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Garden Anomolies

Double headed sunflower

Gardening is fun in lots of ways, but one of my favorites is finding the unusual or peculiar among the harvest.  Show them to my kids and peels of laughter or ooh’s and aahs’ find their way to my ears.  This summer we found a two-headed sunflower (my favorite this year), a dahlia flower that was half red and half white – split down the center, a pepper with an obvious deformity, and numerous tomatoes with odd growths.

While these are fun to look at, when it comes down to it, they’re still what they were made to be – the pepper was still a pepper, the tomato a tomato, and the sunflower a sunflower.  They just looked a little different, but inside they’re the same as the perfect looking one right next to them.  It’s a good reminder to me how we, as humans, are pretty much the same regardless of how we look or appear to others.  After all, we’re all made in God’s image.  And that’s pretty cool.

Odd looking pepper

So back to my funny looking produce – while I didn’t get photos of all of the them, I did take a few, and hope you enjoy them. I know others have seen some of the same things I have.  So if you have a favorite oddity you’ve found in your garden, let me know!  Post a link to it in your comment if you have a photo (keep it clean please). Should be fun to see.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13 (NIV)

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Posted by on September 11, 2012 in Faith, Gardening, General

 

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Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce

Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce

Tomatoes from the garden

Tomatoes are a fantastically versatile vegetable, which is good considering the amount of ripe ones I have in the garden right now.  Ranging from marble-sized to softball-sized or larger they can be eaten raw or cooked in a number of ways.  There’s nothing like popping into your mouth a fresh from the garden cherry tomato, or a thick slice of a garden fresh heirloom tomato.  They can be used fresh as is, stuffed, or added to salads or sandwiches.  Cooking them just expands their usefulness.  Baked, broiled, grilled, fried, sautéed, or roasted – there are many methods to explore with this wonderful summertime fruit.

And when the crop is abundant it’s time to think of how to preserve it.  One of my favorite ways to preserve tomatoes for use in the winter is to take my excess cherry and grape tomatoes, roast them with some garlic and basil, and freeze it for later.  The result is delicious.

In my last batch, most of the tomatoes I used were cherry or grape, but I did add a few Roma and slicers to thin it out a bit as it can get pretty thick otherwise.  This is a healthy recipe that’s easy, fairly quick, and good tasting.  Enjoy!

Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce

8 c. cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half

4-5 cloves garlic, or more if desired

8-10 large basil leaves

1 T. balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. kosher salt

4-5 medium tomatoes, cut in wedges

1-2 T. extra-virgin olive oil

Remove stems and wash tomatoes.  Cut cherry tomatoes in half, and larger tomatoes in wedges.  Line 2 jelly roll pans with foil and drizzle olive oil on the foil.

Foil lined pan with olive oil

Spread out the oil and put cherry tomatoes on the foil, cut side up.  Place wedges on the foil, cut side up.

Peel garlic and place on the pan among the tomatoes.

Wash basil and add to the tomatoes, gently tearing the larger leaves.

Sprinkle the pan of tomatoes, garlic, and basil with balsamic vinegar and kosher salt.  Drizzle a little more olive oil on top.

Tomatoes and all the toppings

Roast in a 400 degree oven for 20-30 minutes until tomatoes are tender.

Remove from oven and blend together in a food processor till desired consistency.

In the food processor

Sauce will be thick.  Freeze in bags or  plastic freezer containers.  Makes about 3 pints.

Proverbs 16:24 “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2012 in Cooking, Gardening, Nutrition, Recipes

 

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Summertime Salsa – Tomatoes and Mango

Tomatoes and mango, technically both fruits, but one savory – the other sweet.  Pair them together with onion, peppers, and garlic, and it’s a great start to a healthy, tasty salsa.

Tomatoes and mangoes are both a wonderful addition to any healthy diet.  Tomatoes are rich in potassium and vitamins C and A, but low in calories.  Mangoes are also a good source of vitamins C and A, and have a fair amount of fiber too.  Together they create a savory-sweet salsa that’s visually attractive and pleasing to the taste buds.  Add some hot peppers and you’ll get a little heat as well.

This salsa is another favorite for my family.  My oldest son even helped in the preparation – an added bonus!  Here’s the how we made it:

Tomato and Mango Summertime Salsa

1 mango, peeled and diced

7-8 small Roma or paste tomatoes, diced

1 small onion, diced

2 large cloves garlic, minced

2 small jalapeno peppers, finely chopped

1 Ancho pepper, diced

1-2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. grd cumin

1/2 tsp. coriander

juice of 1 fresh lime

Mix together the mango, tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeno peppers, and diced ancho pepper.  Sprinkle with salt.  Season with cumin and coriander.  Mix all together and squeeze lime juice on top, stirring gently to mix.  Serve with tortilla chips or pita chips and enjoy!

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2012 in Cooking, Health, Nutrition, Recipes

 

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