Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Harvest Totals 8/31

This week was finally a week of tomato harvests! You can see what other gardeners have harvested at Daphne's Dandelions.

On Monday I harvested a 5 oz red heirloom and 4.5 oz of cherry tomatoes. I also took another chili pepper and 1.25 oz of lettuce mix.
On Tuesday, I picked the first of the green zebras. It was soft to the touch and more yellow than green in the background color. Also another 3 oz of cherry tomatoes
On Wednesday I picked the two good but ugly yellow brandywines which weighed 13.5 oz and 16 oz of green beans.
On Friday I picked the one and only pink tomato which weighed 11.12 oz, and the last of the red heirlooms which weighed 6 3/4 oz, as well as another green at 2 oz.
Sunday we picked 6 3/4 oz of Romas which were added to paste tomatoes from Farmers market to make a sauce, and a few more cherry tomatoes.

So every harvest this week had tomatoes for a total of 3 1/2 lbs of tomatoes. However, now the yellows, heirlooms, and pinks are gone. Some romas, cherries, and green zebras remain, but no more large tomatoes are in our future this season.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Harvest Monday 8/24/09

Each week Daphne hosts a show of garden harvests. You can view other gardener's harvests at Daphne's Dandelions.

We've been harvesting basil with almost every harvest this week, but it never weighs much on its own. It is nice to have it whenever you need it.
On Tuesday, 14 oz of swiss chard went into a yummy Chard Apple Quiche.

On Wednesday, 5 oz of cherry tomatoes and 7 1/2 oz of Romano green beans and 11 1/2 oz of blue lake green beans became a side dish of braised green beans one evening this week.
On Thursday, I harvested my two slicing cucumbers which came in at 14 oz. I probably should have picked them earlier since they were a bit seedy inside, but we enjoyed them in a salad with cherry tomatoes and feta anyways.
And Sunday, I harvested my first full size tomato. My mystery heirloom which looks dark pinkish, came in at 10 1/4 oz for the first fruit. I also picked my lone zucchini which weight 10 1/2 oz. Here's a second shot of the beautiful color on that first tomato. The tomato became the centerpiece of a Tomato Tart. My mom had sent me the recipe a week or two ago and I was just waiting for the right tomato to try it. You can see from the photo below that the tomato was very meaty and had few seeds. We halved the recipe to make one large tart. Our only other modification was that we sauteed a leek first and layered that in the bottom of the tart before adding the egg mixture. The crust recipe was hard to work with but nice and buttery. Next time we'll probably stick with our usual crust recipe. With our sauteed zucchini, it made a very yummy dinner.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Almost There!

I keep having to squeeze these green zebras to see if they are ripe. The stripes have darkened but so far they are remaining firm. This plant has been my most prolific besides the cherry tomato. It has at least two other sprays of fruit and has continued to set more.
My mystery heirlooms look to be a pink or light red tomato and the one in the middle is almost ready to pick, it is getting nice and soft.
My yellow brandywines are hanging in there despite the cracking of the fruit that occurred early on and the early blight affecting the leaves. From the other side they don't look pretty. I'll definitely be trimming out some bad spots but I know they'll taste good anyways. The smaller one on the left is almost ready to pick too.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Summer Knitting

The cool rainy weather we had for most of the summer meant that I was happy to continue to work on knitting projects. Here are a few I finished this summer.

I made quite a few baby gifts for friends and relatives. I made two baby sweaters for friends. The one on the left is a Debbie Bliss Pattern. The one on the right is a heavily modified pattern from Knitting Daily called Cabled Ragland Baby Sweater
. I had to change the stitch counts because I used a heavier weight yarn. I also didn't care for the cable in the original pattern so I used a lace pattern from one of my sock books.

Here is a detail of the lace. I'm very happy with the modifications and will probably make another.
I also knit some magic slippers and baby socks of my own design for baby gifts.

A sweater for myself. It is a popular pattern on Ravelry called the February Lady Sweater. I wanted it to be a spring/fall weight so I made it with a cotton blend. I'm very happy with it and I've already worn it a couple times this summer.
Now that the weather is hot, my only knitting project is a pair of socks to keep my hands busy at church. Instead I'm currently working on two quilts for upcoming weddings. Pictures of those will have to wait until after the events happen this fall.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pasta with Kale & Sausage Sauce

We'd been in a rut with kale for a while and had gotten tired of eating it with lentils so it had been a month since we picked any. The plants have filled out and we realized we needed to eat some but in a different way. Here's what we came up with.

