Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

We actually had a really good, big harvest from our green bean plants. The problem, however, is we only had one. And it came at the end of August.

Most of this is our fault. First, because we planted them too late — in June after the peas were done. Second, because we forgot to check them after the first bowl.

We also attribute some of this to the weird weather this summer. It was cooler than most summers and we had a lot of rain in July.

The Kentucky Wonder pole beans grew very well — some tendrils and leaves reached more than six feet tall and wrapped around our garage toward the tomatoes. But once they started to actually mature into beans, quite a few were bulging, which means they’re overly mature and could be tough (not good).

The good and the bad of our green bean harvest.

The good and the bad of our green bean harvest.


We made a delicious garlicky green bean sauté (recipe below) but wished we had more throughout the summer. On a positive note, the deer didn’t eat them like they have the past couple years.

So, what can be done better next year? We need to plant early! And check on them more often. I’d love to have a steady supply throughout the season.

Garlicky green beans

We had about a pound or so of the green beans, and this is an adaptation of a recipe I found. First, snap off the ends and de-string the beans. Then cut/trim to desired size.

Toss into a pot of boiling, salted water and cook for about three or four minutes. While those are cooking, add garlic to hot pan with oil. We used about four or five cloves of garlic.

Once the green beans are done, transfer from the boiling water to the pan with garlic and continue to sauté for another four or five minutes, stirring, until the green beans are crisp tender.

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Making salsa is a great way to use tomatoes from the garden.

Making salsa is a great way to use tomatoes from the garden.

We’re in the heart of winter here, and that makes me miss the long, wonderful days of summer. I wrote this post and recipe a while ago but realized I never shared it here.


Right at the end of July and early August, we had more tomatoes than we knew what to do with. This is a perfect time to make a big batch of fresh salsa.

While I’m good with the jar salsa, there is nothing like when it’s fresh out of the garden with no cooking to muddle the flavors.

Here’s what you need:

• About two or three pounds of tomatoes, chopped. Ours were a mix of Roma and regular tomatoes (Brandywine and Celebrity are what we grew).

• A bunch of cilantro, finely chopped

• Hot peppers. We used about four jalapeños (two seeded, two with seeds) and two Anaheim peppers.

• One lime, for juice and zest

• Half of a medium onion, chopped

• Four cloves of garlic, minced

• Salt

Mix all the chopped vegetables and herbs together. Squeeze out the juice from both lime halves and add the zest from one half. Add a couple pinches of salt and mix again. Let sit overnight so the flavors mix. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Should make about six cups of salsa.

* To avoid the salsa being too watery, you can squeeze out some of the pulp & juice from the tomatoes before chopping. Add it back to the salsa until it’s desired consistency.

* As always, you can adjust to taste. To make it less spicy, remove the pepper seeds and ribs. Cilantro is necessary, but you can add more or less, depending on taste.

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When we were getting zucchini pretty often this summer, I wanted to find a way to make it in a new way. Grilled, sautéed in a pan, breaded and baked — all were delicious.

Then I came across a recipe we had to try: zucchini noodles (zoodles). It was really easy and tasty. I’m not going to lie and say it tastes just like pasta because it doesn’t.

Before giving the recipe, I should mention a few things. This would have been way easier if I had this tool called a julienne peeler or a mandoline, but I didn’t. We used our regular vegetable peeler. It worked, but then I had to pile them all together and cut into smaller strips.

Also, don’t go all the way to the seeds. You really just want to fleshy part, but don’t waste perfectly good zucchini. I diced the core part and baked it in the oven with some grape/cherry tomatoes to add to the cooked zoodles, but you can use whatever sauce you want. We also added cooked garlic and onions.


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A few weeks ago we were having a lazy Sunday morning, drinking our coffee and catching up on Top Chef: Masters. I don’t remember anything else about the episode except the Quickfire challenge: make an upscale version of nachos.

I’m sure each chef made something fancier than we ever could, but for the rest of the episode that’s all kept thinking about.

It ended up working out pretty perfectly — we had all the ingredients on hand. Plus, it was a great way to use up the variety of hot peppers and tomatoes we had picked earlier that week.

Ours were your standard nacho recipe, but they were so delicious, I think even Curtis Stone would have been impressed.


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Our sauce topped breaded and baked eggplant and zucchini. We cooked the pasta but didn't eat it because the veggies were very filling.

Our sauce topped baked eggplant and zucchini. We cooked the pasta but didn’t eat it because everything else was so filling.

Usually “homemade” tomato sauce for us is adding a can of crushed tomatoes and herbs to sautéed onions and garlic. Recently we tried to make sauce with the bowlful of Roma tomatoes we picked from the garden, and it was one of the best we’ve ever tasted.

It’s a lot of steps but worth it. We served it on top of baked and breaded zucchini and eggplant from our garden.

There are a million different recipes out there – some say to remove the seeds because they turn bitter, but that wasn’t a problem for us.

Here’s what you need*: any kind of tomato, herbs, onions, garlic, red wine, salt & pepper.


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It’s the end of July and our slicing tomatoes are finally changing color – just a week ago they were barely starting to blush red. There are a ton of clusters on each plant, so many that they’re starting to weigh down the branches, and we’ve had to resort to tying the stakes together to keep them upright.

Still not even turning red.

Still not even turning red.

So to lighten the load (literally), we strategically removed about five big tomatoes and decided to make a Southern favorite – fried green tomatoes.

We’ve never made these before, but I’m so glad we did because they were absolutely delicious. I looked up a few recipes and found the basics are the same. As usual, I made my own variation.


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Thankfully, most of the insect problems have subsided, and we’re actually getting to use a lot of the vegetables from our garden. The harvest has been good so far and even if everything dies tomorrow (which we are hoping doesn’t happen), I’ll chalk it up to a pretty successful year.

Grilled chicken pitas with tzatziki and orzo.

Chicken pitas with tzatziki and orzo.

While I’m happy with a sliced cucumber or tomato and a little bit of salt, or some sautéed zucchini and eggplant, we’ve been trying to think of more creative ways to use everything.

That said, I’ll be sharing a few of the dishes we’ve been making with the herbs and vegetables from our garden. First up, Greek chicken with tzatziki.

It’s a pretty simple recipe, and we usually stuff the chicken in a pita pocket and top with the tzatziki.


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Lots of basil!

Lots of basil!

It must be a prime spot in the garden because our basil was seriously getting out of control. The plants themselves were taller than they’ve ever been in the past three years, and some of the leaves were almost the size of our palms.

Just to bring the plants back to a more manageable size, we had to pick a ton of basil – a full colander of about 3-4 cups when packed down. The first thing I always think of when there is an abundance of basil is to make pesto. It’s really easy to make and can be adjusted to taste.

Here’s the basic recipe* I use:


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The weather is getting warmer and that means the end of our peas. They didn’t do as well as we’d hoped because it was too cold early in the season, too warm as they blossomed, and the deer were eating the shoots once they started growing.

We probably got a good bowl of pods and could’ve had more if we didn’t keep eating them right off the vine. I pulled the peas this past weekend to make space for planting our green beans. Even though there were still a handful of blossoms and tiny pea pods, it was time for them to go into the compost bin. But not all was lost.

I was able to harvest quite a bit of pea shoots for a quick and delicious side. There are tons of recipes out there, but here’s what I did.


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