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So, I brought some cherry tomatoes from Dread Pirate Roberts over to a friends house.  Her 7 year old who is a bit of a food pill described them as “a flavor explosion in your mouth.”  He also informed me that I should bring small ones and big ones next time.  Yes, Sir!

🙂 Farmer Ran

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The Miami Pumpkins?

So, every time I plant something new I learn something new.  For instance, did you know that pumpkins started their life green??? I for sure didn’t!  That is, until Greg pointed out the newly fruiting pumpkins in Dread Pirate Roberts!   Since the entirety of my pumpkin experiences have been with harvested or canned pumpkins, I just always assumed they were orange.  Why would they be any other color?  I do not have any picture to upload today, but I promise to be back with some later.  I just had to post my surprise.

So, green and orange… where have I seen this before?  I’m going to start a campaign to officially change the Miami Hurricanes to the Miami Pumpkins.  I mean, if the color fits…. Who’s with me????

In other gardening news, it appears that my new harvest of green peppers are doing much better than the first harvest.  Same plants, same soil, but no blossom end rot!  This is puzzling… seeing as blossom end rot is mostly due to a  lack of calcium in the soil, I wouldn’t expect to see this much improvement.  However, after some pondering on the subject, I seemed to recall that too much nitrogen can hinder calcium uptake.  Well, it could be possible that my soil (that came with 3 months of feed) started getting low on nitrogen towards the end of the summer.  Perhaps the depletion of nitrogen helped the green pepper to flourish more?  WHO KNOWS???? Thoughts????

Happy Farming

🙂 Farmer Ran

p.s. Some of you astute collegiate football fans may notice how I ended in blue.  This is because orange and blue is by far the better color combination and Florida school!!! GO GATORS!


If you haven’t yet seen the Sorcerer’s Apprentice with Nick Cage… I highly recommend it!  What a fun movie.  That being said, if you’ve seen the Mickey version then that’s good enough to understand what is happening in my garden.  If you haven’t seen either, well, long story short… the Sorcerer’s Apprentice is tasked with cleaning a room.  So, naturally, he uses magic to do so.  Quickly, this turns into a nightmare as brooms start multiplying, water’s flying everywhere… you get the picture.  Ok, so I think that’s how it goes with summer gardens as well!  First, you have nothing.  Then, maybe a tomato or two.  Suddenly you have 500 tomatoes, 1000 jalapeno peppers and it’s getting out of control!  Who can eat or even give away this much produce???!?  What is a Farmer Girl to do?  Freeze things!!!!

According to some friends, salsa freezes nicely.  Plus, you really cannot mess up salsa, can you?  Ok, here’s what I did:

Ingredients:
(From Dread Pirate Roberts):

Tomatoes, Jalapenos, Green Pepper, Parsley

(From the store):

Garlic, onion, salt, pepper, olive oil

1) Chop all ingredients to approx equal chunks and throw into food processor

2) Pulse to desired thickness

3) Add some olive oil, salt and pepper

4) Store in containers and Freeze

Seriously, I think I was done in 15 minutes — and it is delish!!!!

🙂 Farmer Ran

Soup’s On!

I had several friends ask me for more details on the Creamy Tomato Basil Soup I previously posted on… so here’s the story through pictures!  The link to the full recipe is in the previous post.  I made some minor modifications (i.e., 1 vidalia and 1 red onion instead of 2 reds, 15-18 Roma tomatoes instead of big tomatoes, blender instead of foodmill), but it’s mostly the same.  So without further ado…

Step 1: Heat olive oil in large pot or dutch oven and chop onions and unpeeled carrots:

1 red onion, 1 vidalia onion, and 2 carrots

Step 2: Saute onions and carrots in heated olive oil until tender and onions are translucent (~ 10 minutes)…. meanwhile, chop tomatoes and basil.

Step 3: Add garlic to pot and saute another minute.  Then, add tomatoes, tomato paste, stock (chicken or vegetable for a vegetarian option), basil, sugar, salt and pepper.  Bring pot to a boil and then simmer for about 30 – 40 minutes!  Don’t forget to mix well!!!

Step 4: After the tomatoes are super tender, take off the heat and add heavy cream.  Mix well.


Step 5: Spoon batches into blender and puree until smooth and creamy!  (I like to do this step twice)

Step 5: EAT!!!!!!!!!!


🙂  Happy Cooking!

Farmer Ran

p.s. The tomatoes and basil were freshly grown by ME!

Take that, Tomato!

So, if you’ve read my post Attack of the Killer Tomato you would notice my complete over abundance of tomatoes!  So, I went ahead and decided to make some creamy tomato basil soup with the fresh tomatoes and basil from my garden.  Of course, I turned to my favorite cook: The Barefoot Contessa (recipe at link) for a delicious easy recipe!  It came out sooooo great and would easily serve 6!

Ok, so I stole this picture from the Food Network... but mine looked just as good!

I made the following changes: 1) 15 roma tomatoes and 2) puree in blender (I have no food mill).  IT WAS AWESOME!  I served it with garlic croutons.  It was creamy, delicious and tasted great with grilled cheddar cheese sandwiches!

I still have a ton of tomatoes so I think I’m going to try sauce next!

🙂 Happy Farming!

Does anyone out there remember this cult-classic circa 1970-something?

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080391/

Anyway, I kind of feel like I’m living in this movie… minus the killer part.  Ok, so it’s not at all like the movie, but seriously, we are having a tomato explosion (a tomato-plosion!)  We have more romas, cherry, and heirlooms than 2 people can handle and we brought a bunch to friends this weekend!  So, what is one to do with all these beautiful fruit?  Well, make tomato things, that’s what!  I will be attempting to make a fresh, creamy tomato basil soup tonight and of course, there’s always sauce, but any other ideas?  Any secret tomato recipes out there in cyber-land?  Want to share them, pretty please???

Oh, the melon-drama.  First, I thought I had watermelons.  Then I discovered I’d grown cantaloupes only to conclude the watermelons had died.  (Exhibit A):

See how I'm getting wrinkly... I'm a cantaloupe!!!!!

BUT, As usual, the Dread Pirate Roberts surprises me and today I found… WATERMELONS (exhibit B):

Hello. I am a watermelon.

It seems both seedlings did well, the cantaloupe was just an earlier bloomer!  I think I should have yummy fruit in a few weeks — I can’t wait!!  As for the rest of DPR, well he’s busting with stuff!  Check out my veggie caddy (the squash was grown by a friend… but the rest is from DPR):

Holy Summer Vegetables, Batman!

I guess it’s official.  I can grow things!!! Everything in this basket was a seedling start.  I really think it’s the best way to go and here’s why:

  1. You can support your local nursery and buy their seedlings
  2. You can see where you planted a seedling as opposed to having to guess where the seeds are
  3. There is no thinning needed, just spread them out nicely
  4. You do not pull your freshly sprouted seed-start thinking it’s a weed (See #2)
  5. It’s faster!!!!!

Well, that being said, I absolutely had to seed-start my pumpkins because I couldn’t find seedlings anywhere.  I definitely won’t be pulling these as weeds (12 days after planting):

That’s all for today.  Tune in next time for our discussion on picking tomatoes:  How red is ripe???

HAPPY FARMING!!!

🙂 Farmer Ran

Tales of an Urban Gardener

Learning As I Grow

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