September 30, 2008

Yellow Tomatoes

Harvest: 11 yellow pear tomatoes and 1 lemon boy tomato.

September 29, 2008

September 28, 2008

Tomatoes and Greens

Harvest: 10 yellow pear tomatoes, 1 lemon boy tomato, 1 baby oxheart carrot, 1 scarlet globe radish, and 3oz mix of mibuna asian mustard greens, deer tongue lettuce, tom thumb lettuce, and arugula.

Curried Squash Soup

mmmmm winter squash soup on a cold day....

Curried Squash Soup
Vegetarian Times Issue: September 1, 2000

6 Servings

5 cups vegetable broth
1 Tbs. olive oil
6 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups diced celery
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced carrot
2 Tbs. curry powder
1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. plus pinch of salt
5 cups peeled, thinly sliced butternut squash (2-inch pieces)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp. cider vinegar

  1. In small saucepan, bring 3 cups broth to a boil over high heat.

  2. Meanwhile, in large, heavy saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic, celery, onion, carrot, curry powder, ginger and pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes. Increase heat to high and stir in boiling broth, squash and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook 10 minutes.

  3. Uncover saucepan and stir well with wooden spoon until squash breaks down easily. Stir in maple syrup and vinegar. Remove from heat.

  4. Transfer mixture to blender or food processor in batches and carefully blend until smooth. Return to saucepan and warm through, adding as much remaining 2 cups broth as needed. Serve hot.

Nutritional Information
Per SERVING: Calories 222, Protein 5g, Total fat 3g, Carbs 34g, Cholesterol mg, Sodium 374mg, Fiber 7g, Sugars 0g

September 27, 2008

Cheese-Stuffed Love Apples

cheese and tomatoes, yum!

Cheese-Stuffed Love Apples
Vegetarian Times Issue: February 1, 2005

2 Servings

1/2 cup nonfat or low-fat cottage cheese
1/4 lb. soft, fresh goat cheese
2 Tbs. plain nonfat yogurt
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs (such as parsley, tarragon, dill, and chives), or to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
10 cherry tomatoes
10 small dill sprigs for garnish
  1. Put cottage cheese and goat cheese in food processor fitted with steel blade, and purée until smooth. Add yogurt, and process 1 to 2 minutes more, or until very smooth. Scrape into bowl, and stir in herbs, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Cut off thin slice from top of each cherry tomato. Using small spoon, scoop out seeds and flesh from centers. Lightly salt insides of tomatoes, and invert on rack set in sink. Drain 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Spoon herbed cheese into each tomato, garnish with dill sprig and serve, or refrigerate until serving time.

Nutritional Information
Per SERVING: Calories 220, Protein 19g, Total fat 12g, Carbs 9g, Cholesterol 30mg, Sodium 450mg, Fiber 1g, Sugars 6g

September 26, 2008

Stuffed Peppers

Yesterday I made the first recipe using green bell peppers with some of the spicies from the second recipe....

Barley-Stuffed Red Peppers
Vegetarian Times Issue: January 1, 2003

3 Servings

1 cup uncooked quick-cooking barley
3 cups vegetable or mushroom broth
3 large red bell peppers
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and diced
1 Tbs. minced garlic
6 oz. presliced portobello mushrooms, cubed
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Hot pepper sauce to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parsley sprigs for garnish
  1. Combine barley and 2 cups vegetable broth in saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, slice tops off red peppers, and remove seeds and inner membranes. Reserve tops for later use. Place peppers on steaming rack over boiling water, and cover saucepan. Steam peppers for about 15 minutes, or until tender but not soft. Remove from heat, and set aside until cool enough to handle.
  3. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat until hot. Sauté onion and garlic until onion becomes translucent, about 5 minutes. Add barley and any remaining cooking liquid, and stir until grains are coated with oil. Add mushrooms and remaining 1 cup vegetable broth, and sauté mixture for about 5 minutes, or until mushrooms soften and liquid absorbed. Stir in feta, lemon juice, parsley, hot pepper sauce, and salt and pepper to taste, and cook about 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.
  4. Stand peppers upright, and spoon barley mixture into them. Fill each pepper, and serve with tops over the filling or propped alongside. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Nutritional Information:
Per SERVING: Calories 460, Protein 14g, Total fat 19g, Carbs 62g, Cholesterol 35mg, Sodium 900mg, Fiber 13g, Sugars 13g

