Tag Archives: corn

Corn, Tomatoes, and Cantaloupe… oh my!

Gardening has sparked my already-growing desire to cook!

The reviews are in on my corn and oven-fried green tomatoes.  Everyone seemed to enjoy everything- yay!  Again, there wasn’t much corn as I only had four plants– but I got to share a little of it and the feedback has been encouraging.  I hope I can find some more room next year to plant more of it.  It was so much fun watching it grow!! And I really do love corn.  Not sure if I’ll bother with the red peppers next year, and the cherry tomatoes are a definite no, but I definitely want more than one tomato plant– they were also fun to grow  🙂

My new love of cantaloupe– or rather, rekindled love of cantaloupe– has come as a result of my successful Food Challenge Test just last week.  I’ve been enjoying a slice or two every morning.  With my wisdom tooth out as of yesterday– I decided to try making a smoothie so I could enjoy the fresh, juicy taste sans chewing.

There’s room for improvement here, but it was fresh and tasty, and a good start!

Ingredients:
2 1/2 slices of cantaloupe, cubed.
1 cup (low-fat) vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup (low-fat/skim) milk
1 1/2 teaspoons dark brown sugar.

Blend until smooth– enjoy!

[I’d suggest trying to blend with another flavor or use more cantaloupe for a more concentrated flavor.  I didn’t want to add more sugar cause I was trying to keep it healthy! Suggestions also welcome!]

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From Garden to Table!

In my last post, I mentioned being stuck in all day.  This meant I spent most of the day singing, online, playing games on my new Smartphone.  (Angry Birds and Bouncy Mouse, with a little Words With Friends for good measure and to make sure the brain cells don’t die altogether… Although I might argue that both the Birds and the Mouse use a lot of math in calculating how you catapult the little guys).  It was a fairly uneventful, and unproductive day.  I was ok with this.

But sometimes, I get crazy ideas.  Like this past Valentine’s Day, when I decided– the night before Valentine’s Day– that I should make heart-shaped sugar cookies for my office, and parents, and grandparents, and my favorite boy.  It might not have been as bad if I’d decided this earlier.  But it was kind of a spur of the moment idea, which had me picking up ingredients, and cookie cutters, that same day.  The baking started after dark and I decorated until it was time to sleep.  (The plastic wrap smeared the writing a bit, unfortunately).

This, in fact, happens to me quite a bit.  I get an idea, some peak of inspiration, find the will to start the project, then half-way through the execution, decide I am crazy and why-am-I-doing-this-anyway and nothing-is-coming-out-right and I’m-not-good-at-this.  But yet, I do it again, and again.

So when Mom got home yesterday, she said, “your corn is ready and you have another ripe tomato– why don’t we pick them?”  And knowing they really needed it, pick them we did.

We didn’t have that big a harvest, as I only had 4 plants… but we did get about 6 ears so far, with two more on the stalk.  We lost a half of one to what looked like rot, and another 1 1/2 was not very well filled out, but the other halves looked very pretty.

We washed them.

And cooked them.

And there they are!

But that’s not really so crazy, after all.  The craziness occurred when I started getting hungry, and decided maybe I would return my sights to those tomatoes I told you about…

They were still sitting on my counter as I’d read that they maybe should get a little riper.  I’d read that putting them near a banana would help them ripen faster.  But then one started to really get ripe.  Knowing that not all of my tomatoes may ripen (at all), I decided to let that one continue to ripen and use any unripe ones for my green tomato curiosities.

I also must make a confession… I’ve never fried anything before.  My use of a pan consists solely of browning ground meat and recently, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (see here and here!).   So for my first foray into the world of green tomatoes, I decided to make Oven-Fried Green Tomatoes!  Of course, by the time I got around to this it was after 9pm.  And I was already tired.  I also decided to use only the one green tomato I had.  I just wanted to try it– I didn’t know if I’d like it!

I used the recipe (link above) as a loose guide.  Truth be told, I didn’t measure anything.  I just eye-balled the measurements and used cornmeal, garlic powder, wheat germ, grated Parmesan/Romano cheese, and a pinch of salt as the breading.  I used milk instead of the water-flaxseed mixture (usually egg in most other recipes).  I did add a pinch of sugar on the tomato slices to “chase away any lingering bitterness.”  Also- make sure you peel the tomatoes! It was a pain in the neck, I’ll admit, but I tried starting to bread them without peeling since it seemed like only a suggestion and I didn’t believe them– really, the breading won’t stick to the skin at all, so just go ahead and do it!

