Nov 8, 2010

What The.....

*Sorry that this post comes so late....I know I pressed the post button back in November but I guess some higher power didn't want it out there Hahaha!


This is what I woke up to this morning.




I went out in the snowing and blowing and picked the last teeny tiny eggplant that had finally decided to bear fruit....and pulled the plants.I checked the Brussel Sprouts(Brussels Sprout...you tell me)and they are still pea sized. I planted them plenty early enough for full sized Sprouts so I give up on this type of crop....they are just too cheap and tasty from the Market this time of year for me to struggle with something that takes up precious garden space but gives me nothing in return. There is still Kale looking Hale and Hearty ....but everything else is gone or done.... I guess it really is time to consider the growing season done for this year.

Nov 3, 2010

Something a Little Different

I know that this is a Veggie Blog.

And we will soon be back to our scheduled Tomato report.

However my daughter just brought me some beautiful bulk Venison Sausage from a Buck my Son-in -Law got, and I just had to share the tasty results(well... almost, I took the shot of them raw, and then we ate them before I remembered I needed another picture). I am lucky enough to have a Sausage Stuffing attachment for my Kitchen Aid ....and this is how they came out.
Please forgive the odd sizes, it has been years since the last time I used this attachment(and I wasn't all that skilled at it even then, but I try).



On second look...Thank God the picture is blurry because it looks like I was stuffing in the dark.

Oct 28, 2010

The Year of the Bean

The beans are still growing.
Amazing....I know.

At one point this summer, after our 6th or 7th meal based on Green beans, and after I had given them away to at least 3 different people, the Kentucky Wonder plants looked like they had seen better days. I didn't mind though, as these beans had gone above and beyond the call of duty for my family. I bid them a fond farewell and vowed to plant again. A few straggling beans later,I figured they had worn themselves out and had died .

I was wrong.

3 weeks later there were new leaves  a popping and the flowers quickly followed. 

So here I am , staring down the barrel of November, and I am still picking Green Beans. True, I really think this was the last day of harvesting them, but I have been fooled before.


At any rate....this is what I did to my last batch of beans. After a Summer of cooking them 2 to 3 times a week , I have become very creative with them.

 

I cleaned them, de-stringed(de-strung, un-strung....I don't know) the big ones, and snapped up the Asparagus type ones. Then cooked them in lightly salted boiling water for about 4 or 5 minutes.

Sliced up a hunk of Elephant Garlic from a bulb that never split. I guess I should have re-planted it for a Ginormous head of garlic next season....but my will-power wasn't strong enough and my love of all things Garlic got the better of me.


Fried up that sliced Garlic along with some chopped up thickly sliced Hickory smoked Bacon.

MMmmm...Bacon.......


Then added the pre-cooked green beans and Sautéed them for a few minutes.


Boy they were tasty. And yup...I DID take perfectly healthy green beans and mix them in with fatty bacon. But these were a whole lot healthier than the batch I breaded and deep fat fried last week....

Sep 28, 2010

Purple Calabash Pictures as Promised


These are two , not so good pictures, of that Purple Calabash I was telling you all about. It is truly a beautiful little tomato. And I know there are people who want a really sour and acidic tomato. So if that is you, I definitely recommend this guy to you. If you like a less 'IN YOUR FACE' tomato....think twice about growing Purple Calabash.

Sep 21, 2010

Purple Calabash

Okay.

So this is not in any way part of my 'Tomatoes on Parade' posting for this season. There is still at least a month before that rolls around. But I had to post. I just absolutely could not resist. I was drawn in.....



Purple Calabash is the most unusually lovely tomato I have ever seen. Squat and ruffled like a tiny pumpkin, and a lovely dusky, shiny purple in color. I am sorry I have no pictures to show you, but I was so excited about tasting this one that I forgot totally about the camera , this blog....just about everything but biting into this often maligned tomato. That's right, I said it...maligned. I have heard the rumors about the odd flavor of this little gem. But I didn't believe it. After all I heard nasty things about Green Zebra and out of the 7 people I have shared it with in the past I have 7 people who loved it.  So I set out to prove the critics of PC wrong. 

I took my first bite and went....WHOA....is this a lemon in disguise?!?!? My dear and husband, who is totally understanding of my tomato sickness , who loves all vegetables(except Broccoli Rabe) went....*Pucker* WOW this is acidic isn't it. And my daughter, had such a look on her face while she chewed slowly on her little slice...it made me feel bad about asking her to taste it at all.



