Pico de Gallo Salsa Time

With the pounds of tomatoes we are picking everyday, there’s alot of tomato business going on here.  I have been freezing, boiling, stewing, cutting and juicing tomatoes to the point of I usually need a nap afterwards.  One of our gems to make with the tomatoes is pico de gallo which is enjoyed alongside some tortilla chips.  We have been making this for a while and I’m at the point of where I don’t measure anything, I just know what works.  This is  very often brought along to gatherings in the summer time, it usually results in cheers and hugs. 

I have been experimenting with this and have tried various ways of cutting things up to get it the most non juicy as possible.  I use a food processor but you need to be careful as it can slowly turn into slop. 

Ingredients:
Tomatoes – roma are best, but beefs work if needed – about 1-1.5 pounds
1/2 green pepper
1/2 onion
2 teaspoons cilantro
red pepper flakes to taste
salt/pepper to taste

Instructions:
Cut up your tomatoes, set aside.
Thrown your green pepper into your food processor, pulse 3 times
Cut up your onion, set aside with your tomatoes.
Add your tomatoes and onion to food processor that has pepper in it, mix with spoon.
Add cilantro, red pepper, salt/pepper on top.
Pulse 3 times.
Do not over pulse! Check it out after every pulse to make sure it stays thick.
Serve with chips, enjoy.

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Quick trip to the garden results in yummy fresh ingredients!
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Right before everything gets pulsed 3 times.
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Good texture, still thick.
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Yummy Yummy.  Eat many!

Gardeniere: Meet Our Garden!

On a very hot day back in May I spent the day with the good folks of Home Depot and Miracle-Gro giving a tour of our garden.  I was picked to represent the North East USA in the new Gardeniere project!  We spent the day on the roof, at Home Depot and walking the streets lugging soil back.  The videos were just released yesterday and I love how they came out.  This was early in the season so some of the plants look like babies, but you get to see our monster broccoli plants who I will forever be in love with. Enjoy!



Here some behind the scenes pictures from that day too!
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Corn Harvest

Corn! Our beloved corn! We have boxes of corn!
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Today we checked them out and saw a couple that were ready to pick.  You can usually tell if the silks are all brown.
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You can also peek and pull back the husk.  If you see the corn is all filled up, then it’s ready!
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So pull it off the plant.
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Look at the size of this corn!
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We had these for dinner tonight, we like them raw or cooked just a little bit so it’s hot.
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Absolute beauties!
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Apple Cider, Pasta Salad, Rain Storms

It’s 4:58PM but it already feels like the day is ending. It’s probably because it’s storming and the sky is black with thunder. 
I sent myself a email at 4AM last night that had the subject “Apple cider!” and the body read “YAY!”.  I guess that was a note to myself to use up the 3 apples on the counter before they went bad.  So when I woke up today I started the cider going which just finished. I also was able to get some apple sauce out of the deal which made it even better.
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Then for lunch, I used a bunch of garden tomatoes, green pepper and basil to make some fresh pasta salad.  It’s so good! I always make enough for leftovers, so this will be my lunch again tomorrow.  I had a pickle on the side.
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Then the rain started which it’s still doing now.  Online it says:
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It also says hail which is probably the most frightening thing for the garden. 
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All I can do is stare out the window and think about my soy bean plants who really need their mama right now.
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Brother Bear knows the feeling.  When he hears a storm, it’s either straight under the bed or in the closet to hide.  Today it was the closet.
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Rainy Rainy Rainy…at least I don’t have to water the corn.

Watermelon From Seed

Sometimes when growing your own fruits and vegetables you step back and think to yourself – wow, I grew this.  It’s a amazing moment of realization that this delicious watermelon came from a little baby seed.  This morning while chopping up some watermelon for breakfast I had one of those moments. I almost cried over the cutting board.
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It all started with this:
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A Walk To Ikea

On a recent walk to Ikea during a very hot day, we spotted many great things during our 10 miles that I wanted to share with you.  I needed some joy because let’s be honest, my shoes weren’t meant for walking, I was sweating and my thighs under my dress were chafing. I was miserable.
We saw these amazing tree signs that kids made:
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Then we passed a truck by the Gowanus Canal that had a bed of vegetables growing in it:
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The best part is it had farm animal figurines in it too:
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The entire point of walking to Ikea on a close to 100 degree day was to buy a comforter.  Yes, we’re talking first world problems here where you need to buy a new warm comforter so you can use it during summer nights because your AC is too cold.
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I fell in love with these vegetable stuffies and almost bought them all:
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I rounded a corner after being in the kitchen section for a bit and found Matthew like this.  This was a good idea:
How I found Matthew at Ikea.

