Friday, March 30, 2012

Late March Frugal Luxuries

Oops. I almost let the month of March slip by without doing a Frugal Luxury post. I must confess that March is not my favourite month of the year. Winter just doesn't seem to get the message that it is supposed to be finished. One day it can be so warm I am tempted to plant my spinach and peas in the garden, only to wake up the next day to find my garden box covered in snow.

In the midst of this confused season I consider it a Frugal Luxury to be able to harvest something from my garden. This was my first time growing Jerusalem artichokes, and I have to say I was impressed. There was something very satisfying about going out on a warm March day and being able to run my hands through the soil, searching out the clump of tubers hidden under the thawing ground.


Jerusalem Artichokes

They were kind of a pain to prepare. It definitely took longer to peel them than dig them up, but it turned out to be worth the extra effort. (Recipe compliments of Jamie Oliver.)


Sautéed Jerusalem Artichokes with bay leaf and garlic

My Sky Scarf is starting to take shape. For a small investment in yarn I get 365 days of enjoyment watching it progress, making it the ultimate knitting Frugal Luxury.


Sky Scarf after 6 weeks

The next Frugal Luxury is one most of us have access to - the public library. I can go online and search the catalogue, place holds on books, and a few days later I get an email letting me know my books are waiting for me. The cost? Absolutely nothing!


Kamloops Public Library

The great thing about the library is you can take a chance on a book with absolutely no risk involved. I am always so disappointed when I buy a book, only to find it wasn't what I expected. If I check one out of the library and decide it's not to my taste I just throw it back into the book basket by our front door to return on my next trip to the library. No guilt. No dent in my pocketbook. Better yet is when I happen across a book I previously had no idea existed and find it is a winner. This is exactly what happened when I checked out Gluten-Free Cupcakes.


Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Only two more days until the calendar turns to April. Then I really will be able to plant my spinach and peas!

20 comments:

  1. Huh. Interesting. I've never ever heard of a Jerusalem Artichoke. Are they at all similar to a typical artichoke? Keep-on keeping-on! We're almost to April! :-D

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    1. They aren't related to regular artichokes, and as far as I know have nothing to do with Jerusalem either. Oddly, they are part of the sunflower family! They also go by the name sunchokes.

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  2. I guess the book being a winner means the cupcakes were winners too. They look great. And so does the scarf. The weather has given you a nice pattern.

    I was born in March, but it is my least favorite month--followed closely by April.

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    1. Yes, the cupcakes were definite winners. Much better than the last gluten-free chocolate cupcakes i made. Why is March your least favourite month? I love my birthday month!

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    2. Mostly because the wacky weather has resulted in me getting sick in March more often than other months. But discovering and treating my allergies has helped in recent years. Also, being vigilant about wearing the right jacket each day hasn't hurt either.

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  3. I agree! Anything in the spring out of the garden is a wonderful thing. One of my favorite spring garden frugal luxuries is parsnips overwintered in the row, and then pried out of the just-thawed ground. They are unbelievably sweet. Last year my parsnips did surprisingly well (they can be hard to get going) and this spring I dug up at least 20 pounds of parsnips. I don't even peel them; just scrub and chop and toss with olive oil and salt and roast. They are amazing. I gave some to a friend, who roasted hers under a chicken with onions, and was stunned at their deliciousness. Mmmmmm. Parsnips. (I hear it works for carrots, too, though they aren't as sweet.)

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    1. Yes, parsnips out of the garden in the early spring are wonderful! They are much better than in the fall. Roasted under a chicken sounds yummy!

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  4. I love this post. One of my favorite soups is sunchokes with scallops (from the Four Seasons Cookbook by Margaret Costa, I think). Yummy! We had to leave our sunchoke garden behind when we moved in November; jealous! The scarf is coming along beautifully with all that blue, and libraries, yes, love them. I use mine to test drive knitting books and cookbooks, saves me a fortune. I also love that we can get books from other libraries, pretty much anything you want. And I've started planting my peas on March 17; i guess it's an old New England farmers' thing. Can't wait for May and June. :-)

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    1. I will have to look up the soup recipe. I have never heard of mixing scallops and sunchokes but it sounds really good! I am sorry you had to leave behind your sunchoke garden. Can you plant another one where you are now?

      Cookbooks are the main thing I test from the library. We can get books from any library in our huge regional system, and put in a special request for libraries outside that system. You are right - it saves a fortune!

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  5. The public library is absolutely tops! I no longer buy any books until they've passed the "I'll want to read it again many times" test - which means that I've read a library copy twice.
    -- stashdragon

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    1. I admire your resistance to purchasing books. I wish I had more of it myself! And I agree - the library is the tops!

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  6. Frugal luxuries. I need to think about what I can do that is in the same sort of vein.

    I have planted my lettuce, chard, and carrots. Playing in the dirt might be one of my frugal luxuries.

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    1. Playing in the dirt is definitely a frugal luxury! I am jealous that you have already been able to plant some seeds!

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  7. I have never heard of a Jerusalem artichoke?!? What does it taste like? I'm envisioning a potato but maybe closer to a turnip or parsnip maybe? I think pulling something out the garden in March would be a satisfying experience.

    Your sky scarf is looking so great...I've been thinking more and more about starting one. Now that I'm learning to dye yarn, it seems the perfect excuse to play with blues and greys!

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    1. Hmmm...It is hard to describe the flavour. It isn't anything like a turnip or a parsnip. it is very mild.

      The sky scarf would be perfect for using hand dyed yarn. If you do that be sure you dye plenty of the colours you will be using . It would be very hard to match the dyes with a second batch.

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  8. OK my post has disappeared twice now, after I've thought I've posted it!! I've forgotten what I even said at this point. Something about wanting to plant my peas, and wishing you good breezes in spring both literally and figuratively....

    Sigh. Third times the charm?

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    1. The third time was a charm! I am surprised you haven't been able to plant your peas yet. You will for sure be able to get them in sooner than me. And thanks for the good breezes wish. We could definitely use some around here. :-)

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    2. Down in Victoria the peas would already be in, but up here we're a little colder and a little wetter! Probably a week or so out still. Another big storm this morning!

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  9. Just catching up here Kristie. I'm not a huge fan of Jerusalem artichokes but those look delicious, and sooooo fresh. Libraries, along with book shops, and yarn shops of course, are amongst my favourite places. A good book, a coffee and a cupcake, with knitting to follow ... it sounds perfect, you've put a smile on my day :D

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    1. I have to agree with you about the Jerusalem artichokes. I don't like them well enough to buy them in the store, but freshly dug out of the garden makes them acceptable. I think the thrill of being able to harvest something in March helps the flavour along!

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