Eat Veggies, save the planet

Growing and storing potatoes in Austin, TX
June 23, 2012, 10:54 pm
Filed under: gardening

My friend Sharon of Guinea Hill Farm in Manor, Texas was nice enough to give me some yellow seed potatoes and some blue seed potatoes to plant along with my white Kennebecs and red LaSotas.

I always plant on Valentine’s Day in Austin. Superstition I guess. This year the potatoes I harvested seemed smaller than usual but quite prolific and delicious. The blue potatoes in particular were rather small. I harvested them in May, let them sit out to dry, brushed the dirt off and put them in my pantry which is about 80 degrees this time of year. They do fine for around 4 months.


Growing garlic in Austin
June 23, 2012, 10:39 pm
Filed under: gardening

I planted garlic in November and harvested these in April. Garlic take a long time to grow.
Every year I save some garlic heads and replant them , so I don’t know what kind it is, only that I have been planting my own cloves for about 5 years. After they cam home i let them dry for about a week and then braided them. They are hanging in my kitchen.

Dill pickles made in Austin in June.
June 19, 2012, 3:10 am
Filed under: recipes

I make them in a 4 qt crock pot.

On the bottom I put a grape leaf and 2 heads of dill(dried) from my garden.

Then I layer the cucumbers  about 2/3 way to the top.

I usually use whole small ones but I have been cutting the long soyu Japanese cukes into pieces and adding them to the crock.

Next I put in 3-4 cloves of garlic and 2 tsp of pickling spices

Then I prepare the brine. I put 7 cups of  water in a stainless pot, add 1/4 cup vinegar and 5 TBSP of canning salt. I stir this until the salt dissolves.

This brine gets poured on the cucumbers.

Then I put a small plate on top(which is now covered with brine).

I fill a quart jar with water to use as a weight.

Put the jar on top of the plate and cover it all with a cloth.

I find the coolest place in the house and check it in 2 days.

In this heat, my house is 82 degrees mostly, the pickles are ready in 2-3 days.

If they look good I put them in a 1/2 gallon glass jar in the fridge and cover them with brine.

If they have some foamy stuff on top, I rinse them off, make a new brine and pour that on them in the 1/2 gallon jar which goes in the fridge.

The first few batches I made were fine but now that it is SO hot,  I had to rinse the last 2 batches and rebrine.

I just made what will be my last batch since I am out of dill in my garden.

Though, I suppose one could use dill seed.

Good luck.

Long beans with fermented black beans.
June 12, 2012, 2:27 am
Filed under: gardening, recipes

Long beans are from the black-eyde pea family and not actually green beans. This recipe resembles  something you would find in a Chinese restaurant. These beans grow all summer in the hot Austin temperatures unlike your regular bush beans that peter out.

  • 2 cups long beans cut in 2 inch pieces
  • 2 tsps fermented black beans. You can get these in an Asian store.
  • 2 tsp cooking oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil.
  1. Heat oil on medium and add chopped  fermented black beans
  2. cook one minute and add grated ginger and garlic cloves. I grate on a medium microplane.
  3. Immediately add long beans and stir.
  4. Add 1 TBSP of water and cover.
  5. Lower heat and cook for 4 minutes.
  6. Add toasted sesame oil and salt.
  7. Stir and serve.


Fresh tomato salsa
June 12, 2012, 2:17 am
Filed under: recipes

Here is a simple salsa I make to eat on tortillas or with chips.  You can’t make an easier salsa than this one.

  • 2 large tomatoes from your garden or a farmer’s market, ones that were never in a fridge.
  • 1 white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 anaheim or 1 serrano pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  1. Cube tomatoes
  2. Dice onion.
  3. Chop garlic finely.
  4. Chop pepper. Wear plastic gloves if your pepper is very hot.
  5. Mix all ingredients and serve.

Summer salad with corn, cukes and avocado.
June 12, 2012, 2:05 am
Filed under: recipes

Last week when I went to Wheatsville Co-op they were sampling just such a salad. Theirs had fennel in it but I chose to leave it out. Since lettuce is a spring veggie in Austin we don’t have your traditional lettuce and tomato salad here in the summer. This is a great alternative, light and filling.

  • avocado
  • large cucumber
  • small white onion
  • 2 ears of corn on the cob, cooked
  • 3/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsps olive oil
  • 1 tsp wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cut corn off cobs
  2. Dice large cucumber.
  3. Chop onion.
  4. Chop cilantro
  5. Mix cucumber, corn, cilantro and onions in a bowl
  6. Add lemon juice, vinegar and olive oil and stir.
  7. Cut avocado in cubes and add to bowl.
  8. Salt to tast, 1/4 tsp estimate, and stir.
  9. Serve.