Thursday, April 29, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
But there are carrot and beet seedlings, and (of all things) a Brussels sprout starter, that are thriving, despite the cold. And the squirrels are reeking havoc on our newly planted seeds. I'm ready to ring their furry little necks.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
I've never shared our curry recipe with anyone because we've never made curry that doesn't suck. Until now. This recipe came as a recommendation from Chris' co-worker, and was a big success. It was perfect for us (meaning, it's simple) and I recommend it highly. Soooo tasty.
Tofu Curry with Cashews
(altered from Chicken Curry with Cashews at Epicurious)
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped (2 cups)
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
- 3 tablespoons curry powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 container of extra firm tofu, cut into cubes (instead of chicken)
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 3/4 cup cashews (1/4 pound)
- 3/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
- Accompaniment: cooked basmati or jasmine rice
- Garnish: chopped fresh cilantro
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
I don't know if this is realistic, but it's our thought that grow lights mean we can grow things all year round. Forever and ever.
Friday, April 9, 2010
It seems that some of my seedling cups are being struck by "Damping Off Disease", or MOLD. Luckily the white nasties are only on a handful of the seedling cups (in the spinach/eggplant section of my seedlings) and haven't affected the plastic trays at all. That's what I get for being 'env-friendly' & going organic. And, my spinach seedlings are very tall, but spindly or "leggy," as well. I've now got a fan aimed at the plants, set on a timer, to dry them out and to encourage some toughening up.
Gathering advice on how to fix the problem, I found the following from Gardeners Net:
"Let There be Water, in just the right amount- - Provide water to your seedling every couple of days. Do not soak the soil each night. Overly wet soil encourages the development of damping off disease. Let the soil dry out a little on the top, then water thoroughly. Watering from the bottom is preferred. If you have a seed tray, add water to the bottom of the tray . The soil will absorb it through the bottom holes in your container...your container does have holes in the bottom, doesn't it!?!
Guard against Leggy Plants- - Seedlings are leggy when their main stem or stalk grows tall and thin and can hardly support the leaf structure. It is caused by insufficient sunlight and a sheltered environment. Indoors, they do not experience the effect of wind, and do not need to develop structure to defend against it. Most seedlings do not even experience a slight breeze. When transplanted outdoors, "leggy" plants can be damaged or broken by the wind.
Let there be no Damping Off Disease: Those of us who have grown seedling indoors for any number of years know what "Damping Off" disease. This is a white mold that forms in the top of the soil. Damping Off disease flourishes in cold, wet damp weather along with little sunshine. It quickly spreads across the soil and wilts the seedling. Take it's habitat away, and the disease can not survive. Plants on the other hand, love just the opposite conditions. The more you make conditions ideal for your plants, the more likely you will avoid Damping Off Disease and other mold and fungal problems.
If you do experience problems, do not give up hope. Here are some things you can do to minimize or eliminate disease problems: First, get the plant in direct sunlight if at all possible. Stop watering until the surface is very dry. Water only from the bottom. Scrape as much of the mold off the soil as possible. Stir the top of the soil without disturbing the roots. It will also speed drying. Increase room air circulation. You can gently blow air on your plant trays with a small fan. Avoid sowing your seeds in the basement and leaving them there for a couple of days. While the trays are conveniently out of the way, this is a perfect breeding ground for Damping Off Disease. More on Damping Off Disease."
Thursday, April 8, 2010
My suggestion would be to pick up a hearty fish. We grilled tilapia (surprise), that was thick enough to hold together on the grill. Corn tortillas on the grill are so tasty. Add jalapeno wheels, shredded cheese, and avocado, then feast. Salsa works too. I also finally agree with the crowd that corn tortillas work better than flour tortillas for fish tacos.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Root Veggies: Last year I grew two sweet onions. This year I'm giving the root vegetables a real go. Their seeds can be planted straight into the soil outdoors and can go in early (before the last frost), while the soil is still fairly cool. The beets from our CSA last year were amazing, thus the inspiration. Carrots? Why not?
Soil Rotation (aka Breaking your Back): At a workshop hosted by Southside Community Land Trust, I learned that plants are more healthy when they are planted in different areas each year. A specific type of plant will sucks out particular nutrients in the soil, while others take them from the air and leave them behind in the soil (ex: potatoes and peas take nitrogen from the air and leave it in the soil, while tomatoes need nitrogen in the soil). I'm not planting in the ground & couldn't rotate where I place the plants (tomatoes still need the giant bins, lettuce needs the shallow planters, etc.). So, I rotated the soil in every single bin, meaning tomato soil is in almost all of the little planters, and vice versa. A fun and dirty day.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Deviled Eggs (from Joy of Cooking, "Pop's Deviled Eggs")
Prepare and peel:
4 hard-boiled eggs
My note: Peel the eggs carefully, once hard boiled, so as not to break the whites. For a clean cut, wet the knife before cutting, and slice them long ways. Set the yolks aside.
Mix the following in with the yolks:
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon chili sauce
1⁄8 teaspoon black pepper
1⁄8 teaspoon celery salt (I used regular salt)
1⁄8 teaspoon dry mustard
My note: Spoon the creamy mixture into a ziplock and cut off the corner (start small, you can always cut off more) to create a 'pipping' bag. Fill the eggs with flare.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Yes. I froze tomatoes whole. Recent guests believed me not, but it's okay to freeze tomatoes. These beauties are from last year's garden -- one is a Pale Purple Perfect tomato (thus the purple/green color), others are German Reds and the minis are Sungellas. I froze them at the end of last summer, without blanching and by merely placing them into freezer bags. I read somewhere that they'll keep for 8 months or so, meaning it was time to use them this month.
Step One: Run each one under warm/hot water and the skins will slip off easily. Peeled tomatoes look funny. Look closely for and cut out any freezer burn. I didn't find any.
Step Two: After a rough-chop, use them to make sauce.
Pasta Sauce: Ours is fairly simple. Saute onions & garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add diced peppers & add a dash of red pepper flakes. Add a tablespoon of tomato paste. Stir, now & then, until the peppers are soft. Add chopped fresh or frozen tomatoes (or use 1 can of whole tomatoes) & 1 can of diced tomatoes or tomato puree to thicken. Simmer on low for an hour or so. Throughout, season with salt, pepper, basil & oregano, to taste.
This was our first batch of tomato sauce from frozen tomatoes and it was perfect--bright and citrus-y. I'll be sure to repeat the process this summer if we get another abundance of tomatoes. Why let all those tomatoes go to waste?
** For more recipes, check out the RedPepperFlakes Recipe Archives.