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Archive for August, 2008

I’ve been brainstorming about making a really flavorful, rich pasta sauce. Today I made another roasted pan and it came out really good! It’s got all the flavors I was looking for, sweet, salty, rich, and a fullness to the bite. I called my new recipe “Layers of Flavor.” If it can make these kinda bland tomatoes taste good, what will it do to a good tasting tomato? I’m excited to try it with the lemon boys. And I’ve got enough to do it, too. Maybe even later today after I wash the dishes.
I think I’ll try dehydrating some tomatoes too—if I have enough. That will be a good way to get rid of any extra, especially if I can’t buy any more habanero peppers (there are currently none to be had at my favorite stores). And they’ll look good enough to give as gifts, he he. We’ll see.
I’m planning on having fajitas this weekend, with grilled chicken and home grown peppers—it’s going to be so good! I haven’t told Scott the details, other than to expect to grill. I can’t wait. And a watermelon will be ready then too, so extra bonus!
It’s funny how a gardening blog turns into a cooking and recipe blog. It’s only natural, when you grow a food garden. It’s the whole point, actually!
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Designed to make the most of bland tomatoes, this recipe will stimulate all the areas of the mouth. If made with homegrown tomatoes, expect a flavor explosion! Makes 1 quart

Ingredients:
about 8 medium tomatoes, peeled and halved
1 med onion, rough chopped
1 green bell pepper, rough chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp beef bouillon powder
1 tsp dry italian herbs
1/2 tbsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tbsp hot sauce
olive oil

Directions: in a 9 x 13 baking dish, pour a little olive oil and spread to coat. Layer the tomatoes into the bottom, topped with garlic, onion, and green pepper.

Bake on a low rack for 60 minutes at 425F. Remove and let sit until the sizzling stops. Add all the herbs and spices. Spoon the contents into a blender or food processor and puree smooth.

If canning, add 1/2 tsp citric acid and leave 1/2-3/4″ headspace. Process in boiling water for 40 mins.

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This is another pasta sauce attempt. It’s better, but not the best. The problem is my tomatoes: they really lack flavor!

Ingredients:
tomatoes, peeled and halved. Enough to cover the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish or roasting pan (5-6 cups)
1/2 large onion, rough chopped
1 large bell pepper, rough chopped
1 tsp dried italian herbs
1/2 tbsp salt

Directions: Coat the baking dish with oil. Spread tomatoes in bottom of pan. Layer on onions and peppers. Bake on a low shelf in the oven for 60 minutes at 425F. Remove and let cool. Sprinkle on the herbs and salt.

Spoon into blender or food processor and puree until smooth.

Makes about 1 quart

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For my complete review (while green) click here.
I’ve gotten a couple red ripe Gypsy peppers, so here is my review:
Left to mature to red, these peppers are oh so sweet, fruity, and delicious! Not a trace of acidity or bitterness. Texture is the same: wet and crisp. But the taste is to drool over. I’m letting as many as possible turn red before I freeze them for future use. 65 days to green; 80+ days to red.

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Tomato Harvest

I got so many tomatoes today, the harvest is really picking up speed. I need to make a batch of pasta sauce almost everyday to keep up with it.

Aren't they pretty?

The salsa tomatoes don’t deliver that rich flavor I’m used to in a pasta sauce, so I tried roasting a pan full in the oven. It came out with a deeper flavor, but still not a rich, lick-your-finger goodness I really want.
As a result, Scott and I decided to try a different variety next year—black tomatoes. They are supposed to have a smoky richness that hopefully will be good in both sauce and salsa. I’m still going to get other varieties too: a rich paste tomato that I’ve been eyeing for months, a good slicer, and something early. Will there be Lemon Boys next year? Still haven’t decided for sure, but if there is it will be only one plant. I do like them in sandwiches better than a traditional red tomato.
I also picked the sunflower head today, so hopefully we’ll get some seeds from that.
The pumpkin vines were doing good, then I stopped treating for the mildew and it came back with a vengeance. I finally saw the first female flower a couple days ago, but when I went out to water today it had aborted, so I had it! I pulled the vines up and threw them out. I’m going to run my gloves through the washer so I hope any mildew gets sanitized. I don’t want to see that again next year—what a pain!

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Today was the day for my prized Lemon Boy!!

I've watched (and photographed) it from birth!

I couldn’t bear to cut it up, so I’m saving it. Hopefully we’ll have hamburgers this weekend—yummy! Didn’t make it to a pound, just to 13 ozs. The other Lemon boys I had got peeled and diced for sauce or salsa. I think the harvest is starting to pick up: I’ve got almost 4 cups of salsa tomatoes and a full 4 cups of peeled, diced lemon boys. Gotta get to cooking!

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Today was harvest day for the banana peppers! I got 39 peppers off of 6 plants with a few more to come that were immature. Then I went out and bought 1/2 pint jars. I wanted full pints, but that was all B.L. had, oh well! Only two peppers fit into each jar. Anyway, I hope they’re good. I don’t know what it is with me, but I can never follow a recipe as written, I always make adjustments somewhere…

this isn't even all of them!

The Description from where I got the seed:
70 days. If you like tasty banana peppers, you’ll love this whopper, which produces much bigger peppers on much smaller plants. Each fruit is two inches longer and an amazing 30% meatier than the peppers on Sweet Banana. The fruits are 8″ long and more a truly giant pepper.
Here is my review for the raw pepper:
Similar wetness to a bell pepper, but with thicker and more bitter skin. Taste was distinctly peppery. The red pepper was noticeably sweeter, but with the same bitterness near the skin. Chestnut says they’re tasty! (Which is good, cause I can give her the nubs that didn’t get pickled.)
Will I grow again?
Probably not. The health of the plants wasn’t up to my expectations. Late fruit set, and lots of leaf death despite regular waterings. And they weren’t anywhere near the size of the description!
End-of-Year Stats:
# of Plants___Days to Maturity___Days Off____Yield____Yield per Plant
__6____________78_____________8_______68________11

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