Tomatoes everywhere!

I have been harvesting the tomatoes. The early girls are bountiful and freaking delicious. The heirloom are rather funky to look at but they taste wonderful, and the little orange tomato-lemons are sweet and tender. My favorite though, are the teardrop shaped yellow tomatoes. I intended to put them into salads, but instead I just eat them straight.

The harvest isn’t as big this year as last. I’m blaming the weather.  I branched out more this year and tried new varieties, so it could be that I chose lower-producing plants this year also.

The tomatoes from last year’s fall harvest went into the freezer, so at some point we will be making homemade chili. Or spaghetti sauce. Something like that.

These early girls went straight to the salad bowl. Regular salad with the fresh Parmesan, green leaf lettuce and Caesar dressing. Croutons when I remember to buy them. And tomatoes!

Cutting up the Early Girl tomatoSalad in an orange bowl.Haha. My nails almost match the tomato in this lighting.

We didn’t JUST have salad for dinner. To go with it, I made a basil cream sauce and chicken.

Found the recipe using the AllRecipes.com app on my phone. Here, if you want to try. It’s really easy, and delicious. Especially if you have fresh basil around.

Is it just me or is tomatoes spelled funny? Every time I type that, I think “toma-TOES!”

Basil cream sauce, with chicken and red pepper instead of the pimentos the recipe calls for.

 

 

Garden is winding down for the season

My garden is on it’s way out, I’m afraid.

I got these gross-looking bugs that kind of look like dinosaurs. Black with a hump, spikes and red dots. They can jump, but on the stem of my tomato plants they seem to congregate and attach, sucking the sap out of my plants.

http://www.whatsthatbug.com/2005/06/21/treehopper-nymphs/ I think this is what they are. What’s That Bug? website identifies them as tree hopper nymphs.  My boyfriend tried to remove some from the stem using his hands and a paper towel, and said they are spiky. He could feel the poke through the paper towel. They also jump down, which can be shocking.

Bug spray seems to take care of them, but my tomato stem was left blackened and bruised. Does anyone have tricks to keeping them away in the first place? I had the same problem last year.

The strange part is, they don’t seem to be spreading to the other tomato plants in the yard.

Photo courtesy of What's That Bug?

 

Here’s a picture of some very green but soon-to-be-delicious tomatoe

These will turn yellow soon, and then I will eat them.

s.

 

How does your garden grow?

My (mostly) tomato garden is coming along pretty slowly. Or I’m impatient. Could be both.

The tomatoes are starting to come in, but they are still green and I want to eat them already!!

Tell those plants to hurry up, k?

I stopped at Home Depot to pick up some soil and walked out with the potting soil, spearmint (oh my lord it smells so good), basil, cilantro and a bell pepper plant. So it’s really no longer an all-tomato garden but I’m so OK with that. Plus, we now have nearly all the makings of caprece! (I just need to find a way to grow cheese…)

I’ve been pruning the tomato plants from the bottom, and cutting some of the inside leaves so they are not too bushy and I can actually see if there are bugs or anything else weird going on in there.

There are some little holes in the biggest tomato leaves and I think I could have a tomato hornworm. I know, ewww. But no matter how hard I’ve looked, the little bugger is elusive.

I did a little research on how to kindly get rid of them and found this gem:

“However, if you see a hornworm covered with white egg sacs, leave it be. The egg sacs are those of a parasitic wasp called the Braconid wasp. Let the eggs hatch, and you’ll have an army of wasps ready to defend your garden against all types of pests.”

Sweet baby Jesus I hope this does not happen in my yard. The LAST thing I want is an army of wasps anywhere near me.

Thanks a lot Internet, now I’m going to have nightmares.

I also found thorny-looking green bugs that I think are what the Internet identifies as tree-hoppers. I pulled one off the other day and tried to step on it, but it flew away. I’m sure it will be back. Jerk.

Anyone out there know how to get rid of them in a safe & sane manner?

