We planted these carrots back on Earth Day as a family project.  And now, voila, here they are!

These were the first four that were ready to pick, but by the looks of it there should be plenty more down the road.

 I turned to "Barefoot Contessa" for a quick roasted carrots recipe.  A little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, and thats that.

Might have been undercooked a little bit, but not bad overall.  With the next batch I'll try to get them a little more brown and crispy on the outside.


Big Boy

I guess there's a reason that this sunflower is named "Mammoth."  It's gotta be 7 feet tall, and the flower itself borders a "Little Shop of Horrors" level of hugeness.  



Tomato Town

With my supply of tomatoes from the garden continually mounting I've been looking for new ways to eat and enjoy these little babies.

A recipe for pizza in my baking cookbook "Knead" caught my eye.  You make the basic pizza dough from scratch, then top it with sliced tomatoes, basil, olive oil and mozzarella cheese.  Sounds simple and tasty.  Perfect.

I dusted off the old stand mixer to make the dough.  After a few minutes of mixing, and an hour or so to rise, I had a wee ball o' dough- ready for pizza making

We ended up making two pizzas.  One with the tomato sauce that I made last week, and one with these sliced tomatoes straight from the garden.

I really couldn't take pictures of the last steps as it involved sliding the dough onto a hot pan and hastily assembling the ingredients before shoving them into the oven.  The end result was pretty satisfying though, and very, very tasty.



Garden Tragedy

Everything that I've read about melons says that the best way to determine ripeness is to wait until the stem turns dry and brown.  And also that when the stem dries it will 'pull away' sightly from the body of the melon.

Well the other day I was out pulling weeds. It was hot, and I was really, really sweaty.  Well the heat must have affected my judgement.  At one point I looked over and saw this Sugar Baby watermelon, and it just looked so refreshing and so...ripe. I checked the stem...nope, not dry.  Not brown.   Despite the voice of reason whispering in my ear, I plucked the thing up and whisked it into the kitchen.

I mean look at this thing, doesn't it just look ripe?

Well it wasn't.  

At all.

Lesson learned.  (I hope)


New Look

Yep.  The blog title changed.  Get over it, I already did.

The garden is just about dripping with tomatoes at this point, and there is no way that I can pick them fast enough.  The sauce tomatoes (San Marzano and Juliet) are especially prolific.  It makes me think that I need to make a bigger batch of sauce since the first go-round was relatively successful.

I haven't shown the carrots much since planting them back on earth day, but they look good.  You can see some healthy looking carrot-shoulders poking out in this picture.

A snaky looking Zucchini plant tucked into a shady corner.

The sunflowers are big, bigger, and biggest.  This one is called 'Teddy Bear'- short, but with some serious attitude.

The Zinnias continue to be big and bright focal points of the herb garden.

Is there a flower more photogenic then a Dhalia?  These pictures would seem to say no... and I would tend to agree.


Garden Growth and Tomato Sauce

The rain has continued through the first half of August so far, and everything has just kept on growing.  I think that I've only had to get the watering can out once or twice all month. 

The Dhalias have started to bloom...

The sunflowers have really taken off too.  

The tomatoes are still growing like crazy- they kind of look like a mess in this picture though.

The watermelon patch is still looking nice and thick.

Some good looking watermelons peeking through the vines.  Hopefully this one'll be ripe soon.

This 'Chanterais' melon is looking pretty good too.

I decided today to finally use my paste tomatoes to make some tomato sauce.  This is a mix of both types the  'San Marzano' and the 'Juliet'.

It wasn't as hard as I thought it'd be.  Preparing the tomatoes took longer then the actual cooking.  Here are they are after being peeled...

..and and after being cut in half and seeded.

There wasn't much to it after that.  They simmered in the pan with olive oil, garlic and basil for about 15 minutes.

After simmering for a while it got pretty saucy, and smelled really good.  After it was done I ran it through the food processor to make a smoother consistency.  

I think that my first sauce making experiment was a success.  It was pretty easy, and it tasted pretty darn good.  The only thing was that it didn't make as much as I thought.  It takes a lot of tomatoes to make a little sauce I guess.  Good to know.


Still Growing

With all of the rain we've had recentley and without any new planting to do, the garden has mostly been on auto-pilot for the last week or two.  And for the most part things are looking really good.

I took some overhead pictures from the ladder that is supposed to be a trellis for my lab-lab vines, but right now just looks like a big white ladder in the middle of the garden.

Looking straight down you can see the butternut squash plants on the right of the main path, and the lettuce, and the new pepper plants on the left.

To the far left are the sunflowers, against the front fence are the tomatoes, and in the middle are the watermelons.

On the right are more tomatoes and melons, and also carrots against the far right fence.  You can also see the zucchini and beans in the foreground.

Here are the sunflowers again, which are really getting tall- and the watermelons which so far look great.

Hiding under the vines is the first little melon.

The is a Dhalia plant that looks like its getting ready to bloom at any second.

I finally have a Valencia tomato to try out.  Of all the varities planted I have been most excited to taste test these.   Mostly because the 2 'paste' varities are mainly for sauce, the 'Early Girl' are meant to be a steady supplier, and 'Sungold' I've grown before.

Here it is, fresh from the vine...

Cut open and looking good.  Good for slicing, and juicy but not too juicy.

Served up on a slice of toast with some olive oil, salt and pepper and a slice of cheese (which is the perfect way to enjoy a tomato.)  It was sweet with just a little bit of acidity, and nice and firm and easy to eat with a fork.  Delicious.