Sunday, August 31, 2008

Poblano recipe

Another 6 poblanos were picked yesterday, and many, many jalapenos! We're going to a BBQ today and tomorrow. I'm going to be bringing chicken skewers for the grill today and steak skewers tomorrow and decided to make a poblano cream sauce to marinade the meat in. I took 4 of my medium-sized poblanos (just picked), and roasted them. After the outside was blackened, the peppers had to cool down a bit. I then peeled off the blacked skin. Next, the peppers had to be seeded and then put in a blender. I added one can of coconut milk, a few dashes of seasalt, as well as about 1/8 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper (I used a mixture of red and green peppercorns - good flavor). I just blended that all together and the marinade was all ready to go. Marinade the meat for at least 4 hours - I prefer overnight. Today, I'll skewer the chicken and add fruit on a sugar cane stick. Tomorrow, I'll add my steak on some wooden skewers with some red onion and more peppers. Should be good eating! As a side note - you can bring the poblano cream sauce to a slow simmer and cook it down a little to thicken - which makes a great sauce for pasta or rice!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Spaghetti Sauce

My 76 year old mom, who has a victory garden in her senior community, surprised me with a visit yesterday afternoon. She helps other people with tending their gardens when they either are too lazy, or too ill to do it. She'll pick and wash the vegetables and bring them over to the owners. Well, mom came bringing a big cooler full of tomatoes, 3 green peppers, one onion and one banana pepper. The owners were a little sick of all the tomatoes, so they gave them to my mom, who is also a little sick of all the tomatoes. She didn't want to see them go to waste, so she took a road trip to bring them to me. She knew that I would can them - she only cans jelly. So after our long chat over a soda, she left and I got to work. I washed and chopped everything she gave me. I even had an onion of my own, as well as my fresh basil and oregano - and then I threw in some garlic too. I cooked that sauce for hours on low. I cooled it down a bit before I put the whole pot in the refrigerator - I got too tired to finish it last night. So this morning, I will put all that sauce through my food mill to get out seeds and skin. Then I'll cook it down until it gets real thick - perfect for canning. I already have my lemon juice to put in the bottom of my jars before I put the sauce in and start processing in a hot water bath. She doesn't expect it, but mom will be getting a small jar or two of spaghetti sauce that she can put away!

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Who would have thought, that the herb which was supposed to be the easiest to grow, turned out to be so hard to cultivate. I originally didn't do my homework at the beginning of the summer. I just bought two grown plants from the nursery and stuck them in the ground. They took off like lightening! I thought you could just take cuttings off and it will grow back, like any other herb like basil, chives, etc... It wasn't the case. The whole plant goes to seed, and you have to replant every few weeks. I bought some seeds but they didn't really come up until 6 weeks later. It's only supposed to take 7-14 days. I don't even know if it was the old seeds or some of the seed I took from the plant I had originally planted. But 4 little cilantro's sprouted. I placed them into my garden. Overnight, one cilantro disappeared, another was chewed down, but you could still see some of it. After all that, all 3 surviving plants are starting to grow! Cilantro, one of my favorite herbs!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Pictures of German Queen and Health Kick after worm scare

After the tomato worm scare, I pulled off all of the dead branches, there were many - too many, from my plants. They still looked terrible, and a Miracle Gro application didn't make them look any better. My husband then added new soil around my tomatoes, and I think they look good (compared to what they used to look like). Maybe I'll get something out of my tomatoes this year. I'm crossing my fingers!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Protecting my poblano

My poblano plants have grown so tall, well over the support of the cages we have in place for support of those heavy branches. One branch is so heavy, it leans against the metal of the cage, and it is continually being rubbed. I saw the branch getting worn through, and I was getting concerned that it just might break soon, especially if we get any substantial winds. So my husband went out and attached some heavy dark grey foam he had with some cable ties to the top of the cage where the branch was in danger of breaking. It looks real good for protecting the branch. Now the one thing that concerns me this morning, is I saw around 6 pepper flowers had fallen off. Not good. My husband had put fresh new soil around these plants last night. I hope that wasn't a mistake. I can't imagine that it was. Again, we shall see.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Dirt for the tomatoes

We added more dirt to our dying tomatoes. And I don't know if it's just me, seeing the fresh black dirt laying around the tomatoes. But the tomato plants look better. With my luck, it's just my eyes and the thought that they should look good. But really, the plants look like they have perked up.

