Orange, Chocolate Shortbread

Yesterday, just to prove to Rebecca, our very organized onsite gardener of Gabriella’s Gardens, that I could do it, I filed last year’s seeds.  Not alphabetically as she was hinting I should, but by category – greens, heat loving plants like tomatoes, sprawlers like cucs and squash, flowers, herbs and lastly, bushy things.  You know, beans, peas and fennel.  Hmm… I wonder if she’ll still need to “organize” them further in the spring?

So it’s serendipitous that the 2010 Seed Savers Exchange catalog arrived in the mail today.  Perfect for a blustery day, a cup of Earl Grey tea and a wedge of Orange, Chocolate Shortbread.  By the time I ‘m finished with it, the corners will all be dog eared and the cover probably missing.  Signs of being well-loved and used.

This recipe is one I adapted from my Ginger Shortbread in At Home, At Sea: Recipes from the Maine Windjammer J. & E. Riggin.

Orange Chocolate Shortbread
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
zest from one orange
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°  Cream the butter in a medium bowl.  Beat in the sugar and vanilla.  Mix in the flour and salt; it’s easiest to finish mixing the dough with your hands.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Pat the dough into a 9-inch round cake pan.  Score it into wedges with a sharp knife.  Bake about 20 to 30 minutes, until the shortbread is a pale golden brown.  Cool in the pan; while still warm, cut along the score lines.

Makes 8-10 pieces

Annie
It was blustery this morning and now it’s almost 60 degrees outside – how wonky is that?

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Potatoes Set Out to Sprout

Desiree
My potatoes arrived today from Seed Savers Exchange and in these cool cotton sacks!  French Fingerling and Desiree varieties.  The descriptions sound fabulous and I've never grown fingerlings before, so this will be an experiment.

Charlie the cat is curious about sharing her sunny window desk with the potatoes and occasionally dominates them by laying right on top.

The directions say to expose the potatoes to light for 1-2 weeks at
60-70 until sprouts develop (this technique may have been why my
potatoes from previous years didn't do so well.)  You then cut the
larger ones, leaving the cut edges to dry for 2 days.  This prevents
rotting when they first go into the ground.

Potatoes1

Annie
Growin' spuds

© 2009 Anne Mahle

Seeds Came Today!

Home_catalog09
My stash of seeds from previous years is fairly large and while the germination of the seeds is reduced over time, they still do fairly well.  The new seeds, ordered from Seed Savers Exchange and John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds came today.  The excitement and eagerness that comes from tiny packets of seeds on a gray, wet day is familiar to gardeners who pour over catalogs dreaming of a garden filled with fresh, bright, healthy plants.  It always comes as somewhat of a surprise to me when I am, yet again, over the top excited about tiny specks, balls and flecks.  But when I see the seeds, I'm immediately transported into a future garden filled with strong, healthy plants that give and give.

John Scheepers had artichokes, which I've always wanted to grow.  The Seed Savers Exchange mailer was fuller as they had varieties of tomatoes, peppers and greens that were written about in the Arrows Restaurant CookbookArrows is a restaurant in Ogunquit, Maine which has been growing its own produce for years.  They are about two hours south of us, and I figured if a cold climate variety worked for them, it should probably grow well for us too.

Annie
Waiting for seeds to become seedlings