gardening

Why I’ve been gone lately…

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I have two excuses as to why I’ve been missing from my blog: pickles and tomato pie. Our garden started off the summer doing extremely well, but as usual the Ohio summer ruined it. We had way too much rain and not enough heat.

A third excuse would be my dog, who dislocated his shoulder 2 weeks ago. After his normal vet popped it back in and sent us home with no instructions, my mom held him for 6 days until we found a new vet. The new vet actually did something and put his leg in a sling for a week. Now he is on cage rest for 2 weeks until he can put pressure on it again. So in other words, I’ve been helping my mom and have been a doggy sitter for 2 weeks now. But that face makes it a little easier. :)

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A lot of the vegetables started ripening either too fast or too slow. This happened the worst with the tomato plants. The worst were the roma tomatoes, they keep falling to the ground while they are still green and when they eventual ripen they don’t have seeds in them. The little pear tomato plant I bought was a dud, when the tomatoes would finally turn completely red, they were squishy or split. We had a little problem with a few heirlooms, but it was only the first couple on each plants. We also discovered that one of the plants we thought was a Cherokee Purple is not a Cherokee Purple. But it has been producing large red tomatoes that are gorgeous, so we don’t mind. We are saving seeds from it for next year.

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The corn produced a lot of corn cobs, but unfortunately they were either too small or too tough to eat. We tried to make a bunch with dinner one night, but when you would bite into them the kernels were tough and would come off whole.

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Luckily, our cherry and heirloom tomatoes turned out fantastic! We have been using the cherry tomatoes in salads, quinoa salad, pasta, pizzas, and a lot more. And I use the heirlooms in Heirloom Tomato Pie – a 4 hour process that is well worth it. (pictured above) It has a crust that is made with corn meal and white cheddar, then a layer of mozzarella, white cheddar, sautéed onions, herbs, mayo, and breadcrumbs, and that is topped with big slices of heirloom tomatoes. I make as many of these as possible at the end of summer so they can be sliced and frozen to enjoy all winter (I’m sorry I had to say that word, I apologize).

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Our zucchini plants did average, we got about 30-35 zucchini. (Our record is 110 in one year) We have been making a lot of zucchini bread, sautéed vegetables, and my favorite – Spaghetti with Zucchini and Pancetta. (pictured above) On my trip to Italy, about a year and a half ago, the first night we had a dish like this. It had fresh fusilli pasta and it was the best thing I have ever eaten. I really wanted my parents to be able to try it, so I figured out how to make it. I don’t know if it is exactly the same, but it tastes pretty close. I took pictures the last time I made it, so I’ll have a recipe post on it soon.

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And lastly, the pickles. After a trip to William Sonoma and a weird look from the sales person for buying 12 Weck Jars at once, I have been pickling like a crazy person. We now have a fridge full of homemade pickles and I will hopefully have a recipe post up this week. I have also been pickling our sweet and hot banana peppers, which I will also have a recipe post for soon. I was thinking about doing one post about ‘food in jars’ each week in September – pickles, picked peppers, blueberry jam, strawberry jam, etc.

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I hope you enjoyed this post! I apologize for the lack of posts and the use of the ‘w’ word in this one. I will hopefully be back to a normal posting schedule now, but the Saturday garden posts will end soon. I might do a ‘Garden Farewell’ post, before my dad rips all the dead plants out. :)

And to all my American followers, Happy Labor Day! 

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