Monday, June 6, 2011

Garden Update and What I've Been Eating!

The garden has been growing splendidly! I made sure that I took a lot of pictures so you all could see the progress. Here's a pan of the garden. It is going to be a jungle by fall! A tasty, tasty jungle...

The corn is about up to my knees. We planted it in early April and it's just growing up great. I am sooo going to roast that stuff.

We also have quite a few pepper plants: poblanos, sweet bananas, bell peppers, and long cayennes. I am most excited about the poblanos because I'm going to make a bunch roasted chili-corn salsa with it and some rajas. My boyfriend's grandpa (the one who is showing us the way to garden) has never eaten a roasted poblano. I'm excited for him to try them. The only plants that have peppers on them are the sweet bananas and they are literally as large as the plant itself. Not sure what's going on with them. Lol.

Here's my babies: the little zucchinis I planted from organic seed. That's my foot for comparison! Some already have little zucchinis going on them. I'm curious to try squash blossoms, but you only eat the male blossoms and all my female ones are currently growing squashes!

Here's a good shot of the potatoes (background). To be honest, I can't remember what the two rows in front of them are. I guess I'll find out when they start sprouting things.

Our tomatoes are doing great. His grandpa put cages on them and covered their bottoms with hay. I also put cages on the tomatoes that I have at home (heirloom cherokee purples!), but I haven't gotten any hay yet. The hay helps keep pests off them and the cages give them support. They become really heavy when the tomatoes start growing in size and they help keep the fruit off the ground.

So that's the garden. I've been learning a lot!

So anyway. Here's some of the foods I've been munching on.

Coconut yogurt with raspberries and chia seeds:

Okay... story about the berries. I was at the store awhile back and I saw some glorious looking strawberries. Though I usually buy organic berries, these were just so cheap and I was a little hungry so I impulse bought them on the way out the store. I ate a couple. They were fine. The next day I went to eat some more. One of them had a little bad spot on it, but I was like, whatever. I don't care that much. I'll eat it anyway. As soon as I put it in my mouth, I got the overwhelming taste of chemical. I gagged and spit it out and I tossed the rest of the carton. I seriously tested pesticide on those berries and if one was contaminated, they all had to be. This wasn't a guilt reaction from buying non-organic berries. I know chemicals. I'm a chemist at a plant that makes pesticides and herbicides... I've ran tests on some of the same chemicals that routinely get used on strawberries (same active, though not necessarily the same product). My thinking is that these berries might have been sprayed before harvest (which is illegal) or that it was harboring chemicals in its bad spot. All around bad.

A couple days ago I bought some non-organic raspberries and used them in the above photo. I ate them and they were tasty. They next day, the tasted so strongly of chemical (the same one), that I got rid of them. I was absolutely horrified! What really takes the cake though, is that they were the SAME brand, grown in relatively the SAME area, and bought within a week of one another. I can't dismiss that there wasn't contamination. I almost always buy organic berries, but had a lapse in judgement on those two occasions. I will NEVER buy a non-organic berry again. EVER.

So yeah. That was my story!

I also made up a batch of sun-dried tomato pesto. It was AWESOME. My boyfriend loved it. We had it for lunch with flatbreads, grilled veggies, and roasted garlic hummus. It was good stuff. I basically just tossed together:

1/4 cup packed basil
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil (drained)
a few tablespoons of toasted walnuts
some walnut oil (you could use olive)
a couple cloves of garlic

I like to keep things nice and chunky, for texture, but you could always add up to 1/4 cup oil and blend until smooth. It doesn't need any salt either. I want to make Isa's Pizza (from VWAV) and put some on there.

I've also been eating a lot of grilled vegetables. I've been using my boyfriend's George Foreman grill to cook them up in no time. It's small so I basically cook one veggie at a time (respray with some nonstick between veggies) and then put it on a plate until I finish cooking them all. Even though it sounds a little tedious, it's still quicker than any other method (except maybe stir-fry...). If you have a George Foreman, you should totally try this out. Basically it's:
  • Mushroom caps: 5 minutes
  • Onions, 1/2" slices: 5 minutes
  • Bell peppers, cut into 1/2" pieces, 5 minutes
  • Asparagus spears: 6-8 minutes, 6 for the thin ones and 8 for the thicker ones.
  • Eggplant, 1/2" thick slices: 8 minutes
  • Tomato slices (1/4" inch thick), cherry or grape tomatoes: 3 minutes
  • Zucchini or yellow squash, cut into 1/4" in slices: about 6 minutes
While these were grilling, I put on a few halved baby potatoes to boil, and voila! Grilled veggies! These would be awesome with some flatbreads. I usually ate them with balsamic vinegar and salt, but with the mushroom caps I'd fill each cap with a little sun-dried tomato pesto and then place one of the grape tomatoes in the center. It was like a little fancy appetizer, lol. For the meal pictured above, I ate them with some avocado slices. The good fats in avocado helped me to absorb all the Vitamin A and K I was ingesting. Plus, salted avocado goes really good with potatoes!

Although I hate the heat that comes with summer, I sure love the produce! I'm going to try my best to keep up with blogging, but I am taking a summer class that is sucking up all my fun. Bleh. Anywho, have a great evening!


Rick said...

great blog and beautiful garden! i just found your blog. feel free to stop by mine sometime, fellow vegan :)


JL goes Vegan said...

Wow, your garden is amazing! Makes my little deck garden look a little sad, but that's okay :)

Bianca said...

I'm so jealous of your garden!! I have one little tomato plant with three baby tomatoes and one habanero plant with three baby peppers ... and that's it. But that's a start, I guess.

Jess of Midwest Vegan said...

Thanks, guys! The garden is mostly the work of my boyfriend's grandpa, but I am his apprentice. I've been learning tons! :)