South Indian Stuffed Peppers
Vegetarian Times Issue: April 1, 2007

4 Servings

4 large red bell peppers
1 Tbs. garlic oil
1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 tsp. whole yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 cups shredded green cabbage
1 small sweet potato, peeled and finely diced (about 8 oz.)
1 cup cooked chickpeas
3 Tbs. raisins
1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 Tbs.)
1/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 Tbs. chopped roasted cashews
3/4 cup plain soy yogurt
2 1/2 Tbs. prepared mango chutney
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Slice tops from peppers. Remove seeds, and set peppers and caps aside.
  3. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onion, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, coriander, salt and cayenne pepper 6 minutes, or until onion begins to brown. Stir in cabbage, potato, chickpeas, raisins, ginger and garlic, and sauté 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in broth, and reduce heat to low. Cover, and cook vegetables 10 minutes, or until soft, stirring occasionally. Fold in cilantro and cashews.
  5. Spoon filling into peppers and place caps on top. Place peppers in 9x7-inch baking dish. Pour 1 inch water into dish. Cover with foil, and bake 50 minutes, or until peppers are tender.
  6. Place yogurt in small bowl and stir in chutney. Arrange peppers on individual plates, and serve with yogurt sauce.

Nutritional Information
Per SERVING: Calories: 297, Protein: 9g, Total fat: 8.5g, Carbs: 51g, Cholesterol: mg, Sodium: 402mg, Fiber: 10g, Sugars: 22g

September 25, 2008

McDonald's Hot Mustard

a friend's favorite...

McDonald's Hot Mustard

1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons French's prepared mustard
2 Tablespoons Heinz 57 sauce
1/4 Cup Mayonaise
1/4 Cup Sour cream

Mix all, cover and refrigerate to use within 30 days.

September 24, 2008

misshapen tomato

Harvested a strange looking misshapen lemon boy tomato today.

No idea what caused the deformity.

Harvest: 1 lemon boy tomato, 2 red grape tomatoes, 7 yellow year tomatoes, 1 green big bertha sweet pepper, 2 green early sensations sweet peppers, and 2 green valencia sweet peppers.

September 23, 2008

Crab Rangoon (Cream Cheese Wontons)

fake Chinese food, but still tasty.

Crab Rangoon

1 package Nasoya Won Ton Wraps
16oz homemade ricotta cheese + 3 tablespoons olive oil or flax seed oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tablespoon wasabi paste (optional)
freshly ground pepper to taste
pinch of freshly ground sea salt
1 egg, beaten
8oz crabmeat or imitation crabmeat, shredded (may be substituted with shredded pre-cooked shrimp)
  1. Combine all ingredients, except Nasoya Won Ton Wraps. Mix and refrigerate for several hours.
  2. Take one wrapper and  place 1/2 teaspoon mixture in the middle of the wrap, gather edges and moisten with water and pinch to seal.
  3. Pan fry in 1/4" oil on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add 1/8 cup water and cover pan for 4 minutes to steam. Uncover and fry for 1 minute then flip over and fry other side for 3 minutes.
  4. Serve while warm. May be served with sweet & sour sauce and/or Chinese mustard sauce and/or hot sauce if desired.

September 22, 2008

Today's Harvest

Harvest: 14 yellow pear tomatoes and 4 red grape tomatoes.

September 21, 2008

Last melon of the season

All the melon vines have died.

Harvest: 1 superstar muskmelon, 1oz red russian kale, and 3oz mix of arugula, deer tongue lettuce, tom thumb lettuce, and mibuna asian mustard greens.

September 20, 2008

Exotic Edible Berries

I'd like to plant some berry bushes next year...maybe I'll go with one of these instead of the usual blueberry (which grows well in Maryland).

Goji Berry (Lycium barbarum)
Every few years a plant rocks the edible plant world, and for the last few years it's been the goji berry. Goji berries are the latest health craze to sweep the nation. The easy-to-grow plants produce orange berries loaded with protein, vitamin C, iron, and beta-carotene. Plus, they taste good.

