Tag Archives: Growing


Farmer’s Tomato Pie

Before I get going on the recipe I thought I’d give a little update on the garden. We’re still getting an overwhelming amount of tomatoes, and as a result my mom and I have made at least 4 batches of my grandma’s sauce (a recipe that will never be on this blog!) and yet there are still more. There are always more. We went away for a week, and upon our return we had more tomatoes, green beans, an eggplant, and some cucumbers. I’m very pleased to inform you all that I did find a way to use up many cucumbers, Julia Child’s baked cucumber recipe! It uses 6 whole cucumbers, and the book Mastering the Art of French Cooking provides a variety of ways to serve them. I’ve made it with the cheese sauce.  j’ai adore.

My herbs are doing alright. The basil and sage are growing strong, the parsley is ok, and the dill has completely died. I think I over-planted the pot, not expecting them to grow so much, and the dill suffered for it. Also, the green beans somehow made their way over to the dill and started growing wrapped around it. I wanted to take pics, but it’s rainy out so I didn’t.
There is also some delicious looking butternut squash growing!! I’m excited! I’m going to make butternut squash risotto for my brother’s birthday on Wednesday, and you can betcha that I’ll put the recipe on this here blog :)
We had a plethora of chili peppers as well, and as a result we ate some, froze some, and are drying out some more. And there are still many growing. Here’s how the drying ones are coming along:
I know, they are very pretty and strange looking.
Now on to the recipe! Normally I post original recipes, however as a result of my whining in my last post about too many tomatoes, my friend’s mom, Marilyn Leibe, generously suggested I make a Farmers Tomato Pie. I was unimpressed at first, thinking of a pie crust filled with ketchup, but she assured me that it is tasty and emailed me the recipe. The recipe looked way more interesting than my initial impression, which was mainly based on the name. When one thinks of a pie, they normally think of the sweet dessert kind and not the savory kind. Since this is full of tomatoes and cheese I chose to think of it as a pizza pie.
I was wary of making it at first, but faced with so many tomatoes and a lack of desire to make more sauce I figured I might as well try. I’ve never actually made a pie before, and as you’ll see in the pictures I couldn’t care less if the crust was properly crinkled or whatever it’s called. I probably should have baked the crust a little longer, but lessons have been learned.
I followed the recipe almost exactly, but I had two bags of cheese that were mostly finished so instead of measuring I just used what I had left. I used up a bag of mozzarella and cheddar cheese. They became good friends in this dish. The recipe also didn’t specify what to do with the basil other than just topping the pie after it baked, so I went with a fancy chiffonade(roll up the leaves and cut into long, thin strips).

Before baking
After baking
The end result was quite pleasing. I should have baked it a little longer, but I was nervous about over-cooking it, as well as a little hungry, so I’ll try to be more patient next time. It reminded me of pizza, but with a lighter crust and more tartness from using fresh tomatoes instead of a sauce. It tasted absolutely nothing like a ketchup pie, and for that I am grateful. I’ll probably end up making it again this week with more adjustments since I now know how it works. Maybe some chili peppers next time? And sausage too? I think it will be spectacular.

Gardening Fun

Gardening is fun, especially if you have someone else do it for you, and then reap the benefits. That’s how I roll. Earlier this year, my dad and brother (with my assistance, of course!) felt the need to make a huge garden structure thing, in order to keep the deer and critters out as well as to make us look fancy. I must admit, it does look nice. I mostly helped by halfheartedly digging a hole with a post digger. Turns out that I don’t enjoy manual labor. At least I tried!

We planted some seeds, planted some already started plants, and I re-potted my herbs so they could have room to stretch. And holy crap did they stretch! The sage went insane! Especially in the past couple of days. I mean, it was doing alright outside, then when I looked at it yesterday they were giants! I definitely need to use them soon. And the basil has been growing well, but it seems some bugs might like it too since the leaves have little holes in them. Oh well, I still used some today in my grandma’s sauce.
The parsley and dill had all but died before I re-potted them. Now they’re coming back strong! It’s quite exciting. And I also cheated and bought rosemary and mint since I couldn’t find mint seeds, and the rosemary smelled too good to not buy. The mint is the only one not in the garden, I put it in it’s own pot right under my window. No real reason for that, it’s just where the pot already was.
Lots of stuff is growing, and I’m kinda looking forward to all the fresh and free vegetables that will be coming later in the summer. Oh, and the strawberries! I have learned that strawberries fresh off the vine are ridiculously fantastic.
Now you can all look forward to summer recipes with home grown ingredients besides just the herbs (which are finally usable and can fulfill the purpose of this blog!). I’m gonna make zucchini bread, butternut squash risotto, grilled vegetable sauces, green bean casserole, soups, desserts, drinks, anything and everything I can!
Now I’m freaking hungry.
Watch out, it’s pic heavy below the cut. Click them to see them bigger

