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The Itsy Bitsy Spider….is not so Itsy Bitsy!

30 Oct Black and Yellow Spider

For about a month now, a black and yellow spider has camped out in my vegetable garden. He gives new meaning to the words, “spider plant.”

I’ve seen it spin it’s web

Spider Web

Spider Web (sxc.hu -Tinneketin)

around prey and I’ve noticed the spider grow in size (much to my dismay). I’ve never seen a spider like this before and I thought about getting rid of it, but it’s just so pretty!

I have no idea if it’s poisonous or not. It seems to stay in the same place, behind my house, in the backyard, in the vegetable garden.

Halloween Night

Halloween Night in my Backyard (sxc.hu -nvadim)

 

Soon I will have to remove all my withered, spent tomato plants (where Mr. Spider is hanging out as you can see from the photo below).

Black and Yellow Spider

Black and Yellow Spider in my Garden!

Does anybody have any idea how to remove a spider?

Maybe I’ll just let him stay and I’ll be the one to move!

Witch on a Broom

Witch in Flight (fleeing a spider perhaps?) (sxc.hu – angood)

Jack O' Lantern

Jack O’ Lantern (sxc.hu -xRaDx)

                                    

HELP!!!  Spiders are not for my good health!
Happy Halloween!

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New Food Friday – Harira

20 Sep sxc.hu - lamb - iubitzoaia- 1030219

Harira. It sounds like something you would say to your dentist when he has his hands in your mouth.

There are many versions of Harira. In fact, I created my own version when I departed from the recipe I was following. Harira is a soup – stew. It is a Moroccan dish that is eaten often, but particularly at the end of Ramadan, a religious holiday. I was attracted to the recipe because it calls for Turmeric which is a spice I have grown to love. Now you know why I have selected this recipe for New Food Friday.

A lot of attention has been given to Turmeric lately. More research is needed, but some studies show that it has anti-inflammatory properties. It may help fight cancer and it may protect against certain diseases. Read more here.

I like to add Turmeric to a chicken dish that I make. I shake it on the potatoes, carrots, and/or onions that I add to my baking dish. It is also great on a Focaccia bread recipe I love. More about that in next month’s New Food Friday.

Another reason I was looking forward to making Harira is that it also calls for cilantro. I grew my own cilantro this year and within the last few days it started to bolt. I grew it from seed. It grew in a hanging planter

Cilantro

Cilantro growing in a planter. See my rose bush in the background?

and it also grew in my vegetable garden. It would have continued to grow in my vegetable garden if a rabbit didn’t also like it a lot and chewed it to the quick! (Which is why I ended up growing it in a hanging pot.) But really, it is so easy to grow! And the fragrance! It smells wonderful! You have to try it!

Here is the recipe for the Harira. I substituted ground turkey for the lamb. (You can also use beef or chicken.) I also substituted the vermicelli noodles for brown rice. Many recipes say to add flour to thicken the soup. I didn’t want to use flour which is why I added raw rice. It helped thicken the soup. The longer you cook it, the more it thickens. Also, I used a no sodium tomato sauce.

Ingredients

6 – 8 oz lean ground turkey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
1 bunch fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
2 celery stalks chopped
1 large yellow onion chopped
1 16-ounce can of low sodium garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1 fresh tomato chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1½ teaspoons pepper
½ teaspoon turmeric
6 cups water, divided
1/4 cup dry lentils, picked over and washed (I forgot to wash mine! I guess that means you won’t be dining over at my house anytime soon?)
3 tablespoons tomato paste, mixed into 1 cup of water
1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes (I used fresh tomatoes again since I have so many of them this year.)
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1/4 cup brown rice

Optional Thickener:
1 cup flour
2 cups water

Instructions:
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the meat and any meat bones if you have them and cook for a few minutes, stirring to brown the meat.
  2. Add the chopped cilantro, parsley, celery, onion, chickpeas, fresh tomatoes, cinnamon, ginger, pepper, and turmeric.
  3. Stir in 3 cups of water. Heat over high heat bringing mixture to a light boil.
  4. Add the lentils, rice, tomato paste mixture, canned (or fresh) tomatoes, and tomato sauce and 3 cups of water.
  5. Cover the pot and heat the soup over high heat to bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking, simmering for 45 minutes with the lid ajar to help condense the soup. Stir occasionally.
  6. Taste soup for seasoning. Add salt or pepper if needed.
  7. If you prefer a thicker soup, you can add the flour water mixture after cooking 45 minutes. But I think adding it will dull the flavor and add empty calories.