This deciduous, 10-to-12-foot-tall, rangy shrub is native to Tibet and the Himalayan mountains and bears raisin-sized berries from summer until fall. The berries are reported to contain 13 percent protein and are loaded with antioxidants. They also contain more iron than spinach, more vitamin C than oranges, and more beta-carotene than carrots. Goji berries are used in Tibet to treat a variety of ailments and to increase longevity.

Goji berries are hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9 and readily adapt to most soils. In spring, the attractive white and purple flowers form. By late summer, fresh, juicy, and sweet orange-red goji berries begin to ripen. Since the plant forms such as rangy shrub, goji berries don't fit well in a formal garden and are best grown on their own as a hedge or a mass planting.

Honeyberry (Lonicera caerulea)
This honeysuckle relative produces sweet, 1- to 2-inch-long, blueberry-like fruits that can be eaten fresh or made into pies and sauces. The shrub grows 4 to 5 feet tall and wide, is generally disease- and insect-free, and is extremely cold hardy (USDA zones 3 to 8). Honeyberry grows best in moist, shady soils, making it a good choice in difficult landscapes. Plant at least two different varieties for good cross-pollination. Since the plants bloom and fruit early in the season (sometimes before strawberries), gardeners in cold areas should protect the shrubs from late spring frosts.

Jostaberry (Ribes nidigrolaria)
This shrub is a cross between black currant and gooseberry. Jostaberry looks like a gooseberry, but the plant has no thorns and the fruit is sweeter. It has the vigorous growth and disease resistance of a black currant, and the 1/2-inch-diameter black fruits are loaded with vitamin C. A mature, 6-foot-tall and wide deciduous shrub can produce up to 12 pounds of fruit. The berries have a flavor similar to grape, kiwi, and blueberry. Plants are hardy in USDA zones 3 to 8, and are widely adapted. The beautiful bushes make excellent foundation plants.

Lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea)
This small, evergreen shrub grows to a height of about 1 foot, making it a good ground cover. The bright red berries of this blueberry relative are popular in Scandinavia for making jams and juice. The plants flower twice a year and produce berries in mid summer and fall. They are self-fertile. Like blueberries, they grow best in an acidic soil and full sun. In hot areas they require dappled afternoon light. They can slowly spread by their roots and need an evenly moist soil. Plant them in the front of a low border or in a rock garden. Planting in groups produces the most attractive ornamental effect.

Seaberry (Hippophae rhamnoides)
This Russian native is a great conservation plant. It fixes nitrogen and grows on a wide variety of poor soils. It's hardy to USDA zones 3 to 7 and produces berries that birds and humans can enjoy. Seaberry fruits have seven times the vitamin C as lemons and have been used as an orange juice substitute in many countries. In Europe you'll find seaberry juice in grocery stores.
The rangy, deciduous shrub grows 6 to 18 feet tall at maturity. Some varieties, such as 'Amber Dawn', stay relatively small. There are male and female shrubs, so select least one of each. The plant is salt-and drought-tolerant and prefers full sun. The attractive, narrow, gray-green leaves make this shrub excellent for hedges. In fall, clusters of currant-sized, orange berries appear; the berries persist through winter, attracting wildlife. Mature plants can produce 50 pounds fruit.

Harvest: 1 bambino hybrid eggplant.

September 19, 2008

Asian vegetables & fruits

I was thinking of buying some seeds for more Asian vegetables & fruits (in addition to Chinese kale).

Got to do some research before I decide on anything:

Any advice? Any other Asian vegetables and fruits I should consider growing?

Harvest: 7 red grape tomatoes and 25 yellow pear tomatoes.

September 18, 2008

Salad Spinner

Nothing harvested today.

Though I did purchase a large salad spinner (10.5" in diameter) -- should come in handy with all the greens.

September 17, 2008

Fresh Salad

One of my favorite things about having a garden is being able to make a fresh salad at any time.

Harvest: 2 red grape tomatoes, 1 scarlet globe radish, and 3oz mix of arugula, deer tongue lettuce, and tom thumb lettuce.

