Back from a trip to Mendocino County…

…and yes there are photos. My girlfriend’s family goes there every summer for a family trip and it was my first time along to see MacKerricher State Park, Ft. Bragg, Mendocino itself and more besides. (Including the mighty fine Pacific Star Winery — alas, North Coast Brewing‘s actual facilities were closed to the public for remodelling, but the taproom was open so hey.) Some shots from the past few days:

MacKerricher State Park beach

Jug Handle State Beach

Pacific Star Winery

Near Point Cabrillo Light Station

Another MacKerricher view

The garden on June 24, 2011

And boy oh boy did the squash take over:

Plus as ever some new photos:

Bush beans

Tomato goodness en route

What we’ve been doing these past few days

…can be summed up this way:

Welcome!

A balcony view

The living room with the accent wall...

...and the new kitchen

The final step is when Sarina moves down in a few weeks with her stuff and we fully settle in (which is why I’m not showing all the rooms yet) — but we’re off to a good start. Thanks again to everyone who helped!

The garden on June 10, 2011

Due to busy times this week, as I’ll talk about more in the next post, this’ll be my last visit here until next Friday but as you can see it’s been a crazy time for the squash in particular:

Meanwhile, from the photo collection:

Bush beans!

Squash!

An example of the results

Good times…

Three random photos and why I’m showing them

Which may sound a little random but.

I seem to have been lucky with some photos of myself of late — not all the time but hey, when you’re in the middle of a good run, no complaints. And they’re all of different sorts, so.

One was the other night and shows that when I’m bored late at night, tired but not quite asleep and killing time on the computer I can sometimes let my hair down:

Not quite Phil Oakey and yet

One shows that even when I’m invited to a wedding all it takes is the right context and person to be sitting next to to be as metal as one needs to be:

Rawk

And finally, related to the previous photo, I was at the wedding in question because the brother of the fellow next to me was getting married. These two brothers I happen to know because of their other sibling:

:-D

There’s a very good reason why we’re smooshed together in that photo. Most everyone already knows why but I just thought I’d like to clarify that for those who don’t, and I still consider myself beyond fortunate that Sarina thinks I’m worth it.

And there you go.

Some photos from a visit to Rancho Los Alamitos

So the other day a small group of us that like to do what our main instigator calls ‘excursions’ to local areas of interest went to see Rancho Los Alamitos, found in Long Beach. I’ve enjoyed doing this because it’s a good way to help you realize what can be around just under your nose; we’ve visited various local museums and other spots of interest as we’ve gone.

The product of a combination of Spanish colonial settling and eventual Mexican and American commercial interests, the complex was deeded over to the city of Long Beach by the Bixby family, one of the major players in the history of the area for the past hundred years (ranching, oil, real estate — the California non-tech/entertainment trifecta, right there). I didn’t really take any photos of the complex itself, but in wandering the gardens with everyone a few sights caught my eye so I put the iPhone through its paces. All shots here, a small set, but a couple of favorites:

Rancho Los Alamitos garden

Rancho Los Alamitos garden

Rancho Los Alamitos garden

This last is actually on its side rather than the proper orientation — it’s a closeup of a palm tree with an ivy-like plant growing up it — but I like the way it looks here.

Orzo salad with radish and fennel

Orzo salad

This was kinda nice to find, a good way to use a variety of different things I had around at once. Here’s the recipe — a great dish for the hotter days.

Sauteed radishes and chard with rice

Sauteed radishes and chard with rice

So I got this one via Farmer John’s Cookbook, a regular standby of mine — the recipe calls for arugula rather than chard, but I followed the recommendation to add a touch of mustard towards the end for bite. Pretty much just chop and cook the radishes first, move them to another bowl, add the greens for a couple of minutes until they wilt, add the radishes back along with fresh lemon juice, stir and serve. Can’t beat that!

Puree of turnip soup

Puree of turnip soup

Radishes I’m good with but turnips sometimes leave me uninspired. But a scrounge last night turned up this recipe, so a little experimenting later and this was the result, plus another batch for another night. The garnish in this case was some cayenne pepper to add extra bite as well as some roasted seaweed. Not bad, really!

Two recent cooking experiments

Of sorts — the other day, unsure of what to do with a green panther cauliflower I had, I scrounged up this recipe for a spicy/strong cauliflower pasta. Did a couple of adaptations — no anchovies, for a start — but the end result was mighty fine, and really, whatever the sauce/seasonings you want to be is what counts. Going whole wheat with the pasta never hurts either:

Cauliflower pasta

Last night, meantime, having caught up on a variety of work and at a slightly loose end, I wanted to bake something to use up some ingredients and decided to go the savory muffin route. I turned up a recipe for something called fabulous fargozas — and while I suspect the name is some random thing dreamed up by someone, it is pretty nice. Had no mozzarella to hand so the only cheese was the parmesan, but it did work — also used almond milk instead of the real thing:

Fargozas!

Now to ponder what next…