Garden, Plant, Cook!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Spaghetti Squash Recipes, Around The Garden & National Farmers Market Week

Spaghetti Squash Carbanana 
Dear Folks,

I was given a home grown spaghetti squash and mulled over how to make use of this fun vegetable.  I did not want to do 'ordinary' things with it so I decided on two delicious traditional pasta dishes - warning - not low calorie but really tasty as a treat.

While re-potting some sweet potatoes I found a nice last tuber and decided it would make a good addition to this recipe.

Spaghetti Squash Carbanana
Serves two.
This egg, cheese and bacon dish is so delicious.  I can't tell you that the squash reduces the calories too much but the white wine helps cut the fat some :-)

1 small spaghetti squash
1 sweet potato
1 egg
2 tablespoons of white wine
1 slice of bacon
1 teaspoon each of butter and avocado oil
1/2 cup+ of Parmesan Cheese grated
celery and basil leaves for garnish, shredded
S&P

Preheat oven to 400
Cut squash in half, scrape out seeds (reserve for roasting and re-sowing) and place cut side down in baking dish with 1/2 cup of water.  Bake until fork pierces skin easily - about 40 minutes

Let cool, then scrape out squash with fork.  Set aside half and reserve the other half for another dish.

Cut sweet potato into small dice.

Beat egg adding wine.

Heat frying pan.

Add butter and oil, snip bacon into pan and fry until well done.  Remove bacon and set aside leaving fat in pan.

Add sweet potato and cook covered, stirring occasionally until tender.

Add reserved squash, tossing to heat and coat well.

Add parmesan cheese to beaten egg, stirring well.

Reduce pan heat and slowly add egg mixture stirring well to keep from scrambling.  Remove from heat, cover and let sit 5 minutes.

Serve with extra cheese and basil celery garnish.



Next up - Alfredo Sauced Spaghetti Squash.

Do you know the REAL Alfredo Sauce?  Butter and cheese - that is it!!  According to sources, the addition of cream and/or milk was a make-do addition when butter or Parmesan Reggiano Cheese were in short supply.

This dish is simple, seriously -- pasta, some pasta water  (if needed), butter, Parmesan Reggiano Cheese, salt and pepper - that is it!  And what a heavenly dish.  Looks bland -tastes amazing.

Spaghetti Squash Alfredo

Cooked Spaghetti Squash - about 2 and half cups (the reserved squash from the Carbanana recipe)
Equal amounts of butter and grated cheese (I used Parmesan only as that was what I had on hand).
Extra grated Cheese for topping
Salt and pepper to taste.

Since the squash was already cooked and I know heating it would produce some water, this was a one dish preparation.  If you cook your squash immediately before preparing the Alfredo, have a little warm water to add, it helps to thin the sauce if needed.

Place butter in the bottom of a glass baking dish.
Add squash, salt and cracked pepper and microwave for about 2 minutes, you want the butter melty and the squash hot.

Immediately remove from the microwave, add cheese and begin tossing gently to coat the squash with all the butter and cheese.  Serve immediately with more cheese if desired.

We had some visitors to the garden this past week.  A baby bunny and better pictures of one of our resident Desert Iguanas.

One of my gorgeous Burgundy Sunflowers is just finishing up opening.

First rain in almost 4 months - I had to take a picture!!

Our yards are leveled to capture every inch of rain which falls on the property except for the concrete driveway.


 



National Farmers Market Week is August 5 - 11, 2018.

What you do not grow yourself can probably be found at your local farmers market(s).  The number of farmers markets has grown exponentially over the last decades - to all our benefit.  Support your local farmers.

The USDA has a great site for searching for market near you by zip code.  Click here to find your local farmers markets.

If you are in Arizona our great organization called Local First AZ also lists some markets.  Click here. BTW, use their site to find and support local businesses for many of your shopping / service needs.  Shopping local keeps more money in your area rather than funding national chains.

Speaking of purchasing what you do not grow yourself at the Farmers Markets, don't forget the Grow, Cook & Preserve Workshop going on now.  This is FREE and includes information on canning, using and other preservation ideas.  Click here to join and learn.

I  will be on vacation until early August and will answer questions when I return.

Until then enjoy your gardens, be safe, drink water!!! and plan your next garden journey.



-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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Friday, July 13, 2018

Grow, Cook, Preserve -- Free Workshop Has Started!

Dear Folks,

The workshop has begun. 