Here’s my results:

Mom and I only had a bite each– which was delicious, honestly.  I’m saving the rest for a special dinner tomorrow as I’m having my last wisdom tooth out on Tuesday and won’t be able to chew very well for a few days.  Fresh corn is also on the menu  🙂

I’m definitely making these again, and will try them really fried as well.  I’m also definitely using this breading combination again!

And I’m going to try to start embracing my spontaneous side… insanity and all.

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Growing, Cooking, Eating.

I’m not the type of person who would normally call herself a “foodie.”  Lately, I think that’s changed.  I seem– for lack of a better word– obsessed with food.  I’ve been finding some amazing recipes that I can’t wait to try out.  My latest desire (besides the Fried Green Tomatoes)?  Homemade Italian Bread.  I’m digging on the idea of warm, crusty Italian bread, sliced the long way with some slices of mozzerella and fresh Compari tomatoes.  Also– homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream and chocolate ice cream banana split style!  And by the time you read this, I will have just completed my second “Food Challenge Test.”  My love affair with food is tempered by severe food allergies– but all good things are worth fighting for, so I’m trying to get back what I can.  Today’s challenge?  Creative Caterpillar Vs. Cantaloupe.

I enjoy my food.  I enjoy the flavors, the textures.  I enjoy both preparing and eating.  And, as anyone who’s been reading a bit knows, I’ve found out this summer that I enjoy growing my food.

So here is my most recent set of pictures, from this week.  These are probably close to my last set of update pictures this season.  That’s because the tomatoes are starting to turn color! (This by the way, I find especially rewarding as they are such a beautiful shade of orange-red.  I feel inspired).

And the peppers are getting nice and big.

And the corn is super tall!

And most of it is just about ready!

And one ear of corn was all ready when I went out the other day!  So I picked it and husked it (outside– in case there were bugs).  There were some earwigs guarding it on the stalk, but I (wo)manned up and picked the corn!  It looks so perfect and beautiful.  Another ear or two looks ready– I’ll be picking it later tonight or tomorrow.  And then I’m going to cook it up and enjoy! (And share a bit depending on how much I have!)

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New(ish) Garden pics!


  Really tall corn plants!  My estimate is that they’re 6.5-7 feet tall– based on how tall they are in comparison to me/my family members!

Husks Forming!

Here you can see the beginning husks– this is taken a few weeks ago.  If you’re having trouble seeing it look to the direct left of the stalk.

 Here you can see a couple– mostly, see the husk forming right above the lower-most stalk of the front corn plant.

 Corn plants all together! Like a very miniature corn field.

 Here are the peppers.  They are still medium-small here.  They’re pretty big now!

 I’ve lost two to rot like this– They get too much sun when they grow on top like this… Although I do think these plants should have grown a bit taller and leafier, which may have shaded them better.  Molecular Sheep thinks the tomatoes next to them might have stunted their growth a bit, but I really can’t complain much.

 I picked the ones that rotted, so they don’t steal nutrients from the other peppers (there’s two more on each plant).  He was still little when I picked him– and rather cute.

 … at least until you turn him over!

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Garden Progress (in pictures)

Getting tall!

Tomato plant has gotten huge!

I have about 7 stakes on this plant now...

...and almost 20 yummy tomatoes growing.

The peppers are growing...

and growing...

and GROWING!

And even the other pepper plant has finally blossomed. It's now growing 3 peppers, although only 2 of them are healthy.

Even my neighbor's impatiens are blossoming!

And the corn is now officially taller than me! (It's actually taller still since this picture, which was taken a couple of days ago).

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Top-heavy tomatoes and 5’+ corn

Saturday was my grandmother’s 88th birthday.  We had a wonderful time talking and laughing over dinner and cake– my grandparents, mom, aunt, and my grandparents’ neighbor.  Such a great time and such a wonderful reason to celebrate!

As we left our house to go to their house, I noticed that my tomato plant had collapsed and come un-staked!  I hadn’t imagined it would have grown this much or branched as much as it did, and I had only two stakes… which were not nearly able to hold it up at this point.  Later that night, I propped it up as best I could since I couldn’t do much else with what I had.  This entailed a bunch of yarn and trying to tie each branching loosely to the stake (somewhat in the middle) and hoping that the weight would even out the plant.  It seemed to work… for a bit.

