September 23, 2011

Food adventures from my garden!

Now that food-growing season is coming to an end here in Portland, I want to share with you the goodness that came from my yard this year!  My most favorite thing is that the cucumbers were successful, and I tried making pickles for the first time!

refrigerator pickles!

This was my first harvest, in August – 2 pounds, which was exactly the amount needed for one batch of this refrigerator dill pickles recipe.

first cucumber harvest

So I went shopping, got a giant bunch of fresh dill, and went to work making pickles.  It was pretty darn quick and easy – definitely the most time-consuming part was picking and washing and chopping all the dill.

refrigerator pickles!

And then, the next afternoon, bam!  Pickles!  And oh my goodness, there were delicious!!  I highly recommend trying refrigerator pickles if you are intrigued by the concept (and like pickles) but don’t want to get into all the canning stuff.  The only thing is, you have to eat them within about 2 weeks… but that’s not a problem for us – yumyumyum!

refrigerator pickles!

I was so excited about making my first batch of pickles, I made an iPad comic to celebrate!  hehe

my first pickles!

My second batch of cucumbers was ready for picking a few days ago, and while it wasn’t quite as many as the first, and there were a couple bitsy ones, this was the first time my garden grew a big, long cucumber that actually looked like a cucumber!  This harvest ended up being just about exactly 2 pounds as well, perfect for another batch of pickles!  Yay!

second cucumber harvest spicy refrigerator pickles!

This time, I got experimental.  I used the same recipe as a starting point, but I decided to try making spicy pickles!  I added 4 jalepeños and 3 serrano peppers, all sliced.  I used a package of fresh dill instead of a straight-from-the-farm bundle, to make it easier, and this time I didn’t chop the dill at all.  The other major difference was that I cut the cucumbers into spears instead of slices.  I did everything else identical to the recipe.

The result… is SPICY!  But delicious!  I am a bit of a wimp with spice; I like spicy foods, but only medium-ish level.  These, I can just barely handle, with water.  Next time, I think I’ll try them with just the jalapeños, or with only 1 serrano and 3 jalapeños or something like that.  After sitting overnight, when I jarred them up, I put together one jar with hardly any peppers in it, and the other with lots of them, so as they sit longer, the one will probably get hotter and the other jarful with probably stay the same.  Anyway, definitely a successful food experiment!!

spicy refrigerator pickles!

Moving on to other gardeny goodness… eggplants!  The plant seemed pretty healthy all season, getting bigger and leafier and bushier, and growing lots of lots of flowers… most of which died and fell off.  I only actually got 2 eggplants, but they were very exciting!  Something about walking into my backyard, and then coming back inside with an eggplant in my hand… it’s just cool.  (I’m still very new to this whole gardening thing!)

garden eggplant garden eggplant

The first one was made into one of Pete’s and my favorite treats – eggplant fries!  Yummmm!  There are lots of recipes out there for these – this is the one I use.  All I have is a silly iPad photo I took while they were still on the baking sheet, because then I had to nomnomnom and couldn’t be bothered with taking a decent photo:

eggplant fries!

And then the second eggplant turned into my dinner last night – cooked together with tofu, a few fresh garden tomatoes, and some garlic chives.  Add a bit of sweet red chili sauce and sriracha, and yummmmy!

eggplant tofu dinner eggplant tofu dinner

The tomatoes have been awesome, of course!  The Sweet 100’s are definitely the yummiest… the Juliets have been growing huge (bigger and rounder than they’re supposed to be), but the flavor is kinda blah.  Not bad, just not very flavorful.  So I don’t think I’ll do those again.  The Early Girls have mostly been growing pretty small; this first one I picked, in the photo, was the biggest by far, but they are yummy and great on sandwiches and stuff.  I made this salad one day with some of all 3 types, goat cheese, and a basic homemade balsamic vinaigrette – it was ohmygosh so good!

first big tomato! tomato-tastic salad!

There have been a few strawberries here and there, but mostly those haven’t been doing great this year.  The lettuce all died (I think because I planted it way too close together) and the basil died (I think because I picked off too many leaves for dinner one night).  Overall, good garden year for me, better than last year for sure.  Yummm yard-fresh veggies!

Filed under: home stuff,recipes — leethal @ 2:38 pm
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