We tried this dish not long ago at one of those Mediterranean style salad bars. We also ordered it as an appetizer soon after.
Both times we weren’t as impressed as we hoped to be, so decided to try our hand at it instead.
Homemade is always better, isn’t it?
Lemon Avocado Pesto
Following the basic guidelines for Pesto Sauce, crush the almonds in processor with the juice of half a lemon.
Add fresh avocado, Parmesan, and garlic powder.
If you like the flavor of lemon as much as I do, you can also add in the grated rind of the half lemon.
Use olive oil as needed to help blend the ingredients.
The taste of course was much fresher and more flavorful.
Here’s a vegetarian way to enjoy it. These are perfect for a Meatless Monday or during Lent. Also just nice on a hot summer day.
These are also referred to as live rolls.
Lemon Avocado Pesto TLC’s
Break the spine of the lettuce leaf first, then spread with some pesto.
Add shredded cheese and sliced tomatoes.
Roll the leaf up gently. I would suggest you turn the edges in like you would a wrap sandwich.
You can try your hand at different fillings, based on what is coming in from your garden or in season at the market.
Smaller varieties of veggies do better for container gardening. Look for seed packs or plants labeled with adjectives such as tiny, compact, dwarf, baby or small. Other names such as Thumbelina would indicate a smaller variety.
|Vegetable||Container Size||Suggested Varieties|
|Beans Snap Types||5 gal||All Bush types esp. Mascotte|
|Beans Lima||5 gal|
|Beets||5 gal||Early Wonder|
|Broccoli||5 gal (1 plant)||Italian Green|
|Brussel Sprouts||5 gal (1 plant)||Evesham|
|Cabbage||5 gal (1 plant)||Discovery|
|Cabbage Chinese types||5 gal (1 plant)||Michili|
|Carrot||5 gal (rectangular)||Nelson Danvers Half Long|
|Cress||5 gal (rectangular)||Watercress|
|Cucumber||5 gal (rectangular)||Little leaf|
|Eggplant||3 gal.||Calliope Hansel Gretel and Fairy Tale|
|Garlic (for greens)||10" deep||Most varieties|
|Kale (Collards)||5 gal||Winterbor|
|Lettuce||5 gal (rectangular)||Most varieties|
|Okra||5 gal||Millionaire and Cajun Delight|
|Onion||5 gal (rectangular)||Yellow and White Sweet Spanish|
|Peppers Sweet varieties||2 gal (rectangular)||Green-to-red Bells Mini Apple Islander Lipstick Apple Antohi Romanian and Carmen|
|Peppers Hot varieties||2 gal (rectangular)||Peppino Early Jalapeno El Jeffe (also Ornamental Peppers)|
|Potatoes||30 gal||All Types|
|Radish||5 gal (rectangular)||Most varieties|
|Spinach||5 gal (rectangular)||Most varieties|
|Squash||2 gal||baby crookneck small zucchini Butterbush Butternut|
|Swiss Chard||5 gal||Bright Lights Bionda Di Lyon Magenta Sunset Bright Yellow|
|Tomatoes||5 gal (1 plant)||Valley Girl Orange Blossom look for tiny or small|
|Tomatoes Small types||5 gal||Sweet Olive Smarty Gold Nugget & all patio types|
February 6, 2016
Â· gj Â· One Comment
Tags: Container Gardening, gardening jones, planning a garden, small space gardening Â· Posted in: Container Gardening, How to Grow, Specific Plant Varieties, Specific Purpose Gardens
Also known as Chinese lettuce, asparagus lettuce, stem lettuce and celery lettuce, celtuce is a veggie that is grown mainly for its stem. It looks like a cross between celery and lettuce, hence the name, but it actually is a variety of lettuce originating in China.
It is planted just like lettuce when the temps are still cool, about 1/4″ deep and 8″ apart. The leaves are harvested small as the plant grows.
Some people describe celtuce as tasting like rice, but we didn’t get that at all. We would say it is much more similar to lettuce. If the leaves get too large, they can become bitter.
We have also read the stem tastes like a cross between summer squash and an artichoke. It has a very mild flavor, that is for sure, which is why it lends itself so well to any dish that combines multiple flavors.
There is a lot of variance on the internet about when to harvest the celtuce, possibly because there are 3 varieties of celtuce on the market. Suggested diameters range from 1/2 inch to 3 inches, and heights from 5-6 inches to 12-15 inches.
Keep in mind that the larger the stem when you harvest, the longer you will need to blanch it to use in a stir fry for example, and the more likely it will be bitter. We found the smaller sections of the stem to be less woody. We prefer to harvest smaller, at about 1 inch diameter, however tall it is at that point.
One advantage over lettuce is that celtuce doesn’t bolt as fast. If you are in a hot climate this may be what you need. Celtuce can be eaten raw or cooked, in salads and stir fry, and it is a fun veggie to experiment with.
Botanical name: Lactuca sativa var. asparagina, augustana, or angustata
Height: Our experience is 12-15 inches.
Growth habit: Part shade to full sun
Uses: Culinary, mostly for the stem; aids digestion.
