Ducks and Gardening

They don’t hang out near the patio as much as Maddie and Mabel, but this morning they thought they’d check in.

Despite dire warnings of a very, very cold Mother’s Day, I planted about half of my tomatoes today. They were getting leggy and I worried they’d be difficult for my petsitter to take care of while I’m away.  The water tents should keep them safe.  These five are all San Marzano.

The other three tomatoes will have to wait for friends to bring over their walls-of-water and some pots. They’re moving this summer, so no garden. It was decided I’d plant enough for all of us. Excited to have my little garden be a “co-op.”

I’m leaving the peppers inside until I’m sure it will be warm enough, even though I have walls-of-water for them, too. Ground is still unseasonably cold.

The front yard is looking stunning with all the bulbs (this is but a few). None of which I planted and all survived the cardboard/mulch arrangement. Actually, they seemed to thrive.

That’s it for now. On the road for the rest of the week, but I’ll check in with any fun recipes we might make along the way.

Until then…

Dinner Menu: Spicy Lime Cilantro Chicken w/Mexican Rice

It’s been unseasonably warm here after our early snow in September, so grilling is on the menu.

On the board:

  1. Spicy Lime Cilantro Chicken
  2. Mexican Rice Medley
  3. Green Beans
  4. Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe here)

Spicy Lime Cilantro Chicken:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup sliced pickled jalapenos and juice

 Place ingredients in a zip-lock bag and marinate 1 hour or overnight.  Broil or grill for 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes, until breasts are cooked to 165 degrees. Continue reading

Chef Michael Symon’s Grilled Eggplant Parmesan

Photo Credit: Food Network/Michael Symon

Photo Credit: Food Network/Michael Symon

Chef Michael Symon* has a new show on Food Network called Symon’s Dinners Cooking Out. It’s a fun half-hour with Symon grilling all his recipes with the help of his wife.

I wanted to share this recipe as soon as I saw the episode. Such a perfectly simple way to prepare eggplant and fresh tomatoes. As we wind up garden season, this is a perfect late summer grilling recipe.

Check out all the recipes from the show, most are simple and unique takes on popular favorites. 

Grilled Eggplant Parmesan

Level: Easy
Total: 30 min
Active: 30 min
Yield: 4 servings

  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 beefsteak tomatoes, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving
  • Torn fresh basil leaves, for serving

Continue reading

Tomato Season: Mortgage Lifter

I came home after being out of town for a week to an abundance of ripe and ripening tomatoes.  I only planted four plants, but I think it will get us through the winter.

This large tomato is a Mortgage Lifter. My local greenhouse carries a very few tomatoes and they are always unusual heirloom varieties. Last year it was San Marzano – and they were amazing. I think I’ll try to start some from seeds next year.

This year it was Mortgage Lifter and Amish Paste tomatoes.

This is the first ripe Mortgage Lifter – about the size of a softball – heavy – just under a pound. Definitely the biggest of this year’s varieties. Continue reading

Summer Staples

Around here this cucumber and tomato salad with sweet onions is almost always in the fridge.  I added some blanched broccoli to this batch as a change of pace.  It’s in a simple vinaigrette of seasoned rice vinegar and oil with a sprinkle of garlic powder, onion powder, and thyme.

Creole Veggies with Black Beans And Rice

creole-veggiesWe’re trying to do a vegetarian night a few times a week. This was one of my favorite creations.

Creole Vegetables with Black Beans and Rice

  • 1 cup Jasmine Rice
  • 1 -15 oz can no salt black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • lime juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 green onions, chopped (including greens)
  • 1/2 each: green, red and orange pepper, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1-14 oz can no salt diced tomatoes
  • salt to taste

Continue reading