After picking 9 poblanos the other day, those plants have really perked up too (not that they could get much perkier). One branch even growing to almost 4 feet! The two poblano plants have at least another 10 small to medium sized peppers on them, with many more buds for future peppers. These are my husband and my favorite plants this year.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Of Peppers and Pesto

Well my peppers picture was definitely not my best picture, but you get the point. I picked 9 poblanos! These are all about 4-5 inches long. They could have gotten bigger, but I have so many other peppers growing on my two poblano plants, that I thought it's time. Might as well get some off and see if it helps the others grow faster. Don't want to overtax my plants! My husband broke off a small branch that had little peppers growing, as well as some pepper buds. We could have had 9 more from these in the future. He felt so bad because it happened when he was weeding there. These peppers I'm going to stuff with a cheese and herb mixture and wrap in bacon, and freeze.
I'm sure I'll be looking for other recipes soon!

And of course, my pesto. I made a double batch from this site: and it filled my new 500ml Ball jar totally full! I can't freeze this one (as I did the last batch), as I put in the Parmesan cheese this time. The cheese doesn't freeze well. But I certainly used some last night for dinner. Pesto on my bow tie pasta - wonderful! But, I'll be using this jar all week, as it only stays fresh for about a week. I'll marinate chicken - put it in rice - anything!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Why are the peppers doing so well

Poblanos, jalapenos, cubanelles and holy mole are everywhere. They are standing tall and bearing tons of fruit. I'm gathering all sorts of recipes to share soon.

My tomatoes are on their way out, I think. With a hope and a prayer, they might hang on, but I'm doubtful! How is it that the peppers are doing so well, and the tomatoes aren't?

On another note, my basil has really taken off too, as well as my thyme and oregano. My rosemary, for the first time is another failure. I don't get this year. Something has to be with the weather. I've never killed rosemary before. Now I need to find another plant!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Tomatoes aren't doing well

I pulled off 4 almost ripe tomatoes last night. They are so close, but decided to let them finish up inside my house. My plants are looking kind of sickly. They really look like they are dying off. The only tomato plant that looks ok is one of my German Queens, and it's starting to turn. I thought my friend from Iowa was nuts, but I guess not. I heard from another friend in a nearby suburb who says that her tomato plants only reached about 8 inches tall! But her neighbors have nice plants. I think it's odd that my tomato plants are not doing well, while ALL of my pepper plants are doing great. I mean I have poblanos, jalapenos, cubanelles and even that holy mole, and they are doing very well. Just not the year for tomatoes?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

zucchini recipes

Well, hubby came home with 2 huge zucchini's that he received from someone at work. I love free vegetables! But what to do with them....

The first, and largest zucchini, I sliced into 10 slices, all about an inch thick. I had decided to make zucchini burgers for my vegan daughter. I blanched those slices in salted, boiling water for a few minutes, then put them in a freezer bag, one layer only- and they are now in the freezer. I have 2 bags of thick zucchini slices for when my daughter comes over for dinner. I'll just take two slices out and we can grill them up for her.

The second zucchini was almost as big as the first. I sliced it lengthwise down the middle, scooped out the seeds. Applied olive oil on the outside skin. I filled the hollow area with whatever I had on hand, which was some leftover mexican rice, chopped, grilled chicken, kidney beans, and some cojack cheese. I placed the zucchini on the grill using non-direct heat, and grilled them until the zucchini got soft enough. It took awhile, at least 30 minutes, because the zucchinis were so big. Afterwords, we added some salsa on top because we needed a little bit more flavor and spice. It was delicious!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Poblanos are getting big

My poblano peppers are getting so big! I have many more coming in. My husband and I love to eat stuffed poblanos. I think we'll be eating plenty this fall. I stuff them and freeze them. I pull them out whenever we have a taste for them, which is quite frequent! My stuffing recipe changes every time I make it. I use whatever I have on hand!