Ricotta Cheese

how can you beat homemade cheese?

Ricotta Cheese / Cottage Cheese / Paneer

Makes 1 lb (16 oz)

1/2 gallon whole milk (or half and half) *
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3-4 lemons) **

  1. In a heavy-bottomed pot, slowly bring the milk and the lemon juice to 200 degrees F. Remove from heat and cover. Place in a spot where the temperature will remain uniform (we suggest an unheated oven).

  2. After 1 hour, strain the curds and whey through cheesecloth.

  3. If making cottage cheese, add a touch of cream to the curds and enjoy!

  4. If making ricotta cheese, tie the corners of the cloth to form a bag and hang it to drain overnight.

  5. If making paneer, shape the paneer still in the cheese cloth, into a block, wrapping it tightly with the cloth. Put a heavy pot on top of a cutting board on top of the paneer to force out more moisture, resulting in a firmer block, suitable for slicing and frying. The longer you press the cheese, the firmer it gets. Not all Indian dishes requires cheese to be made into solid blocks.

* may use 1 quart milk and 1 quart buttermilk

** may be substituted with lime juice, vinegar, or other acidic liquids

September 15, 2008

Growing potatoes in straw

Have you heard of growing potatoes in straw?

Supposedly, it's a method used in Northern Europe -- you grow potatoes above ground in straw or other mulching material mixed with a bit of rich soil or manure.

This what I've been told:
Place the seed potatoes—always make sure that you use certified seed potatoes—directly on the ground and cover them with a 50/50 blend of straw with old manure 12'' deep, then soak with water. The tubers will form in this mixture and flourish. As the potatoes grow, keep adding, a little at a time, the straw with old manure mix mounded up around the base of the plants. Keep the mix watered regularly. Mounding up is important, since if the tubers are exposed to sunlight, they will turn green, making them toxic.

When potatoes are planted in straw, there are very few weeds. The few that appear are easily removable. The straw holds the moisture, so less water is needed. The beauty of growing potatoes under a straw mat is that the guesswork is taken out of the growing, and harvesting becomes considerably easier.

The corner of the straw can be lifted carefully and one can see how the potatoes are developing. New potatoes can be harvested easily even before the potato vines mature completely. When the potatoes are ready to harvest, one can simply pull back the straw and remove by hand as many potatoes as needed, then replace the straw properly in order to keep the light off any remaining potatoes. You may harvest this way a number of times. The plant will produce more and more potatoes until the vine dies.

I haven't grown potatoes yet but hope to next season. This method sounds easier and cleaner than traditional growing methods (planting them in the ground and digging them out). And while I've got a bit of land here in Maryland (just a quarter-acre), it also sounds like a good way for folks who lack space (like people who live in cities) to grow potatoes.

Chinese Broccoli

I finally figured out the english name of Chinese broccoli (芥蘭, pinyin: jiè lán) -- it's Chinese kale or flowering kale!

I think I'll buy some seeds of the Great Lance variety from Johnny's Selected Seeds:
Glossy leaves and crisp, thick stems.
This uniform, budding-type Chinese kale (also called gai lohn and pak kah nah) is great in stir-fries or cooked like broccoli. Harvest the stalks when 8" tall and 2-3 flower buds are open. After the main stem is cut, the plant will send up many branches for subsequent harvests. More vigorous and adaptable than nonhybrid varieties. Avg. 4,750 seeds/oz. Mini: 220 seeds.

Days to Maturity or Bloom: 45

Harvest: 2 red grape tomatoes, 7 yellow pear tomatoes.

September 14, 2008

Caramelized Tomato Tarte Tatin

perfect for all my yellow pear and red grape tomatoes!

