For some reason, I think that if I write it down here, publicly, that things will actually get done. (^_^)
– experiment with breakfast pilaf and take photos
– bake bread because I ran out
– plant some microgreens
– get the City Pickers box prepped
– plant okra in said box
– make duck ham
– buy milk and salad greens
It’s that time of year when I start fretting over my container garden. So far, I don’t have much planted. I have two pots of rosemary, one pot of sage, one pot of mint, one pot of thyme, and one pot of tarragon – all plants from last year. My shiso plant from last year seeded unexpected well on its own. So, I’ve got baby shiso in a pot… and in a couple of other pots too. Not to mention, I found some growing on around the porch. haha! I pulled the ninja seedlings, but I’ve left alone all the ones in the pots. They are growing very slowly. Hopefully, I’ll have more luck with these than the ones I was trying to grow from seed last year. Last week, I bought some parsley, basil, and two cherry tomato plants. Today, I put some seeds down for cultivated purslane, zucchini, and salad greens in dirt.
Going back to the basil plants, I thought the taller growth needed some pinching back already. And then with my small handful of herbs, I decided that it was time to make lunch.
What follows isn’t a caprese salad. There’s no mozzarella cheese, no olive oil. This isn’t a pesto salad either. It was heavier on the pine nut flavor, and I skipped the Parmesan cheese and the garlic completely. And, to reiterate, it had no olive oil.
I chopped up some toasted pine nuts with my bits of basil (smelled so lovely), and then I had the gall to mush it with 1/2 of an avocado (and a tiny pinch of kosher salt).
To this, I mixed in some halved cherry tomatoes and some cooked multi-grain pasta. It was good and it was just enough for one person. I wish I had some baked chicken or grilled steak to go along with it. Oh well, maybe next time. It’s ok. I followed my pasta course with strawberries and yogurt. A happy tummy is of the utmost importance! (^_^)b
Early in the summer, I had experimented with a batch of garlic scape pesto only to find myself terribly disappointed.
Today’s pasta sauce was the antithesis of that.
I was home from work by 6pm, and I’m away from the office for the rest of the week. I went to visit the plants in the garden before heading inside, and saw that some of the eggplant my mother planted was ready to be picked. I had three pretty eggplants in my greedy hands, and didn’t know what to do with them. I knew I wanted to roast them in some manner, but not much more than that.
Then, I remembered seeing an eggplant puree recipe in one of my library books. On page 130 of Giada’s Kitchen by Giada De Laurentiis was a recipe for “penne with eggplant puree.” I used the method but didn’t follow the ingredients exactly, and still I was very pleased with the end results.
Roasted Eggplant Puree for Pasta
inspired by Giada De Laurentiis
3 small eggplants, unpeeled, cut into one inch pieces
a large handful of sweet grape tomatoes (from the market… I wish I hadn’t eaten all my tomatoes. I pop ’em like candy if they’re sweet)
2 small onions, quartered (from my CSA)
1 small bell pepper, cut into medium slices (I had a purple one from the CSA)
garlic powder (I’m out of fresh garlic cloves)
red pepper flakes
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup basil leaves, torn
Heat your oven to 400F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a separate baking dish or sheet, spread out the pine nuts and set aside.
As for last week’s CSA, I steamed my baby turnips and kohlrabi. I peeled the skin off the kohlrabi but I should have peeled a little deeper. It was quite fibrous and hard to chew. Flavor-wise, the two veggies are very similar: very clean tasting and a sweet. I preferred the turnips over the kohlrabi. The turnips were very delicate in texture, while the kohlrabi probably could have steamed a minute or two longer. In addition to being more fibrous, the flavor of kohlrabi seemed duller to me.
First of all, no comments on my bad transplanting technique, if you please. It’s the result of growing seeds in re-purposed take-out containers. I realized much later that separating the babies was going to be impossible. So, I plopped them down as is. Next year, I will definitely invest in some biodegradeable pots for seedlings. Plus, I think it’ll be good for experimenting with succession planting.
Anyway, let’s get down to the garden update!
