my favorite things

I’ve been thinking about my favorite vegetable to grow, harvest and cook, and to my utter surprise, it’s swiss chard. It’s super good for me; it has vitamins K, A and C, and it is anti-inflammatory & has anti-oxidants.DSC_0031As a plant, it’s easy. It always grows; I’ve never had one die on me. It forgives me if I don’t pick it at just the right moment. It keeps growing all summer, and it’s pretty. DSC_0048It’s simple to prepare. I rinse the leaves off, pile them up, slice them lengthwise 3 or 4 times, then chop it up.DSC_0056 I saute it in olive oil and water with onions, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (because red pepper flakes are good with everything). It’s tasty just like that.  But I make a ton of it and keep it in the fridge to do this:

  • add to eggs and omelets
  • spread over sautéed chicken & top it with swiss/parmesan cheese
  • spread on top of pizza
  • add to any kind of pasta
  • add to soups and beans
  • toss into salads
  • spread onto toasted bread (with or without cheese – oh never mind – WITH cheese)

So I have to give an A+ to swiss chard: healthy, easy, simple, delicious.

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Tomato Harvest

I’m picking all kinds of tomatoes daily now, and have found lots of yummy ways to use them.Tomato SaladGrape and cherry tomatoes retain their shape well, so I use them with onions and green peppers and lots of herbs in Tomato Salad. I pretty much always have a bowl of this in the fridge.salsa and ingredientsI also keep a bowl of fresh Salsa at all times. I take it easy on the jalapenos, because not everyone likes it as spicy as I do.Tomato QuicheOn the days when I don’t pick many tomatoes, I’ll make an Herb and Tomato Quiche.Tomato PieIf I pick a lot, I’ll make Tomato Pie.Garden Vegetable SoupIf I am overwhelmed with tomatoes, I’ll chop them up, saute with onion & garlic, and add anything I have in the vegetable drawers. This has cabbage, mushrooms, corn, and, of course, lots of fresh herbs. I don’t fuss much with it now, I just freeze it all for later. Some cold December evening I’ll thaw a container and add some cooked chicken or beef or lentils. I’ll adjust the seasoning then, and think back on the days when my garden was bursting and it was too hot for soup.

just picked tomato

tomato time

just picked tomatoBehold: my first tomato of the year. I ate this one warm from the sun, sliced, with sea salt and black pepper.

This is not one of the heirloom tomatoes that I started from seed; they are a bit slower. This is a “Celebrity” tomato. I bought the plants from the farm market down the road. After the first came ripe, I was almost struck with a glut. Never you mind. I can handle the challenge.bread tomato kabobs
First up: Bread Kabobs.  Day old bread, tomatoes, olives, artichokes. Thread on a skewer & sprinkle with olive oil, salt, all sorts of Italian herbs AND red pepper flakes. Grill until toasty. Oh, my.

salmon wrap prior to grilling

grilled salmon wraps

Ripe CabbageI’m getting lovely cabbages now, French Breakfast Radishand I’m still getting Heirloom French Breakfast Radishes (those French people must have sturdy stomachs first thing in the morning.)Salmon wrap produce ingredientsTo the radishes and cabbage, I added dill (still thrilled) and Swiss Chard (nearing the end).salmon wrap prior to grillingI used the large cabbage leaves and Swiss Chard as a wrap, topped it with cooked rice mixed with a bit of sour cream. I topped that with thinly sliced radishes, a 3 ounce salmon steak, and lots of dill. I used 2 skewers  to hold things together and grilled until it was firm to the touch.grilled salmon wrapGrilled Salmon Wraps : even the leftovers were amazing.

tomatoes

Every year around this time, I start to run out of ways to use up all the tomatoes. Here’s a list of my current favorites:

1) tomato & pesto sandwich
2) tomato pie
3) tomato salad with green beans & black olives
4) pizza topping
5) salsa (always)
6) halve cherry tomatoes, chop green pepper & onions & sprinkle with oregano. Keep in the fridge ready to add to: pasta, omelets, salad, soup, quiche, or pizza

Cherry tomatoes, chopped green pepper & onions with fresh oregano

Cherry tomatoes, chopped green pepper & onions with fresh oregano

How do you use tomatoes?

cool weather cooking

I avoid my oven in the summertime; I don’t like how it heats up the house.
So by fall, I’m really hungry for all of the things I haven’t been cooking: bread and baked potatoes, pot roast and cinnamon buns.
I’ve made the switch now, and I’m enjoying the winter menu.
I also like how all it takes is a little bit of prep work . . .and the oven does the rest.

Pork Loin with Roasted Carrots and Potatoes

loving the basil

My garden is giving me more basil than I can eat, but I know how to save all those delicious vitamins and antioxidants.

I make pesto, and I use it. I spread it on half a bagel and toast it. I use it as a sandwich spread (my favorite: chicken, roasted red peppers, and pesto).When I get tired of it, I freeze it for later.