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Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

Herbs Drying

This is my contraption for drying some of the herbs from my balcony garden. I’m using a cookie rack on the bottom and an upside-down sink colander over the top, with the herbs inside. I’m hoping there is enough air flow to dry them in a semi-proper sort of way. I’m also hoping that this is enough of a cat deterrent, as she loves investigating anything 1) new, and/or 2) green. So far, so good…

I’m drying sage, rosemary, lavender, thyme, basil, and oregano. This is the fourth day and they seem to be shrinking and drying okay. I try not to disturb them too much. I’d like to make an ‘Herbes de Provence’ blend for the pantry… So, once they’ve dried, we’ll see what I end up doing with them. Here is a picture of the menacing culprit that I’m trying to keep at bay…

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Basil

Well, the basil is growing very nicely. So nicely, in fact, that I’m going to have to start making some pesto pretty soon! I have been using it fresh, which I love doing, but there’s enough of it now that pesto time is in order. So, I will be adding that to my list.

Baby Lettuce

I’m pleasantly surprised with this baby lettuce mix. It’s now of a size where I could pick some and use it on a sandwich. Not quite enough yet for a salad, which is how I’m really looking forward to using it. So, I will continue to water and watch it grow!

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Here is my newly planted herb container of oregano, chives, and thyme. This is my first time growing oregano, so I’m curious about that. Also, I don’t generally use it a lot, so we’ll see where and how it ends up. It’s about time for my annual online fresh herb recipe search, so I’m sure I’ll get some ideas then. I love having the thyme and chives. I’ll definitely be using them in dips and spreads and such. I was reading this morning about putting fresh herbs in marinades with meats… I will have to try that too! I’ve also got a lavender out there, though that is more for prettiness, in sight and in scent…

And here is my beloved basil container. This pic shows them at one week old (with me), and I’ve already been plucking away at the leaves. I put a chopped tomato and basil mix on top of some pasta last week. Then D. used the rest of it tonight as a topping to a sandwich he made for us. These guys may look a little tall but scrawny now, but they are going to poof out and look more like a mini basil Christmas tree in about a month’s time. At least, if past year’s basil is any indication…

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New Salad

This is a new salad, in that I used several ingredients that I didn’t usually use with last season’s salads. I’m very much liking that fresh salad time is here again. I’m going to try and grow a salad greens mix in one of my balcony containers this year… I thought of that last night, and honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before. I’ve already got basil, chives, oregano, tomatoes, and thyme out there for this year. They’re not planted yet, but I do hope to do that this weekend…

Anyway, for the salad above, I tried a few new ingredients. And let me just add, that getting my ingredients from the local farm for the first time this season made it taste all that much better! We really don’t do salads in the winter, because I simply don’t like the taste of store-bought produce bought in the off-season. It’s okay for some things when I’m cooking, but when it’s going into a bowl of greenery, I really do prefer it to be fresh!

  • Bit of Romaine Lettuce
  • Salad Greens Mix (New – romaine was the typical for last year)
  • Tomatoes (Fresh!)
  • Green Onions (Fresh!)
  • Avocado (New-ish – I only add this on occasion)
  • Cucumber (Fresh!)
  • Blue Cheese Crumbles (New!)
  • Walnuts (New-ish – I can’t wait to try cashews next time)

And that was it… It was deliciously green and, well, fresh.ย  ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  The avocado and blue cheese added a bit of creamy texture to this salad, enough so that I didn’t use any dressing.ย  Anyway, it just tasted so darn green and fresh to me.ย  I think I need to find a synonym here, but it was just so newly-grown good!

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Tomatoes and Basil

I do believe that this may be the last pickings of my balcony gardening season. Basil and tomatoes. I did get enough basil for one more batch of pesto, although it looks a bit squished down here. And I’m going to make a yellow tomato salsa for some enchiladas that I have planned later in the week.

There was really not much cooking going on this past week… my head cold was lingering, and my energy levels after work wre close to zilch. I did make a basic pasta with mushrooms and garlic one night, because we were wanting something warm.

However, I do have a menu list planned out for next week, and we just came back from the grocery store. D. has been in the kitchen making pumpkin cheesecakes, which he just pulled out of the oven. They smelled quite good earlier… however now, the smell of freshly-picked basil is permeating the air at the moment. ๐Ÿ˜‰ So it’s a bit hard to get a good whiff of the pumpkiny goodness. He also made a sweet sort of dip, using a jalapeรฑo relish and roasted red peppers. That tasted very good, even before proper melding time. ๐Ÿ™‚ Desserts and dip, check!

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aka: My tomatoes have finally turned red! ๐Ÿ™‚ There’s still some more greenish ones out there, but I was pleased to get a bowlful of tomatoes when we got back home. Especially considering that they weren’t getting any water, but at this stage of the game I knew they could handle it. The basil was a bit wilty, but I think they’re doing better now. I have to go give them another drink this evening.

Hopefully, I’ll get to make that last batch of pesto this week, but my head is quite stuffy and I’m not feeling the greatest. D. stopped at the grocery store after work for some stocking up after being away for a week (thank You!). He’ll be making egg and cheese wraps for dinner this evening. Something warm, light and yummy. Aside from that, I have no idea what else we’ll be eating this week, but we’ll take it as it comes. We can be pretty good at that too… ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Salad with Wings

  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Tomatoes, chopped
  • Green Onions, chopped
  • Cucumbers, cubed
  • Buffalo Wings, cubed (leftover from pizza and wing night)
  • Artichoke Hearts
  • Roasted Red Peppers
  • Add some Ranch or Blue Cheese Dressing!

This salad turned out very well. The addition of the leftover Buffalo Wings gave it a nice tangy flavor. Truly fresh and local salad season will be coming to a close soon. This was definitely a yummy one! Not the last, but nearing the end of the season, yes. Sad, but true.

I’ve noticed how the days are getting shorter now, as dusk falls earlier and earlier. The evenings are chilly… the mornings are cool and dewy. The basil is still growing, albeit slower. And I wait for the tomatoes to turn… ๐Ÿ˜‰

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