Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Glorious Grilling Recipes from Washington Post

My husband likes to grill and he's good at it. So I was intrigued when he told me about these grill/sautee recipes by Tony Rosenfled he recently saw on washingtonpost.com. We decided to try out a couple of them on a beautiful evening a few weekends ago and, OMG, they were so good. It took a lot of time -- they require a lot of chopping, and it's a two-part cooking method (grill, stove) -- but it is so worth it. It's helpful to have one person handle the grill and the other ready to take stove duty (not an easy feat when you have a toddler, but we managed).

The onions were ridiculous. We could not believe how rich and buttery they tasted, even though there is no butter in the recipe.

We accompanied the veggies with burgers and gorgonzola and a nice bottle of pinot noir. Yum. We'll definitely be making these recipes again, especially when we have people over.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Washington, DC DiggersList

A friend recently sent me a link to the Washington, DC DiggersList, which is kind of like a craigslist for homeowners and contractors. You can find listings for used appliances, building materials and tools, as well as listings for contractors and designers. In addition to DC, it's in about 16 other markets, and one of the goals of the founders is to keep as many building materials as possible out of landfills.

It's new, so there isn't that much up yet, but I think it could be a really helpful resource. I hope it takes off.

Update: Thanks for the shout-out, DCBlogs! (In DC Blogs Noted 5/25/10.)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Garden Notes: Hibiscus and Rhododendron

I'm so proud: It's been 4 weeks since I planted some hibiscus in pots in front of our house, and not only are they still alive, but they are still blooming. Quite an accomplishment for this novice gardener.

I've been making sure not to over-water them, which I think has been my problem in the past with potted plants. I only water if the soil feels fairly dry about 2 or 3 inches down into the pot. So simple. But before I watered on a regular basis and didn't bother feeling the soil.

And on to other garden news, our azaleas have faded, but the huge rhododendron bush in our front garden is in full bloom (and I didn't even have to do anything to get it to this point). I can't believe it wasn't damaged by the crazy snow we had.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Merrifield Garden Center: An Explosion of Spring

I was at Merrifield Garden Center this past weekend (a couple of times, actually). I have a lot of ideas for our front and back yards, but I'm not really sure what's feasible. I am such a novice gardener. Thankfully, the staff here is very knowledgeable and willing to share what they know, including the landscape designers. I also appreciate how it's is organized, with annuals and perennials clearly marked. And they have educational pamphlets throughout the nursery on things like how to care for specific plants or your lawn.

I took a few snapshots on my phone (I was at the Merrifield location) that I think just capture the season. I am trying to relish spring as much as possible this year (though it's been feeling like summer the last few days).

In addition to plants, they carry accessories and furniture for the outdoors and in (for example, the painted-wood potting table [$249], above). They are definitely pricey compared to some other nurseries in the area and big-box stores. For instance, I'm looking for a basic, 22" terracotta pot. I found one at Merrifield for $69, but I found a similar one at Home Depot for $49. For some things, though, I think it's worth the extra cost for the quality and design. And you just can't find some of the things Merrifield has at other places.

And I really like this trellis/lawn ornament (couldn't find a price).

Just being there inspires me to learn more about gardening. I'm looking forward to doing just that this year.