat. He is getting vaccinated for rabies this week. We also saw a few field mice scurry in the plants. (there are no rats in Queens!) Field mice are so little and cute.
And while tending to my parsley I bumped into this gorgeous caterpillar. I should be mad at him because he is single handedly eating all my greens, but he looks too much like a cartoon character. Who says you can't find nature in Queens? Maybe my dream to be a wildlife photographer will pan out afterall. (Wait, I just had a flash back of the Wild Turkey Attack, so I will just keep food blogging!)