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?