Early Girl.

The little yellow ones that are shaped like pears.

THIS SMELLS SO SO SO GOOD

YOU will be in my salad one day.

Bell peppers. Still a baby. Hope they come in before the summer ends!

A weekend away with veggie frittatas

Sometimes you just need to leave town for a few days. I felt a bit like that last week. It’s been ages since I’ve taken a vacation from work, and after 3 weeks of 6-day workweeks it was time to run.

So I drove a couple hours out to my aunt’s house, leaving my laptop, work worries and household chores far, far away. There’s something about that house that is simply relaxing. Like, you walk in, are greeted by two rambunctious puppies and immediately you feel good about the world.

In exchange for the getaway, I made breakfast frittatas. I kind of made it up as went, using the memory of my first frittata. This dish is one of the first I ever cooked while living on my own. The recipe came from The Best-Ever Vegetarian Cookbook, which someone is selling online for $6.

The cookbook is brilliant. It has gigantic pictures of everything so if you’re screwing up the recipe you’ll know right away when yours does not look like the picture.

We had fresh zucchini from my aunt’s garden, and I bought some asparagus at the grocery store for *gasp!* $4.99. I can’t believe I spent that much after a week earlier picking up asparagus at the farmer’s market for a dollar. Sheesh. I’ve been spoiled, I suppose.

And my aunt is growing ORANGES! Or TANGERINES! I’m not really sure. They’re sort of small oranges with really strong citrus taste, but either way they were incredible and I ate probably 5 of them over the course of the day.

Recipe:

Cook the veggies in oil in a large oven-safe pan on the stove for a few minutes. While those are cooking, you mix eggs in a bowl with a little cheese and milk, and pour on top of the vegetables in the pan. You can pour extra cheese on top now, or wait until oven time. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Let the eggs/veggies cook in the pan for about 7 minutes. When the top of the concoction is still soft but the rest is hardened, you put the cheese on top if you waited, then put the pan in the oven for about 4 minutes, until the rest of the egg cooks.

Then you cool it on top of the stove for a couple minutes, cut into triangles and serve!

Even my sister, who does not like vegetables, ate most of it. She picked out a few veggies, but I’m pretty sure some of the others found their way into her mouth.

Bon appetit!

Those zucchinis are home grown and delicious! The asparagus was over-priced.

Almost done cooking.

Entertaining friends with salmon

We cooked dinner for my man’s friend, who is staying here for a couple weeks.
The recipe I normally use for salmon sauce is equal parts dijon mustard and pure maple syrup, with diced onions to taste. There were no onions in the house and a different kind of mustard so we improvised but it came out maybe even a little better than the normal formula.

For sides, white potatoes and zucchini. Though to be honest, I’m getting pretty darn sick of zucchini. Ready to mix it up a little.

We had a great discussion about the merits of farm-raised fish, wild fish, and the dangers of overfishing versus the dangers of caged farm-raised fish. I came out on the side of wild caught fish, but I’m sure that also results in the wrong kind of fish being hooked and overfishing to an extent. Is there a right answer?

Salmon with maple-mustard sauce.

This is before I added some garlic salt to the veggies.

Potatoes are sometimes THE BEST THING in the world. With cheese.

Garden: Tomato plants are growing

Just a quick update on the backyard potted garden. The tomato plants are growing and are beautiful!

One plant died because I was a bit rough in the replanting and ripped the roots off. I thought it would regrow them, but that didn’t happen.

A couple of the pots are in need of added soil so hopefully I can get to that this week. Here are some photos. Enjoy!

Steps to a Vegetable and Herb Container Garden | Real Simple

Steps to a Vegetable and Herb Container Garden | Real Simple.

Some more gardening tips from one of my favorite websites to visit. I adore their Do Just One Thing weekly checklist.

And I was happy to see that container gardening is on the list this week. That makes me feel doubly productive since I’m already done with it before the list came out!