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Friday PhotoEssay

Another week, another cold snap. It looks like we may be in for that same weather pattern next week. UGH!

Here’s a little bit of spring cheer for you though:

I found this mini iris blooming and couldn’t resist picking one. When I went looking in response center cabinet for a small vase to use, I found this big martini glass. I have no idea what it was doing there, but I couldn’t resist using it for the vase!

Hmm…can you tell it’s been a while since we weeded last? Can you tell which is the shallot and which is the grass? I’ll give you a hint – wide and flat bright green leaves are one and the tubular blue-green leaves are the other!

There, that’s better! Now you can see the new growth coming from the center of the plant. It looks like some of the shoots are going to divide at least one more time.

Yes, this is the same lettuce from last week. It hasn’t grown a lot, but the new leaves are definitely another shade darker. There is a benefit to those random blasts of cold weather!

We are starting some of our basil varieties from seed this year rather than just buying the plants. I was supposed to plant them last week, but with our crazy weather I knew we weren’t going to be ready to put them outside until mid-May. Basil doesn’t grow quite as fast as tomatoes, but almost.

The radishes in the Root Vegetables garden are looking great, but these that we planted in the Kids’ Snack Garden look like they’ve been scorched. Not sure if it was sun or cold or wind, but the seed leaves are goners. Luckily it looks like the true leaves are going to be fine.

This is the third time I’ve tried to show you this picture. I was having trouble getting the bud in focus. This is a flower bud on one of the Red Beard Onions that we planted last fall. I keep expecting the flowers to burst forth, but I think the weather is holding things back.

Have a great weekend!

Lemon Chive Potatoes

Where did spring go? I am ready for warmer weather and less allergies! This weeks recipe is a sunny side dish. It would be perfect with chicken or pork.

4 medium potatoes, washed and cut into small cubes (unpeeled)
4 tablespoons margarine
1 tablespoon lemon zest
½ cup diced green onions OR 1 tablespoon chives
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon dill weed

1. In large skillet, pour in one cup water and bring to a boil.
2. Add potatoes and bring to boil again.
3. Reduce heat and cook 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through.
4. In saucepan melt margarine and mix in spices.
5. When potatoes are done, remove from water, put in serving dish.
6. Pour margarine-lemon sauce over them.
7. Add green onions or chives to coat all potatoes, serve.

Serves 4 – 175 calories
6 grams of fat 2.5 grams fiber

Hot Ham and Noodles

A cheesy and satisfying casserole for leftover Easter Ham!  Round out with a green vegetable and milk!

4 servings
Ingredients:
2 cups cooked egg noodles
1 cup cooked ham, diced
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 can (10.75 ounce) condensed cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup low fat milk (fill soup can 1/2 full)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Pour mixture into a 9X9- inch pan or
a 2 1/2 to 3 quart casserole dish that has been lightly coated with cooking spray.
3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

This casserole can be cooked in the microwave. Use a microwave-safe dish. Cover and
microwave on medium power (50%) for 8-9 minutes; stir. Microwave uncovered on
medium until hot and bubbly, 3 to 4 minutes more.

Variations: Add any of the following – peas and carrots, leftover vegetables, onions, zucchini or peppers.

Nutrition Facts: One 1 cup serving provides 310 calories, 14g total fat, 60mg cholesterol,
1180mg sodium, 29g total carbohydrate

Easy Roasted Vegetables

Use your oven to bring out the sweetness of vegetables with this simple recipe.  It may even get “Mike-y” to eat all his vegetables!

Per Serving: $.34

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups assorted vegetable pieces cut in chunks (potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, turnips, carrots, onions, mushrooms)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 425 F.
  2. Line a 9×13 pan with aluminum foil.
  3. Spread vegetables in pan. Sprinkle oil on vegetables. Stir. Sprinkle with seasoning, pepper, and salt. Stir.
  4. Bake uncovered 45 minutes. Turn every 15 minutes.
  5. Serve while hot.

Cooking Tips:

  • Roasting brings out the sweetness of vegetables.
  • Use thyme, basil, or rosemary in place of dried Italian seasoning.
  • Save energy. Roast veggies in oven with other food or right after other food is done.
  • Use veggies that your family likes.  Leftovers are great.

2013 Garden Plans: Pizza Garden (and a Chard Recipe!)

Yes, I know the chard recipe is random. We’ll get to that. First things first!

The first group that did their detailed plans for the year was the Pizza Garden group. It worked out well, because Bed 6, where the Pizza Garden will be, is currently half planted to leeks and garlic. We won’t be short of garlic for our pizza sauce!

Pizza Garden SpringAs you can see, the better part of the garden is taken up with the garlic that was planted last fall. We are going to harvest one row of leeks early and replace it with onions. (I know, poor rotational practices, I know.) Then we have picked out a roma and a cherry tomato, a bell and an Italian roasting pepper, and whatever herbs we can fit in. (Basil, oregano, thyme, parsley)

We are tentatively planning to use either ‘Mariana’ or ‘Plum Dandy’ for the roma variety and probably ‘Chocolate Cherry’ for the cherry tomato. The bell pepper will probably be ‘Big Bertha,’ because I think I still have extra seeds. ‘Planet’ is the variety we’ll be trying for the Italian Roasting peppers.

Pizza Garden FallThen in the second half of the season we had to get a little creative. After we harvest the garlic, we need something semi-pizza-ish to plant. We are going to do a row of green onions (I know, poor rotation again), a couple of zucchini plants, and some greens. I know the zucchini and greens are maybe a bit of a stretch for some of you to put on pizzas, but they shouldn’t be! Hopefully we can showcase some pizzas this fall using those greens.

You might notice that we’ve got some different varieties of greens planned from what we usually plant. We are going with the ‘Lacinato’ kale rather than the ‘Redbor’ we’ve planted a lot in the last few years. ‘Lacinato’ is supposed to be more tender and flavorful. We are also planning to use ‘Fordhook’ Chard, which is completely white stems, instead of the multi-colored ‘Bright Lights.’

Speaking of Swiss Chard…I tried another recipe last night that was delicious! (See, I told you there was a connection!) I’ve got enough garden plans coming up that I don’t want to spend a whole post on it, but for those of you still looking for a delicious way to eat Swiss Chard, I give you:

Bacon, White Bean, and Swiss Chard Pot Pie!

The recipe came from Smitten Kitchen, (both from her new cookbook and the blog), and we followed her directions with the exception of the pancetta. We used bacon, because we had bacon. We also used some Swiss Chard from our community garden plot 2 years ago that was still kicking around in the freezer. I just realized that virtually every Swiss Chard recipe that I really like came from Smitten Kitchen. If you don’t like chard, you’ve clearly just been using the wrong recipe source! I also noticed that the recipe she posted today also features chard: Lentil Soup with Sausage, Chard, and Garlic. Now I have a recipe to try for the last bag of chard in our freezer.

So anyway, if you are growing a pizza garden this year, don’t leave out the kale and chard!