So now I know what the tomato term "Spitter" is all about.



Sorry, I just had to share.

Sep 14, 2010

Still Growing....

This has been a strange Summer in my garden. Everything grew soooo slowly. I thought it would be the exact opposite due to our warmer than usual July. But no. So posting here and trying to be enthusiastic was more than I could do. I only got a handful of cucumbers before the plants withered and plopped....my tomatoes came in sporadically and never really got going . I guess that is because of the combination of our Holy high humidity in July and August, and this being a brand new veggie bed. So even tho I had a few of each variety(except for Purple Calabash, none yet), I never had enough. You know....enough to feel like Tomato Summer was in full swing. There are still a few green ones out there and I am hopeful for their ripening before frost....so not a tomato loss by any stretch of the imagination.The Pole Beans however went nuts.Even after I thought the vines were dead and gone I got beans....and now they are putting on new leaves and blossoms. I guess when Mother Nature whithers one vine she flourishes another. I am still a happy camper...I ate fresh ripe tomatoes, not as many as usual for this time of year, but heck one ripe garden tomato is better than any amount of Grocery store dreck. So while I have been MIA from this place...I am here in spirit.


I will be back soon to let you all know how the tomatoes did individually and how they tasted...one hint, they all tasted fabulous this season....of course some more than others.


Check Back Soon, and Thanks for being patient with me during this strange season.

Aug 2, 2010

Tomatoes 'Who Made the Garden'

Here we are, the first week of August. I can't believe how quickly this year is flying by. Okay, truth be told, since the birth of my first baby 20 years ago I have been bemoaning the fleet passage of time,so I shouldn't be Surprised that another year has gotten behind me.I am hoping that everyone is pulling in bushels upon bushels of fresh home grown goodness.

Now if you are like me and you aren't getting more produce than you can eat, well...remember this....there will always be enough of something out in your garden to make the whole process worthwhile. My squash are bust, and the eggplants are only now just starting to flourish.The pumpkins aren't going to make it in time, and the watermelon don't particularly like being in pots. However there is always a balance, the Yardlong beans are growing great, and for being in a new spot,  I am getting a meal for four worth of green beans every three or so days. The Collards flopped but the Kale is doing great and my four plants have already given us two huge veggie dishes and will definitely go the distance. The cukes have been slow but will be adequate.  The tomatoes are in a new bed and are showing some blight, but will no doubt give us enough to be satisfying. I worry about them every year, and every year they pull it off.

Speaking of Tomatoes....
It occurred to me this evening, while I was enjoying my first slice of tomato for this season, that I have neglected to post my 'Who Made the Garden' posting this year. I totally vegged out on it(no pun intended). Between the tomato seedlings getting wind burned....then their rebound. Followed by my eggplants turning completely yellow....and their rebound...I totally forgot.So here it is.
Without further ado.....

My tomatoes that made the garden:

Mortgage Lifter
Muchamiel- I just pulled it out of the garden. I don't know if it has a wilt or what, but it was totally wilted and scary looking and I just cant take the chance.
Bonny Best
German Red Strawberry
Brandywine
Black Russian
Purple Calabash
Orange Minsk
Jaune Flamme
Basinga
Spears Tennessee Green

Ludmilla's Red Plum
San Marzano Gigante
Sausage

Nicholson's Yellow Cherry
Riesentraube
Berti's Red Fig( I got this tomato out of a salad at a Restaurant called Bertucci's. I grew it out the seeds from it last year and had 2 types of cherry tomatoes from it. I kept the seed of the one that I liked the most and I am growing that out this year. the name is a just an abbreviation of the place and the type)
Orange Sunrise(more of a saladette than a cherry, but live and learn they went in with the cherry types)
Whippersnapper

Mr.Brown's
Dona
Gregory
Alyx Little Yellow Sun


Left to Right- Cherry types...Whippersnapper, Berti's Red Fig, Alyx Little Yellow Sun, Riesentraube. The bigger one in the middle is my only slicer so far...Black Russian.

Jul 16, 2010

How the Kale turned out....and other tidbits




So here is what my Kale looked like when it was done cooking. Okay I guess maybe it isn't all that pretty to look at, but man was it good. Savory and smoky form the ham hock....garlic-y from the few loose cloves I had that I threw in, and just a hint of heat at the end from the dash of home grown and dried red pepper flakes that I tossed in. I will definitely do this again. And now that I know it works, I can give up on the Collards that don't seem to want to grow in my garden,and just grow this Kale that really likes my yard just fine. Of course we all know I will try the Collards again next year just to be on the safe side, but at least I have a tasty alternative!