Serves 6

Harira

Chopping Cilantro for my Harira

I wanted to use my Heirloom tomatoes for this dish but they weren’t ripe enough. Since I had plenty of cherry tomatoes, I used them instead.

Let the Harira come to a light boil.

Boiling Harira

Boiling Harira after all ingredients are added

After 45 minutes of cooking, the Harira thickens.

Thickened Harira

Thickened Harira after cooking 45 minutes

I enjoyed two bowls full of the Harira with my Focaccia bread.

Bowl of Harira

Bowl of Harira with Focaccia Bread

They went well together! This was good and I expect that tomorrow it will be even better. Next time I will use lamb for this dish. Harira is high in protein and fiber. With all the tomatoes, fresh and canned, it contains a lot of lycopene which contains antioxidant and antiproliferative properties. Read more about it  here.

To your good health!

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A Gander at the Inside of My Grander/Vitamin D News

14 Aug Completed Tuna Salad Sandwich

I wanted to post this yesterday but I was too tired. I’ve been working out every day now but that’s a whole other post for when I have more time!

I’ll get right to it: the taste of my Grander (Heirloom) tomato! It was dense, it was juicy, it was mild, it had few seeds, the skin was not tough….I loved it!  I think it would make great tomato sauce and from the looks of the vine and all the tomatoes, I will be able to do just that.

I decided to make my mother’s recipe of tuna, celery, hard-boiled egg, and mayo salad sandwich to showcase my Heirloom tomato. First, chop up a stalk of celery.

Celery Chopped

Celery Chopped

Chop up a hard-boiled egg.

Hard-Boiled Egg Chopped

Egg Chopped

Chop (or mash) a can of Starkist Select Low Sodium Chunk Light in Water tuna.

Low Sodium Tuna Chopped

Low Sodium Tuna Chopped

Why this particular variety of tuna?

Starkist Selects Chunk Light Tuna in Water-Low Sodium

Starkist Selects Chunk Light Tuna in Water-Low Sodium

It contains Vitamin D – 15% of your DV per serving or two ounces. (More about this below.)

Add your favorite mayonnaise. I like Kraft with Olive Oil but I also like the low calorie mayo too. Add two tablespoons and stir well.

I don’t add anything else because the tuna is salty even though it is low sodium and the yolk of the egg contains sodium. I don’t want to push my sodium limits.

Next, get two slices of Brownberry Health Nut bread.

Brownberry Health Nut Bread

Brownberry Health Nut Bread

Why? Each slice of this bread has 10% of your DV of Vitamin D.

Health Nut Bread Nutritional Facts

Health Nut Bread Nutritional Facts

Recently I was told by my doctor that a blood test showed that I was low in Vitamin D. I showed 28 when a normal reading would be 50. My doctor wants me to be at 70! She prescribed a supplement AND a multi-vitamin. If you know anything about me, you know that I don’t like to take pills of any kind unless it’s absolutely necessary. I think what she prescribed was overkill AND I would have preferred if she tried to coach me into making changes to my diet to get the Vitamin D I needed. So, I made the changes myself and did not take the supplements or multi-vitamin pills.

I drink almond milk with Vitamin D, orange juice with Vitamin D, eat Total cereal with Vitamin D, tuna, salmon, sardines, Smart Balance Buttery Spread with Olive Oil, Eggland’s Best Eggs, Brownberry Health Nut bread, Ronzoni Smart Taste Pasta, Shiitake mushrooms, Yoplait Greek 100 Fat-free Tropical Fruit yogurt, also Vanilla, Peach, and other flavors, non-fat dry milk….these all contain Vitamin D and I rotate them into my diet so that at the end of each day, I have had my daily requirement of Vitamin D.  *This list of Vitamin D foods will continuously be updated as I learn about foods that contain the vitamin.

