Thursday, September 18, 2014

tomatoes

Growing up I loathed tomatoes.  My parents would ask my sister and me to make a salad for dinner and I was disgusted by the chopped tomatoes.  They had a weird texture, the seeds and guts leaked out making them hard to chop uniformly, and the taste was not good.

Last year some time, Corey ordered a sandwich for me and I guess they missed the part where he told them to hold the tomatoes.  I bit into it before realizing and you know what happened?  I chewed and swallowed and decided it wasn't that bad.  I finished my sandwich and only peeled off the last dregs of tomato seeds and pulp near the end.

So as we've had a couple of red tomatoes grow, Oliver and I have sliced them and added them to sandwiches.  Lately I've been eating BLTs like I'll never eat one again.  And then today I was weeding and pruning around our tomato plant when some green ones fell.  I decided to try frying them and guess what.  So good.  But then again, when are fried things not good?


They were actually super simple, just dredged in flour and salt, then egg with a couple of dashes of Tabasco, then back in the flour.  I pan fried them in vegetable oil for a few minutes on each side.  Not super healthy, obviously, but next time I might try baking them.  And you can up that unhealthy factor by dipping them in a sauce of your choice, too.

Friday, September 12, 2014

girl from outerspace




Thursday, September 11, 2014

how does the garden grow

Slowly.

I know that growing things takes time, but because of how quickly the actual plants got big, the fruits of our labor actually take their sweet time.

I planted some random lettuces.  Jenn gave me some seed packets and I just threw some in the ground.  I don't know if any of them actually took, but I have some leaves here and there that I'm afraid to pick because they could be weeds or they could be special greens.  I actually pulled this one and transplanted it and it seems to be doing well.  Ignore the grass that I haven't pulled yet...


Our tomato plant is huge.  Probably 6 feet high.  It started out with one small tomato, that turned red pretty quickly, then Oliver and I ate it.  Then nothing.  The plant got bigger and bigger all summer and finally sometime in the beginning of August we started seeing tomatoes growing.  Then they were all over.  They were getting bigger and greener.  Greener!  Finally here in September, one is turning red.  Hopefully the other fifteen or so are right behind!



Looking sad because we need taller stakes.
The basil is outta control growing!  I also realized we don't eat it nearly as much as I thought we would, seeing how we don't eat pasta every other night anymore.  But it is nice to have out there for when we do want it.  AND way cheaper than buying it in the grocery store.

We planted strawberries and of course those aren't producing fruit, but the plant is spreading and hopefully we can keep it alive and get some next year...?!


Somehow I was talked into buying a spearmint plant, too.  It's thriving and Oliver and I like to throw some in our iced tea.

See the skinny long green straight things at the top?  I planted a garlic bulb and it took root and I had no idea the spearmint would spread like this.
I started some green beans from seeds and while they sprouted quickly, I wasn't sure how long they took to grow and produce beans.  The plant grew fast, but I didn't know about the beans still.  Sunday night I was checking the tomatoes and weeding when I noticed there were a few green beans ready to pick and eat!  Oliver was delighted and wanted them all for himself.  Next year we will plant a few more so that we can all eat green beans at the same time.


The most surprising is how well the marigolds and petunias are doing.  Corey swears my thumbs were black and he may still be correct because these plants might just be easy to take care of.  Or I could be a ninja gardener and have skills.


So we are so proud of the success we've seen and hope to do a winter garden over the next few weeks.  We are thinking potatoes, both sweet and white, spinach or some other lettuce, and maybe broccoli.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

chicken pot pie

After having some leftover chicken pot pie for lunch while babysitting, I could not stop thinking about how good it was.  Clark stayed home sick from school the next day, so I had to take him to the store with me.  We walked around trying to figure out what to do for dinner when we agreed pot pie sounded good.

I bought some pie crusts from the refrigerator section, but had everything else I needed.  It was so simple because of the pre-made crusts, but maybe next time I'll try to make them from scratch.  Oliver helped me make the sauce and put on the top crust and brush with egg wash.  We all agreed that it was delicious and it's something that I intend to make regularly this fall and winter.


Chicken Pot Pie
serves 6-8

2 pie crusts
2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 large potato or 2 smaller ones, peeled and diced
2 handfuls baby carrots, really I just eye-balled what I thought we'd like to eat
1 can of peas, drained; I could have used frozen, but this is what I had in the pantry and it was fine
1/2 large onion or 1 small, diced

1 egg

Sauce:
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup half n half, cream, or milk
salt, pepper, and thyme to taste


1.  I diced the chicken before cooking it.  It was a little frozen still, which made it easier to cut. 
2.  I removed the chicken, added some butter to the pan and sauteed the onion, carrots, and potatoes.  Once those were softened I added that to the chicken and set aside.
3.  Next preheat oven to 425.
4.  Lay one of the crusts in a 9" pie pan, ungreased.
5.  Next make a roux.  I used the same pan so all of the cooked bits would be in the sauce.  Add the 4 T butter and let it melt.  Then add the flour and cook it for a few minutes.  Next add the chicken stock and let it thicken, stirring occasionally.  Then pour in the half n half and let it thicken again.  Last add the salt, pepper, and thyme.  I ended up with 1/2 teaspoon of each.  I seasoned the chicken and vegetables and didn't want the whole thing too salty.
6.  Pour your sauce over the filling and mix gently.  Pour into your pie crust. 
7.  Place second crust on top and pinch the edges.   Use the egg to make a wash and brush over the top of the crust.  Make a few slits to let out the steam. 
8.  I covered the edges with foil so they wouldn't brown too quickly and baked for 35 minutes.  Then I took the foil off and let it bake another 15 minutes.