Take a look at my Purple Podded Pole beans....they are a great early bean. Gorgeous purple vines with purple-y flowers give way to deep dark bean pods. As beautiful as they are to look at,they are yummy too. Now if you have a picky eater that only eats conventionally colored veggies(that really means boring colored but I am trying to be kind)the purple beans do turn green when cooked.

Soooo....as for the rest of the garden.The green beans look like a million bucks but they are being slow to start producing, as are the Red Noodle Beans and one of my Asparagus beans. However the Liana Asparagus Beans look to be doing better this year than ever , so BIG smile for those. Then there are the tomatoes growing in the new garden. Sadly they are not as sturdy and prolific as I would like them to be. I am sure this will remedy itself in a few seasons as the garden gets more organic material added to it. But for now, I am happy get a few fruit from each plant. Honestly when I get any tomatoes from the garden I am dancing in the street. The cukes are behind, but better late than never. And I am usually a zucchini failure, shoot I am a total squash and viney growing plant failure melons included...and this season is shaping up to be a big zuch/squash flop. But hey,I do a lot of seed trading, and the stuff that does grow really pays for the stuff that doesn't so again...dancing in the street !

Jul 14, 2010

Kale...it's what's for dinner

Last Thanksgiving, a wonderful neighbor of mine gave me a couple of bunches of Collards to contribute to my Thanksgiving meal. I being a New England Gal for my entire life have never cooked Collards. So with my trusty computer online, I diligently searched out what looked like the tastiest and easiest Collard Cooking Recipe.

It was a hit.

Hardly any of those greens hit the table. Everyone had to just have a taste or two to see if they liked them...which of course maybe 9 out of the 11 adults present did.

SO how did we get to today...and how this connects to Kale.

Well I decided right on the spot last Thanksgiving to grow Collards in my garden so I could have them whenever I saw fit. For some reason only 2 seeds sprouted and one of those only sprouted about 3 weeks ago and is a scrawny little guy. The older of the two is not much better. However my Russian Red Kale is doing wonderfully. Out of 4 plants planted I have a big pot full of leaves to cook. Which I am going to cook in the same fashion that I cooked the Collards. So wish me luck!!!


And I am still growing those Tomatoes and will definitely post a list of who hit the garden next week....I promise. And if anyone wants the Collard recipe....let me know and I will be happy to post it :)

Jun 6, 2010

Garlic Scape Pesto

I made this Garlic Scape Pesto last Thursday to use on shrimp and Fettucini for a quick fix supper. Sadly that never happened . You see, almost as soon as I finished taking these pictures I became overwhelmingly dizzy and violently ill. I ended up being carted away to the Emergency room in the back of an ambulance.

Pneumonia. Can you believe it. Here it is, one of the most gorgeous weeks I have seen in a long time and I have pneumonia. Well I still want to enjoy the weather and my garden(even though I went out this morning to find it wilty and weedy. An obvious sign that my family can't tell the difference between weeds and veggies)

So without any more of a pity party from me, here is a brief recipe for this Pesto. I am still a bit disoriented here even though it has been almost 4 days since I got sick, so if you want a more detailed recipe please leave a comment and when I am better I will post it.

The ingredients:

Around 15-16 scapes

1/2 to 3/4 cup freshly ground and grated Parmesan Cheese

1 ounce Pignoli

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt to taste

Cut scapes into 1 inch to 2 inch lengths and put in blender with Parmesan and Pignoli. Pulse until coarsely ground, then put on blend and add olive oil til it is a smooth and spreadable consistency. Add salt to taste and pulse a few times.

Use any way you would use traditional Pesto.


We smeared around a half teaspoon of the Pesto on cold steamed shrimp(A 1/2 tsp on each of the shrimp) and took to a neighbors party . They were hit.

Jun 1, 2010

Guess What's for Dinner Tonight???

  That's right folks. It's Garlic Scape season again!! I am going to do them up pretty much the same way I did them last season. 

A quick blanch, a little sauteing for color and flavor,  a splash of Balsamic, and eat.

My only hope is that I wasn't too aggressive while removing the scapes. I usually just snip them off as low as I can. But I have read some farmers postings and they suggest pulling gently until the scape snaps off. I tried the pulling gently method today, but this is totally stressful for me. I am terrified of pulling the whole thing up out of the ground. I gave it a shot though, and we will see in another month and a half whether I did any damage. I doubt that it did, but you know me.... if I wasn't worrying about my garden then what would I be doing. Plus I still have a third of my scapes still growing and I will use the snip method on those just in case.