By Monday morning, the plant had collapsed again, still tied to the stake, but with the stake leaning heavily under the weight of the continuously growing plant.  So, since I was running errands, I tacked another stop onto my to-do list and bought six more tomato stakes– five very tall ones and one short.  I left the house at around 3pm and we got home a bit after nine… It was dark, but in the light of the single light bulb outside our door, I cut all the yarn I’d so carefully tied over the weekend and carefully staked each individual branch with the tall stakes.  I then added the two smaller ones onto the most crooked-ly growing branches so these branches were doubly-supported.  I had one tall stake left over, which I’m saving in case of any more issues– or when the cherry tomatoes seem to need it, whichever comes first.

I’m happy to say that, on inspection this morning, the whole tomato plant is growing tall and straight!  Yay!! I’m very happy.

And the peppers continue to grow… And the corn is taller than I am!!

Pictures to come.  It’s been quite a day and I’m far too tired to upload, but wanted to at least make sure to post tonight.

Goodnight, everyone!

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Garden Theft

I wish this were a blog about some passer-by just picking a few of my not-yet-ripe tomatoes.  Instead, I feel like my neighbor had taken over my garden.  I’m hoping I have it back now.

We all live in the same house, in attached apartments.  The garden is on my side of the house.  When I started out this year, it was just a patch of dusty dry dirt and weeds.  We (the neighbors, mom and I) had talked for years about putting some flowers in, but no one ever seemed willing to put forth the effort, so I really had no qualms about taking over the patch, figuring I would share the fruits of my labor and– within time, my neighbor had rescued 3 impatiens from a “dollar or less” sale at our local supermarket as the poor things were dehydrated.  She also planted a mum.  So the end of the “garden” is hers, with her flowers, while the section with the veggies is mine.  We talked about my being unable to use MiracleGro products and that I had my plants on a schedule of when I was watering.

The other morning, I came out to the dirt looking different.  I found out that she’d weeded the plot after a bad night and some extra nervous energy.  She’d also put down some more peat moss as I said I was going to do this after I weeded.  I was kinda upset because I am now low on peat moss at my house (I had a small bag full on the side of the house– taken from the large bag I bought, which is at my dad’s as it was too big for me to move).  I was also going to put it down a certain way, “hilling” it around the corn for some added stability and such.  I was stuck in for most of the day with a stomachache, as I’d mentioned in my last post, and by afternoon was trying to see it as a blessing that she’d at least weeded and been trying to help.

Then I went out at night, when I was feeling better, to water.

I found that my plants were already watered… and the leaves of my corn plants had been trimmed.

 

Now, the corn was tall and beautiful– it was almost shoulder-height.  It now looks like it was given a bad haircut.  It’s all unevenly split and instead of the leaves hanging down gracefully, they reach up with their broken arms.  It’s starting to produce tassels, but it will be taking in a lot less sunlight with the leaves cut down so drastically.

 

My cherry tomato plant was also leaning, some of the roots pulled out of the ground– my corn plants also seemed to have some roots showing, but at the top right where the stalk ends and meets the dirt.  I’m not really sure what happened with this part– but I managed to fix things as much as possible.

I’m getting over the shock and I at least spread the cut-down parts over the soil so at least it will boost the nutrient factor.  I tried reading up on things and nothing I can find suggests that this was a good thing to do– but she thought she’d read it somewhere and after a friendly conversation, the garden care has been more officially split.

I continued to feel kind of sick the past couple days, as well as it being a bit painful to write about the garden- I felt like someone had taken over, stolen it from me after I’d spent time (and money) setting it up.  And the corn just looked so ugly to me those first few days.  I loved those dark green leaves.  They had the most incredible texture to them.  But I’m moving on and trying to find the joy in it again– which I must admit is a little hard.

I’ve been daydreaming about my perfect “someday” garden– somewhere spacious, and mine, where I can have fruit trees and grape vines and all the veggies I can manage.  I hope someday I can do that…

And finally, some really good news.  I have little bell peppers! (look towards the center of the plant- right above the middle)

Aren't they CUTE?!?

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