You can save clean produce scraps in the freezer until you get enough for a batch of vegetable stock, rather than composting them or throwing them out.
The skins of onions and tomatoes, and celery trimmings, are the most obvious. We also save all peelings from veggies and the trimmings from things like garlic and leeks. Carrot tops and peels are particularly good.
If you want to save scraps from some of the more potent veggies like any of the cole crops, you may want to keep them separate. Use that stock in dishes you would add cabbage to like stir fry, or in soups such as cream of cauliflower.
Either way, everything needs just to be clean and not bruised or over-ripe. Simply toss into a freezer bag and hold frozen until you’re ready.
If you really want to be frugal and you have the room, you can also freeze the water used when you blanch veggies. Waste not.
Otherwise just take everything out of the bag and simmer in water until it has the flavor you like. Your can add salt if you want. The longer it simmers, the more concentrated it will be come.
Strain and let cool. It will have some sediment, for lack of a better word, which we feel adds to the flavor of the soup or other dish it will become.
You can remove the sediment if you want by straining through a juice strainer or cheesecloth, and save this as a more concentrated version.
Pack into freezer containers, label and freeze.
If you grow your own produce organically, you now have a completely natural veggie broth for free.
Use the way you would any broth, not only for soups and stews but also to add a little flavor to casseroles and even for steaming veggies in.
And the flavor? Like the difference between a homegrown and a store bought tomato.
February 1, 2016
Â· gj Â· One Comment
Tags: free food, garden recipes, Gardening, gardening jones, how to make vegetable broth, make your own save money, Other Recipes, self-sufficiency, self-sustainability Â· Posted in: From Seed to Serve, Recipes
Originally calledÂ Green Striped Bell Squash in 1947,Â the seeds wereÂ acquired by Burpee, who changed the name.
Some people suggest this is the same squash Thomas Jefferson referred to as Potato Pumpkin.
The flesh is pale, sweet and dry. Many gardeners say the flavor isnâ€™t that great compared to other winter squashes. Others say the sweet potato like flavor makes it perfect for pie. What does make this squash stand out is that it can be held 6 months or more, often into the following spring. We like that.
We found the Tennessee Sweet Potato to not be as prolific as the spaghetti squash, at least in our Zone 5/6 area. We did notice though that when the weather cooled off it became more productive. This variety does much better in the South, where it can be grown in their cooler weather. Couldn’t resist giving it a go though. Another bonus is that it is resistant to powdery mildew.
Botanical name: CucurbitaÂ mixta
Common name: Tennessee Sweet Potato Squash
Habitat: 12-15′ h annual, full sun
Seed: Direct seed in hills or containers
Spacing: 12-15″ apart in hills.
Days to maturity:80-90
January 30, 2016
Â· gj Â· No Comments
Tags: backyard garden, Gardening, gardening jones, how to plant vegetable plants, planning a garden, self-sufficiency, Squash, zone 5, zone 6 Â· Posted in: Less Common Edibles, Month by Month
It always impresses me the way foods can be combined.
I guess it is because I grew up with a somewhat plain diet. Other than putting pineapple on ham and serving cranberry sauce with turkey, fruit was pretty much for dessert not dinner.
Chutneys became more of a regular thing for us when we started cooking with Indian spices. Nowadays we are likely to incorporate them with a lot of veggies.
Amounts are approximate,Â adjust to taste.
1/2 large apple
1/2 small onion
1/3 cup vinegar
1/3 cup lemon juice
A few dashes of cinnamon
Grated fresh ginger
Chop the fruit and onions, add to a hot greased skillet.
Cook until tender, adding the vinegar and lemon juice along the way. Add the ginger and cinnamon and let simmer a bit.
Chose your favorite variety, we used a Cushaw squash. It has a mild taste that lends itself well to almost any dish.
Poke a few holes or slices in it and place in a pan. Bake in a moderate 350F oven until done. How long depends on the squash you use. Ours was about 1.5 hours.
When cool, slice open. Remove the stringy seeds, and scoop out the pulp to top with the Chutney.
Make a well in the squash and place the chutney inside. This makes a delightful presentation.
As an entree, we served it with homemade light rye bread.
Note: A wee bit of heat would be nice for those that like it.
I posted this picture in a Facebook gardening group I co-admin recently.
The reason I did is that I am trying to not buy any seeds for this planting season; more as an exercise in self-restraint than anything else. And every time I look at my seed stash, I realize I don’t need to. I want to, but don’t need to.
On the post I asked fellow members to guess how many seed companies I have seeds from.
Not packs, just companies.
32 is a wee bit overdoing it, even for me.
So here they are, with links to their websites if they have one, for you to enjoy. Because I like every one of them, and perhaps some will be new to you.
And someday, you may just find yourself in my position.
Seeds For Thee
Mike the Gardener*
Johnny’s Selected Seeds
Issac’s Seed Samples
Ferry-Morse Find them at Home Depot, on Amazon.com and more.
West Coast Seeds
Martha Stewart – Not available direct to the public. Find them at big box stores.
Seed Savers Exchange
Seeds of Change
Bohan Seeds -Website currently down, this is their Facebook page.
