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Archive for July, 2009

I counted my growing tomatoes and there are over 100. I then posted that on the gardening forum and someone replied that that was a very low number for 20 plants. Alas, I was excited before and now I’m sad again thinking some of my plants only have 1 or 2 fruit on them. Boo hoo! I’m pretty sure the carbon and black cherry plants just got switched somehow, and are not crossbreeds at all. Still no sign of ripening.

I just got my 3rd zucchini of the week, and there are more growing. I hope to get a 4th and then have my parents over for stuffed squash. Yummy!

 

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Another zucchini tonight! I’ll make it into something in the next few days, tomorrow I’m slotted to make sloppy joe’s. If I can figure out when it was pollinated, then I’ll know how long it takes a plant to grow the fruit into large orange size (about 14 oz). Seems like less than a week, right?

I was pondering my tomato plants again. It seems that each plant has less than 6 fruits growing! My giant carbon plant is doing better, and a few siletz have more than that. But prudens, marianna’s, green giant, and black cherry all have less than 6 each. Pretty disappointing! Was I spoiled last year, getting lots of tomatoes and more than one every day after mid-august? Wait and see it’s the only thing to do. They do say that heirlooms’ production is often less than hybrids. Sigh!

A note about black cherry: it’s possible that the plant with the mutant tomato isn’t a black cherry at all, but some kind of crossbreed! All the tomatoes on the plant are medium and getting bigger. No sign of ripening. The other black cherry plant may indeed be a cherry tomato. It’s also possible my giant carbon plant is a crossbreed also, as it’s tomatoes seem too small. Maybe that’s a black cherry and they got switched?  We’ll see what I actually get once they’re ripe, of course.

 

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July 19

I hand pollinated 3 more zucchini flowers in the past 2 days, plus one mystery squash. It looks rather round, so it may be acorn squash. The other 2 vines from the compost appear to be different varieties, with no blossoms yet.

Scott and I went to B.L. tonight and I got a nice harvest basket! It’s green with handles and is rather short and wide, so it’s perfect. Plus it was on clearance half price and we had a 20% off coupon on top, so that was a good find! I just hope my harvest lives up to it!

Update: Basket in use. Nice, huh?

 

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I just spent an hour pruning and tying my tomato plants. Many of them had yellow spots on the lower leaves, with marianna’s the worst. Black cherry, green giant, and carbon didn’t seem to have it. I don’t know what it was, or if it’ll come back. I hope it wasn’t blight? Lots of baby tomatoes growing!

5 zucchinis total now, and only one new blossom. I made pasta bolognese and it was awesome:

Drool, drool! I want some just thinking about it!

We got the screen door installed to the office, now we just have to hang the cupboard in the garage and I’ll be set for my can storage! We bought 3 cases of pints, plus I have 1 case of quarts and a case of 1/2 pints—which I’ll have to empty of gross banana peppers. I also have a handful of pints from Uncle Glenn. I hope the harvest lives up to it! Last year we had 12 plants and filled 10 quarts plus a little extra, so maybe 11 or 12 quarts at most. That’s the same as 2 cases of pints.

This year I have 23 plants, and expect to yield 3 cases of pints. Well, I can hope and dream anyway. So far the yield looks less promising than that…

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Hearty, chunky meaty sauce covering any pasta you want. So good!

I’ve made this chunky meat sauce many times, and it always comes out great whether you use canned tomatoes or fresh, or whether you use red wine or white. I especially like it with the addition of bell pepper. It’s quite versatile depending on what produce is in season.

Ingredients:
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork sausage
1/2 lb (or more) zucchini, diced
2 tbsp tomato paste
2-3 cups fresh tomatoes, diced (or 1-2 14 oz cans tomatoes)
1/2 cup wine of your choice
1/2 cup beef stock
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1-2 tbsp flour, optional

Optional Add-ins:
1/2 bell pepper, diced
8 oz fresh mushrooms, chopped
1 carrot, finely diced
and/or 1 celery stalk, diced

1/2 pound pasta such as spaghetti or linguine

Directions:
In a large skillet, heat oil and sautee garlic and onions until clear. Add in zucchini. Add the meat and break up with a spoon.

Cooking veggies surround the meat in the center.

When meat is cooked half way,  stir in wine, broth, seasonings, and tomatoes.

Add in the tomatoes

Simmer 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. If the sauce isn’t tightening up to your liking, whisk in 1 to 2 tbsp flour. Continue simmering until it is to your taste.

Simmer, stirring occasionally

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.

Add drained pasta back into the skillet

Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and toss with the finished sauce.

Serve me up some, quick!

Top with a little parmesan cheese, if desired.

Everything's better with a bit o' cheese!

Serves 6

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I think round zucchini are really going to catch on. They are super cute and versitile in the kitchen. You can hollow out and stuff, or peel them and slice them for mock apple pie or the like. Dicing and shredding are no-brainers.

These globe shaped zucchini are actually pumpkins!

The Description from where I got my seed:
This round little charmer is bold, glossy and with a deep forest-green skin. Loaded with delicious nutty, buttery flavor, ‘Eight Ball’ makes a fantastic stuffer. Vines are very productive. 55 days
First Impressions:
Is it ready yet? Is it ready yet? Holy crap! It grew 2 inches over night! The hardest part is judging when they are big enough to stuff but not too big that they get seedy. Large orange size to grapefruit size is usually a few ounces under a pound and a perfect size for most uses.
My taste review:
Typical zucchini taste, mild nothingness. Aroma of squashiness wafts from its cut flesh. Great as stuffed zucchini, or anything and everything zucchini recipes abound.

Hollowing and dicing, prep work for stuffing zucchini


Will I grow again?
Oh yeah. This will become a staple in my garden.
End-of-Year Stats:
# of Plants___Days to Maturity___Days Off____Yield____Yield per Plant
__2____________63_____________8______16________8

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The finished risotto is thick, creamy, and saucy with balanced flavors.

This recipe is highly altered from the book, The Classic Zucchini Cookbook: 225 Recipes for All Kinds of Squash. The original recipe called for pumpkin or butternut, so it would have been more suited for a winter meal. As I have it here, it is great for early summer, though it does take a while to prepare.

Ingredients:
1/2 cu white wine
4 cu chicken broth
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1 cup “arborio” rice, though any rice will work
1 tsp salt
1 lb zucchini, diced
1/3 cu parmesan cheese
pepper, to taste

Directions:
Start by sweating the zucchini: line a bowl with cheesecloth or a cloth napkin or towel. Dice the zucchini and put in the lined bowl. Sprinkle liberally with salt and toss. Fold the napkin corners up and over the zucchini and let sit for a couple hours or overnight. It may go into the fridge. When the time comes to make the risotto, take the cloth corners and squeeze the zucchini through the cloth to remove the extra water. Then proceed with the rest of the recipe.

Saute onion, garlic, and zucchini with oil and spices in a large skillet pan. Add rice (dry) in order to toast it. Meanwhile, begin heating the 4 cups of broth in a saucepan. Keep this pan on the stove and ladle the hot broth into the skillet as needed. After the rice is nice and bright white, turning golden, stir in the wine. You may want to remove from heat for this step.

In between stirrings, the rice simmers in the liquid while the veggies cook.

Turn the heat back up to med-high. When the wine is evaporated, add broth one cup at a time, stirring and letting it soak in and evaporate before adding more. In between stirring, the liquid should be simmering in the pan.

Taste after 20, 30, and 40 minutes (if necessary). When the rice is just cooked through, stir in the cheese to tighten up the sauce.

Serves 4

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