Archive for August, 2011

My Garden Bloggers Food Day


2011
08.16

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day shows off all the blooms in my garden on August 15 2011. Even more than blooming, this month is about what happens after the bloom. The produce, fruit or seed that is created after the flower.

Rosa Bianco eggplant, tomatoes, Clairimore zucchini

I am trying to stay ahead of the of the zucchini production by picking them small, like the two little ones on the right. The blossoms are still attached to these Clairimore variety. The bigger ones became chocolate zucchini cake or zucchini and black walnut cake with lemon glaze.

This year, is not a good year for my garden. I couldn’t water enough to keep up hardy production.

Rosa Bianca Eggplant

Rosa Bianca Eggplant, a mild italian eggplant

The garden plants are stressed and more suseptible to insects and disease. Flea beetles are eating up the plants faster than the plants can produce eggplants.

I only got in a couple of pickings  of green beans before a gang of bug thugs moved in and trashed the bean patch.

I’ve planted a few more beans, hoping to get in a late crop of  haricots verts (skinny and tender French

Flea beetle damage. The little tiny holes in leaves and roots.

green beans) And a couple more cucumbers and squash to replace the ones killed by insects. It’s just a gamble to see if they produce before a killing frost. The space was empty and I had extra seed. We shall see.

Tomato plants did not set blooms because it was so hot. So, I will have a smaller than anticipated harvest. I’ll make some tabouli and a batch of gazpacho. Plus, I have enough to share with neighbors.

I won’t have enough to can or put up as salsa. But I did have enough for a couple of taste testings with the nine different varieties of heirloom tomatoes.  I’ll eventually review them all in my HubPages. There is a lot of good tomato information.

Best Home Garden Tomatoes: Paul Robeson

Best Home Garden Tomatoes: Royal Hillbilly

Next year, I’ll grow a few of the best tomatoes from this summer. And, I’ll grow some heirlooms I’ve never tried before.

The real reason I grow thin skinned, rich flavored, juicy heirloom tomatoes is simple:

BLT

Sourdough bread, crisp lettuce, oven baked thick sliced bacon.

Bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches and

Insadada Caprese

Heirloom tomatoes, mozzerella cheese, balsamic vinegar, olive oil.

Insadada Caprese.

GBBD August 2011


2011
08.15

GBBD – Garden Bloggers Bloom Day arrives when I have lots of blooms this month. By this time of the year it’s been a long hot and dry summer. Most blooms are moving onto their next stage. The blooms are  producing fruit and seed. (tomatoes, for example.)

So, with a nod to Carol and GBBD, I humbly submit GBFD or Garden Bloggers Food Day. Because it so seldom  happens, that I have an abundance of both blooms and produce.

Black Swallowtail Butterfly on pink zinnia

Pollinators, like bees and butterflies are key to producing seed.

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)  It is the state butterfly of Oklahoma.

After mating, small, yellow eggs are laid on garden plants from the carrot family, Apiaceae, including dill, fennel, Queen Anne’s lace, and parsley. I always grow extra parsley happing to create an attractive area for Black Swallowtails. This year the worms helped themselves to the carrots growing near the zinnias.

The most noticable blooms in my garden are the sunflowers.

sunflowers

"Musicbox" but I call these my mailbox sunflowers.

Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) are blooming their big heads off and making sunflower seeds. Nothing can make a gold finch happier.

"Chocolate Cherry"

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Sunflower

"Van Gogh" with half runner bean vines.

"Valentine" pale lemon flowers about 5" across.

Giant Heirloom, "Titan" Sunflower

 

These native sun-worshipping North American native flowers turn on their stalks to follow the sun. The name Helianthus is from the Greek words for sun and flower.

Direct sow seed into the garden. Sunflowers have long taproots that are easily stunted, so wait until the ground is warmed and plant seeds into the garden soil.

Several of these sunflowers are pollen free, making them ideal for bouquets. They don’t drop messy pollen on the table.

"Musicbox" Sunflower

 

 

 

I have a couple more sunflowers this year.One has already bloomed and is gone. Another is a perennial sunflower that is a late blooming variety not yet blooming.

I got all these sunflower seed from Renee’s Garden seed.

Thanks for stopping by.

GBFD is my way of sharing my garden this month, August 2011.

GBBD is a way to share what is blooming in my garden on the 15th of the month.

Carol from May Dreams Gardens sponsors Bloom Day each month. Thank you, Carol.

Fried Green Tomatoes (or not)


2011
08.13

This Paul Robeson tomato could have stayed on the vine another day or two if the vine hadn't broken off.

A friend, clearly not a gardener, asked for this recipe in the summer.

“Are you nuts?” I said.

“No self respecting gardener sacrifices a good tomato to make fried green tomatoes in the summer!”

Fried green tomatoes are fall food. They are what you do with tomatoes that haven’t ripened by the first killer frost of the season.

This friend was an Eastern Transplant, not familiar with Midwest or Southern culture and cuisine. I also had to introduce him to tomato sandwiches this year. “You mean without bacon?,” he said with trepidation.

When vines are too heavy with multiple tomatoes, it is better to pick a few while still green, rather than risk a broken vine and losing all the tomatoes.

Prepare fried green tomatoes like you do fried Okra. Slice, dip in a milk and egg wash and then in cornmeal or flour.

Uncle Ed says, “Well you know how to fry catfish, don’t cha? Well it’s the same thing, dip the tomato slices in milk and eggs. Then pat fish fry mix (four, cornmeal, salt, pepper) on both sides”. Then deep fry, pan fry, or, oven “fry”

A heavy tomato vine, loaded with tomatoes, broke off in a storm.

The cafe in Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café is modeled after Irondale Cafe in Birmingham, AL. Novelist Fannie Flagg said her great-aunt operated Irondale Cafe for almost 40 years.

If it weren’t for the book Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, I believe this recipe would have remained a Southern delicacy. Just like fried pie.

There are two reasons a home cook prepares Fried Green Tomatoes.

  1. At the height of summer tomato production, some tomatoes are removed from the plant to keep the weight of the tomatoes from breaking the vine. (Not that I am bragging, but I had to do this twice this summer.)
  2. At the end of the tomato season, just before the first frosts hit the garden, all tomatoes are picked. Any tomatoes with a hint of color will be left to ripen slowly on the counter. Then, “waste not want not” happens. The most popular way of using up green tomatoes are fried green tomatoes, and green tomato relish.
sliced tomatoes

Insalata caprese (literally, the salad from Capri)

If I can have this: garden temperature juicy ripe tomatoes in a Tomato and Mozzarella Salad,

I’ll choose it everytime over fried green tomatoes.

These are heirloom tomatoes, Red: Paul Robeson and Yellow: Gold Medal

 

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