Posts tagged ‘gardening’

More Tomato Harvest Ideas

Here is my un-recipe for home grown tomato sauce to be used for spaghetti, pizza sauce, casserole’s… anything your little heart desires!

Continue Reading September 29, 2009 at 11:46 am 1 comment

Tomato Harvest

tomato 5gal

I’m not saying it’s time yet to pull out the ear muffs and wool socks but since I picked a five gallon bucket full of tomatoes the other day it was time to get soupy and saucy and salsa-ie.  Seriously, it was crazy and being the goof that I am there are tons more to come!

Obviously I did not follow the cardinal rule of tomato planting.  What do they say?  One’s enough for me, two to share, three is out of the question!  Well, I can’t resist tomato plants.  I got them at the market, I saved them from the highschool nursery and I even let the volunteers that came up from last years crop stick around in wierd places.  I think I have eight or more plants.Tomato Pee Wee

What do you do with your tomato harvest? Feed them to the baby?

So far I’ve made tomato sauce, salsa, tomato soup and even sun dried tomatoes.

If it is still swelteringly hot in your neck of the woods you’ll have to bookmark this recipe for a rainy day!

So lug in that big bucket of tomatoes and pick the ugliest one’s you have.  This is an excellent recipe for the warped and twisted tomatoes that you can’t pawn off on the neighbors or the one’s with the cracks and blemishes that you can’t sneak past the family!

If you have fresh tomatoes coming out your ears, your eyes and your fingertips like I do this recipe is nearly FREE!  Although, in my house it might cost you a quarter.  Thing 1 is quite the wheeler and dealer.  He told his brothers they could get a white piece of paper and draw George Washington on it if they didn’t have a quarter.

tomato soup

One Ton Tomato Soup (dairy and gluten free):

p.s. can anyone come up with a better name? How boreing is that? Thanks Dianne for the new name!

You will need:

  • 1 dozen tomatoes (all sizes shapes and kinds)
  • butter or non dairy substitute
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 2 T corn starch or rice flour
  • 1 red onion (we picked one from the garden)
  • 2 cup chicken broth (reserve 1/2 cup and use if needed)
  • 1 T  balsamic vinaigrette
  • season to taste

Dice up a dozen or so.  No need to skin them but if you so desire slice an x on the opposite side of the stem and drop into very hot water for 30 sec or more, but not long enough to cotomatoesok.  The skin should peel right off.

1. Melt  1/2 stick of unsalted butter (or marg) in a large pot then add the diced tomatoes.

2. Add one chopped red onion, and 2 T brown sugar and cook over med/high approx 15 min.

3. Add most of the chicken broth and the 2 T corn starch. Simmer covered 10 min.  My tomatoes were so juicy I did not need the whole 2 Cups of broth.

4. Let cool slightly then puree the soup in a Magic Bullet or food processor.  Please to not be a dunce like me and fill the blender 3/4 full to save time.  Tomatoes stain EVERYTHING!  It’s best to fill your blender no more than half full.  Yay me, always having to learn the hard way!

5. Strain through a cloth or small slotted strainer. You can omit this step if you peel the tomatoes first.

6. Pour soup back into the pot and taste!  Simmer adding balsamic vinaigrette (if the tomatoes are too sweet – the one’s from my garden are almost like apples) salt, pepper ( I like to use the colorful peppercorn) and if you desire cayenne or red pepper flakes.

7. Serve with croutons from your last gf bread mistake and enjoy!

Variations: If you do not have allergies you can add 1/2 Cup heavy cream in the last step to make Cream of Tomato Soup but I found the soup to be creamy enough without. Also regular croutons go nicely if you are not avoiding wheat.  We forgive you! 😉

Please visit Linda’s new and improved “What Can I Eat That’s Gluten Free” and don’t forget to check out the other great recipes this week!

September 9, 2009 at 9:19 am 15 comments

Back to the Garden

We haven’t been in the garden lately.  I’ve been blessed with rain and extra hands but I’ve missed visiting on a daily, sometimes twice daily basis.