These little things are zucchini! I’m so happy. I had two packets of zucchini seeds, one I bought last year of a faster growing variety and one that my mom’s friend gave me. I planted the ones I was given just to see if they would grow – the packet was from 2008-2009. I figured that my worst case scenario was being left with dead seeds and then planting the faster growing variety later. I put down four seeds and two came up. I suspect that I’ll snip down the one on the right next week. Zucchini needs a lot of space to grow, but I am waiting to see which of the seedlings ends up being the stronger plant. (err, yes there is a small hole in the dirt behind the right seedling. I moved my plant nanny further out before any roots could start growing around it, and did not refill the hole before taking the picture.)
The little plant in the background toward the left is a random seedling of bak choy. I didn’t know where else to put it. I figure that it’ll grow up before zucchini does, so I stuck it in the same pot. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how fast they both grow.
Borage – I hear it tastes a bit like cucumber and that it’s good in companion planting. I’ve never had it before so this is in my garden mostly for curiosity.
I’m stupidly excited. Seeds were planted on Sunday. The first signs of life showed up yesterday in the re-purposed strawberry container that is holding purslane. The purslane seeds I bought are a different variety than what grows wildly here – Goldberg Golden Purslane (Portulaca oleracea sativa). According to Johnny’s Selected Seeds website, it is:
“Crisp and mild. Much larger than the wild form. Pick as needed to within 2” of the base; new stems and leaves regrow. Known as “verdolaga” in Latin America. Sensitive to frost. After spring frost danger, sow about 1/2″ apart in the row, cover 1/4″. Thin to 4-6″ apart. Can also be transplanted. Avg. 65,000 seeds/oz. MINI: 0.15 gm., avg. 350 seeds, sows 15′. Mini: 350 seeds.” It is heat tolerant and good for salad mixes.
Purslane has more omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy veggie, which is why I decided to grow it. The stems, leaves and flower buds are all edible. I’ve only ever tasted the leaves, but I liked it.
As of tonight, I decided that the baby purslane was cute enough to photograph. I noticed that some of the other seeds have germinated today – my micro salad mix, mizuna, and bak choy. Shiso has yet to show signs of life. But they all kind of look the same right now, all a very pale green. Meanwhile, baby purslane is orange/red. ^_^
Well, technically it’s not.
Yesterday, I finally got around to planting some seeds. I’m starting with:
a mirco green mix
Yes, I’m a little late to start. I’ve either been busy and away from the house or it’s been raining. Better a little late than a lot late, or even worse never.
Perhaps next weekend, I think I’ll start the seeds for zucchini. Then in June, I’ll start the seeds for kale.
Trying to grow an edible garden is completely foreign to me. Gardening in general just isn’t my thing but having fresh produce is extremely appealing.
I’m going for a container garden right now, in case anyone was wondering. If I don’t completely fail at it, I might step up for a raised bed next year.
Photos to come when I start to see something growing!
P.S. I found another nice link with a table of “what’s in season”. I think this one is a little easier to read.
Growing up, my mother had a vegetable garden every year. I don’t even remember what was in it beside scallions, Chinese chives, and Chinese fuzzy melon. I remember a rather pathetic, tiny patch of strawberries – an experiment that never worked out but even though neglected never died out. I think the fuzzy melon was my favorite. My mother had repurposed the swing set that my siblings had in their childhood into a weird trellis for the melon patch.
When I was in high school though, my mother was no longer a stay-at-home mom. Money was tight and the vegetable garden was barely touched. (We had a flower garden too, but it had a lot of perennials so it didn’t need much care to still look good.)
I never liked being in the garden. Quite honestly, I don’t like being in direct sun in general. However, being a food nerd is making me realize that I need to try my hand at gardening. Constantly buying herbs is quite expensive and, despite living in a fairly diverse area, some ingredients are hard to come by. Starting this year, I am going to make every effort to have an edible garden. I’ve got my seeds and I’m starting the planning stages. Since I live in New England, I will probably start everything indoors first. I hope to take photos and write little updates on my progress. I will be out of my element, so this is a bit of a crazy experiment on my part. ^_~
Things to be grown?
:: shiso (aka perilla)
:: tuscan kale