Sunday, July 4, 2010

Hello, Herbs!

The tomatoes have certainly gotten a lot of attention on the blog lately, so I want to give a shout out to the other plants that are thriving out back.

When I used to receive herbs in my CSA boxes, dried or otherwise, I often put them in the pantry only to forget they were there. They were like the black sheep of each delivery, as I focused more on eating the veggies first and rarely planned meals that used the herbs in tandem.

All that changed when I decided to pick up some fresh herbs for the grand grow-food-on-the-back-deck experiment this summer. With visions of pesto dancing in my head, I purchased a basil plant.

Admittedly, I haven't made pesto yet. But I did make this: vegan tahini basil pasta salad. If you like simple pasta salads, you should make it too. Colorful and light, it's the perfect dish to bring to a picnic.

Sage came next. One of my favorite recipes to make is pasta with butternut squash and sage. Since this is more of a fall dish, I was interested to see what summer recipes I could pull off with it.

I found it a little trickier to find summer recipes with sage that I wanted to make, but I settled on this simple side dish, beans, tomatoes, and herbs, to go along with a sauteed chicken breast. Since I used canned instead of dried beans, it was quick and easy, and works any time of year, I think.

Now, with these herbs growing out back, needing my care, I no longer ignore them. I often incorporate these flavors into meal planning. Sometimes I even glance out the window as I think about how one or both might taste in this recipe or that.

What I find so interesting is how the grand grow-food-on-the-back-deck experiment has not only proven that I can grow food back there, but it has impacted what I decide to make. Flipping the "out of sight, out of mind" expression on its head makes me wonder what else I would eat more of if only it was growing on my back deck.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Great Expectations

Not to sound like an ad for Topsy Turvy, but the growth of our tomato plant has exceeded my expectations. We actually harvested one a few nights ago. The skin was starting to split so I plucked it off. Ryan and I shared it, and it was delicious.

Some of the others are almost ripe with two tomato clusters growing as I type. We've noticed a lot of blossoms too, which means more fruit is on the way.

The yields are quite small, and maybe we won't get enough for more than a salad, but I love the fact that I can grow food on my little deck. It's not as hopeless as I thought.


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