But man...my house has a faint hint of garlic wafting through it, and I really can't wait until dinner tonight to have these beauties. It has been a whole year since.


By the way, my poor little raggedy tomatoes and peppers etc., well I had to just compost about a third of them...but the rest rebounded(as usual) and are either in my garden or were gifted out. So I will be posting the 'Who Made the Garden' posting shortly.


But for now I am off to blanch.

May 13, 2010

Tomato Disaster...Again

I just went outside this morning to find half of the tomato babies that I was hardening off, mostly dead....and the other half looking like Crap with a capitol 'C'. This freakin' weather is just ticking me off. Of course the weather did it to me last season too....and something else go them the season before, and the season before that I cooked them. I am just not destined to grow tomatoes from seed.


Funny thing is...my eggplants and peppers look fine, it is just the tomatoes. I think they have it out for me and my peace of mind......

I vow to plant fewer tomato seedlings next season so I can bring them in and out of the house easier, and wont be tempted to just leave them out.....and if that doesn't keep me from killing them, then I am putting my tomato seed collection up for adoption! Case Closed!

May 12, 2010

Seed Season

I put in beets and carrots this week. I promised myself to sow the carrots carefully as to avoid having to sit in the garden for hours thinning. But of course not. Once I started putting out those tiny seeds I lost all control of my sanity. So in a few weeks you will find me sitting out in my garden for hours thinning the carrots. Oh well , what is a gardening girl to do. 


On an aside, my tomato and pepper and eggplant seedlings have taken a beating being outside these passed few days. I brought them in for the chilliest and windiest of those days. But as of last night  I have decided to issue forth tough love with them. I know that farmers who grow thousands of seedlings aren't schlepping in those babies every night, once out they stay out(protected from frost of course). And so shall it be with my parade of plants. Now to keep my fingers crossed that the weather warms a bit and stays that way so I can just get these guys into the ground this weekend(provided I can keep them alive til then). Once in the ground they usually become happier campers.

May 7, 2010

Summer is in the Air

Summer is in the Air again....at least in my kitchen it is.

Photobucket

If you love Tomatoes this is what the  kitchen looks like on a windy Spring night, when the gusts are so that they may (or may not) blow those precious tomato babies for a loop!!

Photobucket


And this is what your kitchen looks like when you are a total Tomato-head and notice that the above mentioned tomato babies are looking a little tall for their cups, and it is already 9:25 pm  but you just need to get them comfy.

May 5, 2010

The Seedlings Have Left the Building!

Today is the BIG day. All of my seedlings are now outside in heavily dappled shade. Let me go see if I can get my camera to work so you all can see the baby pictures. It seems like yesterday they were just poking their tiny cotyledons out of the soil...and now they are flopping all over the place.

*Note to self- Plant them a week later next season* 

Now comes a few scary days while I start the delicate hardening off procedure. I have screwed this part up in a major way in the past. So everyone keep their fingers crossed, I know I will. So far I have been out 3 times to make sure they are all still in the shade, and no one is in need of water or straightening or encouraging words. Tomorrow will be a little easier...and by Friday I will begin to breathe again.

As an aside-It occurred to me while I was out in the driveway taking that shot....I have way too many tomato seedlings. I counted them(and have already forgotten the exact number while sending the picture here....sheesh) and the total of seedlings is either 117 or 127....and either way, I need only 30 plants. Amazing , I need 30...out of over 100...someone needs to reign me in here. Next year I vow to have more confidence in my ability to keep my babies alive until plant out. On my honor I will only pot up 4 - 6 seedlings per variety. That will still be somewhere around 60 plants, but damn, that is way less stress than trying to keep 120 plants alive for 2 months....and I know I know, I only grew that many so that if I made a mistake somewhere along the line there would still be plenty to choose from, but I love each and every one of them. Then if you factor in my Hot Peppers, Sweet Peppers and Eggplants, that is a butt load of seedlings. Next year there will be NO MORE than 100 plants TOTAL.....make sure someone reminds me that next year ......