Too much Vitamin D can be LETHAL! Not enough Vitamin D can cause rickets and soft bones. Vitamin D is needed to promote bone growth. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to breast cancer, colon cancer and more maladies. We hear a lot about calcium, but Vitamin D is just as important.

Bread makers asked for permission to add a vitamin D yeast to their breads so that they could list Vitamin D in their ingredients. They were given the OK. I had to look through 20 loaves of bread at Meijer to find this one loaf of bread with Vitamin D! I even asked the bread deliverer and he had never heard of bread with Vitamin D and said he would ask his boss. Too late, I already found one but I’m sure there are more out there! If you find another brand of bread with Vitamin D, please let me and my readers know! Thanks!

OK, I reviewed the Heirloom tomato, it’s time to review the Brownberry Health Nut bread. It was bland. Next time I’ll toast it to see if that helps. The next day I made the same sandwich with the leftover tuna-egg salad and Heirloom tomato on Rye bread. What a world of difference! It tasted better but of course I didn’t get the Vitamin D from the Rye bread.

Here are the results of my bread, tuna-egg salad sandwich:

Heirloom Tomato Slice

Heirloom Tomato Slice

The tomato slice covers the entire slice of bread!

Tuna Salad Open-faced

Tuna Salad Open-faced

There is plenty of tuna-egg salad to pile on thickly.

Completed Tuna Salad Sandwich

Completed Tuna Salad Sandwich

In case you’re wondering what the greenery is in my sandwich, it’s escarole. As I said in another post, I love escarole and use it in sandwiches.

This is a nutritious, high protein lunch that helps you get your Vitamin D. It was good! Try it!

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It’s A Grander!

11 Aug Heirloom Tomato - 14.5 oz

OK, a Grander is a big sailfish and I’m talking about my tomato so I exaggerated a little.

Just a quick post since it’s already past 8:00 pm. Where did the day go? I had visions of writing so many things in this post and/or writing multiple posts and now I’m pushing it to write just this one since I have 4 clean loads of laundry on my bed waiting to be sorted and put away.

Back to my Grander. This summer I decided to plant heirloom tomatoes. I bought just one heirloom plant from Meijer. These things took off like gangbusters! I have never seen a tomato plant be so energetic. I did fertilize it a lot but I fertilized all my other tomato plants too and they haven’t run rampant on me like this one although they look healthy and productive.

Enough talk, here’s a photo. This was the first tomato to fruit from this plant. You should see the main stem! I’m going to have a heck of a time pulling it out of the ground when the season is over.

See, I’m just a frustrated writer who wants to write. Shut up Marcy and show them the tomato already! OK!

Heirloom Tomato - 14.5 oz

Heirloom Tomato – 14.5 oz

This is the biggest tomato I have ever grown! I’m getting a good yield from this plant and it’s barely mid-August. I haven’t tasted it yet. I plucked it because I didn’t want to take the chance that it might fall off and be eaten by bugs. I’ll let you know how it tastes.

Tomorrow tuna and egg salad sandwich with escarole leaves and fat slices of this tomato on rye. I promise to eat a slice on the side, lightly salted so as not to take anything away from the taste. Please heirloom tomato, don’t disappoint!

One of the big differences with heirloom tomatoes is that they are not as disease resistant as other hybrid tomato plants. Hybrid tomatoes generally have an inbred resistance to tobacco mosaic disease, but heirlooms don’t. Heirlooms are plants with seeds that have been handed down from generation to generation, just like heirloom jewelry and furniture! Heirloom tomato plants are known to have a flavor that is complex and rich. My mouth is watering! If it’s as good as it’s cracked up to be, I will be planting it from now on – inbred disease resistance be damned! I favor flavor!

OK, I’m off to watch TV whilst I fold and put away all my laundry. No rest for the weary! Cheerio!