Caramelized Tomato Tarte Tatin
New York Times: September 17, 2008

4 to 6 servings

1 14-ounce package all-butter puff pastry
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 red onions, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup plus a pinch of sugar
1/2 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1/4 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
1 1/2 pints (about 1 pound) cherry or grape tomatoes; a mix of colors is nice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Unfold puff pastry sheet and cut into a 10-inch round; chill, covered, until ready to use.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and a pinch of sugar and cook, stirring, until onions are golden and caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons water and let cook off, scraping brown bits from bottom of pan. Transfer onions to a bowl.
  3. In a clean, ovenproof 9-inch skillet, combine 1/4 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons water. Cook over medium heat, swirling pan gently (do not stir) until sugar melts and turns amber, 5 to 10 minutes. Add vinegar and swirl gently.
  4. Sprinkle olives over caramel. Scatter tomatoes over olives, then sprinkle onions on. Season with thyme leaves, salt and pepper. Top with puff pastry round, tucking edges into pan. Cut several long vents in top of pastry.
  5. Bake tart until crust is puffed and golden, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, then run a knife around pastry to loosen it from pan, and flip tart out onto a serving platter. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

Kale & Winter Squash

The winter squash plants (Burgess Buttercup, Uchiki Kuri, and Delicata) are growing rapidly. They started to choke out the onions. I had to trim each of the plants back this morning.

As for the kale, I finally trimmed back the leaves that pretty much had no greens left (bugs), leaving several plants with just one or two leaves.

On the plants that had many healthy leaves, I harvested several.

Also planted more bok choy.

Harvest: 1oz red russian kale.

September 13, 2008

Long Bean

A friend just recommended that I try growing long beans.

This is what I've been able to figure out about them:

Vines are rampant growers (growing to 3' tall) and produce an enormous crop of long, slender, round pods the thickness of a pencil requiring full-sun and well-draining soil. Delicious young green beans are tender when picked at 12-15 inches long, and of fine flavor and quality as snap beans. Long Beans mature in 70 days.

Maybe next summer...

Harvest: 10 yellow pear tomatoes, 3 red grape tomatoes, 2 bambino hybrid eggplant, 2 scarlet globe radishes, 6 heads of baby prize choy bok choy, 1 cucumber, 1 superstar muskmelon (cantelope), and 1oz mibuna asian mustard greens.

September 11, 2008

Lots o' Greens

Lots of greens today.

Fresh salad for lunch - yum!

Harvest: 20 yellow pear tomatoes, 6 red grape tomatoes, 1 bambino hybrid eggplant, 2 scarlet globe radishes, and 10oz of a mix of arugula, deer tongue lettuce, tom thumb lettuce, and mibuna asian mustard greens.

September 10, 2008


This weekend is time to plant spinach in Maryland.

Should complement my arugula, deer tongue lettuce, and tom thumb lettuce nicely.

Of the greens so far, I think my favorite is the deer tongue lettuce.

Harvest: 1 lemon boy tomato.

Corn? Maybe?

We've got a couple of ears of corn on our corn plants. But I doubt they'll make it. They don't look so hot.

Next year I'll have to try the Three-Sisters method for planting corn along with beans and squash.

The Three Sisters were the principal crops of the Iroquois and other Native American groups in the northeastern United States. At the time Europeans arrived here about 1600, the Iroquois had been planting these three crops together for about 300 years.

Here's what I've been told:

  1. Plan and select a site. You'll want to plant your three sisters garden in late spring once the danger of frost has passed. Choose a site that has direct sunshine for most of the day and access to water. Plan your three sisters garden on paper. Use the layout suggested below or research and try others.

  2. Prepare the soil. First, break up and rake the soil. Next, build a mound about 12 inches high and between 18 inches and 3 feet in diameter. If you're in a dry area, flatten the top of the mound and make a shallow depression to keep water from running off. The number of mounds depends on the size of your growing area. Mounds should be 3 to 4 feet apart in all directions.

  3. Plant corn. Soak four corn seeds overnight and then plant them about 6 inches apart in the center of each mound. Many Native people honor the tradition of giving thanks to the "Four Directions" by orienting the corn seeds to the north, south, east, and west.

  4. Plant beans and squash. After a week or two, when the corn is at least 4 inches high, soak and then plant three or four pole bean seeds in a circle about 6 inches away from the corn. At about the same time, plant one or two squash or pumpkin seeds next to the mound, about a foot away from the beans.