Now, my tomatoes are starting to look bad. They are getting yellow and looking like they are going to die. Kind of what my Iowa friend said is happening to his tomatoes. I have one real good plant, which is a German Queen. I thought I had two tomatoes growing on one branch. Upon closer inspection, it is one HUGE tomato. One of those monster type. Gotta love it!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Trying to save my tomatoes from tomato hornworms

I've been fighting the tomato hornworm. I had bought a spray bottle of Safer 3-in-1 garden spray and applied it last night. I have to say, my tomato plants were covered with those white things - looks like bugs, but probably the baby worms. I sprayed them all - top and bottom. My leaves were starting to turn brown from where they were laying. I hope I caught everything in time. Though, this morning, there are still some of those white things on them, but not as many as before. And if I'm not mistaken, they look like they've gotten a little bigger overnight. Hope it's just my imagination.

My pepper plants don't show an infestation, even though the leaves look bug bitten. They are supposed to go after pepper plants too. I will get very angry if something happens to my peppers. If, worse comes to worse, my tomato plants belly up, I can at least use the huge cans of tomato sauce from Sam's Club to make all my different tomato and spaghetti sauces. Can't beat a 128oz can for $2.80., and it's a name brand too. I just want to be able to do it on my own, with no extra salt added.
My friend from Iowa said that his tomatoes have been dying. I mentioned the whole problem with the tomato hornworm. He said he doesn't get bugs or worms. Yeah, sure. We've never had this much rain before. The whole environment has changed, making things different - not what we are used to. He was going to go check and see if his tomato plants have those little white bugs/worms that don't really move (yet, at least). I'll bet he does. He said he'll use Sevin on them, if he's infested!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tomato Horn Worm

I noticed the other day that one of my health kick tomato plants had been stripped bare - it actually looked like someone broke off branches or ate the branches or something. Well, this morning, I found the culprit. A tomato horn worm! They are really huge caterpillars. Never saw one in my life until this one. This one was about 2-1/2 to 3 inches long. They can get to 4 inches. It was very hard to spot, because it's the same color as the tomato plant. I just noticed what I thought was a curled up leaf and looked harder. The first picture is the worm upside down where you see it's legs clinging to the stem. The other picture is kind of blurry, but it was my husband holding the branch he cut off with the worm on it. He then placed it out into the field behind our house. I have a feeling this won't be the last of this creature I see.

I understand that some people like to see these worm go into a cocoon and watch them emerge as a huge five-spotted hawkmoth. I didn't want to wait around to see it though. I'll have to find some safe product to spray on my plants, because I don't think this will be the last I see of the tomato horn worm!

Searched the Internet on a safe product to use on my vegetables / fruits. Located something by Safer brand called 3-in-1 Garden Spray - and it was at my local Lowes store. We'll see how this saga turns out!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Cilantro picture new from seed

One lone cilantro plant came up from the seed that I put in the pot on my deck. I had placed a total of five in a circle in the dirt. But only one plant came up. And it took about 6 weeks to do it. Is it just me? Is my seed slow, or is that how long it usually takes to germinate. I thought the package said it takes 7-14 days to germinate.
Well, at least something came up!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Garden Musings

As I wait for my tomatoes and peppers to ripen, I have to think what to do next. I finally have two cilantro seeds that did come up. They are in a pot on my deck. They are still tiny, so I'll wait and see how big they get before putting them into the ground. I thought it was supposed to be really easy to grow cilantro, and you need to reseed every two weeks. It's taken well over a month to get even this cilantro. Well, I did save some of the seed that my old cilantro plant gave off, and we'll see next year how that turns out. Hopefully better than those seed packets. I did have extra seeds for jalapenos that I threw in a trough on my deck. They did come up nicely, and they are starting to flower. I should get them into the garden this weekend. For some reason, half of my large rosemary plant died - right up the middle. My thyme, oregano, chives, sage, marjoram, tarragon, and basil are doing well. The rosemary plant half dying, is a mystery. The rest of it still looks good though. Hopefully it can be saved. Speaking of seeds, I have been saving some of my pepper seeds from the peppers that I've picked. Hopefully they will come up next year too, without having to buy any. Anyway, just watching my garden grow...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Love my peppers