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Signs of Spring: Wet Rains, Weeds, and Wandering Plants

25 May Columbine Flower

My garden is looking pretty and I’ve pulled a lot of weeds to get it to look that way!

Irises

Irises

We’ve had a lot of rain – like every other day. We’ve also had a roller coaster ride of temperatures, from low 40’s to mid-80’s.  It keeps going up and down!

First Rose of Spring

First Rose of Spring

When it’s cool, I make sure I get out in the backyard and get to work!

Flowering Thyme2

Flowering Thyme

I’ve had to mow the lawn weekly, unlike last spring/summer when we had the drought and I didn’t have to mow at all!

Boxwood

Boxwood

My neighbor’s lawn service shaved my Columbine flowers to the quick last summer but fortunately they came back full bloom. A resilient flower that mimics a resilient town in Colorado. When they spread out some more, I will transplant some to the front yard.

Columbine Flower

Columbine Flower

Half of the seeds I sowed in my vegetable garden died due to frost. FROST! In MAY! So, I went out yesterday and planted more seeds. My Cilantro survived though and it’s the first time I planted Cilantro.  Let’s hope there are no more frosts!

I have plants growing in my front yard also. Two of them,  I don’t know where they came from. One looks like a fir tree and it’s about 4 inches tall.  When it gets a little bigger, I’ll transplant it to my backyard. The other plant is a common spider plant. I transplanted it indoors last summer and the plant died. So, I was shocked to see another spider plant out front in the same spot where I removed the first one! The more I think I know about plants, the more they surprise me.

If you’re not growing a garden, you’re missing a lot of fun, good exercise, and Vitamin D.  It’s never too late to get started.

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New Food Friday – Meyer Lemons

19 Apr Meyer Lemon Sliced

Although I was sad to have to postpone New Food Friday, in hindsight, it turned out for the best. Preparing for my talk on blogtalkradio took more effort than I realized when I agreed to be a guest on the show. I thought I wouldn’t have enough to say. It turned out that I ran out of time and couldn’t finish what I had to say! Who knew? It was an interesting experience and fun to talk to Marilyn and Tatiana. I wish we could have chatted more.

Just to catch up, I’ve gotten a lot done in the short time I skipped New Food Friday. I dug up my garden in preparation for my new plants. What I usually do is collect all the leaves that huddle in a corner of my house and bury them in holes I dig in the garden once the weather turns warmer. This aerates the soil, feeds the plants as the leaves decompose, and eliminates the need to bag them, having to use plastic bags in the process. It’s a win-win.

I also got a car repair taken care of which included getting reimbursed and having to go to another repair shop to diagnose and fix the things that were botched up. I may be writing a post about it soon.

Since my lawn mower died and I tried fixing it myself to no avail,(it’s an electric push mower), I tried to get someone to fix it. Two repair places declined!  I had no alternative than to buy a new one. This is another story that deserves its own post because a police officer was involved! I kid you not. So much for my boring life! NOT!

So, without further ado, let’s discuss my experience with Meyer Lemons which is what brings me to this New Food Friday. One of my favorite drinks is lemonade, especially during the summer when I’ve just finished mowing the lawn. I’ve always used regular lemons for this drink until I spotted some Meyer Lemons on a visit to Wal-Mart while I was looking for lactose-free yogurt which they were supposed to have but didn’t. 

Meyer Lemons are different from regular lemons. As you can see from the packaging in the photo, Meyer lemons are sweet and tart.

Meyer Lemons

Meyer Lemons

But are they really? I sliced one in half and tasted it. It didn’t taste sweet at all. In fact, it had an odd taste but I reserved my judgment until it was time for me to use the second lemon from the package. It tasted exactly the same as the first one.

English: Cross sections of Eureka, Meyer, Yuzu...

