Tag Archives: lemons

Indian Summer…Santa Barbara

enjoying the harvest

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precious times

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Meanwhile back at the ranch…episode 26

How quickly the eye adapts; adjusting to the new normal of a drought-ravished landscape; forgetting the wonders of spring!  Although the promised abundance of rain has not materialized, enough has fallen to make a significant difference…

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bright spring green of new foliage and new fruit…

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new growth where there had appeared to be only dead wood…

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amazing bronze of avocado leaves

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and budding apricots

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and hedge roses…

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boysenberry vines re-emerging…

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even small patches of grass becoming a lawn once again!

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Are you also enjoying the gift of green???

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Meanwhile back at the ranch…episode 23

Washed by the rain; kissed by the sun

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Happiness in the lemon orchard!!!

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Meanwhile back at the ranch…episode 14

We are celebrating the first lemon harvest of 2014!!!

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a toast to another crop

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at sunset

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brussell sprouts seared with olive oil

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halibut with lemon caper sauce

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a satisfying end to a productive day!!!

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Raising the bar…

Always having an abundance of lemons, we have long-enjoyed lemon bars.  Years ago, when they were the new favorite dessert on the block, I tried many iterations of the classic recipe.  This one with the taste of sweetened fresh lemons became our favorite*.  However, the flaky shortbread crust remained difficult to remove in neat rectangles from the bottom of the baking dish.  Refrigerating before cutting was helpful.  This past week, making another batch for a family celebration, I decided to use parchment paper.

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Viola!  After refrigerating overnight the entire slab raises from the pan…

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the paper can be carefully pulled away from the edges…

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and the bars cut easily to size.

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Small pieces of parchment keep the sticky treats separated and fingers cleaner.

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Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!

*Lemon Bars

Shortbread crust:  mix 1 cup softened butter with 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup powdered sugar.  Press into bottom of 9 x 13 inch pan lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Lemon filling:  mix 2 cups sugar with 4 tablespoons flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder.  Add four slightly beaten eggs, 6 tablespoons lemon juice and grated zest of 4 lemons.  Pour onto baked crust and bake an additional 25 minutes until filling is set.

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Planning ahead for spontaneity

I’ve dreamed of being spontaneous – ready instantly for any eventuality life might bring.  Alas, I am not by nature given to acting on sudden impulses.  To paraphrase Webster, I am not given to acting without effort and premeditation.  Consequently, I am learning to plan to be spontaneous.

I don’t know about your world, but in mine, being spontaneous with family and friends most often involves food.  Having ingredients on hand is essential – a complicated recipe is not.

 enamel roasting pan

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olive oil

 onion, sliced

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add lemons, cut in wedges and squeezed

 garlic cloves, peeled

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 whole chicken(s)

 lemons halved, squeezed into and put in the cavities

seasoned with salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary

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partially baked, potatoes added

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baked a bit longer, carrots added

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asparagus added

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served on a big platter in the middle of the table

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along with arugula dressed with olive oil and balsamic,

enough to feed and appeal to a crowd of various ages.

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Are you naturally spontaneous, or working on it???….I’d love to hear your stories!

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Meanwhile back at the ranch…episode 4

URBAN rANCHING WITH A SMALL ‘r’

Lest you think that we live on unbounded acres of land……although we technically are a ranch:  Webster’s definition: “a farm or ranchlike enterprise that raises a single crop or animal”, ours is definitely in the lower case.  We raise lemons and belong to a co-op which harvests and sells our crop.  Small and urban help to define who we are and what we do – we have limited acreage and are five minutes from the supermarket.  Once home, however, we feel as though we live in the country……….

the lemon orchard

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the mustard field behind the house

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the metal roofed outbuilding

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and the girls next door

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abundant fruit in the family orchard

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my ’51 Ford convertible

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wreaths of barbed wire

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and compost…

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all ingredients in the life we love.

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