Archive for June, 2010

Iz on ur blog steelin ur readers

We love LOLcat speak, and so does Butters. We walked a thin line with him for this picture if you can’t tell by his expression. (We were originally going for a “stuff on my cat” picture with some jalepenos on his back. That didn’t work.) If you want to share your best LOLcat caption for him in the comments, we’ll make sure to relay the message. 

Garden lolcat

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Beets me

 Today was the first day of summer, and it felt like it.

Actually, it’s felt like summer in Austin for about a month. Our lettuce plants died in May, as did our broccoli and cabbage plants. Soon, it’ll be too hot for the tomatoes. This is why I harvested pretty much all of our beets about a week ago. We’ve just left them in the ground because, honestly, I have no desire to eat them. Blair alluded to my slight disgust of beets in his last post. But, he’s not a huge fan either. So, you’re probably thinking, “Why the heck did they plant all those beets?”

Homegrown Beets

We grew these from a Botanical Interests seed packet. It was called a “Gourmet Blend,” containing varieties like Bulls Blood, Chioggia, and Golden.

The answer: I really don’t think I’d eaten a beet until this spring. Honestly. I didn’t know what they tasted like when we planted them! We also followed the garden plans in the book, “How to Grow More Vegetables,” almost to a tee. But, I will give beets one thing – they are beautiful! I just love the deep red color of the bulbs, especially after they’ve been bathed with hose water. I will also say that I do like beet greens. But, if you sauté anything in olive oil and garlic, it has to be good.

This leads me to two points:

  1. Grow what you like to eat. All too often, people grow weird stuff because they go crazy buying seeds (guilty) or because a book says it’s a good companion plant (guilty). 
  2. Share what you don’t like with friends who do! Gardening is contagious. Spread the love of homegrown produce with coworkers, friends, neighbors, and you may see them try planting a few veggies down the road.
Golden Beet

Which does not match the rest? I think it's the Golden beet.

 Luckily, my friend and coworker Emilie, also a robotics nut and blogger, loves beets.

Beet salad

Emilie has been happily taking them off our hands and making great salads.

 

Not our backyard garden

For Christmas my parents got us a gift certificate to a local CSA farm called Johnson’s Backyard Garden. For those who aren’t familiar, CSA stands for community-supported agriculture. The idea of a CSA is that you, the consumer, become a member of a particular CSA and pay in advance for a box of freshly harvested produce that you pick up every week or every other week. So, instead of going to the farmers market or grocery store and picking out exactly what you want, you get what the farmer grows. This means that you’re always eating stuff that is local and in season. It also means that sometimes you get a box of beets, which aren’t Andria’s favorite. 🙂 Fortunately, we have friends to take the beets off of our hands.

CSA Veggies

Our last CSA box of the season from Johnson's Backyard Garden - full of tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, eggplant, beans, peppers, cantaloupe, and herbs. OH MY!

We chose to use our gift certifcate this spring (May – June) to supplement our own backyard veggies, and we’ve been quite happy with the way things have turned out. As you can imagine, our fridge has been overflowing with vegetables, and it has been a challenge to use them all (and we get a box every other week!). So, we’ve been branching out and trying new recipes. Epicurious.com has a huge variety of recipes that you can search for based on ingredients, which has been extremely helpful.

Last night, we tried out a recipe for gazpacho from our friend Daniel. This week’s CSA box was filled with tomatoes, and because we’ve got our own tomatoes ripening as we speak, we decided that we needed a good tomato-heavy recipe. The box also had cucumbers, onions, and peppers, and, combined with garlic and carrots from our own garden (and bread from HEB), we had everything we needed. The gazpacho was delicious, and man did we feel healthy after eating it!

Blair making gazpacho

Adding the cucumbers and tomatoes to the blender

 

Gazpacho preparation

The cooked ingredients - peppers, carrots, and garlic

 We’re planning to take a break from the CSA for a little while, so that we make sure to eat all of our own stuff, but chances are good that we’ll rejoin when our crops are all harvested. Ultimately, the goal is to be able to fill our box with stuff in our backyard, but we have to be patient for that.

Homemade Gazpacho

The finished product - nice and chunky