Cross sections of Eureka, Meyer, Yuzu, and Pink Lemons, and 1 sweet Lime (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These Meyer lemons looked like tangerines. They are a cross between a regular lemon and a mandarin orange.  To me, they taste like the juice squeezed from the skin of a tangerine. That is how I would describe it. Is that how they should to taste?  I have a hunch they should taste better than that! Maybe it depends on what orchard produced these lemons or maybe these lemons had been sitting around Wal-Mart for too long. Or perhaps they were left on the tree too long. It’s anyone’s guess.

The flavor didn’t stop me from adding the juice to my tea and honey

sxc.hu aga_wrr Tea with Lemon

Tea with Honey and Lemon  sxc.hu aga_wrr

or to make a glass of lemonade.

sxc.hu suzula  Glass of Lemonade

Glass of Lemonade sxc.hu suzula

Neither tasted as good as a regular lemon in these drinks.

These Meyer lemons look good, they just don’t taste that good I’m sorry to say.

I’d be willing to try them again. Next time I’ll buy them from Meijer and maybe I’ll have more luck. If it turns out that they are better, I will amend this post. 

But for now, these Meyer lemons are getting a thumbs down from me! Booooo! Have you used Meyer lemons? If so, what has your experience been like?

UPDATE 4/23/13: I found Meyer lemons at my local Meijer yesterday and made myself a glass of lemonade. So far, these Meyer lemons are an improvement over the ones I bought at Wal-Mart. 

Meyer Lemons2

Meyer Lemons2

I don’t know if you can see the difference from the photos, but the Meijer Meyer  lemons (hehehe) are more yellow where the Wal-Mart Meyer lemons were more orange.

I paid $2.69 at Meijer for Sunkist, a well-respected brand, of Meyer lemons. There were 5 to a package. The Wal-Mart Meyer lemons contained only 4 lemons even though they weighed the same. They cost $1.98.  But you’re not saving anything if you have to throw the produce out and if it doesn’t taste good. Also, I’d rather have 5 lemons instead of 4 even if the overall weight is the same. For one thing, there would be more skin and therefore more zest for recipes with 5 lemons. 

Speaking of zest and skin, when I squeezed the Meijer Meyer lemon for my lemonade, the skin cracked very easily which made it difficult to squeeze. That’s not such a big deal because I’ve had regular lemons do that on occasion. You can see from the photo that the skin was rather thick. It’s actually very edible. I can see making preserves out of these lemons!

The packaging of the Sunkist Meyer lemons didn’t say anything about them being sweet as the Wal-Mart lemons claimed.  These Sunkist Meyer lemons are much less “puckery” than regular lemons. I didn’t get a strong “tangerine” taste that I got with the Wal-Mart lemons, these had a much milder, more pleasant tangerine-lemon taste.

Meyer Lemon Sliced

Meyer Lemon Sliced

I’ve recently seen regular lemons sell for $.63 each at Meijer. So, the Meijer Meyer lemons would be cheaper! 

By sheer luck, I found the castelvetrano olives today at Kroger; the ones that Gerard mentioned in the comment section below. I combined an olive with the Meyer lemon and enjoyed the combination! 

I will be having thin slices of these lemons with salmon for dinner along with a side of brown rice and a stuffed artichoke. Yum!

OK, so Meyer lemons now get a thumbs up!

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Spring Blows Away New Food Friday

21 Mar sxc.hu Sindala Spring

Spring is now here, at least according to the calendar. Here in Indianapolis we are having a cold snap with freezing temperatures and cold winds!

I have been having a nice “rest” (???) this winter because we have had little snow so there was no shoveling of the pretty white stuff (or in my case, sweeping because I use a straw broom that I prefer over a shovel.)

Spring means opening the windows and letting in the fresh air while I pollute my indoors with cleaning products to do my spring cleaning!

sxc.hu julosstock Super Woman

Super Woman Marcella in Cleaning Gear  sxc.hu julosstock

It means getting my lawn mower fixed (finally). Or, shopping for a new one if it can’t be fixed. It means:

mowing

planting

transplanting

weeding

pruning

sawing (the more stubborn branches)

edging

digging

hauling (dead limbs, trees, etc.)

watering

mulching

fertilizing

shopping (for seeds, tools, fertilizers, etc.)

gluing (my bathroom wallpaper)

painting

sanding

sweeping (the garage, the leaves, etc.)

