Monthly Archives: August 2013

Easy Eggplant Lasagna

Eggplant is my new favorite vegetable. The wonderful varieties growing in the demo garden have convinced me not to overlook this vegetable any more!. My favorite ones to cook with are the asian and varigated colored ones. You have to give them a try, I think you will be pleasantly suprised by how good they really are!

1 teaspoon oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 clove minced garlic
1 cup coarsely chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried) basil
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried) oregano
1 medium eggplant, sliced about 1/4” thick
1 large tomato, sliced very thin
8 ounces shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1. Wash your hands and work area.
2. Preheat oven to 4250 F.
3. In a medium nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onion
until tender, about 2-3 minutes.
4. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add chopped tomatoes, basil and oregano. Cook gently over medium low heat for 10 minutes.
5. Spread half of the mixture over the bottom of an 8 x 8” baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
6. Add half of the eggplant slices then half of the tomato slices. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella cheese over the top.
210 calories 3 calorie points
12 grams fat 1 carbohydrate choice
11 grams carbohydrate Exchange: 2 vegetables, 2 lean meat, 1 fat
4 grams fiber This recipe is high in calcium, fiber, and in
430 mg sodium vitamins C and A.

Friday PhotoEssay – Thyme Edition

I thought we would take a through the Thyme garden, since it has all been growing really well. There aren’t any noticeable differences in how the different varieties have done as far as growth, but there are clear differences between the varieties.

The Lime Thyme is on the corner and is a little more prostrate than some of the others. It is also that bright green “lime” color and has a nice citrusy scent and flavor.

The French thyme is much more upright and has a silvery color, especially to the older growth. The interior of the plant has started to get woody already. This one has your traditional thyme scent and flavor.

The Summer thyme is a little more green than the French thyme, but it is still very upright and vigorous. I believe this one is supposed to be a little less hardy, so we will have to watch it to see if it comes back next year.

This is the plain Lemon thyme (as compared to the variegated lemon thyme). It is also very vigorous and fairly upright in growth habit. You can see a few of the new shoots have some lighter yellow coloration, even though it isn’t a variegated variety. It has an excellent lemon scent and flavor.

The Rose Scented thyme has a dusty grey-green color and the leaves seems to be a little thicker and fleshier than some of the other varieties. It is also a little more prostrate than some of the varieties, but not a super low-growing “walkable” variety. It definitely has a faint floral or rose scent on top of the thyme scent.

The Spicy Orange thyme is a very prostrate variety and clearly has a very different appearance from the Rose Scented (right) and Variegated Lemon (left). The plant has a strong spicy orange scent (very aptly named!) and feels a little bit…almost succulent? Like a sedum? I’m sure it would be fine to cook with, but the texture seems a little strange. It is holding its own against its taller neighbors though.

Mmm…Variegated Lemon thyme… It’s both pretty and lemony! Sometimes the variegated thymes are little bit wimpy, but this one seems to be in good shape. The rainy summer probably helped it out.

The Nutmeg Thyme has the cutest, tiniest leaves and a very delicate appearance. Whether it has any actual nutmeg scent or flavor…well…let me know if you can tell, will you? It obviously has gotten overgrown by its larger neighbors a bit too.

The English thyme is looking good and is again more upright. It doesn’t seem to have gotten as gangly and woody as the French and Summer thymes.

Last, in the opposite corner, is the Mint thyme. Like the Nutmeg thyme it has very small, delicate leaves and stems. It seems to be a little more vigorous though. It also has a somewhat stronger hint of mint scent and flavor. I’m not sure I would figure out what it was based solely on the scent or flavor, but at least there’s a little bit of something there.

Have a great weekend!

Continuing Caterpillar Saga

Yesterday morning we inspected all our Brassicas to see if we still had more caterpillars to deal with.

Um, yes. Yes we did. I know you see the bigger cabbageworm, but do you see the tiny one too? It’s along the purple midrib. These guys start really small but eat and grow quickly. Yuck. We also found some eggs that haven’t yet hatched.

We dusted with Dipel Dust to see if we could get better control. Of course, with the shaker cans, it is a real challenge to get even coverage and not put on too much. If we aren’t seeing better control by later in the week, we may have to bring out the big guns…I saw that one single cabbage butterfly can lay up to 300 eggs in its lifetime. I really don’t want these caterpillars to get to the adult stage!


Look what got munched on over the weekend?

I knew we were going to be fighting a long, grueling battle against the cabbageworms this fall, but I (mistakenly) thought that they wouldn’t start hatching out and eating until today or tomorrow instead of over the weekend. To see how quickly they started, there was virtually no sign of them on Friday. This morning the plants look like Swiss Cheese. UGH! I sprayed Spinosad this morning, and we will probably dust with Dipel either tomorrow or later this week.

Friday PhotoEssay

I almost forgot to put together a post today! I don’t know if I forgot it was Friday or just had too many other things going on.

The crazy tomato trellis, the sweet potatoes, and the sunflowers continue to hog the foreground of this view of the garden, although there’s a lot going on from the other side too. From a distance, everything is still looking great, although as you get closer things look a little more tired. I suspect that by a month from now, things will have changed drastically.

As you can see, the broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage are growing really well, as are the parsnips. The tomatoes and eggplant still look crazy, but they are definitely slowing down.

The turnips and fall radishes that we planted on Tuesday are already coming up! That’s a good sign. The beets, carrots, and spinach we should expect to be a little bit slower, but hopefully there will be some seedlings by next Friday.

After a couple weeks of only a few ripe tomatoes here and there, we suddenly have a whole bunch of ripe tomatoes again. I’m very impressed with the ‘Limmony’ heirloom. It had several ripe tomatoes on it this week, and there are virtually no cracks on them.

In contrast, the ‘Bella Rosa’ tomato has a lot of fruit set, nice large fruit, but such ghastly cracks that the tomatoes are virtually rotten before you pick them. As bad as some of those cracks are, even if we picked the fruit at the pink stage it would still be rotten by the time we wanted to use it.

The thyme garden is looking stupendous at this point. There are some very interesting differences in color, height/growth habit, and size of leaves. I just hope that the taller ones don’t completely choke out the shorter ones. The bright green variety in the front is the ‘Lime’ thyme. The thyme is so nice, we’ve been contemplating adding it to the docket for Saturday Sampler next month.

I was trying to get a picture of one of the cabbageworm moths flitting around, but ended up just getting this picture of the ‘Deadon’ cabbage. I know it’s not a very inspiring name, but the plants look great! This is the cabbage that is supposed to be red-green with savoy leaves. You can just see the faint hint of red right now. With the moths already flying around, we will be trying to be very proactive to keep the munching caterpillar hordes at bay.

The ‘Aztec Sun’ Tithonia in the Kids’ Snack Garden (this one isn’t a true sunflower) is blooming and looking great right now, although the plants are tall enough that we don’t see the flowers quite as well.

Have a great weekend!