Herbs and spices

My cooking habits shift in the fall from “go out into the garden and see what’s ready,” to fall comfort food like scalloped potatoes and ham or split pea soup or banana bread. (I know, too many calorie dense foods.)

It is also the time of year I begin to use more dried herbs and spices and this month my favorite grocery store is having 20% off bulk dried herbs and spices. I have been purchasing them this way since the mid 1970’s. My feeling is ” if I only need a teaspoon of xyz herb or spice, why should I spend $6.00 for a bottle that will sit and get stale?”

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If you look closely, you will notice my vintage 1980’s Tupperware container that is still in use. I don’t recall the suggested use this container was sold for, but it has always been my spice container that I store in the frig.

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Using what you grow

I’m almost starting to feel like a food blogger, but just realized that the last part of being a veggie gardener is the harvest 🙂 My butternut squash plants were purchased from the garden club plant sale. Thanks Mary Ann! The little $1.00 plant has given me 8 good-sized squash. Some will be stored for later use, but I am roasting one today. Simple, recipe with my comments below.

400* F oven roast for 30 to 45 minutes turning cubes every 15 minutes

1 butternut squash, cut in half, seeded and peeled and cut in one inch cubes. The potato peeler worked well, being only slightly more difficult than peeling a potato.

I put the cubes in a bowl sprinkled on some olive oil, salt and pepper and massaged the squash before putting it on the foil lined tray.

You can see that I got tired of peeling and chopping when I got to the bowl part of the squash so I massaged open squash with olive oil and the sprinkled a bit of cinnamon for a different taste.

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What did you do with your harvested squash?

Fall veggie gardening

This week in mid-August is when I typically finish up planting my fall and winter garden from seed.
These Sugar Snap Peas have been growing a few weeks.

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I have been busy harvesting some great tomatoes today: varieties Glacier and Stupice from Territorial seeds, started in February. These tomatoes will get roasted with olive oil and garlic (375* for 45 minutes) then cooled and put in the food processor to make sauce. So quick and easy.

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I am out of space in my raised beds and greenhouse raised bed so I am experimenting with these two rectangle containers that most people call flower boxes. I never have enough salad greens, so yesterday I planted a several types of lettuce, spinach and kale for baby salad greens. I expect these containers will end up in the greenhouse this fall.

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What’s up with artichokes?

January 2012 I started these plants from seeds on a whim. I thought it would be cool to grow something really different for me. Last year, their first year, I just watched them and did not harvest any. That made me realize I needed to know how to tell when they are ripe and what to do when they are ready for harvest. Many cooking recipes suggest you cook the artichoke whole, however I prefer a method I found in Sunset magazine where you cut it in quarters and scoop out the fuzzy choke before cooking. That speeded up cooking and made eating easier.

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This last photo was taken in 2011 when I just let the plant flower.