Whew! Did I miss anything? I’m sure I did. I’ll be busy as a bee.

sxc.hu YOdesigner Busy Bee

Busy Bee Marcella   sxc.hu YOdesigner

In other words, the sad truth is that New Food Friday is going on hiatus.  Instead of every week, New Food Friday will now be every month, unless I find a product or new food that I just can’t wait to tell you about. You can expect the next New Food Friday April 19th.

New Food Friday may be on hiatus but what about me?

The upside of all this spring cleaning is that it means more exercise for me. I know, for me it’s an upside, can you imagine that?

Whirling Dervish Dancer

Whirling Dervish Dancer (Photo credit: Sarah_Ackerman)

With any luck, I also hope to have more time to write about articles concerning a variety of health issues.

I wonder if I could hire a Whirling Dervish to do my windows?

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New Food Friday – Tomatillo

14 Dec Teboulah with Tomatillo

You’ve heard of them, you may have even eaten them in a salsa and didn’t know it. But have you cooked with one? Well, you know the drill. Say it with me: Tomatillo is the fruit being discussed for New Food Friday.

Tomatillo with paper skin removed

Tomatillo with paper skin removed

Tomatillo is a “papery” covered fruit that looks just like a green tomato. In fact, it is called tomate verde (green tomato) in Spanish. This papery husk is a good indication of its freshness. The husk should be light brown and not shriveled.

The tomatillo is of Mexican origin.  It is low in saturated fat, and very low in cholesterol and sodium. It is also a good source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus and copper, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, niacin, potassium and manganese. It is in the nightshade family. 

I couldn’t find a recipe online that stoked my fire. So, I decided to taste this pretty green globe to see if I could get some ideas as to which way I should go.  It wasn’t what I expected. I thought it would be spicy. You know how in previous  New Food Friday posts I’ve said, “It looks like a potato, but it doesn’t taste like a potato.” Or, “It’s crunchy and juicy like an apple, but it doesn’t taste like an apple.” 

Tomatillo halved

Tomatillo halved

Well, a tomatillo looks like a green tomato from the outside, minus the papery skin, slices like a tomato, looks like a tomato on the inside with seeds and pulpy parts, and guess what? It tastes like a tomato!  It’s a bit more citrus flavored than a tomato and the skin has more crunch than a tomato. That helped me decide what to do with it.

Since I didn’t have any tomatoes in the house, I decided to make Tabbouleh using tomatillo instead of tomatoes. If you recall, the Tabbouleh recipe is here. I planned to have lamb chops for dinner and the Tabbouleh was a good side dish for it because it contains mint. Mint jelly is often paired with lamb so I knew this menu had potential.  While I was letting the Bulgar soak, I remembered that I had sun dried tomatoes in olive oil in the fridge. They went into the dish. I also thought that some lemon rind would look pretty in this dish. Is this a festive party in a bowl or what? The ingredients scream Mexico to me!

Teboulah with Tomatillo

Teboulah with Tomatillo

The end result was as delicious as it was pretty. The lemon rind was a great, tasty addition. If you decide you like tomatillo, look for dry, hard tomatillos with tightly fitting husks that are free of mold. Keep them in your crisper drawer of your refrigerator (unlike tomatoes).You can also grow them in your garden in the spring. Burpee sells the seeds and they mature in about 100 days.

I also decided to try tomatillo cooked. It looked pretty sliced on top of a personal sized pan pizza.

Tomatillo

Cast Iron Skillet Pizza with Tomatillo

It had all the colors of the Mexican flag! Green, white, and red! (The same colors of the Italian flag.) This was the first time I tried making pizza in a cast iron skillet and I liked it! Less mess to clean up. There are many recipes online for cast iron skillet pizza, just be sure your pan is well seasoned. It’s easy to remove the pizza from the pan with a spatula.

