Beaucoup des Montgolfière

“Some 433 hot air balloons fly above eastern France on Sunday, breaking the record for the most simultaneous hot-air balloon flights. A variety of balloon designs, including a French chateau and cartoon character Obelix, lifted off from an airbase, covering a stretch of four miles across the sky.” From AFP as posted on The Guardian 27 July 2015:

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Post-Landfill Action Network

Purchase Tickets and More Information Here

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Asparagus Damaged by Beetles

I had avoided damage to my asparagus beds in prior years but this year was different. Almost all of my fronds have significant damage as the outer skin was eaten away.

Damaged Asparagus Fronds, stripped of outer skin by Asparagus Beetles Durham, NH 9 July 2015 ©T20R11.com

Damaged Asparagus Fronds, stripped of outer skin by Asparagus Beetles
Durham, NH 9 July 2015
©T20R11.com

Fortunately there is some new growth so all is not lost. I started, too late, spraying with Captain Jack’s Dead Bug but will be more attentive next season. You should inspect the area for a natural predator (Tetrastichus asparagi, a parasitic wasp) before spraying.

There are two beetles that cause this damage:

Asparagus Beetle, Crioceris asparagi Durham, NH 9 July 2015 ©T20R11.com

Asparagus Beetle, Crioceris asparagi
Durham, NH 9 July 2015
©T20R11.com

Spotted Asparagus Beetle, Crioceris duodecimpunctata Durham, NH 9 July 2015 ©T20R11.com

Spotted Asparagus Beetle, Crioceris duodecimpunctata
Durham, NH 9 July 2015
©T20R11.com

Here they are together and you can see the damage done to the asparagus frond.

Asparagus Beetle and Spotted Asparagus Beetle Durham, NH 9 July 2015 ©T20R11

Asparagus Beetle and Spotted Asparagus Beetle
Durham, NH 9 July 2015
©T20R11

The asparagus beetles larvae overwinter in leaves and frond debris, one of the most common organic control techniques is to remove all leaves and other vegetative matter late in the fall and lightly till the top soil to disturb any larvae that might be in the surrounding soil. After doing that, I will spray the crap out of them next spring; Captain Jack’s Dead Bug is an organic pest spray.

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First Donuts

This afternoon my cooking buddy, Grace, and I tackled Hand-Forged Doughnuts by Mark and Michael Kiebeck of Portland, Oregon’s Top Pot fame. Since I was tasked with making the dough the day ahead, I selected their Chocolate Old-Fashioned Doughnuts. It was a sticky mess but I took comfort in knowing that Grace would be in charge of rolling them out and cutting the doughnuts and holes. At one point, I thought that she had fallen and skinned her arm but it turned out to be some wandering doughnut dough.

I fired up my T-Fal deep fryer and as soon Grace had a couple of doughnuts cut, I would put them in the oil, turning them at the appropriate times.

Chocolate Donuts

The first two, above right, were too thin and broke up as they were turned. Grace adjusted and the rest came out great. To relax and congratulate ourselves we made a Chimichirri sauce that I saw in The Guardian a few days ago; I promised her a grillade on her next visit so she could properly sample the sauce.

We may have raised doughnuts in our future but first we have a Hand-Held Pie book to sample.

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Seacoast MicroBrew Festival

Seacoast MicroBrew Festival

This Saturday!
12:30 to 4pm
First Annual, All-Local
Seacoast MicroBrew Festival

Benefit for Seacoast Local
Co-Hosted by Seacoast Local & 7th Settlement
Henry Law Park, Dover
July 11 – Rain or shine!

It’s time to celebrate! We’re hosting the first-ever, all-local gathering and celebration of the Seacoast’s established and emerging brewing scene. Tickets are $30 and include tastings from all 15 of the Seacoast’s local breweries. Food will be available for purchase, including wood-oven pizza, burgers, and fresh-shucked local oysters. Join us for an afternoon of great tastes, delicious food, lively music and fun people in beautiful Henry Law Park.
Open to ages 21+
Designated-Driver Tickets Available

Buy Tickets Here

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How not to trap a squirrel

Five years ago I planted 5 goumi bushes to create a visual screen along the driveway. They have delicate white flowers that turn into a small hourglass shape berry which has a tart, slightly strawberry flavor with a very large seed. Once the bushes started to produce large quantities of berries, a flock of catbirds would descend and devour them. They literally picked the bushes clean. I didn’t realize that attracting catbirds would be so problematic; this year they came early devouring the suet and birdseed and at this point are ignoring the just about ripe goumis.

It seems the catbirds have a fondness for nuts of any kind.

