Garden Bliss

English: Easter egg radishes, just harvested

 radishes, just harvested (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over the weekend I bought a package of carrot seeds and a package of radish seeds. The garden has been tilled and is almost ready to plant. This year is the year we will take excellent care of our garden. We will pull the weeds as soon as they show up, nurture the carrots, stake the tomatoes, make wonderful salads from the lettuce, freeze some of the tomatoes, enjoy the different variety of peppers I know my son will want to plant, and….

There is a lot of satisfaction in having a garden but I have to take it up a notch and actually take care of the garden after it is planted. I love it when we first plant it—the neat rows staked out in fairly straight lines; the packets on little wooden stakes so we know what we planted where; the healthy little plants so lovingly planted and watered. But I cannot stop there—I have to keep up the momentum, even during those hot and humid summer days in July and August.

The radishes that I bought are called Scarlet Globe—doesn’t that sound like an intriguing character name for a short story or novel? They only take 20-25 days to grow to maturity, so they can be planted several times if the whim hits, and according to the instructions they “may be sown again when weather cools for a fall crop”. Now how cool is that? The package calls this variety a “time honoured favourite”. Once grown they will be olive shaped and about one inch in circumference. Their “dazzling scarlet red skins give way to crisp and crunchy white centres”.

I don’t know about you, but I have never really taken the time to actually read the instructions and descriptions on these little packets of seeds before. They are really quite entertaining besides being instructive. The package says that the variety I purchased will have a delicate flavour (which means pick them before they get woody and hot). If I plant the seeds correctly, I am supposed to end up with a 16’ row—but just to be contrary—I think I will plant two 8’ rows—I am such a rebel. Apparently, should I be up to it, I can make several plantings of these little scarlet and white wonders—the package suggests 10 days apart until the weather becomes warm (which means I better get going here—as it is going to be warm again mid-week). And do you know what else? Radishes like company. “Growing leaf lettuce with radishes will make them more tender.” Who knew?

I love growing leaf lettuce—it is the gift that seems to keep on giving all summer. And I use an old recipe I remember my mom using as a dressing—it involves milk and sugar and vinegar—that is it—and it dresses the leaves just right—giving it some tang and sweetness. It is one of those recipes that you just sort of do without measuring.

So, now if you have not had enough excitement for one day, I am going to reveal some secrets of the carrot—did you know you could freeze and can them? I did not know that—I guess because of all the things my mom froze and canned, carrots were not among them. She canned pickles and beets, plums and peaches, tomatoes (with onions and peppers) but never carrots. I do not can, as it seems to take in a lot of boiling and dealing with hot things—and I am dangerous enough in the kitchen. My thumb is now just healing from an infection I got from a couple of cuts I acquired while producing my famous gourmet (not) meals.

So, the carrots take 65-80 days, which means I best be getting them in the ground pronto. And they are also quite

Carrots of many colors.

Carrots of many colors. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

social, even more so than the radish. They liked to be planted near beans, peas, tomatoes, onions and leeks. Alrighty then—will do. The carrots we will be planting are Red Cored Danvers, and for best flavour we are supposed to harvest them when their roots are not more than 2” in diameter. Also—I must make note: “uniform soil moisture is critical.” These instructions are a little demanding for my taste—but then again, I am not much of a gardener.

What else will I be growing (not really me, more my eldest son—but I help): tomatoes for sure—probably some cherry, but most definitely the kind you slice and add a little salt and pepper to or a dash of balsamic; leaf lettuce to keep my radishes happy and tender; some onions and the aforementioned tomatoes to keep the carrots’ social life booming; peppers—many of the hot variety as that is what my son loves; maybe peas—though we did not have much luck the one year we tried to grow them. So, wish me luck and perseverance. It is time to get my nails dirty (cause I always forget to put my gloves on.)

What will be in your garden of bliss?

Published in: on May 13, 2013 at 5:22 pm  Comments (55)  
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~ Back by Popular Demand ~ Recipe Saturday ~

Picture of red kidney beans

Picture of red kidney beans (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is official. Saturday is going to be recipe day on my blog. It is ironic in a way, since I have spent a great deal of my life calling myself the undomestic diva, but I am sure sharing a few recipes will not mean I have gone over to the “other side.”

I am providing two recipes today. One is for those of you who do not eat meat; the other is more for your reading pleasure (you will see what I mean when you read it). Both of these recipes are from my family’s cookbook (one we all contributed to at the initiation of my sister Peggy about 22 or so years ago.)

The first is one of my contributions, and it is really good. And there is no meat in it, so it is good for all those of you who have given it up. It even breaks my personal rule of not more than five ingredients—but you will be happy I did:

Mexican Bean Salad

1 – 19 oz. Can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

½ cup diced green bell pepper

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp.  Cider vinegar

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

1 clove garlic, crushed

½ tsp. chilli powder or to taste

1/8 tsp. ground cumin

3 cups shredded lettuce

2 medium sized tomatoes, coarsely chopped (1 /2 cups)

In large bowl combine ingredients except lettuce and tomatoes; toss well to mix. Refrigerate covered, at least one hour before serving.

To serve: Place ½ cup shredded lettuce on six plates; top with ½ cup of bean mixture; garnish with ¼ cup chopped tomatoes. Makes 6 servings at 120 calories per serving; 3 grams of fat, and 12 mg. sodium.

Sounds pretty precise for me, eh? Of course I have served it without the lettuce, and just heaped in a bowl and not composed onto six plates. And cumin—don’t have it, so did not miss it—but those of you with a more varied spice cupboard probably have it.

This recipe came from my “healthy” cooking days, but it tastes really good despite that (lol).

Here is the second recipe, which is my brother John’s, and is delightfully whimsical (no one has ever called him whimsical before I will bet). This is his recipe, verbatim:

Bologna Sandwich

Imagine it Fried! Bologna Sandwich (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fried Bologna Sandwich

I usually only cook this magnificent creation when Starr’s not at home (Starr is his wife).

Tools: big heavy frying pan

Temp: as hot as the damn thing will go!

Ingredients:  bologna, 5 or 6 thick slices; a dab of butter or margarine

Directions: Heat the stove (high) and the frying pan. As soon as the pan starts to glow add butter. At this point make sure that the exhaust fan is set at high – everything works better on high. When the smoke subsides and the butter is a brownish colour – add a few slices of bologna – cut it like a four leaf clover to keep the little sucker from curling in the pan.

As soon as the bologna turns near black – it is done. Remove from the pan and set on the counter to drain – (you can clean up the mess after). Get 2 slices of bread (your choice), spread liberally with mayonnaise, mustard, slices of tomato, cucumber, radish, lettuce etc.

Turn on the Yankee Workshop and have lunch with Norm.

P.S. Goes well with chips, dill pickles, and beer.

Weird Tree

Our Weird Family Tree (Photo credit: hball)

His daughter Chay wrote me a note when she read on the blog that I was going to share this recipe and wondered if it was just a “Geauvreau” treat, but said she talked to some of her friends and they were familiar with fried bologna sandwiches too. So we are not all that weird. Well, yes we are, but that is another story…..

Do you have any wonderful and weird recipes you think only your family likes?