Grow, Cook, Preserve

If you have already signed up, you should have gotten the email with links to the video(s) to watch at your convenience.

Video One--Is LIVE Now
Video Two-- July 16th
Video Three--July 18th
Video Four --July 20th

This workshop is for you if you’re feeling the weight of technology, debt, the broken medical system or our messed up food supply.


A few of the Topics which will be covered:

•Why living a simpler life matters
•Embracing DIY
•Creating a food storage
•Food Preservation
•Growing your own food
•Cooking from scratch
•Preparedness
•Natural remedies


You can still join the workshop.  Click here

I hope you find the workshop full of helpful information.



-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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Sunday, July 08, 2018

New FREE Workshop Beginning July 12th

Dear Folks,

If you enjoyed the last workshop check out this one.  Or, perhaps you decided to skip the last one and have thought, hmmm, maybe that is a good idea.

Here is an opportunity to pick up skills and learn more while doing.

Sign up for your free spot today.

Grow, Cook Preserve Workshop
FREE

Starts July 12, 2018

This workshop is for you if you’re feeling the weight of technology, debt, the broken medical system or our messed up food supply.

A few of the Topics which will be covered:

•Why living a simpler life matters
•Embracing DIY
•Creating a food storage
•Food Preservation
•Growing your own food
•Cooking from scratch
•Preparedness
•Natural remedies


Grab your spot today.




-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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Monday, July 02, 2018

Ode to Celery The Herb/Vegetable, Caper Berry Harvest Tip, and Seed Share Reminder

Dear Folks,

While I was harvesting some of my Redventure Celery I realized just how much I rely on this tasty garden offering for last minute flavor, to add to all my stock pots, any poultry roast, dried in my homemade bouillon blend - really pretty much anything is enhanced with some celery.

I am also aware of how many nutrients are in celery, plus the Redventure has lycopene in it from the red pigments.

First a Reminder on the Seed Share/ Q&A this Thursday.

Sow? 105+ Degrees? Yes!
Mesa Urban Garden
Free Seed Share and Q&A
with Catherine, The Herb Lady
Thursday, July 5, 2018, 6 - 7:30 p.m.
Where:

Mesa Main Library
64 E 1st St
Saguaro Room

Mesa, AZ 85201
(East of Post Office off of Center Street)


Event Details here.

Back to Celery

Celery Apium graveolens came to us from the Mediterranean region but is now grown worldwide.  Two links below will provide you with some interesting facts on Celery.

One of the main essential oils is Limonene found in citrus.  You may have noticed that essence when eating fresh celery.


Read more on the essential constituents on Gernot Katzer's spice page.  BTW his site is a wealth of information on essential oil and other chemical components of herbs and spices.

I like my Redventure for its more open growth habit which is just perfect for the home garden.  I rarely need an entire crown of celery, just a few stalks and the open habit allows for cutting what I need.  Right now I am still getting some new growth, a phenomenon because the warm/hot fall and winter delayed the seed germination.  So I am taking advantage of this garden blessing while I can.

Celery contains many nutrients, vitamins, minerals and high fiber.  It can be a diuretic so be wise if anyone in the family has issues with diuretics.

The natural sodium content, while higher than some herbs and vegetables is a low form of salt which helps foods flavored with celery to require less salt added.  The celery provides a nice balance.

Celery contains:  Vitamin A and K, Potassium, Folate, and antioxidants.

"These antioxidants include dihydrostilbenoids like lunularin as well as furanocoumarins like bergapten and psoralen. The antioxidant support we get from celery is largely due to its phenolic nutrients that have been shown to help protect us against unwanted oxidative damage to our cells, blood vessels, and organ systems."  Read a ton of information about celery here at the Whole Foods celery page.


You may enjoy my Braised Celery with Cranberries recipe, I initially created for Thanksgiving.  I am wondering if my Roselle Petals might be a nice substitute for fresh cranberries, if I wind up with a lot of celery and need to use it up.  Hmmmmm.  :-)

My basil is doing great, here, there and everywhere in the gardens. I've let the re-seeded plants be as they are happy in their spots.

I am pruning regularly to keep the leaves bigger. What I do not use I "cut and drop" to add to the duff/mulch in the gardens.  Later on when the seed heads are allowed to dry, the seed will drop and sprout next spring.

If you are growing capers, harvesting the berries is going on now.  Harvest can continue on well into late summer and early fall here in the valley.

While harvesting this morning, looking for fruit of a certain size, I then noticed that the fruit I preferred still had a bit of the old flower attached up the stem.

