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Monday, December 28, 2009

Do It Right! LA City Christmas Tree Pickup and Recycling

My friend, Keri Dearborn, over at Animalbytes has pointed out this great information for City of LA residents about Christmas tree pickup, dropoff and recycling.

In the past, many Christmas trees were simply dumped curbside, on lawns or in empty lots. They would often site there for a month or more until someone decided to clean them up.

The best action to take, of course, is to cut up, or chip/shred your tree for use as mulch in your garden or compost pile. While I have the ability to do that here, I realize some other city dwellers might not be equipped for such things.

If you can't mulch or compost your tree, the City of LA has 3 different ways to dispose of your Christmas Tree.

  1. Cut it up and place it in your standard green garden bin

  2. Leave it curbside, if it is too big to fit in the bin (or you are unable to dismantle it)

  3. Take your tree to a long list of drop-off sites around the city incuding various Parks and Recreation and Fire Station locations. This is a limited time option, though. You will only be able to do this on Saturday, January 2, 2010 and Sunday, January 3, 2010.

Here is complete information on City of Los Angeles Christmas Tree Recycling Program. Dispose of your Christmas tree properly!

Photo Credit: Flickr picture by Shira Golding

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Monday, August 31, 2009

What I'm eReading...Down on the Allotment

Down on the Allotment

Another UK-based garden blog that is regularly updated with great information and wonderful pictures.
"I was born 20 yards from our allotment. My parents used to 'dig for victory' and never got out of the habit. I grew up on an allotment, so growing veggies is a way of life. I am currently studying to become a dog behaviourist and eventually set up my own business."
Recent posts include:
  • Tomato Glut
  • Giant Courgettes
  • Sweet Sweet Corn

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sausage Risotto and asparagus

Even with the heat (currently 95 F) we decided to make one of our favorites, Sausage risotto, from the Cucina Rustica cookbook. Rosanne is making some grilled asparagus on the side for her. Much in the same we had to
ignore the rain in Ohio, here in LA you just have to ignore the heat and make what you want. Of course, a summer kitchen would help, too.

Risotto gets a bad rap for being difficult and time consuming, but it is really fairy easy to make.

Rosanne made the homemade chicken stock for the recipe and I was able to use the leftovers of my latest batch of red sauce, which I make every couple of weeks. It is a required pantry item when you have a Sicilian in the house, you know.

Posted by ShoZu

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

What I'm Reading...The Simple Home

Architecture, design and decorating books often catch my eye when I am browsing the bookstore or my Amazon recommendations.

I am not into any sort of high style, but I do appreciate these photos of simple and beautiful places. I nearly always find great ideas to implement in my own home.

The Simple Home: The Luxury of Enough by Sarah Nettleton

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cookie Baking Begins!

Update: Also made Good Eats Peanut Butter Fudge tonight. Yum!

Today I got started on the 80+ doz cookies I typically make for my annual Christmas open house. We have been doing this for almost 15 years now, so I have it down to something like an art form.

I mix and bake each day, typically completing 2-3 cookies batches each day. This year I am trying something a little different with a few of these early batches. I was listening to an episode of The Splendid Table with Lynn Rossetto Kasper and Jacques Torres about the perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie. They suggested allowing the mixed cookie dough to rest for between 24 and 36 hours before baking. Supposedly, this allows the flour to hydrate completely and results in a much better cookie. I usually mix and bake almost immediately, but I was interested to see how this changes the cookies this year. We shall see.

Today I mixed up 3 different batches of cookies. First was a a traditional Toll House Chocolate Chip using the recipe on the back of the Nestle's bag. I made one addition to this recipe of Cocoas Nibs. A friend gave me a bag of these a while ago and the last batch I made with them came out wonderfully. They give a rich chocolate flavor as well as a nutty crunch.

Next were 2 batches of oatmeal cookies (recipe) using the recipe from the Joy of Cooking cookbook. In this recipe I do make a fairly significant change. It is never wise to fool with the proportions of a cookie recipe, so I don't add extra flour or anything. Rather, I change the way the cookie tastes by adding an additional 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg and 1/8 tsp of ground cloves. I tried this many years ago and love the way it makes the cookies taste. If I remember correctly, there was a spice cookie recipe next to the original oatmeal cookie recipe and I decided to see what would happen if I added the spices from one recipe to the other.

One batch of these cookies recevied white chocolate chips. This makes them easier to identify from the more typical Oatmeal Raisin cookies. The next batch added raisins but also 2 other dried fruits -- cranberries and blueberies. Rosanne had these in the cupboards for other purposes but they seemed an excellent addition to these oatmeal cookies.

Tomorrow Joe and I will bake these batches and see if they improve significantly over past years. Then we will mix up a few more. I still need to go get more butter, sugar, flour and nuts to keep me going, but it always a good feeling to have the first batch done.

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