  5. Consider other additions. Consider planting other traditional crops, such as sunflowers or jerusalem artichokes (a tuberous perennial sunflower), around at the edge of the three sisters garden. Put them on the north side so they won't shade your other plants. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and other native crops are often planted in nearby plots. (Some of the many other indigenous plants used by native North, South, and Central Americans include melon, tobacco, chili pepper, cotton, blueberry, wild rice, and hazelnuts.)

September 09, 2008

Pot de crème

I love chocolate and I like to make my own yogurt from whole milk, so this recipe is perfect for me.

Pot de crème
Stonyfield Farm

6 Servings

1 cup Stonyfield Farm whole milk
2oz. milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
2oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
5 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup Stonyfield Farm whole milk plain yogurt
Whipped cream, for garnish (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F with a rack in the lower third. Place six 4oz. ramekins in a medium roasting pan; set aside.

  2. In a medium saucepan add milk, milk chocolate and bittersweet chocolate over medium heat. Bring almost to a simmer; remove from the heat. Set aside, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted.

  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and salt. While whisking, add a little of the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture to combine. Add the remaining milk mixture, and whisk to combine. Whisk in vanilla. Fold in yogurt. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large liquid measure.

  4. Pour approximately 1/2 cup of the mixture into each ramekin. Transfer the roasting pan to the oven. Fill pan with enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the custards are just set in the center, about 35 minutes.

  5. Remove the roasting pan from oven. Remove the ramekins from the water, and place on a wire rack to cool. When completely cooled, cover, and transfer to refrigerator. Chill for at least 4 hours and up to overnight. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.

Nutritional Information
Per SERVING: Calories 230; Calories from Fat 120; Total Fat 14g; Sat Fat 7g; Trans Fat 0g; Cholesterol 185mg; Sodium 160mg; Total Carbohydrates 23g; Fiber 1g; Sugars 21; Protein 6g

Peaceful Day

Tropical Storm Hanna is long gone and today another storm took her place. Constant rain but thankfully little wind.

The winter squash plants keep getting larger and larger. One already has a blossom!

The insects seem to have left and my arugula and radishes appear to have recovered nicely.

If the latest science is correct, then the effort those plants had to spend warding off the bugs means they will be more nutritious!

Nothing to harvest today.

September 08, 2008

Paolo's Famous Tapenade

Fantastic dip!

Paolo's Famous Tapenade

1 large Eggplant
1 16 oz. can Chick Peas (Garbanzo Beans) in water, drained
1 24 oz. jar Green Olives with Pimento, drained
1 Red Pepper, roasted, peeled and seeded  (1/2 cup canned roasted red pepper strips
is a good substitute)
1/4 bunch Parsley, roughly chopped
2 each Garlic Cloves, peeled
1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Split eggplant in half, season with olive oil, salt & pepper and roast in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.  When completely cool, remove pulp and discard the skin.

Take remaining ingredients, except the olive oil and black pepper - and make sure they have been well drained.  Place all in a food processor in batches and pulse until well chopped.  If you have a grinder attachment for your mixer this works well also.

Slowly drizzle olive oil into ground mixture while slowly stirring tapenade until the oil it totally incorporated.

Season to taste with fresh ground black pepper.

Serve with fresh baked ciabatta bread, focaccia or grilled garlic crostini and ENJOY!

September 07, 2008

Small Cucumbers

Lots of little cucumbers on the vine. They seem to be growing much slower than they did earlier in the summer.

Baby Prize choy bok choy ready to harvest.

Harvest: 1 lemon boy tomato.

After the Storm

Tropical Storm Hanna left us about 2 inches of rain and minimal damage in our garden.

A few tomatoes were ruined and a muskmelon was split open.

Eggplant, peppers and cucumbers look to be fine.

Must remember to harvest before the storm.

Harvest: 1 cucumber, 3 Radiator Ray's Mortgage Lifter tomatoes, 5 lemon boy tomatoes, 4 red grape tomatoes, 21 yellow pear tomatoes, 1 superstar muskmelon (cantelope), 2 scarlet globe radishes, 3oz of a mix of arugula, deer tongue lettuce, and tom thumb lettuce.

September 06, 2008


Three recipes for caponata that sound delicious!

Caponata, the traditional Sicilian mixture of eggplant, tomato, and anchovies that's perfect for both pasta and bread, can be served warm or cold.