Pan American Seed
Terra Organics LLC – I don’t think they sell their seed direct to the public.
Hudson Valley Seed Library
*I like these sites so much, I became an affiliate.
There’s much to be said about the tried and true methods of food preservation that have been handed down for generations.
I’m not sure how I stumbled upon this book published back in 1999, but I’m sure glad I did. In it are over 250 easy to follow recipes and techniques from the Gardeners & Farmers of Terre Vivante for preserving your harvest using older methods rather than modern ones.
Eliot Coleman refers to them as the “natural ‘poetic’ methods”.
Preserving in-ground or in a root cellar
Preserving in oil
Preserving in vinegar
Preserving with salt
Preserving with sugar
Sweet & Sour preserves
Preserving in alcohol
I am really getting into lactic fermentation, as this produces such healthy bacteria for your gut. I just feel better if I get a daily dose of food preserved this way, plus the flavor is so much better.
The section on preserving in vinegar was something I hadn’t thought of. Even though we have flavored vinegar, our emphasis was on the vinegar not the fruit or herb. The simple suggestion in this book of chopping basil and putting it in red cider vinegar to use on salad throughout the year is something I will be doing this summer for sure.
There is another recipe for storing blueberries where you just mash them and put them into a glass canning jar, coat the lid with honey, close it up and keep in a root cellar for up to a year.
It may seem odd not to process the jars, but then I remember growing up how my parents would make jam, cover it with melted paraffin, and store on the shelf.
Now the Dep’t. of Agriculture no longer recommends this method, so it’s up to you to decide. Personally, I would put more faith in gardening and preserving methods that have been used for 100’s of years than a gov’t. agency, but that’s just me.
After all, the gov’t. says Roundup is safe to use.
Note: I am an Amazon affiliate, and would receive a small donation to help with the blog if anyone purchases this book from the link. I did buy my own copy, and am not writing about it for any other reason than because I found it interesting.
When planning a garden to attract butterflies, the first thing you need to know is which butterflies are common to your area.
Even more important, what do their caterpillars like to eat?
Butterfly caterpillars or â€ścatsâ€ť can be found nibbling on the leaves of Asters, Anise, Carrots, Dill, Fennel, Milkweed, Parsley, Parsnips, Snapdragons, Sunflowers, and Violets.
In my Northeast Pennsylvania garden, these are the butterflies I would expect to see: Brush-footed, Swallowtails, Gossamer winged, Metalmarks, Whites and Sulfurs and Skippers.
To attract these butterflies:
|Aster||Blue White Pink Purple||Late summer to fall||Dwarf: 12-18â€ť Regular: 18-24â€ť||Dwarf: Partial Shade Regular: Full Sun||Deer resistant|
|Bee Balm||Pink or purple||Summer to Fall||36-48â€ť||Full Sun and Partial Shade||Edible|
|Black-eyed Susan||Yellow||Mid-summer to Fall||18-30â€ť||Full Sun and Partial Shade||Deer resistant|
|Butterfly bush||Dark purple||Mid-late summer||6-10â€™||Full Sun||Deer resistant Shrub|
|Butterfly weed||Orange and yellow||Late Spring-Midsummer||18-24â€ť||Full Sun and Partial Shade|
|Coreopsis||Yellow Pink Red||Summer-fall||10-24â€ť||Full Sun and Partial Shade||Some varieties are Deer Resistant|
|Lilac||purple||Early Spring||Most 4-8â€™ up to 30â€™||Full Sun||Shrub|
|Marjoram both Wild and Sweet||Pink- purple||Midsummer to Fall||Wild 18-40â€ť Sweet 4-6â€ť||Full Sun||Can be invasive Edible|
|Marigolds||Yellow and Orange||Midsummer to Fall||Most var. 8-12â€ť||Full sun||Attract Japanese beetles Repels rabbits|
|Phlox||Pink Purple and White||Early summer to Fall||24-40â€ť||Partial Shade||Deer resistant|
|Purple Coneflower||Purple||Mid-late summer||2-4â€™||Full Sun to Partial Shade||Deer resistant|
|Sage||Violet-blue||Mid-summer to Fall||2-4â€™||Partial Shade||Deer resistant Edible|
|Zinnia||Multiple colors||Mid-summer to Fall||To 40â€ť||Full sun||Good in pots and for cutting.|
Of course you can add some edibles as well. Planting carrots, fennel and dill will help your Butterfly Garden thrive.
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 head Cauliflower, broken into florets
Green Chili Paste
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
1/2 Red Sweet Pepper, chopped
1 handful each Swiss Chard, Kale and Baby Spinach
Saute the onion in olive oil, then add the cauliflower florets and some green chili paste. How much depends on how much you like it.
Add the water andÂ lemon juice.Â Let this simmer until the cauliflower starts to just be cooked.
Add theÂ red pepper and greens.Â Mix it all together, and let simmer until the greens are cooked.
If you like it hot you can add some hot red curry paste.
For added protein, top itÂ off with some Quinoa.
Info on growing grains in your garden.Â Our season wasn’t a good one for Quinoa in 2015, but we ain’t giving up!