Here is what has been going on while I was away.

garden bean flour in the corn

I discovered that not all of my beans died and they have even begun to flower.

garden clem bennet heirloom sweet corn

I have two different varieties of corn that are doing well.  The one above is an heirloom sweet corn called Clem Bennet.  Below is a Blue Pop Popcorn Variety.

garden blue pop corn

I even spotted a couple ears beginning to bulge and  show silks!

garden corn silks

I love how the cucumber flowers have mini cucumbers sneaking up behind them on the stem.

garden cucumber flour

But even better than that is a cucumber ready for one of my Thinglets to pick for tonight’s salad!

garden cucumber

Eggplant flowers are amazingly pretty and I have two varieties to pick from.  I can’t wait to make Barbequey Ratatouille with my garden fresh eggplant.

garden eggplant flour

garden eggplant flour 2

This jalapeno was so well disguised beneith the dark similiarly shaped leaves I didn’t even spot it until it was near seven inches long!

garden jalapeno

 Below my re purposed crib rails protect the lettuce from the hot sun and provide a trellis for the cucumbers to climb.

garden lettuce patch

September 2, 2009 at 9:00 am 11 comments

Garden Scavenger Hunt

In my garden this week I found a few volunteers so I though it would be fun to show you and see if you can identify the impostors.

Maybe this isn’t a scavenger hunt. I don’t know what to call it but the object is to look at my garden pictures and find which thing does not belong.

One of these things is not like the other.

1. Here is my mint patch, can you find the impostor and identify it?

mint

 quiz1

2. The first picture below is a sweet pepper and the second is a volunteer in the pepper row, can you identify it?

pepper

 

quiz2

3. I have ten red onion plants with another stray plant in that row too, can you tell what the second picture is?

onion

quiz3

4.  In this picture you might see leaves of another plant happily growing in the shade of my cucumber.

cucumber

5. Here in the cilantro is a happy imposter that I promptly pulled out after taking this picture.

cilantro

6. Below is the corn field and a plant that I purposely put between rows to save room, can you identify it? 

7.You may see yet another inter-cropper in this picture.

corn

8. Here is one more plant I intercropped at the other end of the corn field can you name it?

corn2

Happy hunting!  I will mail seeds to anyone who can correctly identify all of these plants by Monday 7/13/09.  If you get all eight correct I will email you to get your address.  Have fun 🙂

July 10, 2009 at 2:09 pm 5 comments

Saturday’s Surprise: Rasberries!

I wasn’t going to post today but I had a little surprise in the garden and I couldn’t wait to share it with you!

rasberries

RASPBERRIES!

They are green still but I’m so thrilled because these were transplanted from my mothers raspberry patch this (yes I said THIS) spring!  Can you believe they are producing?

PeeWee spotted one and…swoop

We did several different transplants and the ones that were planted with long wooden stems (that looked spent) produced leaves first and now raspberries in their very first season at our place! Yipee!

I did remember in my “mom brain” archives learning that rasberries fruit on old wood.  Now I have the proof or a miracle but either way…thanks Mom!

Oops, she got one!catch

 

July 4, 2009 at 7:47 pm 5 comments

Speaking of Honey Do’s

It is time to add on to my potato bed and I realized that the lincoln log system wasn’t going to work because the material I had laying around is old cedar fence posts.  When you try to notch the end it splits and falls apart.

Soooo….potato bed

Here is my new and improved potato bed system!  This would work well for any raised bed but with my potatoes I will continue to add rails until they are ripe for harvest and then take them down collecting loads of potatoes (I hope) along the way! 😉

Don’t you love the weeds?  Actually I have a volunteer sunflower (top, far left) and tons of marigolds (to help deter the deer) about to bud.

We found 4 long pieces of 2″ x 2″ cedar (one is pine so it will rot in a couple years and have to be replaced) and a bunch of old cedar fence boards.  Any 1″ wide (or less) material will work best but if you don’t use cedar you will need to paint or seal it and replace in a year or two.  Cedar should last longer and withstand the moisture.  I’ve used Hardy board (cement fiber siding) but it is hard to cut and work with.  Our fence boards are about 6″ wide.corner

Place the 2×2 corner inside of the slats and insert two screws through both boards on each side.  You may prefer to predrill the holes. 

I have burried most of the plant with a mixture of straw and dirt and will put up a new rail so that I can add even more dirt.  Each time the plants get about 6in more dirt and when necessary, more rails.

dirt

straw

rails

dirt

straw

rails

HARVEST!

June 26, 2009 at 2:53 pm 5 comments

In the garden now.

