Food, food culture, food as culture and the cultures that grow our food

Slim Pickins winter salad
Heq yeah, we’re hardy!

January 21, 2010

Slim Pickins, Jan 2010, not-frost hardy nasturtium cobwebs. Debra Solomon,
But not completely; like gardener, like garden.

Slim Pickins, Jan 2010, frost hardy rocket and garden greens mizuna and parsley. Fertilised with urine since 2009. Debra Solomon,
January demonstration of rocket hardiness.

While I was back in Northern California complaining that no one heats their homes, here in the Polar Circle the canals had frozen thick. We’d had night frost since the end of November, and until last Sunday this garden was covered with snow, some of it a month old. But a surprising amount of edible permaculture was revealed in the thaw! What better way to rejoice than with a Winter Salad Celebration at the Slim Pickins Garden Restaurant, this Sunday.

Slim Pickins, Jan 2010, frost hardy salad greens and frozen nasturtium, Debra Solomon,
Seasonally fresh, right here, right now.

Rocket, curly leaf parsley, mizuna lettuce, fennel, and if it weren’t for my boundless generosity towards the Bird Community in and around Amsterdam Central Station, there could have been abundant broccoli, cavalo nero, and kale. I’ve made a New Year’s resolution to become more aggressive towards birds since I have discovered that they’re not nearly as community-minded as they make themselves out to be.

Slim Pickins, Jan 2010, frost hardy salad greens mizuna and parsley, Debra Solomon,
Thrive little greens, that we may celebrate your winter hardiness, shredded into our salad!

The demonstration garden has proven once again that you can grow and harvest leafy greens in the open ground, in the Polar Circle, all year long. Slim Pickins garden restaurant is open for reservations this Sunday. Bring warm blankets, it’s going to be absolutely freezing, if not bitterly cold.

Slim Pickins, Jan 2010, worm or slug eggs uncovered in garden accident, Debra Solomon,
A garden accident involving one of the beds revealed sub-terranean worm eggs. Or slug eggs. If they’re slug eggs, the Bird Community is cordially invited to tuck in. Otherwise, ‘Birds, back the EFF OFF my Worm Community!’

Sunday, January 24th, 2010:
Late-ish lunch menu-fixe for 4 ppl:

- freshly plucked winter salad, dressed in situ with
*meyer lemon and
**olive oil

* - hand plucked and ferally transported from the ancestral home in California
** - hand plucked, pressed, and ferally transported from the permaculture farm of Annelieke vd Sluis in Meló, Portugal

- cockle-warming home made kimchi-kidney bean soup

- meyer lemon water kefir

- something cockle-warming involving vodka

Reserve now, Slim Pickins seats only 4 ppl! Children permitted if they don’t complain (at all) or trample anything.

Slim Pickins Garden Restaurant, Jan 2010, not above stealing a frozen endive from the neighbours. Debra Solomon,
Chef is not above stealing/recovering a partially frozen endive from the neighbours.

Slim Pickins is an outdoor, micro-eatery situated on the edge of a raised bed, in an urban kitchen garden, serving amuses gueules from whatever the tiny garden has to offer, even and especially when that’s not very much. Occasionally open, rain or shine.

Slim Pickins, Jan 2010, frost hardy salad greens - Restaurant garden fertilized with urine since 2009, Debra Solomon,

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Myco-blitz, fruiting bodies

January 19, 2010

Blewit/clitocybe nuda,, bolete/suillus luteus and unkonwn mushrooms growing in Northern California, December 2009 - Jan 2010, Debra Solomon,
Upended and neglected by one animal forager, arranged and shot for identification by another.

In order to secure from landslide the steep incline that cups our house, my father planted it full of trees whose main job in life is to become really large. Something like 30 years ago, he introduced the deodara, pines, redwoods, and then predicting the gaps that come with arboreal maturity he planted the juniper chinensis; limb-rich, majestic, scented and kinetic. An eco-system from top to bottom, a plant wall, a live filtre of foam green sprays catching drifts of pine needles on heaving articulated branches before falling further, to carpet the man-made forest floor.

Bolete/suillus luteus growing in juniper undergrowth, Northern California, December 2009 - Jan 2010, Debra Solomon,
Suillus luteus or brevipes, ‘Sticky Bun’ or ‘Slippery Jack’ Bolete. 5 kilos from our garden!

This swathe of woodland, where animals live and pass through, whose shade and soft ground make it the ideal spot for wood splitting, and where wood in various states of being split gets stacked to dry. There’s an abundant humus layer that comes from moving all that wood around; prunings, rotten bark, saw dust, chips, all landing on the ground and getting covered up by the ceaseless needle fall. This is how the woodland harvest of one household inadvertently developed into an ideal environment for mushrooms.

Pine spike/chroogomphus vinicolor growing under redwoods in clay ground, Northern California, December 2009 - Jan 2010, Debra Solomon,
Chroogomphus vinicolor / Pine Spike, under the redwoods, edible but not choice.
Homegrown suillus luteus/bolete growing in Northern California, December 2009 - Jan 2010, Debra Solomon,
But these two discoveries were choice.
Culiblog author shows off the first day of in situ home bound bolete harvest, Dec 2009, Debra Solomon,
Culiblog author shows off one afternoon’s haul.

During a recent visit to the ancestral home, a two-day myco-blitz revealed more than 20 sorts of fruiting fungus, most remarkably, an easy 5 kilos of Suillus Luteus, or ‘Slippery Jack’ style boletes.

I’d like to give a shout out to the Mycelium Community for giving us a good show right through the cusp of the changing year, for feeding us and the trees that keep up that hill, well into 2010.

Here’s to a long future of collaboration, abundant fruition in 2010, and best wishes for superb soil fertility for all parties involved.

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