The First Chore of Spring

I know winter has barely started but I've got a lucky break with the weather and a chance to revitalize my brown, bald spotted, drought parched lawn.

In the last couple of years, I've overseeded with drought resistant grass seed. That worked fairly well and gave me a lush, green lawn for about 4 months but wilted under our 100+ degree summer heat fairly rapidly with our states water rationing scheme.

This year, I'll add to that a bag of heat resistant seed just to see what happens.

It rained pretty good on Friday so I had a damp lawn, with soft soil, to aerate on Saturday. I then overseeded with the spreader.

We're expecting two days of rain on Sunday so that will give me two days of watering in and I don't have to worry about running afoul of the water cops.

It should be a wet winter here, so I'm hoping that it'll take a minimum of spinkler use to get it germinated and established. Then we'll see just how 'heat-resistant' this grass really is.

Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

This Week's Sunday Menu: PrimeTri Tip Steak with Roasted Potatoes with Bacon and Eggs

Meat and potatoes...delicious ones...for those of us on a low-sodium diet.

The entree for this week's dinner is some fantastic tri tip steak. USDA Prime that I found for $7.99 per pound. Great deal.

Breakfast uses our standard scrambled eggs recipe but we're cooking some delicious Danish bacon

Get the recipes below:

Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs and Bacon (for an added treat, cook the eggs in the bacon grease after you cook that).

Dinner: Tri Tip Steaks and Roasted Potatoes

Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

The Weeds of Winter

Still not a lot to do in the garden these days but the weeds don't take the season off. 

A trowel helps me dig these out of the dirt.

In the rose garden, out front, this Chinese elm seedling has camoflauged itself within the roses. 

At this size, the root is very deep and it is impossible to hand-pull out of the ground, so I dig as deep as I can with my trowel.

This is as much as of the root as I was able to get. I hope it's enough because these weeds are very hard to get rid of completely once they take hold.

Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved


After eggs, maybe the most popular breakfast food.  Easy to cook, the key is good meat.

Look for strips, thick strips, with a high meat (or lean) to fat ratio.  We get Danish bacon from Marconda's Meats at the Original L.A. Farmers Market, where...if you buy a full'll get $2 off per pound and they'll slice and pack to order.

Get a large frying pan, lay the strips across the bottom, cover with a splatter screen, and turn the heat to medium/high. Put the splatter guard on top to keep the grease from flying all over your stove and kitchen.

After several minutes, when the pink on the bacon gets darker and headed to red, use some tongs to flip them over...carefully.

Cook several more minutes until they start to turn brown. The browner they are, the crispier they will be.

When done, put a couple of layers of paper towels on a plate. Put the bacon on the towels then put one more sheet on top. Let sit for about ten minutes so the paper towels can soak up the grease before serving.

Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Winter's Tangy Harvest

Late fall...winter starts next week...and in the middle of a big drought, not a lot to do in the garden but we can find something.

December in Southern California is citrus season and our three trees are producing! 

The cara cara navel orange tree (at the top of this post) has put out the most fruit it's ever given us.

Our Meyer lemon is not far behind.

We harvest just enough to last us for a week or so and let the rest of the fruit stay on the tree til we're ready for more.

Along with the oranges and lemons, I also find a few rogue Anaheim chiles that will go into tomorrow's eggs.

These tart but sweet cara caras are just the ticket for a nice, healthy shot of vitamin C on the side of this sandwich.

Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Low Sodium Tri Tip Steak

We're returning to the barbecue this week for our Sunday entree. It's cloudy, cool, and rain is on the way but I think I have time to beat it.

Recently, just before Thanksgiving, I got the big "D" diagnosis...type 2 diabetes. Now, I have to be wary of what I eat and drink. Funny, though, since I've started monitoring my glucose, I've only exceeded the upper limit twice. Once when I had a cup of white rice with some peanut-sauce beef satay and the other when I had a flour-tortilla wrapped pork burrito.

Lesson learned: avoid white rice and flour tortillas. Rice is easy since I'm not such a fan anyway. I'll miss those flour tortillas, though (corn tortillas don't have the same effect at all on me, thank God).

Jan, the diabetes nurse at my doctor's office, has provided me with reams of flyers and sheets on how to eat better. One that really struck my fancy was what spices you can use to replace salt in different foods. That led to the rub used in the recipe below.

While I used literally just a pinch of salt, the meal came out delicious.  I had a little leftover rub that I put in the bag to spice up my usual roasted fingerling potato dish that I served on the side.

This meal also benefits from the hiqh quality of the meat...I found some exceptionally well-marbled USDA Prime tri tip steak on sale at Costco for only $7.99 a pound. Couldn't pass up that deal (although I can hear nurse Jan in my mind "LEAN meat, idiot!").

Quiet,'s Sunday.


4 medium 1.5 inch thick tri tip steaks, about 8 ounces each
Worcester sauce (or pineapple juice, if you want to take the sodium content down further without sacrificing taste)

1/2 teaspoon each of the following -
Mustard powder
Onion powder
Cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon each of black and white pepper

Put steaks into as small of a resealable bowl as you can find. Sprinkle each side with just a very small pinch of Kosher salt and a few drops of Worcester sauce. You can also replace the Worcester sauce with a generous splash of pineapple juice.

Rub the meat generously on both sides with the rub. Seal in bowl and let marinate 3-4 hours minimum (if you use pineapple juice, it's better to marinate for at least 8 hours).

On a barbecue, over hot coals, cook on each side for three minutes for a sear. Move to indirect heat and cook 5-6 minutes on each side for medium rare.

Remove on a platter and cover with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

DINNER TIME! Dutch Oven Beef Stew

It can still get a little chilly at night here in Northern California. A hearty stew is just the thing to take the chill off. This reci...