Sitting Pretty Like a Catbird? Durham, NH 19 June 2015 ©T20R11.com

Sitting Pretty Like a Catbird?
Durham, NH 19 June 2015 ©T20R11.com

We are running neck to neck trapping catbirds and squirrels. While in the trap the catbird will make sure to eat all of the peanuts and peanut butter. We did net the blueberries this year in case these indiscriminate foragers head to that side of the yard. So far they have been ignoring the raspberries but I think they clean out cherry trees.

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It’s Berry Season

Strawberry picking at Butternut Farms is official on.

First Picking 11 June 2015 ©T20R11.com

First Picking
11 June 2015 ©T20R11.com

Before I could snap a picture, the empty quart container above was greedily consumed . Apparently breakfast for two requires a full quart of fresh picked strawberries, who knew?

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How to trap a squirrel

It seems that if you leave a trail of unshelled peanuts leading into a trap, the normally wary gray squirrel with very small brain gets a little too comfortable and quickly ends up being relocated miles away. In the last week we have relocated a dozen grey squirrels and a half-dozen chipmunks.

Lulled into complacency Durham, NH 5 June 2015 ©T20r11.com

Lulled into complacency
Durham, NH 5 June 2015
©T20r11.com

 

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Attractive Oranges

We usually see Baltimore Orioles for 1 or 2 days every spring. It’s rumored they have a sweet tooth for oranges, apparently it is no rumor:

Baltimore Oriole ♂ 26 May 2015 ©T20R11.com

Baltimore Oriole ♂
26 May 2015 ©T20R11.com

Putting cut oranges in a suet container has been keeping them coming back for over a week now; typically alternating visits by the male and female.

Baltimore Oriole ♀ 26 may 2015 ©T20R11.com

Baltimore Oriole ♀
26 may 2015 ©T20R11.com

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Country Style Spare Ribs

Recently a friend prepared roasted pork bellies as an appetizer. I liked it so much I prepared a modified version using country-style spare ribs. The main cooking theme is low temperature, long cook time with the bellies layered atop sliced wedges of Granny Smith apples. What I discovered was that with a little modification the apples become a major feature of the recipe. The process is fairly easy as long as you plan ahead.

While shopping earlier in the week, I found a nice small package of center cut country-style bone-in spare ribs:

Center Cut Bone-in Country Style Spare Ribs © T20R11.com

Center Cut Bone-in Country Style Spare Ribs
© T20R11.com

A day head, if you want, dry rub the spare ribs and refrigerate, covered, for 14 to 18 hours. I used a quarter cup of basic pork dry rub augmented by an additional 1 to 2 teaspoons of cracked anise seed.

Spare Ribs with Dry Rub Applied © T20R11.com

Spare Ribs with Dry Rub Applied
© T20R11.com

Preheat the oven to Convection Roast 300° F. Prepare your mise en place:

Core and cut apples into wedges © T20R11.com

Core and cut apples into wedges
© T20R11.com

First, core the Granny Smith apples and then cut into wedges lining the bottom of your cooking vessel. I used a Le Creuset cast iron pot with cover. To the pot add 2 ounces of apple cider vinegar and 2 ounces of white wine, I favor Prairie Fumé from Wollersheim Winery in Wisconsin, it is a very crisp, clean, un-oaked wine. Place the spare ribs atop the apples and dab with barbecue sauce to taste. I was out of our home-made sauce so I used Sweet Baby Ray’s, it has a fairly mild, sweet taste.

Ready for the oven © T20R11.com

Ready for the oven
© T20R11.com

Using my cook-top, I brought the liquids to a quick simmer before covering the pot and placing in the oven; I didn’t want a cold cast iron pot to draw down the oven temperature.

Finished Cooking © T20R11.com

Finished Cooking
© T20R11.com

 

Cooked Spare Ribs © T20R11.com

Cooked Spare Ribs
© T20R11.com

After cooking for 2 hours, turn the temperature down to 275° F and then 1 hours later, slightly crack the lid to allow some of the steam and liquid to escape, browning the spare ribs; cook for another 1/2 hour then remove the lid and cook for 1/2 hour more.

 

 

Apple Confit © T20R11.com

Apple Confit
© T20R11.com

 

Remove the spare ribs and keep warm.

 

 

 

 

Scrape the apple mixture into a colander and strain off as much of the pork essence that you can. Discard the fat:

Excess fat rendered © T20R11.com

Excess fat rendered
© T20R11.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mash the apple confit to the consistency of applesauce. Layer some of the apple confit on the plate then top with spare ribs. Add your vegetables du jour and serve while still hot.

Finished Meal © T20R11.com

Finished Meal
© T20R11.com

 

 

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