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The herbs are ok

I know it’s been a while since I posted new info about my herbs. And no, it’s not because I forgot or anything lame like that, it’s because they honestly hadn’t changed much since my last update. There was a few days when I thought they were going to die, and that wasn’t cool, but since it got warmer they’ve been doing much better and have actually grown a little! I’m going to start watering them with a fertilizer water thing that my dad made for our garden and I hope it will make the herbs grow to the point where I can actually use them. I did NOT expect it to take quite this long!

The basil has finely grown some new basil like leaves. After remaining unchanged for 2 months I was concerned that I had duds, but now I see actual progress. See how cute? It actually resembles basil now! I just want to gobble it up!

Now, the parsley I was really really worried about. It was not doing well at all. It was losing the green color and being all long and floppy and terrible and kind of shriveled  up. Thankfully it looks like an actual plant again! I rescued it! I probably wasn’t watering it enough because of my fear of over-watering my herbs. But now the parsley is quickly on its’ way to a full and healthy recovery, all for the purpose of being eaten! Mmmmmmm tasty….

The sage has always been pretty and healthy looking. The only real change is the leaves are bigger and cooler looking, and there is more of them. Enough said, check out the pic.

My dill is being kind of strange. It’s growing well, but with a purple tint to it. Is this normal? I guess I just have to wait and see. It is steadily growing, so it’s still doing well, right? Oh well, at least it’s looks neat!

We’ve also started growing plants for the garden in the back yard. My dad and brother (with my help of course!) built this huge wooden structure for our garden, so we’re pretty excited about it. They had to build such a big garden so the deer won’t be able to just eat everything. I’ll put up pics of it when we’ve planted some of the plants outside. Right now the peppers and tomatoes and eggplant are growing inside, and are doing quite well if I do say so myself! Here are some of the tomato plants! They’re huge (compared to the herbs at least)!

So many growing things! Only problem now is how to get rid of all the stupid little flies. I’m going to blame my brother’s orange tree for them. No way can my cute little herbs be at fault!

Sage = Adorable & Dill = Wicked Cool

First off, I heard about how some random from NY wants to ban the use of salt in all NY restaurants. That’s just a whole new level of stupid. Nothing will boost an economy like a massive chef strike! Hopefully NY realizes this is a silly idea and moves past it. If people are against salt in restaurant food, then they always have the viable option of cooking their own flavorless blobs of nothing at home. Oh well.

On to better things: herbs! Sage and dill are growing at an explosive speed! Meanwhile, parsley and basil haven’t changed all that much. The sage has started growing little herby leaves that are simply adorable. They’re all wrinkly and fuzzy and tiny, like a baby, except sage is actually cute.

The dill is just crazy whirls of mayhem. I like it. I had no idea that dill was quite so cool looking while it grows. I must say it is a pleasant surprise.

Poor basil and parsley are being wicked lame. They’re still so small! The parsley is starting to sprout little herby leaves, however they are not all that impressive right now. I tried to take a picture of it, but it was just too lame to post. I hope you enjoy the sage and dill instead.

Dill and Sage are finally growing. And Runsas are tasty.

My dill and sage have been growing awesomely. When they first started growing they were both kind of ugly, so I didn’t take any pictures. They were brownish and wimpy looking. Luckily, that quickly changed. Apparently dill grows really tall in a short amount of time. One day they were just peeking out of the soil, and the next they were like 2 inches high! I might have to raise my grow-light if they keep up like this.

Some of the sage kept the seed shell on for a while after they busted the soil. I wanted to just pluck it off, but I figured it’s probably a natural thing  so I left it. It’s cool to watch it though because the stem is all fuzzy and weird. You can see one in the middle with the seed shell still on the top.

It’s so interesting how all the herbs look so completely different, and the shapes of them remind me of the seeds. Dill, for example is really long and thin. The sage is very round and fat. Basil is round and thin. The parsley is long and very delicate looking. Maybe I’m looking into it all too much, but I think its fascinating.