Apr 6, 2010

Quick Tomato Update

Well, the seeds have all sprouted and  flourished for the most part. Even the questionable German Red Strawberry seeds have sprouted and shown a tiny bit of progress. At this point all the German Reds need to do is give me one or two perfect fruit for seed saving and I will be happy. Everyone else has been potted up into individual cups and are doing as best as they can. It also seems as if I am  either going to need to stick  to planting fewer seeds next season.... or buy a bigger house. Every year I swear I am going to stick to the six seedling rule, but I sow at least nine seeds to be safe, and when I end up with seven or eight seedlings I can not bare to toss them.  Next season it is six seeds to start and no more than five plants potted up per variety. If I can't make due with those, well then I am out of luck.


More coming soon...even pictures(maybe)

Mar 22, 2010

Seeds... Start Your Engines

Finally, I think I can breathe again. 

I have been holding my breath for the past few weeks just waiting ,wishing ,  hoping  and praying for my tomato seeds to show some interest in becoming plants. Little by little they have shown just the tiniest signs of life...then a wham bam over the weekend and  they have made major leaps towards planthood!It feels so good to know that I have managed yet again to bring forth a little bit of green into my world. I panic every year waiting to see if there will be sprouting. And of course if there is any problem I thoroughly blame myself, because of course I know that I have saved my seeds to long, or watered my starter too much.....or too little. I keep it too cold in my plant room, or too dark. Then when that little bend of pale green shows I let out my breath and relax....but only for a moment, because now I have to keep them alive long enough to make the garden. But for now I am a success.


So without further ado comes the list of tomatoes that I have chosen to grace my garden this season.

2010 Tomato List:

Dona

Gregory

Mr. Brown's

Alyx Little Yellow Sun

German Red Strawberry-8 year old seed, and the only ones that haven't shown any interest in sprouting, but I have hope.

Muchamiel

Bonny's Best

Brandywine

Black Russian

Purple Calabash

Spear's Tennessee Green

Basinga

Jaune Flamme

Orange Minsk

Nicholson's Yellow Cherry

Riesentraube

Orange Sunrise

Whippersnapper

and

One that I am calling: 

Berti's Red Fig

This is one from seeds I saved out of a restaurant grape tomato in 2007. It didn't make the garden in 2008, but did in 2009. It grew 2 different forms of cherry types, one the usual grape type red which was okay for taste, and so so for production. The other was shaped more fig like, and was just dripping with fruit. I believe that it is called a 'multiflora'. The flavor was not the best I have ever tasted, but still really nice. So I saved seeds from that plant and I will keep growing out the desired form until it is stable.


Now all that is left for me to do is to keep these alive for the next two months. Piece of cake!


.......Yeah sure.





Mar 15, 2010

Seed Starting Time 2010!

It is that time again folks!! Yup, that's right , the time of year when I start waxing poetic about produce. About July's cooling , crunchy Cucumbers,  Augusts flaming HOT peppers and Tomato-y bounty...about Eggplants and Edamame...Pumpkins and Zucchini, and all of the other beautiful, tasty, tempting fruits and vegetables that grow in my humble garden,yet never cease to amaze me.

Wow, that is still a world away, but as of this afternoon, I have spied more little cups with seeds breaking the surface than not. That means it is okay to start posting. I always wait til I am pretty sure that the seeds will sprout before I post as I really don't want to jinx myself....*knock wood*.


I wont be listing the tomatoes that have been chosen just yet as they have only begun to poke there little seedy heads out of the starter...just that tiny little bend of pale green is visible at surface level. Oh how I love that sight. But it is still too early yet for them.  The Peppers are playing with me... the Hot Cherry's have sprouted and look strong and willing. The rest are either empty little cups of starter...or two little 'Gypsy' seeds that are in the bend stage of sprouting. So peppers remain nameless for the time being as well. Eggplants on the other hand are up and doing well. With the exception of one variety, but even it looks promising.


So for now I am going to postpone the posting of my 2010 seed list until at least next week. That will give me a better idea of how successful I am at this point. And even if there is no vital change I will post anyways,  and then update as I go with the varieties that ended up not being viable...if there are any .



*P.S.  I really did knock wood when I wrote that.

Jan 5, 2010

Happy New Year!!

Hey all...I hope that you all rang in the New Year in a safe and spectacular fashion! It is hard to think gardening right now with the country in an icy, snowy death grip....but I never truly stop thinking about my little patch of dirt, and I know most of you are the same way. So, even though I am being neglectful about posting, I am still pondering the veggie plot and will be back soon to let the world know what tomatoes and other veggies may make the 2010 garden. WOW...2010....I cannot believe that we have finished out the first decade of the new millennium already....slow down world.

Happy New Year!!