Tag Archives: vegetables

container.garden.learning.curve

We had intended to get our feet wet in the container garden arena last year as we had a deck put on our condo. However, the best laid plans and all that, as well as the deck building crew taking all summer to build the damn thing, put us behind schedule to an entirely new growing season.  So here we are. Still gardening virgins. We read all the books and the blogs and thought we were ready, and then mama nature showed up and put a wrench in our plans by snowing in May of all ridiculous times. So needless to say, the seeds I started in March (Lesson 1: too early for everything but tomatoes) either didn’t make it or were barking to get outside. I have already learned a lot in our foray into the world of seed starts…Shall I share the knowledge? I hear it has power.

Lesson 2: Eggshells are great to start your heartier plants in (squash, zucchini, etc) but too tough for delicate things like herbs. I lost most of my herbs because I either lost track of watering in the shells (whoops) or their root systems were too delicate to maneuver in the small space.

Lesson 3: A grow light is great to get your starts green and growing, but after the first 2-3 inches of growth, doesn’t supply enough light to keep them growing any larger (except of course for the squash which is apparently a super plant and just wants to take over the world) – they stay the same stagnant size until presented to actual light on a windowsill or (someday, maybe) outside. Most of my tomatoes and my pepper plants just sort of stopped growing – it took forever for secondary leaves to come in, and I fear I wasn’t as ahead of the game as I would have liked.

Lesson 4: Dirt is expensive! I know this is a big investment for the moment and doesn’t need to happen each year, but the cost for (on sale!) bags of dirt was more than I had planned for. My suggestion: slowly buy bags throughout the year or when they are on sale to help offset the cost (or at least spread it out).

We definitely still have a ways to go as these little guys aren’t ready to go outside yet. Strike that, the outside world is not ready for these little guys. We’re still dipping close to freezing at night and though the days are sunny, we’re not quite there….So for now, all available windowsill real estate is spoken for and then some. I took all of the cucumbers and remaining peppers to my shop where I planted them (inside) in the containers there. I am still unsure as per whether they will stay the summer outside the retail space, or come home to hang out on the deck….the learning continues!

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meatless.monday:rustic.pizza

We try very hard to have at least one meatless day per week. We also tend to make pizzas on that meatless day as it corresponds to the only day of the week where I am home early enough to effectively rise some super kick ass dough. We each make our own concocted creation which makes for perfect pizzas each.

This week I made the following:

  • A layer of pesto and light olive oil with sauteed onions and mushrooms with chopped fresh jalapenos & cabbage  and  sweet basil
  • A little fresh mozz (which I will be finally making soon) and some grated parm and chopped green onion
  • Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper – bake @ 400* for 15 or so minutes

Viola – the best little rustically handmade pizza you can get (at home). Something like this in a swanky restaurant would run you around $20 or possibly more. At home? Maybe $3. We use cheap ingredients on hand and have lunch covered for the next day too. Perfection.

photo(12)

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simple.salsa

We have been on a ‘tiny taco’ kick at our house. Small street style tacos with anything from halibut to ground turkey to the best pulled marinated pork you’ve ever had with rough chopped cilantro, a little cabbage, a noticeable lack of cheese (I am told the cheese part of those molten burritos we’re all so used to are not what you would call authentic), other random fixins’ and of course salsa. We have been making our own salsa and it’s so stinkin’ easy it hurts. After chatting with my friend Minerva, who runs her own handcrafted food biz with deep roots in Mexican culture and tastes, we figured that people are just lazy or honestly don’t know how easy (and cheap!) it is to make salsa. She is constantly asked to jar and sell the stuff. Why? Make it yourself! And why go to the store to pay $5 for some jar of processed junk that tastes like, well, processed stuff in a jar, when you can whip up your own batch of ‘can’t get fresher than this’ salsa for pennies.

  • Chop one medium tomato – making sure to remove the seeds and guts
  • Chop half an onion and throw in a bowl with the tomatoes
  • Grab a few sprigs of fresh cilantro and chop, stems and all (cilantro is super cheap – .69c sometimes for a bunch and can be kept in the fridge covered in water for up to 3 weeks)
  • Finely chop half a fresh, gutted, jalapeño (or more – depending on your preferred level of heat) and toss into the mix
  • Squirt a little lemon juice and a little lime juice, throw a dash of salt and a dash of pepper and let your mixture sit for 5-10 minutes.
  • Stuff face with tiny tacos topped with fresh salsa that cost $1.50 – max.

fresh-tomato-salsa

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