I made a big boo boo the other day.  I spent a good part of my day in the garden and though I don’t usually let the Bubba in with me he was especially curious as to what I was up to.  The boys all wanted a tour so I let them follow me around while I took a bunch of pictures of my new plants and since I can’t harvest yet it was a nice distraction.  We have some new things in the garden this year that I’ve never grown.  I had no idea what the red onions would look like…

onions

Thing 1 took one of the “leaf thingies” chopped it up and harvested it away in a small bowl with tin foil.  It is in the frig waiting to go into a stir fry or some soup.  The tops are very strong and Thing 2 spit it out saying “SPICY!”

Of course, the Bubba couldn’t wait to get in to the action so he snagged a couple leaves, half chewed them up and then spat onto the ground saying “Ack, ick!” just like he had seen Thing 2 do.

I had no idea how quickly I would be adding on to my potato “cage”…potato flour

Ack, we can’t have flowers!  I’ve actually got to re-build my frame because the original one is not working.  Hurry hurry, I’ve got to get those buds burried!  That’s a job the Thingles can do, they love to play in the dirt.

I am hopeful that the new varieties of corn that I purchased specifically for their short growing season will yield some sort of crop this year.  I have a 4×6 area of three different varieties! 

I’m a girl, I couldn’t make up my mind!!corn

I love the red stalks on this heirloom black mexican.

My cucumbers have a long way to climb up this repurposed crib rail and will hopefully provide shade so I can have a longer season of harvesting lettuce.cucumber

My peas also have a long long way to go.  The boys can’t wait to play in their tepee fort! peas

The boo boo was when I came to the herbs and showed the boys how to chew on a sprig of mint.  Now I’m having to follow the Bubba around everywhere, “NO not THAT leaf,” then in two seconds more when he has a handfull of weeds “NOT THAT EITHER!”  What a dumb idea mom!  I’ve now spent the better part of the last few days teaching him that not all plants are safe to eat!  

“You have to ASK first!”  I scold.  Its scarry, I was dumb! I’ve put the big boys on “plant patrol” and poor Bubba can’t quite get it he leans down to every green thing napweed, sunflower or otherwise then obediently looks over at me and asks “Please!?” just like I told him to do.

I think the tomato buds are pretty in a strange sort of way.  The big boys couldn’t resist touching the tiny green tomatoes on the sweet 100, they are now with the bowl of onion “leaf thingies”.tomato flowers

Despite the toddler sized setbacks I am quite please with our garden and Thing 1 claims to know all the plants by name!  I couldn’t be prouder… cillantro

…well maybe just a little, I AM quite proud of this tiny plant since until this year I’ve never had luck growing cilantro!

June 22, 2009 at 7:49 pm 17 comments

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Us and Our Thinglets

MATT - Food Creativity Consultant, Joyful Partner in Crime JESSIE - Photographer, Amateur Food Critic, Blog Author CAPTAIN OBVIOUS - formerly Thing 1 Thing 1 SCARFUNKLE - formerly Thing 2 IMG_3466 LOUD KIDDINGTON - formerly THE BUBBA 3 PEE WEE MINI ME BORN March 8, 2011

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Sourdough Update

Many of you have been checking back for results on my sourdough creation. At the moment it is still a science experiment, but a happy, bubbly experiment. Never fear, recipes will be here! I did make a beautiful, moist and delicious loaf of sourdough using yeast and a myriad of other ingredients but I'm still trying to create something more user friendly. Wouldn't it be awesome to have a starter on the counter that you could add 4 things to and have a loaf of bread by dinner? Mmmm! Attempt #1 - rose well but resulted in a dense chewy blob Attempt #2 - rose ok but was thin and lifeless then fell and another dense (not so chewy) blob Attempt #3 - to the dogs! Attempt #4 - A sourdough pancake success see post under what's for breakfast gluten-free goof? Ongoing - I've tried several more times and am going to try a completely different approach on the bread starting this week. (Mar 18). My sourdough is still happy on my counter and it makes great pancakes but it's a lot of work just for pancakes. Keep checking! April Update: She is still kickin and I'm still workin on a yeast free, gluten free sourdough loaf! May Update: My sourdough "pet" has been dried and retired until next baking season. I've traded her in for a hotter model, the BBQ! :)
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