So now I look for the dried flower bits (it does eventually fall off completely but then the fruit may have passed best time for harvesting to process and may never lose the bitter tastes).  NOTE:  Caper buds or berries must be fermented in brine, salt or a combination of brine and vinegar to remove the very bitter flavor.

I hope to see you at the seed share Thursday.

Have a great day in the garden and kitchen.  Be Safe, Drink Water, Have Fun This 4th of July.


-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

Remember you can find my calendars and books for sale through links on the side bar here on the blog.

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Monday, June 25, 2018

Seed Share with The Herb Lady Q&A, July 5th

Dear Folks,

Lettuce not forget the greens of summer, or put another way, wonderful greens that grow during the hot desert season for salads, stir frys and other tasty uses.

Pictured is a basket of rinse greens:  sweet potato leaves, some last of the season celery, Egyptian Spinach, Sorrel, Basil, Nasturtium and Roselle.  This is a delicious alternative to standard lettuce which gives up once the warm to hot time begins.


Sow, on to the Seed Share. . .

Sow? 105+ Degrees? Yes!
Mesa Urban Garden
Free Seed Share and Q&A
with Catherine, The Herb Lady
Thursday, July 5, 2018, 6 - 7:30 p.m.
Where: Mesa Main Library
64 E 1st St
Saguaro Room

Mesa, AZ 85201
(East of Post Office off of Center Street)

Event Details here.

Back to those summer greens.  I used half of the harvest to make an herb and greens soup the other day, using some homemade turkey broth, some chopped veggie garnish mostly from the garden, a Parmesan Cheese disk and toasted whole grain bread croutons.  Delicious.

I'm going to use the other half of the greens for salad tonight.

One of my giant sunflowers opened up and I got a picture with it not quite there and thought it was a fun option to the more open shot I usually keep.

I've begun a weekly harvest of caper berries for fermenting in small batches and then transferring to the refrigerator "storage" jar.  I got a request from my sister and friends to gift them when I have more available, so I figured if I gather and start regularly I can get a good supply stocked up :-) [That is a glare from a combination of overhead light and the water.]

And an infrequent visitor to our gardens, a Cardinal relative whom we have nicknamed the "Punk Rock Cardinal" for its spiky crest.  Called Pyrrhuloxia, like the Cardinal, they are native to the Southwest.

I don't think we have had a visit from one in a couple of years. We do have a Cardinal family show once or twice a year for a short time, always a delight. This character is just as shy generally, but always fun to see him/her.

I hope to see you at the Seed Share July 5th, to pick up some seeds to sow for fall and get your questions answered.

Don't forget you can purchase my perpetual monthly planting calendar through links on the side bar.

Have a great day, be safe and drink lots of water!

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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Monday, June 11, 2018

July Planting Tips and Around the Garden

Dear Folks,  

National Weed Your Garden Day is Wednesday, June 13th.


This time of year I am out in the garden at first light or shortly thereafter.  This time of morning is just beautiful.  I put seed out for the wild birds, let them eat for a while, then I start my garden rounds.  Weeding, harvesting, checking for issues and just enjoying the cool morning before the heat hits.

I was picking some Arabian Jasmine flowers to float in a bowl for our kitchen table when I spotted this cute little (about 3/4 of an inch long and trying to hide) Praying Mantis.

National Pollinator Week begins Monday, June 18th.

It is important to keep something flowering in the garden year round so your pollinators happily visit your gardens all the time.

Your melon and cucumber type plants NEED the pollinators.  I am happy to see this cantaloupe on my young vine which means the pollinators were at work.

I am hoping for more and particularly when this Black Tail Watermelon gets going well and starts putting out flowers.

The Dark Opal Basil is doing nicely also.


July PLANTING:

Most of the planting in July and August is by seed for fall production/harvest. Consider this: If you want pumpkins for Halloween, you have to count back 90-120 days for seeding in. If you do not have a bed prepared or in mind for planting now, get your bed(s) ready.