Vegetarian Times Issue: September 1, 2000 p.32

6 Servings

1 Tbs. olive oil
2 cups diced onions
6 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. plus pinch of salt
4 cups diced eggplant
3 cups diced zucchini
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup diced yellow summer squash
1/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth, plus additional if needed
2 cups halved, seeded and diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups drained, pitted and minced kalamata olives
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup drained, minced capers
  1. In large, heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, oregano, pepper flakes and pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Stir in zucchini, bell pepper, squash, broth and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix well. Cover pot with tight-fitting lid and cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. After 5 minutes, check that some moisture remains in pot and vegetables aren’t sticking to bottom. If necessary, add a little more broth.
  3. Uncover pot and stir in tomatoes, olives, parsley and capers. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Serve hot.

Nutritional Information
Per SERVING: Calories 148, Protein 4g, Total fat 8g, Carbs 19g, Cholesterol mg, Sodium 595mg, Fiber 6g, Sugars 0g

New York Times September 4, 2008

6 to 8 Servings

1 1/2 pounds eggplant (1 large), roasted
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, from the tender inner stalks, diced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 red bell peppers, diced
Salt to taste
1 pound ripe tomatoes, preferably Romas, peeled, seeded and finely chopped, or 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes (in puree)
3 heaped tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped pitted green olives
2 tablespoons sugar, plus a pinch
3 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar, or sherry vinegar (more to taste)
Freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. Roast the eggplant, then allow to cool. Chop coarsely.
  2. Heat one tablespoon of the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy nonstick skillet, then add the onion and celery. Stir until the onion softens, about five minutes, and add the garlic. Cook together for a minute, until the garlic begins to smell fragrant, and add the peppers and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir until just tender, about eight minutes. Add another tablespoon of oil and the eggplant, and stir together for another five minutes, until the vegetables are tender. The eggplant will fall apart, which is fine. Season to taste.
  3. Add the tomatoes to the pan with about 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch of sugar. Cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan often, for five to 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have cooked down somewhat and smell fragrant. Add the capers, olives, remaining sugar and vinegar. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, for 20 to 30 minutes, until the vegetables are thoroughly tender and the mixture is quite thick, sweet and fragrant. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and remove from the heat. Allow to cool to room temperature. If possible, cover and chill overnight. Serve at room temperature.

Pasta with Eggplant Caponata
Vegetarian Times Issue: March 1, 2002   p.30

4 Servings

12 oz. penne pasta
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium eggplant, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
15-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup pitted green olives, sliced
1/4 cup capers, drained
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
  1. In large pot of lightly salted boiling water, cook pasta until al dente. Drain.
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5 minutes. Add eggplant, and cook until soft, stirring to prevent sticking, 5 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, olives, capers oregano, balsamic vinegar and sugar. Reduce heat, and simmer sauce 5 to 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss with pasta and serve.

Nutritional Information
Per SERVING: Calories 445, Protein 14g, Total fat 8g, Carbs 81g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 834mg, Fiber 7g, Sugars 0g

September 05, 2008

Baked Stuffed Fresh Tomatoes

Perfect for using all of my radiator ray's mortgage lifter tomatoes!

Baked Stuffed Fresh Tomatoes

Serves 5

5 large ripe tomatoes
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage
1/3 cup uncooked long grain rice
1 cup chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup chopped parsley
5 large cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup freshly grated Romano or Asiago or Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Slice off tomatoes tops and carve out the inside of the tomatoes, leaving the shell intact and reserving the tops. Chop the tomato pulp. Drain, reserving the juices separately.
  3. Remove the casings from the sausage and crumble the sausage into a skillet. Cook until meat is no longer pink; drain fat.
  4. In a bowl, combine the chopped tomato pulp, uncooked rice, basil, parsley, garlic, cheese, cooked crumbled sausage, and add the freshly ground salt and pepper.
  5. Oil a 8 x 8-inch baking pan with 1 tablespoons of the oil and place the tomato shells in it, open side up. Stuff each tomato with the tomato mixture and then replace their reserved tops. Pour over the reserved tomato juice and the remaining 1 tablespoons olive oil over the tops.
  6. Bake for 60 minutes or until rice is just tender and tomato tops are browned.

