Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Back In The Kitchen

Tonight's Dinner:
 These are Tony's Noodles with organic, whole wheat spaghetti (you can make them with agave instead of honey if you like).  Perfect for a 90 degree evening.

Isa's Vanilla Ice Cream from Veganomicon, tastes like Bryer's, seriously!!  I required ice cream tonight.

Cooks Note: If you make it, play it safe and don't add the vanilla until the very end. If you add it at the beginning, it may never freeze totally due to the alcohol in the vanilla extract.  It depends which extract and probably which machine you are using, but I use Penzey's extract and also tried McCormick and it happened both times.  Then, I decided to just add the extract at the VERY end of the ice cream maker's cycle. Now, perfection :-).

And, from my cooking adventures this weekend, 
The NO saute, NO food processor, Amazing Black Bean Burgers of New Jersey
 Recipe coming soon to this blog! :-) 

Classic Pesto Pasta Salad (with Campanelles) and Grape Tomatoes

Dreena Burton's Super Charge Me Cookies (from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan)
 These are unbelievable.  LOVE them.  

And, my friend, the ground hog making his holiday rounds.  
He just seems to eat my clover, not my plants, so for now, I'll leave him alone.

What have you all been making in this hot weather?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Garden Fazool: The English Garden

Wanted to share some pictures of my front yard.  It is in "English Garden" style and was planted mostly by the former owners who had gardening aesthetics akin to ours.  The former owner is a chef (house has a great kitchen) and his wife was into the gardening as well.

Here is the fig tree that is starting to leaf out!  I love how they just grow branches right below the cutting, out of what to some looks like a "dead" tree.  My neighbor made fun of me because I had pruned it way back (which is fine for fig trees) but I kept reassuring him the tree would be fine!  I need to keep the fruit where I can reach it once it starts yielding tons of delicious figs (like it did last year, hopefully!), so have to keep it pruned like that for any hope of reaching the fruit :-)

 And, don't know what these beauties are called, but aren't they GORGEOUS?

Mystery Plant #2...Looks intentionally planted, smells a bit like oregano, but certainly resembles weeds!

A close-up of the mystery plant.  What is this, guys? Anyone know? It seems like an edible.

My lovage is bolting, see?

Here are our Sidewalk Sunflowers!

Going to harvest the seeds this year.


And my lavender is about to bloom!

Not sure what this guy is sticking up out of my other flowers...

Here is my awesome, blue lacecap hydrangea:

Have a great Friday and a great weekend! If anyone knows what that mystery plant #2 is, please post below!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Garden Fazool: Trouble with the Tomatoes!

Guys, somethin's gettin' my tomatoes!  I lost two this week.  The first two plants (starting on our left) bit the dust.  The plants looked like the stem had broken, and there were those divots I was telling you guys about before, like a cat or a groundhog was digging in there, and there were a few more paw-like prints in there today.  I thought the rain broke the first one in half, and the second one was just left there on the ground, looked more like an animal got it.  AND, the fourth plant has tiny holes in the leaves, bugs or something...

Here's a picture before the attacks:

Here is a picture of the last plant with the little holes in it:

So, losing the two to the naughty creatures and the one to the naughty bugs, I had hope.  I still had three plants left inside that I was going to transplant.  So, today I put two more into the garden, and then I poured white vinegar around the garden since it seems like it may have stopped raining.  AND I called my parents, pretty much master gardeners.  My dad has done landscaping for over fifty years and both my parents would grow a HUGE garden every summer for a long while.

My dad said a cut worm was likely to blame for the first two casualties, and the paw prints were probably raccoons or skunks digging for the cut worms (and for other grubs) at night.   He advised me to put paper towel rolls around the stems of the plants, so, done!  He wasn't sure what kind of pest was making the tiny holes, so I am trying just spraying it with a cayenne pepper solution (I just made it up, like one teaspoon cayenne to about one cup of water in the sprayer).  I also poured white vinegar around the outside of the garden to deter cats, raccoons or whatever else may not enjoy the scent.

Here's a picture of my organic pest deterrents:

Let's hope it works! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Garden Fazool: Action in the Gardens!

They are not big enough to photograph, but I have seedling action in the Rainbow Garden! I see teeny tiny red stalks of rainbow Swiss chard and (I think) some baby basil seedlings.  No action yet on the carrot, cilantro or parsley (I don't think). SO exciting!

