Saturday, April 23, 2011

How we meet the challenging economy

By doing it ourselves and being creative. Growing as much of our food as we can. Learning about slow/real food and how to produce it for taste and good health. Working creatively.
As musicians we are greatly effected by the "slow" economy. As TwoRivers Music we teach, perform, compose, arrange and work hard to build a "job" of our own. One method is to host Open Mics in our area.
This last 2 weeks we have begun a new open mic with a twist. We showcase a featured player and, as a value added item, podcast the event. In a world of heavy competition you have to break out of the box. We know from experience that the featured performer format works but are new to the podcast . It has been challenging and exciting. You can listen in at the link below.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

This week in the garden.


It rained, poured actually most of the week but we were able to harvest four nice salads from the garden. Three kinds of lettuce, baby spinach and two kinds of kale. Those four salads have almost paid for the seeds we've bought this year.

Transplanted twelve tomatoes, a Sweet Basil and two Stevia plants to larger pots in the greenhouse - still too cold to plant out. Also planted twelve seed cells of Scarlet Runner Beans, Japanese white hull less popcorn, six Jack Be Little Pumpkin, six Sugar Baby Watermelon, twelve Anaheim pepper and six each of Chinese lantern, Snapdragon and Asters. Said greenhouse is getting full! It's a good thing we have a larger one to put up. Just have to dig up a bit of turf, spread sand and lay the brick we got from Craig's list. Might start that today as the sun is shining.

Tomatoes in the greenhouse.

Last week we had a Forsythia bush and two old, ratty Rhododendrons removed. The roots are under the house and sidewalk so could not pull them out. This means constant duty to keep them from growing back but it does give us a bit more space for edible crops.

Other news: First: We-meaning Eric-are working on a podcast! We have a new Thursday evening venue, The Sellwood Public House, where we are doing a showcase/open mic and podcast. AS soon as it is on line I'll post the link here. The talent is amazing! Second: Volume I of our cookbook should be available sometime in May! I'll let you know about that too. Third: Two of my piano students performed for an educators dinner and did very well! It's fun to watch them grow and progress.

I have a review of a lovely book at

It's fun and busy here. Hope your gardening week will go well.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Check out The Examiner

I'm writing as an organic gardener for The Please wander over and take a peek at what we have going on in the garden.

Oh, by the's raining. Welcome spring! Waiting for a delivery of heirloom tomatoes today, stevia and basil tomorrow and filbert bushes by Thursday! Going to plant watermelons in our greenhouse. Photos by the weekend!

What are you doing in your garden this week?

Thank you for your support! Keep gardening!


Sunday, April 3, 2011

SLOW sourdough, potato bread

Since September 2010 we have experimented with making our own bread. After a lengthy search of our town for a sourdough starter I ordered a dried packet from San Francisco (it is one of the "homes" of sourdough cooking) and began the process. We decided to go with spelt flour. Spelt is an ancient grain, actually the precursor of modern wheat, which has less glutin and higher nutrients than wheat.
From the beginning we fed spelt to the starter and began making bread.  There were some disasters along the way - a clay romantopf pan purchased at Goodwill exploded in the oven making a mess with a very distinctive sound - but the results have been quite edible. Our goal became a loaf with good crumb, savory flavor and a nice rise for sandwiches or toast.
That goal became closer last week with the discovery of "slow sourdough bread", a process of allowing the bread to rise over a period of days rather than hours. This resulted in the texture we were looking for but not quite the rise.

While watching the Horticultural Channel tv (BBC) on You Tube, one of the presenters made bread using left over mashed potatoes. "Ah, Ha" I said, "Let's add that to our sourdough and see what happens."

Three days rising, adding the spuds and a rise over night resulted in these nice looking loaves.

Now they are in the oven so we shall see how it turns out.

Slow Sourdough Potato Bread from the Tworivers Kitchen

1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup spelt flour
Mix in a large bowl with enough warm water to make a soupy consistency. Cover tightly and leave it in a warm place. Every 3 hours add a half cup of flour and more warm water. Do this for 3 to 5 days every 3 to 5 hours or so.
The night before your baking time add
1 cup mashed pototoes
2 tsps sea salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup brown sugar

Mix well,  by hand if necessary, turn out onto floured counter and knead until smooth. Put in an oiled bowl, turning to coat the surface and cover tightly.
Next morning, gently punch the dough down, divide in half and place in oiled and floured baking pans. Let rise until double.
Preheat over to 375 degrees F.
Bake for 45 minutes until golden brown and tested done.
Remove to cooling racks and enjoy.
Yes, this takes times but you can do other things, even go to work while the process goes on by it's self. A nutritious, affordable loaf of bread is a worthwhile result.