I might as well love my peppers - poblanos, that is. My friend who grew up on an Iowa farm, who has a huge garden of his own, came on by after work. He had to tell me that he has so many ripe tomatoes they are falling off, noticing that mine are still green. But he did say that he has never seen peppers grow as tall as mine before. So now I feel really good about the peppers in my garden!
He better drop off some tomatoes in the morning, I'm growing old waiting for mine to ripen!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Poblanos - bragging rights

Poblanos are my favorite pepper. Not too hot, nice size, and a hint of a smoky flavor. I've never grown them before. This year I thought I would try them, so I planted two. They turned out to be the tallest things in my garden, and so far the plants that have produced the most.

I have to say, these poblano plants look like little trees. But they have peppers all over them. Eleven nice sized peppers on one, and nine on the other. They have so many itty bitty peppers growing, that I can't include them in my count - yet!

These are the plants that demand LOTS of water every day, or they wilt. These are the plants that love Miracle Gro once a week too. So I do what my poblanos want, so I can get the most out of them.

I LOVE poblanos!


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Health Kick Tomatoes looking good

When I first put in the Health Kick tomato plants, they looked like they weren't going to do well. I put 7 plants into the ground, and they were all kind of spindly. For the longest time, they didn't grow. They didn't die either. But very frustrating to see something just not growing. After we started the Miracle Gro treatments, my Health Kick tomatoes started to grow. Some are still not bushy, but some are. And they all have lots of tomatoes on them. I can't say if it was the Miracle Gro, or if it was just their time to grow, but these tomato plants look like they are going to produce well, finally!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Picked lots of jalapenos

I picked quite a few jalapenos on Saturday. Looks like things are starting to happen! There was one cubanelle that I picked too. There are many, many more that are growing. Today, I think I'm just going to ramble...

I think this is such an exciting time! For people who have bigger gardens than mine - I'm jealous! I'm already planning next year's garden. But first, we will have to re-till the dirt. Maybe even add more dirt to the mix. When we water, the water gathers on the far west side of my garden, so, it's obviously uneven.

My mom gave me green beans and beets. I don't know if I should add some of those to my garden next year or not. I've learned some lessons already - about growing cilantro, shallots, peppers and tomatoes. Is it too early to think about next year? I don't think so!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Tomato Patch

I took this picture early in the morning - it didn't seems like it was still dark, but my flash went off - so it must have been!

I've got 2 German Queen tomato plants that are doing very well. The sad thing is yesterday, while weeding, I broke off a nice healthy branch with 6 flowers on it. I was so mad at my self! Already plucked one ripe tomato and used it sandwiches for the husband all week.

I've got 3 "Bush" tomatoes. They should have been kept in a pot on my deck. They really are container tomato plants. They are short, and not much to them. They do have some tomatoes on them. That pink spot in my tomato patch is the one bush tomato that's just about ready to be picked.

Then I have the 7 Health Kick tomato plants. They were spindly when first started. Looked like they weren't going to make it. Well, they are not bushy, by any means, but they have grown tall, and have plenty of tomatoes on them. My little roma type! This is the tomato that has 50% more lycopene than other tomatoes.
More tomorrow on that!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Proud of my Poblanos

I may only have two poblano plants, but they are going to be big producers! They look really nice early in the morning with the cool weather.

They really like to get watered a LOT. I don't know about anyone else's plants, but mine do. They also act like they need Miracle Gro every week too. If I don't, they really look wilty - like they don't get enough nutrients or something. I think next year, I will grow more than two plants. They really are a fun plant to watch grow.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Poblano, Cubanelle and Jalapeno Peppers

After a third dose of Miracle Gro, and some wonderful overnight temperatures, my poblano plants have perked right up! It looks like we need to add that Miracle Gro every week. The poblanos especially like it, it seems. The cubanelle plant is doing very well. The leaves are finally turning a little darker green. It looks perky too. It has one big pepper near the bottom of the plant again. There are others just starting to grow at the top and in the middle of the plant, where I can let them grow as long as they can go! And my jalapenos - there are many. I have regular and mucho nacho. Maybe I'll pick some jalapenos this weekend and make my grilled chicken and jalapeno cheese ravioli and share my recipe here. My son and his friends just love it!