Radiator Ray's Mortgage Lifter Tomatoes

Lots of Radiator Ray's Mortgage Lifter tomatoes to harvest and eat. 

What to do with so many large tomatoes, each weighing a pound.

Harvest: 1 cucumber

September 04, 2008

Kale Destroyed

Bugs have completely eaten / killed the kale.

So much for cooking Tuscan-style spaghetti with kale and cannellinis.

At least the tomatoes are still producing.

Harvest: 6 red grape tomatoes, 5 yellow pear tomatoes. 

September 03, 2008

Radish Butter Sandwiches


Radish Butter Sandwiches
Vegetarian Times Issue: July 1, 2002 p.44

50 Servings

6 to 8 radishes, varicolored, with leaves intact
4 Tbs. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
Sea salt to taste
  1. Wash and trim radishes. Set a dozen or so tender, fresh leaves aside. Remove stems. Thinly slice radishes into rounds. Slice these crosswise into narrow strips. Each strip should be tipped with color. Chop or sliver leaves.
  2. Beat butter with lemon zest until well combined. Stir in sliced radishes, radish leaves and sea salt.
  3. Spread butter on slices of crusty baguette and serve.

Nutritional Information
Per SERVING: Calories 50, Protein 0g, Total fat 6g, Carbs 0g, Cholesterol 15mg, Sodium 40mg, Fiber 0g, Sugars 0g

1 radish

Not much to harvest today.

Not much weeding or other work to be done either.

Harvest: 1 scarlet globe radish.

Tuscan-Style Spaghetti with Kale and Cannellinis

My first attempt at cooking kale...

Tuscan-Style Spaghetti with Kale and Cannellinis
Vegetarian Times Issue: September 1, 2006 p.42

Serves 8

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium-size onion, diced (about 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 Tbs.)
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 1/2 lb. kale, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 12 cups)
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
3/4 tsp. salt
1 15-oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup pitted black olives, chopped
1 12-oz. pkg. whole-wheat spaghetti
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onion in oil 5 minutes, or until softened. Stir in garlic and red pepper flakes.
  2. Add 6 cups kale, and cook 2 minutes, or until wilted, tossing occasionally. Add remaining kale, tomatoes, broth and salt. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 15 minutes, or until soupy, tossing occasionally. Stir in beans and olives.
  3. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain, and return to pot with kale mixture. Cook 2 minutes over medium heat, or until pasta absorbs most of liquid. Sprinkle with Parmesan, and season with salt and pepper.

Nutritional Information
Calories 270, Protein 10g, Total fat 7g, Carbs 46g, Cholesterol 2mg, Sodium 379mg, Fiber 10g, Sugars 5g

September 02, 2008

Roasted Eggplant

I love eggplant!

Roasted Eggplant

Cut bambino hybrid eggplant into halves. If using larger eggplant, cut into 1 inch chunks.

Put the eggplant pieces in a large colander and sprinkle all over with the 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Set in the sink to drain for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Put a baking sheet in the oven to heat for 10 minutes.

Toss with olive oil, freshly ground pepper, and chopped garlic. If desired, also toss with balsamic vinegar OR soy sauce and worchestershire sauce to taste.

Cooking from the Garden

Need to learn some recipes to consume the plentiful kale.

Radishes look ready to harvest and eat. Don't know any radish recipes either -- I just eat them in salads.

Peas planted two weeks ago are ready to be trained up the tomato cages. Must check on them daily.

Onions planted three weeks ago have delicate shoots and purple flowers.

Harvest: 13 red grape tomatoes and 8 yellow pear tomatoes.

September 01, 2008

Seed to Plant

Winter squash planted from seed just three weeks ago has leaves that are 4 inches across.

Nature's magic of creating life from such small seeds will never cease to amaze me.

Gorgeous 1 inch eggplants ready to roast.

With today's harvest, the summer garden has paid for itself (value of produce compared to cost of seedlings, soil, trellises, cages, and other materials; assumption that labor is free).

Harvest: 1 cucumber (about 7 inches long), 3 bambino hybrid eggplants