A Gardener's Travels: Lispida & Venice

One goal I had for our trip to Italy last year was to experience fruits and vegetables in season in the part of the world that grows them best. As a gardener and cook, you never know what may inspire you, what you may find to grow in your own garden. Having a garden inspired by travel is so exciting, it’s like reliving the experience of enjoying the vegetable in a whole new way. I am so excited to share some of my favorite vegetable flavors and experiences from our trip. Check out the previous post to hear the first half of our trip starting in Rome and driving to Tuscany in our cute little Fiat Fabio.

Honeynut Squash & Leek Ravioli

This year I grew my very first batch of winter squash. I loved watching the vines creep and grow, winding there way up the lattice at the back of my garden bed, and even climbing up the deck stairs! The squash started out so small, swelling throughout the season and transforming into beautifully orange, perfectly tiny honeynut squash.

Homemade Ravioli

 Since Italy my passion for pasta has grown exponentially. I love to find a noodle with the perfect chew, rich egg flavor and ability to hold sauce and butter in a glossy rich coating. It’s important and changes the entire pasta eating experience. With ravioli, the focus is on the creamy consistency of the center.

Black Raspberry Jelly & Dye

Summer in the woods is one of the most rewarding seasons for foraging. This July I visited my parents for a few days and we spent every moment we could gathering from the woods, even putting on ponchos and heading out in the rain. Each morning we would wake up early, sit on their porch and look out into the trees, watching and listening as the forest would wake up. As the sun would rise, we would discuss what we might find on the raspberry and gooseberry bushes, or on the forest floor or base of trees.

Zeus Jones Garden Cocktails

One of the greatest parts of summer at Zeus is cocktails on the rooftop garden. The deck overlooks uptown Minneapolis, with the busy street below and the occasional smell of something amazing cooking at one of the  restaurants. Both ends of the deck have two mini garden beds, making the space like a little summer oasis. 

Homemade Pasta

One of my favorite ways to spend a Sunday afternoon is rolling out fresh pasta dough. The process of mixing the elements by hand, kneading it together and rolling it into thin sheets is so satisfying. 

Baby Beet Green Galette

So, as I carefully thinned my beets, I munched on one, mulling over the flavor. After much thought, I landed on this galette - a flaky buttery crust, topped with creamy whipped goat cheese and a mound of lemon-y beet thinnings. The flavors come together to perfectly enhance and compliment the delicate greens.

Radish Greens & Chive Butter

This year, I wanted to try something a bit different. One of my goals in creating recipes for Acre is to try and use the whole plant, not letting anything go to waste. So when it comes to radishes, what do you do with the greens? I have seen them added to salads, or left on the tops of radishes when you roast them, but not much else. This is where butter comes in (sweet, sweet butter). Here is a vibrant spring flavored butter that can be used to spread on your fresh spring radishes, or melt over a bowl of freshly steamed spring peas (or really, anything). I have used a mix of chives and radish greens, as the radish greens bring a bright spring flavor, and the chives add the kick of onion.

Rhubarb Custard Pie

Once I have stalks in my hands, I cannot wait to make rhubarb custard pie. I grew up eating my grandmas recipe, which was tart and simple. Once married, I made my husband’s great grandmas recipe, which was extra sweet and creamy, topped with meringue. I realized I craved something in the middle.

5 Tips for Planting Day

It is Mother’s Day weekend, which means it is officially garden planting weekend! You would feel the excitement this week at our local urban farm supply store, as people loaded up with plants, purchased their spring chicks and hauled giant bags of dirt. As you all are out planting, wanted to do a quick post on some planting tricks I have found super helpful in my garden! 

Amending Garden Soil

It's planting weekend! As many of you head out to the garden beds this Mother's Day, one thing to consider is the soil you are planting your precious veggie babies into. Plants need a mix of different factors to thrive. To set myself up for success, I take a couple things into consideration as a prepare my garden beds for planting: the soil pH, adding compost and top soil, and fertilizing with a balanced fertilizer. I will break down the importance of each, and how I go about adding these to my beds.

Black Walnut-Dyed Cowl Pattern

I am so thrilled with how my walnut dyed yarn turned out, and could not wait to turn it into a usable piece! I love the idea of having knitted items dyed with natural materials - it makes growing and foraging things seem resourceful and more tightly connected to nature. I know, a little hippy, but I am ok with it:)

Black Walnut-Dyed Yarn: Gathering Materials

This past November, we walked through my parent's woods to see how the forest was preparing for winter. Checking in on the trees is something my dad and I love to do together, making sure they are healthy and if they need any care. One of my favorite types of trees in my parent’s woods are the walnut tree. In the summer, their branches and leaves look amazing within the canopy, creating fans of pointed leaves.

Learning How to Make & Use Natural Dye

One of the things I was most excited to try and learn was the art of natural dyeing. Being a knitter, I am obsessed with finding the perfect color, feel and look of yarns for my projects. My husband can attest to the fact that I have stood in front of a rack of yarn for an exceptionally long time, holding multiple skeins trying to pick the perfect shade. Natural dyeing seemed like a fun way to use things I grow or forage to create new and unexpected colors. There also seems to be something so amazing about the process of creating color, and as a graphic designer, I yearned to give it a try.

Classic Tomato Soup

This tomato soup is creamy and simple, and tastes incredible when using your own canned tomatoes, letting the fresh flavor of the tomatoes come through. We enjoy eating this soup with sourdough grilled cheese, or with a handful of popcorn sprinkled on top.

Winter Preserves

Since I was a little girl, the idea of growing throughout the summer and stashing away for the winter sounded so perfect. Having the rafters full of drying spices, baskets filled with potatoes and squash in the cellar, and only venturing outside to grab winter carrots from the garden - how wonderful!

Spring in the Woods

There is nothing quite like the woods in spring. There is still the hush of winter, broken by the chirp of birds, the crisp spring breeze rustling the last of the fall leaves and swaying the tops of the trees, making them creak and brush against each other. It makes you want to whisper and watch. We recently went home to help take down a few trees, and had the joy of watching the woods wake up from winter.