Pasta with Kale & Sausage Sauce

3 Spicy Italian sausages, removed from casing and crumbled
5 oz kale, washed and torn from stems
2 cups red tomato sauce (We use 5 Minute tomato sauce)
1 clove garlic, minced

Set a pot of water to boil large enough to cook your pasta. In a skillet, brown the crumbled sausages. When the water boils, place the kale in the pot and blanch for a few minutes. Remove the kale from the pot using a slotted spoon, reserving the water in the pot. Return the water to a boil and cook the pasta. While the pasta cooks, chop the kale. When the sausage is cooked, add the minced garlic and saute one minute. Add the two cups of red sauce and the chopped kale. Heat over medium heat until the sauce is warmed. Drain the pasta and serve the sauce over the pasta with Parmesan cheese.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday Harvest Totals 8/17

My first harvest last week was more lettuce (2 oz.) and one long slim red cayenne pepper (1/8 oz) which went into tacos. I was checking on the color of a plum tomato and when I touched it, it came off in my hand. So it will have to ripen on the windowsill.Saturday I picked the first three cherry tomatoes! They came in at 2.25 oz.
On Sunday I picked 4 oz of lacinato kale and 1 oz of my winterbor kale which is planted for fall. I harvested 10.5 oz of pickling cucumbers.
Look at these funny shapes! For some reason all my cucumbers bulge at one end or the other. I wonder if it was all the rain followed by a dry spell caused this.
I had leftover brine from the last batch of bread & butter pickles that I kept in the refrigerator. So I sliced these up and boiled them with the brine. I'll let them cool and then keep them in the refrigerator for quick eating.

You can see other gardener's harvests at Daphne's Dandelions.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

First Tomato!

Yesterday I harvested the first of my Sweet Chelsea Cherry tomatoes!
I love how they are warm from the sun as you eat them. They disappeared quickly after being photographed.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tomato Rescue

When I went out to the garden last night to pick some lettuce, I took a walk around as I always do to check on how things are progressing. I noticed that my pink tomato plant had the stem bent over with the weight of the single tomato that has set on it. The stem was in danger of breaking so I had to figure out a way to support the green tomato. This plant is staked, but the one next to it has a cage. I was reminded of Engineered Gardner and his slings for his melons. I decided I could create a sling for the green tomato and attach it to the cage and hope that the stem will recover. I thought about using scrap fabric, but decided that the mesh plastic of an onion bag would do the trick. I placed the tomato into the mesh and then used velcro tomato ties to attach the bag to the wire cage in three places. Hopefully I've saved the sole fruit from this plant.
The neighboring plant (with the cage) is a mystery heirloom. It has these three nice looking fruit set but no others.
My most prolific tomatoes seem to be the Sweet Chelsea Cherry (which is almost ripe) and my Green Zebra which has about 10. The roma tomatoes have about 6 or 8 fruit on them but I think I lost out by pruning too many suckers. My Yellow Brandywine has just two fruit. Here are the cherry tomatoes which should be ready to eat any day now.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Blueberries & Pickles

Last Thursday I picked 13 lbs of blueberries at a local farm. I canned 3 quarts and 9 1/2 pints. We also enjoyed two blueberry cobblers over the next week (my husband and I have different family traditions about cobbler :) and a blueberry pie.

On my way to pick the blueberries I stopped in a local quilt store for some thread. The owner was giving away zucchini and pickling cucumbers so I took 3 1/2 lbs from her and used them to make bread & butter pickles. One cucumber from my garden made it into the batch. I need a much bigger garden if I'm going to put up my own pickles in the future. I made 6 pints of bread and butter pickles. My Blue Lake beans made one pint jar of dilly beans.

This week I made some more pickles. With over two pounds of cucumbers from the farmers market and over three pounds of green beans from a farm stand, I made 7 more pints of dilly beans,
and 5 more pints of bread & butter pickles.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Monday Harvest Totals 8/10

Here's a summary of what I've harvested over the past week. You can see what other gardeners have harvested at Daphne's Dandelions.

It seems like spring in that I've been eating lettuce all week. My second plantings of romaine and mesclun are coming into their own and so I had three salads this week, for a total harvest of 8 oz. of lettuce and greens.

We cut back the Swiss Chard this week to harvest about another 12 oz. for Swiss Chard Risotto. It will take a bit for it to recover. As usual, I forgot to photograph the Swiss Chard.

I harvested 9 oz of blue lake green beans and my first pickling cucumber (3.5 oz). The green beans became dilly beans and the cucumber went into bread & butter pickles.
A second harvest of 8 oz Romano Beans went into a curry dish. I didn't remember to photograph them until they were chopped and in with some of the other vegetables. The Romanos seem to be producing more than the Blue Lake.
Here is a quick view of the two beds. ( I really need to pull the peas!)

Here are a few things I'm looking forward to harvesting in the next week.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Yard Sale Find (More Jars)

Last Saturday we drove around to yard sales. At one, I found a large box of jars for $2. That was a deal I couldn't pass up.The box included 15 quart jars, 22 pint jars, and 6 wire closure jars (2 qt, 4 pint). Here is the spread of the regular quart and pint jars after being washed. I haven't washed the wire closure jars. I learned that its best to wash one or two at a time so that you can make sure to put the wire closure and glass lids back with the right jar.
There were a few interesting jars among the bunch. One is a larger quilted jar, another is an extra large wide mouth jar.
Two quart jars are square and are labeled as Canadian Ball Jars, with French on one side. I think the square shape is nice because they fit closer together on the shelf.