Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Last Day

The Morning World, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Well, it seems the end of the year has crept up on us again...

I want to thank all my great blogger friends out there for stopping by regularly and checking out my blog. I really appreciate it :)

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Chihuly in the Desert

Chihuly in the Desert, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Here's some of Chihuly's glass I wrote about earlier. He truly is a gifted artist to be able to envision these incredible pieces of art.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Lemony, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

A tagetes lemmonii flower in the Desert Botanical Garden near Phoenix, Arizona.

What a great garden : diverse, colorful, and well-designed. When I was there, they had an exhibition of the glass artwork of Dale Chihuly. If you ever have a chance to see Chihuly's amazing work, make sure you don't pass it up - it's incredible.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Desert Christmas

Macro Cacti, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Before today, I had never gone hiking in the desert during a rainstorm.

Well, I guess there's a first time for everything.

I saw these cacti growing high on Sunrise Peak near Scottsdale, Arizona. A rainstorm had just blown through, and the setting sun was creating golden light everywhere. Directly behind me was a 180° rainbow, and considering its desert location, it was pretty spectacular.

Talk about a great Christmas.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


An almost essential part of making coq au vin is flambéing the chicken (or rooster). Here is my exciting attempt - and by exciting I mean flames that jump out of the pan about 2 feet. Anyone else have experience with flambéing?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

State of the Garden - December 9, 2008

Well, it's December and the garden is still going.

Fog comes in regularly, and the temperatures don't usually go above 60, but the basil still has a few green leaves. The bell pepper plant looks like it did in summer, and I just harvested a large crop of 'Thai Hot Dragon' chile peppers. The morning glories are putting out 1 or 2 flowers a week, a little bit of a change from the 50 or so they put out every day during the summer.

The lettuce is growing quite well, as are the cool-weather herbs like parsley and chervil.

To the other gardeners out there: how are your gardens doing? Under the snow, or still creeping along?

Monday, December 08, 2008

Coq au Vin - Finished

Coq au Vin, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Here's the completed coq au vin, with pearl onions, mushrooms, and little pieces of bacon. The chicken became unbelievably tender, and so did the pearl onions. Coq au vin is fairly easy to make, and a great dish for a cold winter night.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Making Coq au Vin

Making Coq au Vin, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.I finally got around to making the French coq au vin. After browning the chicken in a pan and putting it in a French oven, I poured in two full bottles of Burgundy wine. I threw in a few sprigs of rosemary from the rosemary Christmas tree we just bought, as well as some fresh thyme.

The chicken will marinate in the wine overnight, and will be cooked tomorrow!

P.S. Those rosemary Christmas trees are a great deal - you can get a 2-foot tall tree for about $10 at many home improvement stores. If you go to a professional nursery and buy a similar-sized plant, it can easily cost you $25.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Foggy Night

The fog has really been settling in these past few nights.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Thick hot chocolate I made back in January.

I am going to try this recipe again - it's essentially chocolate melted into milk. Really delicious!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

December Mesclun Harvest

The mesclun mix is growing very well despite the cold, foggy weather. Tonight, I filled a big colander with fresh lettuce, chicory, escarole, arugula, and frisée (curled endive). It's so nice to have fresh greens when the store-bought lettuces often wilt into mush, which is not exactly appetizing.

Does anyone here have experience growing lettuce and mesclun? I am having aphid problems and could use some advice.

Purisima Creek Redwoods

I hope you guys don't mind another redwood shot...

This was at Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve near Half Moon Bay, California. Just 30 minutes before taking this shot, I had been at the site of some of the largest waves in the world, the Mavericks.

A short drive up the road led to this park. I never cease to be amazed at the sheer diversity of environs in California.