Ahhh… to relax in the sun.  This is what we work all year long on our homes and gardens to enjoy;  a few warm days with nothing to do.  I guess that is why we seem to focus on refreshing drinks.  Some have pointed out that we seem to do more drink stories in the summer, and why not.  We are looking for ways to enjoy the summer days and nights so we seem to get drawn back to these tasty drinks…  so sit back and enjoy a raspberry tea (and a lavender martini later) and watch this week’s show.

Terra Casa Furniture

You can design a new living space even if you are just replacing one piece of furniture.  Coordinating everything to match a new piece of furniture is not as hard as you think, you just need a little help.  We learned a few things by stopping by Terra Casa (503-577-8242) in Damascus and chatted with Kathii.  Her first suggestion is not to get hung up on color.  Whether it is the color of fabric, wood or carpeting, color can help you in designing a new space or look, or it can compliment your existing décor.   Look for color temperatures in your home and try to coordinate with those.  If you have cooler colors like dark blues and greens, you don’t want to throw in a bright orange.  Be sensitive to those clashes.  Feel free to mix textures and complimentary color to give yourself variety in your decorating.  Kathii left us with one great tip for shoppers.  Feel free to bring parts of your décor with you when you are shopping.  Pillows, paintings and shams all help the sales person to mix and match the new décor better.  If you need help or want to check out a great selection of furniture and décor items, stop by Terra Casa and check out their new furniture area.

Planting an Indoor Container

You can bring the great outdoors inside by planting an indoor garden container.  Josh met with Robin at the Al’s Garden Center in Sherwood (503-726-1162) to show her how succulents can make the prefect container plant, even for those with less than a green thumb.  Most people think of succulents as pokey, sharp, dangerous plants, but there are a ton of softer plants in a wide variety of textures.  These succulents store most of their water in their leaves and so you will only need to water them once a month or so.  They also have a very shallow root system so you don’t have to plant them in a deep pot.  If you plant them you will need a light soil, like a cactus mix (ours was from Black Gold) which will drain quickly and not let the roots sit in water.  When planting succulents it is all about texture, so mix different plants together for a pleasing effect, just remember to make sure their water and light needs are the same. 

Another type of planter is the terrarium.  These are designed to be little landscapes in a container.  You can find some small varieties of plants and a small container and you can have a miniature garden for inside your home.  If you are in need of a little help, feel free to stop by any location of Al’s for some tips, materials and ideas.  

Tsugawa Raspberry Tea

It is fresh fruit season!  Did you know that you can add fruit to lots of your favorite recipes to give them a little boost of flavor?  To show us how it is done Chef David stopped by Tsugawa Nursery (360-225-8750) in Woodland to use some of their fresh raspberries in a new way.  Tsugawa’s is not only a great nursery to get plants and other garden supplies; they are also a great place to get some fresh fruit.  The Tsugawa family has been growing fresh strawberries, raspberries and marionberries for over 50 years and they have been selling them through their nursery for nearly 30 years.  David, joined by the newest generation of Tsugawa’s, Jorden, showed us how to make a great raspberry tea.  First take a quart of boiling water and add 6 tea bags.  Let the bags steep for 3-5 minutes then add your fresh berries.  After another 5 minutes you can crush the berries to release the flavor and then strain them out.  This will create a concentrated tea.  You will add more water so it isn’t too strong.  Now just pour over ice and enjoy!  To try this recipe click here for details.

Basic Tomato Sauce

If you are a chef you know that there are basic sauces that you can use to make a wide variety of other sauces.  Tomato sauce is one of those ‘master’ sauces.  We stopped by the test kitchens at NW Natural Appliance Center (503-220-2362) so David could show us one of his favorite recipes for a basic tomato sauce.   He began by ‘sweating’ some onions, carrots and celery in a pan.  Sweating the vegetables means they are lightly cooked until they are translucent.  Once the vegetables have softened you will add a little garlic.  It goes in after the other veggies so it doesn’t burn.  Next David added a can of San Marzano tomatoes.  These are from Italy and are known for their flavor.   Let this cook for another 30-35 minutes and just before you finish the recipe you want to add a sprig or 2 of oregano to the pot for another subtle flavor.  After a couple more minute you can remove it from the heat and run it through a food mill or a strainer to get rid of the large chucks of vegetables and the tomato skins (if they are in there).  If you would like to try this recipe at home you can follow the link here for the complete recipe!

Lemon Lavender Martini

Once again we are joined by Kathy Gehrt, author of ‘Discover Cooking with Lavender’.  She has shared some great recipes with us in the past few weeks and now we are making one of the more interesting recipes she has; a lavender cocktail, more specifically a lavender martini.  Lavender is a great herb.  It is beautiful, fragrant and it tastes good too.  First we made a simple syrup that was infused with lavender.  It was one cup of sugar, one cup of water and a tablespoon of culinary lavender.  The syrup has a pinkish color and a wonderful delicate lavender flavor.  To make the drink, Kathy started with 4 ounces of vodka, added 2 ounces of lemon juice and 2 ounces of the simple syrup.  This was shaken with ice and strained into martini glasses.  It makes two drinks and is very refreshing on those warm summer days.  Click here for the recipe and for more recipes for using lavender in your cooking, check out Kathy’s book.  You can also learn more about lavender at the Oregon Lavender Festival happening at over 20 lavender farms around the state this weekend. 

Kitchen Water Savings

The kitchen, bathroom and laundry room are the areas where people use the most water.  We found that there are ways that you can cut your water use significantly. Jim from the Regional Water Providers Consortium showed use how save water and money in the kitchen.  The first thing he replaced was the aerator in the sink.  The aerator adds air to the water flow and that can make your water taste better.  It also filters out debris from the pipes and water system.  By using a water efficient aerator you could save around a gallon a minute when you use your sink.  Jim’s also had a shut-off valve so you can save even more.  Then we moved to the dishwasher.  Some people believe that they can save water by washing their dishes by hand.  But if you take longer than 4 or 5 minutes to do your dishes you are wasting water.  A dishwasher can be much more efficient than washing by hand.  Plus the newer models of dishwashers do a better job of washing dishes and getting them clean!  For more water saving tips, check out the website.  On the website you will find more tips and a calendar that can tell you when they are having a water saving seminar in your area.


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July 15, 2011.