Goliath Day

Today we got 2 Goliaths, one beef tomato and one green pepper.  I love that they take up the entire palm of my hand.
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Also, check out the first soy bean plant flowers! I just realized we have 54 soy bean plants – I read that it’s good to have 4 plants per person.  WE CRAZY.
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Cherry Tomato Snacks

Have a friend coming over you want to impress with snacks? Don’t  have a friend coming over but want to impress yourself with snacks? Try these.  Grab some sticks, put them through cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and basil.  That’s it.  Thank me later, these are delicious.
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Tomato Life

My life is about tomatoes right now.  All we do is pick them, eat them, make salsa and sauces.  Repeat, Repeat.
Today, over 8 pounds of cherry tomatoes:
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Any gathering, we bring salsa.  All tomatoes, peppers and onions from the garden! So fresh!
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Today’s Harvest

Today we got a full load from the garden..
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Tomatoes, lots of them, all kinds.
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A giant big daddy beef tomato.
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Watermelon.
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The last 2 pumpkins.  We took out the pumpkin plants to make room for the next plant.. pumpkin seeds have already started for the Fall. :)
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Lots of carrots.
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Check out how well the carrots grow, they practically grow as large as the container they’re in.
Opening a produce stand soon...
Happy Weekend Harvest Time!

Releasing Ladybugs!

I was waiting to write this entry until I knew what the outcome would be and this week we found out!
A few weeks ago we bought some ladybugs on Amazon (yes, you can buy them there).  Each year we do this and usually none of the ladies stick around.  This year we had higher hopes that some would stick around, mate, and more ladybugs would be born.  They really do a great job at getting rid of aphids and mites.. and we need some help right now.   Plus they are just beautiful ladies and I enjoy talking to them in the garden.
We released them in 2 batches, one was released on June 27:
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We released them on the tomatoes, pumpkins and the watermelon: aka plants that aphids and mites love.
**Lady_Attack_Squad** GOGOGO!!!!
This is our army of ladies ready to attack.  Go girls go!


This is Round 2 on July 3.  This video is me releasing the rest of them as they crawl all over my arms and fly in my hair.  You have to be quick.  Really quick.  Ladies are fast. 
Then we waited to see if they would mingle and mate…
Then a few days ago I saw these all over the plants! I cheered, I danced, I yelled at Matthew “OMG! LOOK!” to which he yelled back “OMG, THERE MUST BE THOUSANDS”.
These are ladybug babies.  Aren’t they adorable?  Isn’t it amazing how they transform?
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Just recently I saw their next step of transformation, they turn completely orange and slowly get their dots:
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Good job ladies, we love you. <3

Easy Homemade Cherry Tomato Sauce

With many cherry tomatoes sitting on our counter I decided I wanted to make a  cherry tomato pasta sauce for dinner tonight.  Cherry tomatoes aren’t usually used for tomato sauces so I was a bit apprehensive but boy was I wrong.  This here was one of the best tomato sauces I ever made.  It was tomato-y, sweet and super fresh.  I’m going to try this recipe  with other types of tomatoes because it’s so quick and easy.
Ingredients:
1 pound tomatoes (whatever kind you want!)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons +  2 teaspoons dried basil

Directions:
In food processor puree whole tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, basil.
Transfer to a small pot to the stove.  Bring to a boil.
Simmer for 1 hour.
The longer you simmer, the thicker it will become, so feel free to simmer for longer if you want.
Enjoy!
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Today: Soup Dumplings & Pretzel Milk Shakes

Today was a good day spent with a lovely friend.  We first met at M Shangai Bistro which I promised Jessie would be some of the best soup dumplings she’s tasted.  The verdict: This was very true.
Have you had soup dumplings, do you love them too? I find the best way to eat them is to bite off the top, slurp out the juices and then eat the pork inside.  Whatever, just go at them, you deserve them.
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We got 2 orders of them because I knew I needed 6 to myself.
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Then we split some Shangai lo mein – pork, chicken and shrimp.  The noodles were thick, they were amazing.
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Rest of the day behind the cut, including a pretzel milk shake which changed my life.

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