Monday, August 6, 2007

They're Coming...

Looks like it'll be an early fig season for me this year. I found these 2 beauties yesterday...can't wait for the rest!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

BLAT- because I have 39 ripe tomatoes

Bacon (Apple Wood Smoked)
Avocado (Fuerte)
Tomato (Pineapple)
Bread (Homemade country sourdough)
and because I am watching my weight...low-fat mayonaise

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Sloppy Turkey

A remake of an old favorite. Here we used organic ground turkey and whole wheat buns instead of fatty ground beef and buns made with ingredients you can't pronounce. You can use your home-canned tomatoes for the tomatoes called for in this recipe.

4 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 pounds ground turkey or lean ground beef
1 (28oz) can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
6 whole wheat hamburger buns, split
1 teaspoon corn starch
1 tablespoon water

1. In a nonstick 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is tender, about 5 minutes.

2. Add red peppers and celery and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in ground turkey and cook, breaking up meat with side of spoon, until meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

3. Stir in tomatoes with their puree, molasses, vinegar, salt, and black pepper and heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce has slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

4. Mix cornstarch and water together and stir into sloppy joe mixture to thicken mixture. Place split buns on plates and top with Sloppy Joe mixture.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Mixed Grilled Vegetables

1 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil, plus more for the grates
1 large onion (red or sweet), cut into wedges with root end attached
1 yellow squash, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
1 zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
1 red bell pepper, (ribs & seeds removed), cut into 2 inch wide pieces
1 yellow pepper, (ribs & seeds removed), cut into 2 inch wide pieces
1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed off woody ends

1. Place vegetables in a large mixing bowl and drizzle with oil. Season with salt and pepper. 2. Working in batches if necessary, remove from bowl and arrange on preheated and oiled grill.
3. Cook, turning occasionally, until lightly browned and tender.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Attack of The Tomato Wilt

So this is the first year that I have evr gardened...ever. It has been a challenging one at that. It started out great with lots of new dense growth. I was amazed with what we were able to get out of a small garden. We've harvested pounds upon pounds of lettuce, an obscene amount of zucchini and so much tomatoes that I don't know what to do with.

I should have guessed that the good times wouldn't last forever. First went the lettuce...nobody told me that I had to share my lettuce with the gophers, then came the powdery mildew that finally took all of the zucchinis and now even the tomatoes are under attack. It all started with yellowing leaves that started at the base of the plant. It eventually would work its way up the plant and dies. So sad...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Moon and Star Watermellon

Finally, it's here! This Moons and Stars watermellon has been in the ground since March but really hasn't done much due to cooler temps. Within the last 4 to 6 weeks however, as the temperature picked up, it started to grow bigger and bigger until it started to invade the strawberries and zucchinis and finally a watermellon!

Oh how I babied it and made plans for how we would eat it. All was well until last Monday when noticed that there was a tunnle next to my baby. I picked up the watermellon and guess what I saw...

A giant whole left behind by the gopher. Damn you gopher! I am going to leave the mellon on the vine and hope that it will survive, although I have serious doubts. The good news...I saw a teeny tiny small mellon starting to grow today.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Citrus & Herbs Marinated Chicken Fajitas

2/3 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
1-2 fresh jalapenos, stemmed & seeded
5 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorn
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 bunch cilantro
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 large red bell pepper, sliced
1 large yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 large white conions, sliced
1 recipe Pico de Gallo (see recipe)
12 each small corn or flour tortillas

1. Combine 1/3 cup of the orange juice, the jalapenos, garlic, peppercorns, & salt. Puree until the peppercorns are completely crushed. Add cilantro and the remaining orange juice and puree until smooth.

2. In a glass bowl or plastic zip-lock bag, toss the chicken with the marinade, rubbing it on to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours.

3. Prepare grill. When the grill is hot, spray the grates with olive oil. Place chicken onto grill and cook until done. Remove from heat and let rest at room temperature for at least 5 minutes before slicing into strips.

4. While chicken is resting, heat saute pan with a little olive oil. When hot, add pepper and onion mixture. Cook on high heat until peppers and onions are crisp-tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with corn or flour tortillas, pico de gallo & guacamole.

Pico de Gallo

1/4 cup white onion, diced
1/4 cup rough chopped cilantro
3 fresh jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded & roughly chopped
2 ripe medium tomatoes, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1/2 lime

Combine all ingredients and stir to mix. Serve with Citrus & Herb marinated Chicken Fajitas or with your favorite tortilla chip.

Makes about 2 cups

Monday, July 2, 2007

What I've Learned...

So this year is my first year gardening. Sure I've potted a couple of house plants before, but this is the first time grew anything worth mentioning. So for my maiden voyage, I put in many hours of research and reading any articles I could find. So much to learn; French Intensive, interplanting, raised beds, row covers, ammending soil and so on...

