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Tomato Progress

June 29, 2013

Most of our tomato plants have little green tomatoes! One even has a big green tomato. Luckily I had some time this week to get the garden organized. On Monday I weeded and used bamboo stakes to create cages for the tomato plants. The ones that are starting to get fruits needed to be tied to the stakes so they wouldn’t collapse.


I also planted some new seeds in the containers that were empty. Before we had a couple of carrots and beets, some beans, herbs, strawberries, and lots of tomatoes. I tried planting a few more carrots, beats, and beans as well as some cucumbers and lettuce. The cucumbers, lettuce, and one bean plant have sprouted already.



First Harvests

June 28, 2013


The harvesting has begun! In fact the strawberries have already come and gone. Here is a picture of a few of them.



We also had some beans last week. We steamed them and put a bit of olive oil, some parmesan, and some basil with them. This is my favorite preparation for string beans because it adds flavor without masking the taste of the beans, which is especially important with these beans because they’re great!






We picked some basil for the green beans and also some to make this avocado pesto. We put it on whole wheat pasta and zucchini. I think I would add a bit of salt in the future.



Summer’s Beginning

May 21, 2013

The day’s heat mellowed only slightly this evening, which made for a lovely summery evening — frozen yogurt on the balcony observing the growth of the garden. We have strawberries that are taking shape, radishes that are starting to look like bushes, and 6 healthy-looking tomato plants. In addition to the tomatoes from this year’s plantings, a few plants have sprouted from seeds leftover in the old soil. Even more surprising, the fig tree that we were convinced was just a stick, might yet have some life! There are some leaves popping out from the roots that look suspiciously figgy.



Summery Evening

The Garden at Dusk

Mint, Rosemary, and Oregano







Planned Tomatoes


Surprise Tomatoes






I’ll be spending most of my upcoming summer evenings at class.  The new semester starts tomorrow, so I spent the other part of the evening cooking some portable dinners. We made a stir-fry with soba noodles, tofu, and bok choy for tonight and Thursday, and this quinoa salad with chickpeas, walnuts, arugula, and radishes for tomorrow.



Tofu, Bok Choy Stir Fry



Radishes are pretty.


Quinoa Salad


The Garden is Back

April 13, 2013

Today we finally got around to taking out the dead plants from last season and planting some new ones. Things are really busy this spring, so I know we won’t have much time to spend working on the garden. Last season we replaced most of the soil from the summer before, but this year we decided to keep it to avoid the hassle of disposal and replacement. We added some fertilizer and used a trowel to break up the remaining roots as well as we could. We already have some tomatoes sprouting from the winter sowing we did in February. Today we planted carrots, parsnips, beets, radishes, basil, and beans.

Tomato Sprouts

Tomato Sprouts

Newly Planted Containers

Newly Planted Containers

We also have some plants that seem to have made it through the winter to live another year. In fact we harvested oregano, parsley, and scallions today. The scallions were quite a surprise. They were still tiny at the end of last season, and we didn’t think they’d every grow. We also acquired a new addition on a recent trip to visit some family in DC. They gave us some cutting from their rosemary bush. We put them in water for a few weeks and recently transplanted them into soil outside.

Rosemary: Imported from DC

Rosemary: Imported from DC

Mint Trying to Make a Comeback

Mint Trying to Make a Comeback

Scallions That Finally Grew

Scallions That Finally Grew

The Strawberries Going for Round Three

The Strawberries Going for Round Three

We used the oregano and parsley to make a pesto for scrambled eggs based on this recipe. We also chopped one of the scallions to garnish this spicy white bean dip for lunch. We didn’t use anything from the garden for dinner, but the meal was delicious, so I’ll share it anyhow. We made used this recipe from the most recent Cook’s Illustrated to make grilled ribs with Hoisin-Coconut Glaze, a salad, and these grilled bananas for dessert.

Scrambled Eggs with Oregano Pesto and Bacon

Scrambled Eggs with Oregano Pesto and Bacon

Spicy White Bean Dip

Spicy White Bean Dip

Grilled Ribs with Hoisin-Coconut Glaze

Grilled Ribs with Hoisin-Coconut Glaze

Grilled Bananas with Cinnamon

Grilled Bananas with Cinnamon




New Vegetable: Romanesco

November 18, 2012

It’s fall which means we have been roasting lots of root vegetables.Today, though, we found a new vegetable at the market: Romanesco! The sign said it was similar to broccoli and cauliflower. We used this recipe for Roasted Romanesco. It was great! It tasted like a slightly milder broccoli, and it got nice and crispy in the oven.

This batch of root veggies had carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips, celeraic, and garlic.

This is the romanesco before cooking.

And this is what it looked like after.

We made it to go on the side with spaghetti squash and turkey sausage.


More Cooking

November 4, 2012

This covers the rest of the cooking for this week. On Thursday, my brother and his girlfriend came to stay with us (they were without power because of the hurricane) which gave me extra motivation to cook . For dinner that night we made another recipe from Cook’s Illustrated: Thai-Style Stir Fried Noodles With Chicken and Broccolini (we used regular broccoli instead of broccolini). The sauce was great, and the dish was made even better by the chili pepper vinegar on the side. For dessert, I made Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Icing and Chocolate Ganache from this website, which is full of yummy looking cupcakes. I was really pleased with the way they came out.  I only used about half of the icing, which I think made them more manageable. On Friday morning, I made two recipes from this cookbook: Strawberries with pine nuts & greek yogurt and Potato & rosemary pancakes with bacon & honey. Then for lunch I made the Saag Paneer and French Apple Cake from Cook’s Illustrated. That was a lot of cooking for one day, but it all turned out well. Saturday we took a break from any major cooking. I did make hot chocolate using this recipe (but with dark chocolate chips instead of Mexican sweet chocolate). This evening we cooked a hubbard squash and some kale that we had got at the market Saturday. I halved the squash, removed the seeds, and roasted it. Then we scooped out the flesh and pureed it with chicken stock and a little butter, salt, and nutmeg. I made the seeds using this recipe. They made for a great snack while we were working on the rest of the meal.

Time to Cook

October 31, 2012

School is closed for the week while NYC recovers from the hurricane. Thankfully our neighborhood suffered little damage. Both Jeremy and I have been home and able to do only minimal amounts of work with the resources we have here. This has left lots of time for reading, movie-watching, game-playing, and cooking. We have some friends who live a couple blocks away, and yesterday they came over for dinner. They brought delicious turkey burgers with guacamole. We made an artichoke polenta tart which, unfortunately, was not as delicious as expected and these chocolate biscotti which were delicious. This biscotti were fun to make because I never realized it was a loaf sliced into pieces. They were also easy to put together.

This evening we made chicken fajitas from this Cooks Illustrated recipe (which you can see if you subscribe or get the free trial). They were amazing! Cooks Illustrated knows how to do chicken right. If you sign up for the free trial you should check out this recipe, too. It was featured in this post. For the fajitas, the chicken is marinated, charred, and then baked. It is topped with poblano peppers and onions cooked with cream and lime and served with pickled radishes. We tried one with feta, as recommended, but preferred it without. The radishes were pickled with jalapeños. I’d recommend putting some jalapeños on the fajita along with the radishes – the extra heat made them even more delicious.

Here are some pictures.

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