Good things to eat

Posts tagged ‘tomatoes’

To the new garden

I’ll admit that I haven’t been to the blog too much lately.

But I have a very good reason. ( Other than the fact that my WordPress was broken!!)

The Chef and I have moved to a new place and it has been one thing after another stopping us from getting on with it.

So I haven’t been doing much cooking and I haven’t been doing much gardening and I certainly haven’t been doing much blogging!

But I am looking forward to this being a full weekend of no outside responsibilities, so I can concentrate on getting things in order, so we can start “living our life”!

There!

But have a LOOK at the new kitchen! Coarse this is before we moved all our stuff into it!! I will update you when it is settled!

The New Kitchen

And this is the new patio, again, before we moved in!

But how are the plants in my garden doing you ask?

Chick HERE if you want to catch up on the trials and tribulations of my balcony garden!

Well, when we got back from the Oregon trip, the birds had really had their way with things!

They apparently got a taste for beet greens and so they didn’t make it.

beaten beets

And then they went for the cabbage!

Tormented cabbage

But since we’ve moved, the new deck is pest free so any of those who made the move are faring quite well.

The crazy arugula just keeps on growing! We cut it and eat it and it just grows back! Marvelous!

Active arugula

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Do you remember my ONE tomato? Well this is him!! All grown up and red. I must eat him soon!

Original tomato

And look, now he has all kinds of friends! Didn’t I predict that? That come October I’d have all kinds of tomato!!

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And these are the cabbage now, since being bird free and able to grow in peace. They still don’t seem to be turning into a nice cabbage ball that I am accustom to at the market, but they are at least decorative!!

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And last but not least, the most pleasant surprise!

BEANS!

It took forever for them to even sprout! And now the little plants are growing all kinds of beans!!

Fantastic!

But it is October now and even though it has been sometimes warmer than in the dead of summer lately, I think it might be time to wind things down for this season.

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Growing stuff – August 3rd

It’s pathetic really.

I don’t know where I went wrong with these tomato plants.

Grew them from seed on the window sill then nurtured them all winter in the living room where they grew to be strong, confident, healthy tomato plants!

They sprung all sorts of little flowers and seemed so healthy.

So why is it now August and this is ALL I have to show for my effort??

One lousy tomato

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But on a good note, we have been enjoying eating “local” ( as in from the balcony) when it comes to the greens.  The arugula has been a spectacular success and the mixed lettuce leaves delicious!  We’ve even been adding some of the young chard to the salads and it tastes great!

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But now the birds seem to have decided that they like beet greens and have been having a go at them!

I decided to pull up one of the beets, you know, just to see how everybody is getting on.  It was just a tiny thing so I shoved it back in.  Hopefully it will continue to grow!

And then I pulled on one of the stray potato plant branches and found this little nugget!

One potato

Well, I guess it’s still a bit early for the underground things!

Fattoush Salad

                  When I lived in Montreal, one of my favorite things to eat was Lebanese food.  I have travelled far and wide ( well not to Lebanon but….) and have lived in many cities but have never tasted any Lebanese food as good as they seem to have there.   Not to say that other cities don’t have great Lebanese places too……it’s just that I’ve yet to find them.

                   So to round-up “Salad Week” I thought I would make a Lebanese “style” Fattoush Salad.  I say “style” cause this one isn’t the real deal, but it was the best I could come up with on short notice!

Fattoush Salad

                   A traditional Fattoush is made with the  spice, Sumac.   I neither had, nor care for Sumac so I did not include it in this recipe.  But feel free to try it out for yourself, or use it if you already know you enjoy it.

So we are going to start with some nice pita bread.   I had nice thick ones so I split them length wise to have more.   Brush them with olive oil ( and this is where you would sprinkle on some Sumac) and then I sprinkled smokie paprika just to give a little colour and then toasted them in the oven at 350 degrees till they are nice and toastie.   Remove and let cool.

oil and toast pita bread

So then for the salad in no particular order chop and add to a large bowl:

  • romaine lettuce
  • cucumber
  • tomato
  • green onion
  • flat leaf Italian parsley
  • water cress ( except I didn’t have any so I didn’t use)

Toss those together well.

For the dressing:

  • 2 cloves finely minced garlic
  • juice of two lemons
  • 1/4 cup ( or what ever double the juice is) of olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp of Sumac ( if you are using)

Shake it all up and pour it all over the salad and then mix well.

Then take the toasted pita and crack up into random pieces and toss that into the salad.

Let it sit for a few minutes before serving so that the flavours can soak in to and soften up the pita just a little bit.

There we have it.  Serve up with some shish taouk or Shawarma.   Yum YUm.

Let me know if you have a great Lebanese restaurant in your town so I’ll be sure to check it out if I am ever round there!

Growing things and veggie storage tips

What with it officially summer now and the growing of produce in full swing, I thought I would share this veggie storage chart with you to help maximize the life of your produce!

veggie-storage

Meanwhile, life on the balcony garden is doing as well as can be expected.

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The cabbages are growing like gang busters!  But cabbage is a hearty plant so I suppose we can count on them.