So after a couple of months of research, I was armed with seeds and seedlings and ready to garden. With all the articles I've read and the experts I've listened to, there is still so much more to learn! Here's what I learned so far...

1. With only 2 people in the house, you don't really need to plant 6 zucchinis. At one point we were eating zucchini everyday. The plants were taking out due to powdery mildew a couple of weeks ago but we still have about 10 pounds left.

2. French Intensive is a great thing for small gardens like mine. So I planted 4 indeterminite
tomato plants on each of two 4x4 bed. Who knew tomatoes would grow so big! They actually broke the cage that I set up. So today, I spent 6 hours detangeling each vine and fixing the cage.

Cherry Tomatoes breaking out of their cage and running-a-muck!

3. Growing tomatoes too close together will result in weird hybrid tomatoes due to cross-pollination.

San Marzano tomato or Jalapeno?

4. Zucchinis really don't like to be watered in the evening.

Shouldn't leaves be green?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Seedling Update

A few weeks ago I started some seedlings for my Fall garden. Seeds of 4 different types of tomatoes, broccoli, 3 varieties of cauliflower, edemame, banana squash, avocado & loquat were started. Here's a peak at how they are doing...

Banana Squash




Look What I Found

My first 2 ripe tomatoes were unfortunately lost to a squirrel last week and today I found this lying next to the Stump of The World. Looks like a catapiller made himself a little home. Not to worry, this is what I found next...a fully ripe Pineapple Tomato. It's a beauty! Can't wait to eat it tonight. I also picked some more Sun Gold, zucchini, some Black Prince Tomatoes, and some peaches.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Impatiently Waiting

A few more Sun Golds are ripening but I am still holding my breath in anticipation for the first tomato to turn red.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Think Red

Choo Choo...I think I can, I think I can! My tomatoes should take a lesson from the little engine that could. These have been in the ground since February 28th and not even a sign of red yet. I have 10 varieties growing this year: Black Prince, Black Pear, San Marzano, Romeo, Pineapple, Stump of the World, Tangerine, Mortgage Lifter and two cherries (one Sun Gold and one volunteer that I received from a neighbor). We've only picked about 40 cherries so far but I am hoping that any moment now I will be seeing red. O.K. maybe I need your help. On the count of three, let's send red thoughts to my tomatoes. Ready...1...2...3...THINK RED!!! There, hopefully that did it!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Roasted Beets & Mixed Green Salad with Bleu Cheese


2 Golden Beets (Med)
2 Red Beets (Med)
2 Cups Mixed Greens
1 Tablespoon Sherry Vinegar
3 Tablespoon Olive Oil
4 Tablespoons Bleu Cheese
4 Sprigs Chervil
2 Tablespoon Toasted Pecan Pieces
Salt & Pepper to taste


1. Place beets in aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Roasted at 350 until the beets are tender. Remove from foil and cool when done.

2. Peel and cut 1 golden beet and 1 red beet into small dice and set aside. Peel and quarter the remaining 2 beets. You should have 4 pieces of red beets and 4 of golden beets. Set aside.

3. Prepare vinaigrette by placing olive oil and sherry vinegar in a jar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Shake jar vigorously to emulsify the dressing.

4. Place mixed greens in a large bowl and add vinaigrette. Toss salad to coat completely with vinaigrette.

5. Take a use tomato can and cut top and bottom off. This will be your mold to build the salad in. Place the cleaned can onto the center of a clean plate.

6. Divide the tossed salad into 4 equal parts and pack to salad into the can. Add 1/4 of the diced beets on top of each lettuce tower. Carefully remove the mold (can). Your salad will mantain its shape if you pack it firm enough.

7. Carefully place 1 piece of golden beet and 1 piece of red beet on top of each salad and top with a chunk of bleu cheese and garnish with a sprig of chervil.

8. Drizzle any remaining dressing that collected in the bowl around the salad. Sprinkle with remaining bleu cheese and toasted pecans around the salad.

Serves: 4

The Subway System

The Gopher Highway has expanded in the garden. We dug up several connecting tunnels yesterday, 4 alone in the lettuce bed and 2 each in the strawberry and zucchini. Our first sign of gopher activities in the garden was about a month ago with the usual mound of dirt. After lots of research on the internet for ways to get rid of the pest (which ran the gammet of chewing gum to traps), I was ready to give in. If it weren't for my neighbor, I would have just call it quits for the season. She suggested that we dig through the pile of dirt and find the tunnels. Once the tunnels are unearthed, fill them with horse manure which would deter the gophers from coming back (gophers don't like the scent of any other animals/human). Well that's what we did....hopefully this works. Stay tuned....

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Sowing For Fall

So today was a busy day of sowing seeds for Fall. I know what you're's not even Summer yet and she's sowing for Fall??!! Well, I'm trying to see if I can get 2 harvests this Fall. Let's see what happens...
What I sowed today:

Juane Flames
Fuerte Avocado
Haas Avocado
Pink Banana Squash
Vietnamese Perilla