Archive for July, 2009

The First Born Sun(flower)

July 20, 2009

Sunflower 1HOME, Brooklyn: I mentioned in an earlier post that all the sunflower seeds I planted this year were harvested from last years impressive crop. I wasn’t even sure they would grow, let alone flower – but here you have it, the first sunflower bloom. This little guy is much shorter with a smaller bloom than the monstrosities that managed to flourish along our fence last year, but cheerful none the less.

It is somehow satisfying knowing these seeds were a product of my toil, and that last year, the parent flowers grew in the same place and brought beauty to our little rectangle of earth. Somehow I am cultivating history.


Justice is Served.

July 19, 2009

HOME, Brooklyn: Finally got my new camera and can show off the detail of my beautiful beans. Behold!

IMG_0084From the Baker Creek Heriloom Seeds 2009 Pure Seed Book: “Rattlesnake Pole #BN108 – This pole beans is easy to grown and produces lots of green pods that have purple streaks. Good flavor and very tender; the speckled seeds are popular in soup. This variety is great for hot humid areas.”

We are very happy with the results!

I’m sorry, beans.

July 17, 2009

HOME, Brooklyn: The injustice – I know. Unfortunately until my new camera comes, this is all I have to show. The dreaded cell phone pics. yikes. This was the first harvest this year:

IMG00096-20090706-1931Here is the second harvest, right around July 13:

mime-attachmentThe beans are quiet beautiful, green with purple markings. More to come upon the arrival of my new camera (Canon PowerShot SX10 IS, woo!)

’08 – Go Beans!

July 13, 2009


HOME, Brooklyn: The beans are so beautiful and growing growing growing, but I have no camera! What bad timing to have my picture taker go kaput!

Well I figured while I wait for the replacement equipment to show up in the mail I would share my first bean harvest EVER (well not ever since I think I must have planted my first bean seed when I was about 3,  but of my adult life at least. Since I have been trying, I guess.) It all started last year when Bradley and I moved in together and were lucky enough to find a spot in Brooklyn with a “yarde.” This was the first harvest:

2008 beans

We are growing a different variety this year. We’ve already harvested a round (delish) and are far surpassing last year in both quantity and size. We are also watching some pretty plump cucs show up. Stay tuned for photos of our beauties. Also send along what you’ve got growing!!

Adventures with Watermelon

July 11, 2009

Tofu WatermelonHOME, Brooklyn: A couple nights ago I conquered Chile Roasted Tofu and Watermelon Slab, adapted from The Modern Vegetarian by Maria Elia. This photo is totally ripped off from her book since my camera is busted, so consider this the appropriate photo credit as due. I wont review the book too thoroughly here and now, but it is definitely a vegetarian cook book, do not buy this book if you are vegan or a meat eater – it is completely worthless to either of those preferences and relies heavily upon doing entree-like things with fruit. Which is ok once in a while, like maybe for appetizers, but it really gets kind of annoying and actually hardly fills you up and does not stick to your bones for more than say, 10 minutes. 


1 package of tofu (cut into 1″ thick rectangle slabs)

1 teaspoon chile flakes (if your in it to win it, this will be homegrown)

2 healthy handfulls of baby greens (i used a mix of oriental, beets and radish)

3 tablespoons roasted pine nuts (optional)

olive oil, red wine or vinegar, salt and pepper – all at hand

1/4 watermelon, cut into 1/2″ thick slabs to match tofu, refrigerated


Preheat oven to 375.

Cut a large sheet of foil and spread on a cookie sheet. Arrange a layer of tofu slabs and drizzle with olive oil and a generous shake of salt (the saltiness cuts the heat of the chiles, so dont be shy.) Sprinkle with a few chile flakes and fold the edges of the foil over and crease closed into a loose parcel. Place in oven and bake for 16 – 20 minutes.

In a bowl on the side toss your baby greens and pine nuts with a splash of olive oil and red wine (I prefer red  wine to vinegar because it is less abrasive and doesn’t dominate the way vinegar tends to do.) I also like to add a twist or two of fresh pepper and a pinch of salt. It’s okay if this ends up being a little liquidy because the juices will contribute nicely to the end product. You could also add cilantro or sprouts here, if you like that kind of thing.

Once you have removed the tofu cutlets from the oven, assemble quickly. Pile the baby greens on top of the chilled watermelon slab and place the roasted tofu ontop. Drizzle with olive oil, serve immediately. 


It’s not bad.

the end.

Heaven on a Windowsill

July 9, 2009

NASSAU AVE, Brooklyn: This is so inpiring to anyone who loves gardening and wants fresh herbs – but has no outdoor space!! Obviuosly I am huge advocate of growing the things you eat, but it can be overwhelming in a city with limited outdoor space. Danielle proves it’s possible with these pics she sent my way. I am so very impressed:

Garden on a BikeTurns out her boyfriend Bryan has this incredible basket on his bike and he was able to carry home the herbs for her paradise of planters.

It looks like she’s got a tomato plant going, parsley, basil, sage, silantro? I like the idea of having a “pizza” planter. I’ll have to get the run down on the rest and will update soon.

What are you waiting for? Go plant some herbs!!



July 4, 2009

HOME, Brooklyn: Pictured here you will see sunflower babies from seeds that were harvested off the beasts I grew last year along our fence. Worthy of another post altogether, I was surprised by the speed and size of my sunflowers last year and saved a bunch of seeds when they had dried out and were falling out in the fall.

I figured I would just plant as many seeds as I possibly could because I wasn’t sure they would even grow since the parent plants were from a crappy $.50 seed packet bought at Home Depot promising freakishy large (aka genetically altered) blooms. I’m not really too informed on the seed industry, but supposedly many brands of seeds sold in the US these days do not produce “fertile” plants. Needless to say I need more pots! We shall see if they flower, of course, I will keep you posted. 



WEEK 4ish:

DSCN3991I just like having all the green even if they never flower. In this city, in this neighborhood, the more green the better.


July 4, 2009

HOME, Brooklyn: Here is a simple and fast idea for using radish greens. We have so mush leafage right now, I don’t know what to do with it all. The following recipe is a cure for an infestation of greens – could be any kind, really. The photo below is southern curly mustard greens, which are just as good this same way.


Step 1: Pick or buy your greens. wash.

Step 2: Heat a big fry pan to medium with a drizzle of olive oil. Chop garlic and start cooking this first. If you want to add onions, add them next. We used chives this time.

chivesStep 3: after the garlic gets a little head start add greens with a generous amount of salt and pepper. (I usually just eyeball it but for the sake of you measurers out there say maybe a teaspoon of each.) They will cook down A LOT so don’t be surprised if you have about two bites of greens even if you start with an arm full of raw foliage. Those two bites though, will be so gooood. 


mustard greens in panDSCN3985

You can get crazy and throw just about anything else in here, peppers, zucchini, ham (sham in our case.) Just remember the cooking order is important, the greens need the least time (about 2 minutes on medium heat and then they will be good just sitting on low.) SO, cook everything else first. We eat our greens with rice and beans, and it is one of our most favorite and easiest and cheapest meals. I think maybe we ate it everyday this week except one, considering the availability our garden is providing at this point. Also worth mentioning is that this recipe is a great solution if your veggies are a little droopy, because you are just cooking them down to nothing anyway. Key words here being a LIITLE droopy. I am in no way telling you to cook rotten vegetables. Anything brown should be thrown in the compost. 

Try it! Tell me if  you have any questions! Or if you have a recipe for relieving the stress that comes from an abundance of those pesky greens! Yum, cant wait for zucchini season. xoxo.