And, some unfortunate activity in the Tomato Garden, a creature of some kind likes to dig in there.  I found three divots, approximately two inch diameter and quarter inch deep, circle shaped, in the garden.  AND, one of the tomato plants had it's stalk severed (could have just broken in the rain, but I'm not sure).  The other three tomato plants are fine, leaves do not look at all tampered with on any of the plants.  I think it is probably a cat problem.  Groundhog would have made a bigger mess, I'm sure.

I hate the neighbors' cats.  There are several of them and we have had varying issues with them, including one that was spraying our car for weeks when we first moved in, YUCK.

Once it stops raining, I'm going to pour white vinegar around the perimeters of both gardens (I read that vinegar is a cat deterrent) and I'm going to fence them, I guess.

Any suggestions for fencing such teeny gardens?  The Rainbow Garden is about 3x5 feet and the Tomato Garden is about 2x5 feet.  Both have structures (the shed and the fence, respectively) along one side.

Any thoughts are appreciated as always! Enjoy the rest of the week. Tomorrow is already Thursday :-)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Garden Fazool: The Tomato Garden is PLANTED!

So, I woke up this morning and made myself some breakfast:

Three minutes on the first side...

One minute on the second side... 

Wha-La! Isa's Banana Flapjacks with Walnuts (from Vegan Brunch) with Yves Canadian "Bacon" and Trader Joe's Vermont Maple Syrup.

Then, being that I was fueled up with delicious vegan vittles, I noticed this:

So, I built this:

And added them:

Doesn't she look so much happier in the ground?

Hope everyone had a great weekend.  Would love to hear about your cooking and gardening adventures!
<3 Dawn

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Garden Fazool, May 2011

I am really excited about gardening and composting this year and wanted to share what I've been up to.
I have always wanted to do more in the way of vegetable gardening, but didn't have a real yard until last spring.  This is only our second spring in the suburbs with access to a small front yard (very sunny but heavily planted already) and a back yard (shady for the most part, with a column of sun along our shed and fence), so it is very exciting.  Last year we just did flowers (sunflowers along the road which looked amazing, some cosmos and some nasturtium in the front) bulbs (hyacinth) and a few herbs (but there was that basil blight, so I didn't even get very much basil!).  We mostly focused on the examining the riches that had been left by the past owners: a huge lavender bush, a huge rosemary bush, surprise herbs around the property (like the lovage that reseeded, thanks to Stacey for identifying it!) tulips, primroses, many other flowers and shrubs, and a VERY prolific fig tree!!

This year, I am taking on vegetable gardening with fervor.  I started both tomatoes and basil from seed indoors on 4/18/11.

Here are my babies at five days old (organic sweet tomatoes and organic sweet basil):

And here they are on Mother's Day:

And, of course, I need somewhere to plant these guys!  AND I need somewhere to plant my new heirloom seeds from Baker Creek!

That's striped zucchini (still don't know where that's going to be planted...), Giant of Italy parsley, Rainbow Swiss Chard, Slo-Bolt Cilantro and free carrots.

For Mother's Day, my hubby dug me up a 3x5 foot garden near our shed (gets partial shade in the afternoon).  I got to play mason! It was really fun. Here are the garden pics:
 First layer of bricks put in below grade.

Second layer of bricks were put in partly below grade. Wha-La! Garden completed. 
And it looks really cute, too.

Here's the plan I designed for this garden, since it is partly shady:
SW=Swiss Chard, P=Parsley, B=Basil, CT=Carrot, C=Cilantro

This garden is now planted! See my next post The Rainbow Garden.  

Stick around for garden updates throughout the spring and summer, it's gonna be exciting! 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Garden Fazool: The Rainbow Garden is PLANTED!

This is going to be a five minute post, but I wanted to let everyone know that I got Garden #1 (in front of my shed) planted before it is going to rain...YESSSS.  Unfortunately, the digging out and building of garden #2 (near my fence) probably won't happen this weekend since it is supposed to rain the whole time, but that's OK.

Here she is, all planted!

I think I will call her the "Rainbow Garden" because she is loaded with Heirloom Rainbow Swiss Chard! Also in this garden will be the other seeds I ordered: Slo-Bolt Cilantro, Giant of Italy Parsley, Organic Sweet Basil (the little seedlings are the ones I had started inside on 4/18/11), and the free carrots that came with my order from Baker Creek.

Did you guys get your seeds in the ground yet? I would love to know what everyone is planting and any good tips or tricks as this is my first season doing in-ground vegetable gardening (always tried containers when I lived in the city, and they never did too well).  I am SO excited for my first real garden!

Enjoy this weekend!  BTW, Forks Over Knives is premiering in Philadelphia and New Jersey (the town over from me) this weekend, but it is SOLD OUT, so I can't go :-( boo!

<3 Dawn