There’s something about walking outside in 60 degree weather after what seems like an endless winter that just makes you sigh with relief. At least that’s how I felt this weekend when I emerged from the warm comforts of our house only to realize the sun was shining, the birds were chirping and there was nothing I wanted more than to stay outside. With the hope of spring in the air, I began what you could call a “mini-cleaning session” of the kitchen freezer and pantry. I went through frozen package after package of fish fillets and a sausage roll from about a year ago. It was at this point that I came across several bags of ice cub frozen pesto shoved into the deepest corners of my freezer. Remember last summer’s slew of tomatoes and basil from my home-grown garden? Well, just as I preserved the tomatoes in jars and containers, I also found a clever way to preserve basil as pesto — I just forgot to share it with all of you. Whether you’re interested in freezing or just making a fresh pesto sauce, here’s a simple recipe anyone can cook.
If you’ve been keeping up with my latest blog posts, you know my adventures in tomato gardening have now reached its final leg — cooking up delicious recipes. My first foray into tomato land came in the form of soup, which you can read more about in Tomato Soup for the Soul. I’ll be continuing this liquid yumminess by creating and preserving my first batch of tomato sauce. I absolutely love tomato sauce. For the longest time, I would never touch a whole tomato, but make it into a sauce and I was hooked. It wasn’t until recently (before my vegetable garden) that I started enjoying raw tomatoes outside of smashing them down into something else. And tomato sauce is so versatile. It can be used in pastas and pizzas but also seafood or buffalo wings. The art in making your own tomato sauce is that it’s very free form. You can have it be chunky or smooth, seeds in or seedless and include a plethora of herbs and spices to season it up. So here’s my take on some delicious tomato sauce, along with pointers on how to properly can and preserve your creations.
Welcome to the first in a long line of upcoming Food for Thought posts that focuses on a vegetable I’ve been swimming up to my eyeballs in: tomatoes. In Days of Summer Gone By Part II, my tomato garden flourished beyond something I could possible control. The tomatoes, basil and even the rosemary were beginning to get a tad overwhelming to say the least, and I absolutely needed to put my bounty to good use. With that goal, the first recipe that came to mind was tomato basil soup. I’ve never been much of a soup person, but when I was first introduced to the delicious and flavorful taste of tomato basil, it was love a first bite. So here’s a recipe for creating some fresh soup using some home-grown ingredients.
Welcome to the second part of this post, where I focus on the results of my first tomato/herb garden (to read the first part of this post on renovating our front garden, click here). With fall upon us and winter fast approaching, I’m taking the time to reflect on some of my favorite summer projects this year, including my vegetable garden. In Humble Veggie Beginnings, I built my vegetable box, bought the dirt and had about eight tomato plants, along with two basil plants and a rosemary. While this was my first year growing my own produce, I had a very successful harvest. Almost too successful. Before I knew it, I was swimming in tomatoes and basil, without really knowing what to do with my bounty. So here’s a few lessons I’ve learned from farming my first little plot of land and raising a plethora of tomatoes, basil and rosemary.
When Jacob, Winston and I first moved in to our new place, I always knew I wanted a vegetable garden. The chance to grow my own produce and eat from my own backyard was an attractive concept in of in itself. Getting the opportunity to put my gardening skills to the test was a feat I decided to take head on. Honestly, I felt like I’d be lucky to just harvest a few basil leaves and manage not to kill off too many tomatoes in the process. The funny thing is I used to hate tomatoes. If it wasn’t in a sauce or jam, I wasn’t touching it. Then, at some point between my picky 12-year-old appetite and now, my taste buds changed and long story short, tomatoes are my new favorite vegetable. Combine that with the sweet aroma of a fresh basil plant and the contents of my vegetable garden were set (along with a delicate rosemary plant just for kicks).