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Lots and Lots of Basil with recipe link

I have so much basil! And it all looks great!

First, I'm going to make Pesto! Here is a great link for a pesto recipe: and I'm going to freeze it for future use.

Then, I'm going to make basil and garlic pasta sauce, can it actually. Right now, my tomatoes aren't ready, but I do have plenty of cans of plain tomato sauce to use. I'll cut this basil down, and it will be right back up in time for my home grown tomatoes! Basil is so easy to grow, and I just love the taste!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Poblanos need support

After the storms yesterday, my poblanos looked like they had been blown very hard with the wind. Everything was leaning to one side. The plant looked battered!

This morning, I go out and check on them, and they really are leaning over. I think it needs more top support because it is so heavy with all the peppers on it. This plant would be at least 4 feet tall, it has grown that big! So now, I need to get my hubby to devise a support for the upper half of the poblanos. Who would have thought these get so tall!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Hot day and more Japanese beetles

Today is supposed to be a fairly hot day. Luckily, the predictions have dropped from 97 degrees down to 90. I did water my plants yesterday, late, so they shouldn't suffer too much. My poblanos are the one that wilt at the drop of a dime! Maybe it's because they do have the most peppers on them. I have to baby them, as I see over thirty little peppers growing on each plant! I do tend to lose some when strong winds come in - and we are expecting some strong storms today. I wish I didn't lose any peppers, but the free watering is great on the budget!

The Japanese beetles have shown up again - not as badly as before - dusted again with Sevin. Of course, if it rains, we'll have to apply again. Then we'll have to get some grub-x (or whatever you call it) and apply to the lawn. It seems that grubs are the early stages of the Japanese beetle. And supposedly grubs come out in the fall? It's enough to make your head spin to find out when you have to do what!


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sweet 100 picture

Nice cool morning today - 62 degrees! And tomorrow is supposed to be in the 90's?!! I should go out and weed today. But I am such a wuss! I'm afraid of that big old spider. I know it's still got to be there, underneath growing things. I think I'll wait for my husband to come home from his father / son camping trip and let them weed. Yes, that's the ticket. Men aren't afraid of spiders, are they?

My Sweet 100 plant is doing well. Actually all of my tomato plants look like they are doing well. The bush tomatoes are extremely short though. Maybe that's why they should be put in pots?

I may have had a miracle occur. I may have gotten 1 seedling out of those cilantro seeds that I complained about last week. Can't tell if it's cilantro that has spouted up or just a weed. I would say weed, but it's in one spot where I believe I definitely put a seed. It's only 1/4 of an inch out of the ground. Time will tell. Though they say cilantro grows fast. We'll see.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Coyote Watch

We had a little excitement yesterday. A coyote decided to occupy the field behind out house for a few hours. He (or she) came around 3:30pm (crazy time because they are nocturnal creatures) to about 7:30pm. He walked, rolled and played around in the field. Then he fell asleep. Kind of cute, but you really wonder what makes them break the nocturnal habit.

My husband picked his German Queen tomato. And I took a picture of my Sweet 100 cherry tomato plant. It's still not the height it's supposed to get to (could reach 4 feet, I believe), but it does have a good crop of tomatoes growing!
I'll have to show you more pictures of my plants tomorrow. I'm dreading going to weed, as I saw that NASTY spider the other day. I can handle ants and daddy long leg spiders, but those big thick ones - no.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Picked some peppers

Since it's raining pretty good, and I can't go check my garden, I'll tell you about the peppers that I picked.

I had to pick 2 cubanelles because they were touching the ground and I didn't want them spoiled. They could have grown twice as long if they were closer to the top of the plant instead of the bottom!

The same for my mucho nacho jalapeno. It's was the first pepper that set on that plant, but, it was touching the ground. Not very mucho - these can get to be 4 inches, this was only 3.

My one and only holy mole pepper so far. It could have gotten a little longer and then turned a browner color instead of this deep, dark green. The husband was a little zealous in wanting to try it! So maybe I'll do a grilled pizza tonight with these peppers on it. Sounds really good, actually. Here's to hoping rain doesn't ruin my plans!