Tomatillo

Skillet Pizza with Tomatillo, plated

Tomatillo; it’s not just for salsa anymore! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

New Food Friday – Baba Ghanouj (Baba Ghanoush)

9 Nov Baba Ghanoush

Baba Ghanouj (prounounced Baba Ghanoosh) is the food I’m discussing today for New Food Friday. Does it sound familiar to you? I think I may have heard it first on the Jerry Seinfeld sitcom.

I picked up a can when I bought the can of ZiYad Hummus and Tahini dip. They were both the same price, on sale for $2.29 each.

Ziyad makes this Baba Ghanouj which is an eggplant and Tahini dip. They fire roast the eggplant and add the following ingredients: tahini, salt, citric acid.

Preparation suggestion on the can: add lemon juice, garlic, and salt to taste. Drizzle olive oil on top.

Click me to enlarge

Nutritional Facts:

The sodium level is high: 478mg so if you are watching your salt intake, you may only be able to have a small amount. I think we should all watch our salt intake so I may make my own version fresh in the future.

The Taste

The taste of this Baba Ghanouj is very smokey. It’s like eating charred wood but a creamy version of charred wood. So, they’re not kidding when they say they fire roast the eggplant! I liked it. There are chunks of eggplant in the dip which I enjoyed too.  I did not add any lemon juice or garlic or salt because I didn’t think it needed anything.You can see from the front cover of the can that the product is tan in color. The yellow part is olive oil. The red sprinkles in the center and around the dish are pomegranate seeds.

The Accompaniments

Baba Ghanouj is most often eaten with pita bread. It can also be eaten as a dip with raw vegetables. This could pair well with certain flavors of Triscuits which come in many varieties now, Rosemary and olive oil being my favorite. I like Baba Ghanouj with pretzels, the larger pretzels with less salt. This would also be a good spread on a wrap. I tried it on a bun with a turkey burger but instead of a barbeque taste, it brought out a more lemony flavor which I did not care for. That surprised me. In fact, the way I liked it best was without any accompaniment.

Here is a nice sized eggplant growing on a vine. Isn’t it a beauty?

 This is what sesame seeds look like (below) in case you’ve never seen them. The photo shows them enlarged. They are much smaller in reality. There are also black sesame seeds. Tahini can be made from either the white sesame or the black sesame seed. This Baba Ghanouj uses the white sesame seeds. The seeds are crushed to make a paste.  You can find the seeds on the spice aisle of your grocery store. If you want the paste (the tahini), look in the ethnic aisle. It usually comes in a jar and is not cheap!

On the other hand, this canned version of Baba Ghanouj is very convenient to carry with you say, to a picnic because it has a pop-top and can be eaten cold or at room temperature. Once opened though any leftovers should be refrigerated. Another benefit of the canned version is that it can be easily stored on your pantry shelf to be used at a moment’s notice. So, it’s good in a pinch!

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Photos of My Garden – Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

26 Jul My Cherry Tomatoes

This is my “mystery” tomato plant. I now know why the tomato seedlings were on sale at the beginning of the season. All the other seedlings were cherry tomatoes. This one is a Bush tomato plant. How do I know? I know because I planted Bush tomatoes a few summers ago. They are beautiful to look at, juicy, and totally tasteless. You can see my cherry tomatoes in the background.

On the right are my onion chives (or scallions). See the round bulb at the top? It’s ready to flower and go to seed. I’ve got onion chives growing all over my garden. I allow it because they are a pest deterrent and it keeps me “rich” in onions.

I must say, knock on wood, everything in the garden is healthy. So far, I don’t see any pests. They probably all died of thirst or heat stroke. I did find a snake in my garden once. It was a green garden snake and it was dead. That wasn’t in my present garden though, it was when I lived in Lexington, KY.  However, if you want to read a story I wrote about a rattlesnake, click here.

After I watered the garden today, a butterfly flew up to me as if to say “thank you.” ; – )

This is the final installment (IV) of My Vegetable Garden, unless something pops up that I think you might enjoy. I want to try growing artichokes in the future because I am a big fan of them. I need to order them in the mail I think since it’s probably too late to find seeds in the supermarket. Hope you all enjoyed my garden as much as I do.

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