Beginning July 15th
Seeds Only Planting:

Amaranth
Anise
Cantaloupe
Caraway
Chervil
Cilantro
Corn
Dill
Fennel
Luffa Gourds
Musk Melons
Parsley
Peppers
Roselle
Pumpkins
Squash, Winter       
Sunflower

GARDEN TIPS for July

Sown areas need to be kept consistently moist and the seeds will germinate based on soil temperatures. [Cool weather seeds can be sown now and will give you a jump start when the soil begins cool later on.] Lightly cover with loose soil and loose mulch to keep the area moist.
    Higher humidity can reduce moisture loss to plants, reducing watering frequency, but check with water meter regularly.  It is possible to over-water - then followed by under-watering causing plant stress.
    Tomato plants are unable to set fruit when the Night temperatures stay in the 80s.  Maintain the plants through the summer and you will get a fall crop of fruit before frost.
    Sun damages plants in the summer time, as frost damages them in the winter time. As in frost damage, try to leave the sun damage at the top of the plant alone, if you can, as it protects the lower portions of the plant.  Pruning for fall can start at the end of August through the beginning of September when the monsoon ends and night time temperatures fall below 80.

Your plants may exhibit chlorosis (yellowing of the leaves showing green veins) which is caused by excess water.  It is hard to balance the plants needs against the heat.  Ironite or green sand applied will correct the chlorosis within a week or two.

More of our visitors.

This Woodpecker was trying to eat some of my sweet peppers (I wish they would leave more, but I get enough :-), and was trying to stay upside down, so Deane caught this "abstract" of the bird's fluttering.  Normally we delete blurred pictures but this really looked like art so I kept it.

One of the Quail families stopped by the watering tray and the Lovebirds were literally hanging out ON the tree.















Stay safe in the heat, enjoy your garden and bounty!

You can purchase my calendars and books through links on the sidebar here.

I appreciate your sharing my posts with family and friends.


-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Seed Share Coming Up - Mark Your Calendars!

Lime Basil
Dear Folks,

My next free seed share is coming up in July, "sow" you do not want to miss it!

More below, meanwhile - read this article I wrote 2 years ago for my Seed Share that year.

https://www.facebook.com/notes/mesa-urban-garden/june-gardening-tips-from-catherine-the-herb-lady/1094656550576374

Sunday, June 10th is National Herbs and Spices Day, are you growing enough of these healthy flavor seasonings for your meals?  At my seed share event you can ask questions and get answers.

Sow? 105+ Degrees? Yes!

Mesa Urban Garden
Free Seed Share and Q&A
with Catherine, The Herb Lady
Thursday, July 5, 2018, 6 - 7:30 p.m.
Where: Mesa Main Library
64 E 1st St, Mesa, AZ 85201
(East of Post Office off of Center Street)   

Do you want pumpkins for Halloween or Thanksgiving?  Enjoy fall corn on the cob?  Ever heard of a Monsoon Garden?

What do these have to do with sowing seed in the hottest time of the year in the desert?

Planning!!

I will answer questions on the whys and hows of sowing your fall garden at this seasonal lecture hosted by the Mesa Urban Garden, at the Mesa Main Library.

I harvested all of my garlic, regular and elephant type (Elephant Garlic is a leek on steroids) and I am keeping my fingers crossed that most of them will have formed heads of cloves for longer storage.  They can be used like this but that is a lot of garlic even for sharing.  Our winter was, again, too warm and only a few formed scaps signaling the formation of cloves. Keeping fingers crossed.  Meanwhile they need to air dry in the shade.

My Lime Basil comes back up each year having freely re-seeded wherever, at least this time it is in one of my big pots.  A delightful and distinctive lime flavor.  Photo at the top.

My Turmeric has popped up as has some of the ginger. In the picture this is the turmeric

One of the very, very few strictly ornamental plants I grow is the drop-dead gorgeous red and white Amaryllis.  One of the blooms is gracing our kitchen table along with some of Arabian Jasmine sprigs.

And I can't resist sharing another picture of the Peach Faced Love Birds sheltering among the trees.  This tray refreshes each time the area waters but yesterday, with the unofficial high of 110, I had to add more water.  This gathering followed visits from the other varieties of birds getting some water, and sometimes dropping bread a neighbor puts out for them in the water!

We are in for more high triple digits so check your plants in the morning for any additional watering they need.  Mid-day wilt is NOT necessarily a sign of water need as many plants with thin leaves wilt mid-day to retain moisture.

Speaking of moisture - drink water!!!!!  Make it pretty with edible flowers, some herbs or fruit and veggies.

Stay safe while enjoying the garden, kitchen and maybe a dunk in a pool or lake.

I am taking the rest of the week off visiting with family. Type at you next week.

A Favor -- please share my blog and posts with friends and family on facebook or your favorite social media site.  It helps me and brings helpful info to those who would like to garden and use the bounty.


-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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