On a completely unrelated side note, I just finished making Runsas (beef and cabbage buns) today and they are FANTASTIC. Savory filling wrapped in a lightly sweetened soft bread? Yeah, doesn’t get much more delicious than that. I plan on using the bread recipe and inventing my own filling with various herbs. You should be excited, because it’s going to be epic.

Herbs grow even when I’m not around

I came back a couple days ago from a mini-trip to Boston, and was very excited to see my herbs again! Does that make me wicked lame? Oh well. The day I left (last Thursday) there was a new baby basil growing, and when I came back there were like a thousand more! Or maybe just 5. You understand. It was very exciting for me. Still no dill or sage, but I’m hoping by the end of the week I’ll see something.

And the parsley is starting to become awesome! They are sprouting new bits! I tried to take a picture of it, but I’m not sure how clear they can be seen.

What can I make with basil, parsley, sage and dill?!

I went to the store the other day with the plan of buying sage and mint seeds, and what did they have? Practically nothing! I managed to find the sage seeds, but there was no mint to be found. I really wanted another type too since my brother replanted his pear tree and gave me the empty pot left behind. I couldn’t just let an empty pot sit around when it could be the vessel for a glorious herb!

After a great internal debate (and about a half hour looking like a crazy person staring at seed packets) I finally decided upon dill. Why dill? Well, it’s tasty, pretty, and makes me laugh because I think it’s a silly name. Also I don’t have a lot of experience with it and figured this was a good time to learn. Those are good enough reasons for me!

I planted the seeds last night, so it’ll be a while until anything interesting happens with them. Although I do expect to see my extra basil soon!

Here are some photo updates of my basil and parsley:


Pretty, right?

Mushrooms, sage, basil, and maybe more!

2 new mushrooms in the parsley! This time I made sure to quickly get pictures before they died (good thing too, because I took the pictures yesterday and they already died by this morning). Is this a normal thing to happen? I have no idea.

A couple days ago I planted some more basil seeds, since there isn’t all that much going on in the pot, so hopefully I can see those start to grow soon! Today I plan to go to Home Depot to get some sage seeds to plant next to the parsley, and maybe some other herbs too. Whatever strikes my fancy while I’m there is what will be planted next! It sucks because I want to grow tons of herbs and plants, but I don’t really have the space for it, and I would also probably need to buy more grow lights (and I’m way too poor for that!). Oh well, we’ll see how it goes!

Isn’t the mushroom incredibly random?

Mushroom Mayhem

I swear I did NOT mean to grow mushrooms. I have no idea how this happened. I went to check my basil last night, got all excited to see some extra life, looked closely, and there it was: a mushroom. It did make me feel a little better, since at first I thought it was an albino basil or something to that effect. So I think I’ll leave it alone for now and see what happens. I have no idea if it’s from the soil, or the seeds, or cosmic weirdness, but it’s at
least interesting. Whatever, that was last night. Today i discovered another basil bit! At first i thought “oh no, just more random musrooms”, which, to be fair, is usually the first thing I think when something happens. However, as usual, I was wrong! It’s more basil! I’m not a basil failure!

The parsley is a veritable forest. However adorable and miniature, it is still a forest. I didn’t even realize I planted that many seeds! I hope they don’t get too overcrowded. I might be exaggerating a little, but compared to the basil the parsely is growing crazy fast. Oh, and  what have we here? Of course, a mushroom has come to visit the parsley as well! I’m just going to go aead and assume it’s completely harmless, and most likely from the soil. It is cute, and adds more character to the planters, so for now it can stay. The second it becomes unappealing and icky, it will get ripped out and destroyed. With glee.  

Update: Mushrooms quickly died before I got a chance to take a picture! What’s that all about?

Here’s my basil and parsley thus far!


Grow Faster!

Basil, why so sad? There’s still only one bit of basil to be found in this vast pot of soil. Granted, it is a LOVELY bit of basil, but I thought that once it started then more would surely join the party. Maybe it’s way too soon, and the one piece that is there is actualy a freak of basil? I don’t know! I have no idea how long these things take, but everyone tells me I need to be patient. How lame is that?

My parsely, however, loves me. It’s very obvious. I discovered it was growing on Jan. 30th, right? Well, by the end of that day, there were already two more growing! Now there are a thousand! Not literally. Calm down, I’m not that amazing. My basil is being completely lame right now, but at least my parsely gives me something new everyday. They’re getting kind of tall and wicked thin, is that normal? Grown parsley is like that, so I guess it makes sense. But it’s so long and weak looking, like an awkward, gangly kid.