But I don’t know, in the close up I’m not really seeing what will be a head of cabbage some day.  I don’t think that these big leaves suddenly curl up in a ball??

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The beans are still pushing away.  But doubt anything will come of them with their late start in the season!

Beans

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The tomato plants have lots of flowers now but no little tomatoes yet.   The wind lately has just been relentless and so I think it has tired them out.

Tomatoes

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And the potato plant is so big and strong and flowering.  I only hope that the potatoes growing underneath are half as hardy!   And I really have to resist the urge to “look at them”!  Last year I couldn’t help myself and pulled them up way too soon.   But luckily I shoved them back in the dirt and they kept growing until that “unfortunate incident” that occurred last year!  ( click here to see that )

Potatoes going strong

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I have had an unfortunate development with the patty-pan squash plant.  Heart breaking really, for no apparent reason he seems to have given up the will to live.

It was neither over watered, nor under-watered, nor do I see any evidence of foul play when it comes to squirrels or other critters.  The only variable to report is the incessant wind of late.  Maybe he just got exhausted.  He started off so strong and healthy.   Sad development.

Poor poor patty pan

I did however add some arugula seeds to the rest of his box and they are sprouting beautifully!

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The beets are in fine shape, but I guess like the potatoes, I will have to be patient and not yank them out to see “how they are doing”!

Beets

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And last but not least, I am very pleased to say that the Swiss Chard has made a fine come back.  It was touch and go there for awhile.

Although, I must admit, I have not yet let them stay outside.  They continue to be in the living room away from those nasty birds!

Swiss Chard

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Happy Gardening!

Click here if  you would like to catch up on my adventures in the balcony garden.

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Stuffed Peppers three ways

The Chef is a fan of three ways.

You know, when it comes to preparing dishes.    He really likes taking one ingredient and preparing three different versions of the same item.

The other night he made three different coloured peppers stuffed with three different stuffings!

Let’s break down the fillings.

Filling # one:

  • corn
  • black beans
  • cooked rice

Filling # two:

  • cooked green lentils
  • green olives
  • chopped cilantro
  • chopped parsley
  • 1 clove minced garlic

Filling # three:

  • cooked red lentils
  • crushed tomato ( or tomato sauce)
  • sun dried tomatoes

Feel free to add anything extra that you might like, but these are the basic ingredients.

So make up all these different fillings separately.

I know all that  seems like a lot of work, but just keep the left overs because they make great “salad” accompaniments for your lunch for the rest of the week!!

Cut the peppers in half removing the insides.  Sprinkle with a little olive oil and bake at 350 for about 12 minutes till they are a bit wilted.

Then stuff each pepper with one of the fillings, try to make the colour contrasts interesting.  Or not.

These particular versions are all Vegan, but if you wanted to add some cheese on top to melt in, that would be very tasty too.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until they are heated through.

Stuffed peppers three ways

Enjoy with side salad or other veg.

Something Simple

Do you ever crave something just so simple it seems silly??

I had just that craving for my lunch.

How simple was it?  Well let me tell you.

I took a slice of my favorite Dimpilmeier rye bread and lightly toasted it.

Then added a generous layer of Boursin garlic flavoured cheese, then a few slices of beautifully ripened tomato.

A few turns of the pepper mill, a little sprinkle of sea salt and I was in heaven!

Tomato and Boursin on rye

Growing stuff – May 4th

We are rapidly approaching our “Victoria Day” weekend here in Canada.

To some it is to celebrate the birthday of Queen Victoria which is May 24th.

While others use it as the opening to party season and refer to it as “the May two-four weekend” which if you are from around here, or Ontario in particular, that refers to a 24 pack of BEER!

But then there are others who consider the Victoria Day weekend as the kick off to gardening season.   Thought of as…..although this year we can’t be sure…….a safe date to assume it will no longer SNOW!   And therefore safe to plant things!

But luckily here on the West Coast we can get a jump on planting early.

So here is an update on how things are going on the “Balcony Garden“.

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This is the lone flower produced so far from the weird mystery plant that was supposed to be Swiss chard.   As suspected, it seems to be some sort of sunflower.  But the plant is rapidly dying.  Either because the birds are picking at it, or because it is simply too crammed into that pot!

random sunflower

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Sprouting potato plant?

And could it be?  That my little potato eyes that I planted what seems only a week ago is already growing?   How wonderful.

They’ll be French fries for everyone REAL soon!!

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Sad little chard sprouts

And I’m afraid that the “real” Swiss chard pants are progressing very well at all.  Not sure if it is because I have them covered with a basket to keep the birds from taking them, or if they are just slow starters?

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And then there are the tomato plants that I started inside from seed!  Those coffee grounds as fertilizer SURE seem to be working!!  They are almost two feet tall now!  I don’t think they are supposed to grow quite THAT big…..they are only Roma tomato plants!   Hopefully they will stop growing tall and start producing some flowers that will turn into tomatoes!!

Out of control Romas

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And finally as a little treat I really MUST show you a couple of nice Spring pictures from the near by park.

Flowers a bloom

Just waitin around

Last one in is a rotten egg!

Happy weekend and happy gardening!

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