Saturday, September 03, 2016

Eating & Harvesting from the Garden!

my two prized eggplants

This month has been a busy time in my little garden! Earlier this year I bought some veggie seedlings and decided to grow some eggplants. My plant got big and beautiful, and full of blossoms -- but I only got two eggplants out of the whole deal. If you only have two homegrown eggplants, you gotta do something special with 'em:

Grilled Eggplant Lasagna

So! I knew just what to do! I made the Grilled Eggplant Lasagna from The Abundance Diet. Oh man, we love this recipe so much, it's pretty phenomenal! Grilled eggplants, zucchini, and red onions - layered with sauce, tomato slices and super special cheesy sauce. ZOMG. Now I need to grow two more eggplants just so I can make this again. Or maybe I"ll just go to the farmers market! 

super major and amazing garlic crop

I've been growing garlic for so many years and this year was my best and most abundant and beautiful crop yet! I am so stoked! Almost all the garlic heads this year came out big and robust and hearty with large cloves. I braided all these up and now they are hanging to continue drying. The next step will be to trim the roots and then select the best cloves for replanting in the fall!
my best garlic ever! 

garden bounty

I saved a couple heads of garlic whose stems had broken off, and picked a bunch of tomatoes (these are my Early Girls) - and used them to make:

Roasted Garlic, Tomato, Rice & White Bean Soup from Veganomicon
(not sure if that's the exact name of the recipe)

This is another of my favorite recipes, and I hadn't made it in a while! Mr VE&T loves tomato soup and asks for it pretty much all the time. This is one of my favorite variations because it also has beans and rice in it, so it feels more like a complete meal. Plus, two entire heads of roasted garlic = obviously an excellent bowl of soup! This recipe is highly recommended.

full disclosure: this is actually an old picture that I lifted off my own blog. This time around I guess I was so excited about eating that I never took a picture. Oops! 

Cheery Cherry Tomatoes

Now let's talk about what's really going on in the garden: Cherry Tomatoes up the wazoo. Sooooo many. I have literally been giving away pints and pints of cherry tomatoes. I have red ones, orange ones, and a whole lotta yellow ones. Mostly I stand out in the driveway and eat them by the handful. That is my favorite thing to do with them, but the cherry toms pictured here became:

a summery tomato salad!

This colorful salad had halved cherry tomatoes, red onion, cucumber (peeled and scored, just the way Mr. VE&T likes it!), and kalamata olives -- with a very light olive oil and vinegar dressing. Such a delicious and perfect way to enjoy tomatoes in all their natural glory!

picking tomatoes off the plants, with Footie rolling around on the pavement
~ a daily scene

Apples?! Already?!

This year all the apples have arrived early -- and my tree is no exception. It's unexpected and weird - so strange to be canning tomatoes and apples at the same time!? Plus, I am preparing for a big trip to Italy and I think I'll miss most of the apples, unfortunately. BooHoo! Most of my apples get little bug holes or some other blemish -- so those are great for apple sauce or apple pies -- but every once in a while, I come across a perfectly blemish-free apple! All the apples on the cutting board are perfect! I wrap those in newspaper sheets and store them in the garage, where it's quite cool. They'll last a pretty good long while.

homemade applesauce

I've already made two great big batches of applesauce too - I made about 8-9 jars of "chunky" applesauce and another 8-9 jars of "smooth" applesauce. For the chunky sauce I mashed my applesauce with a potato masher, and I used a food mill for the smooth sauce. I like the chunky sauce better for straight up eating, but the smooth sauce is so much better for baking and such. I'm glad that I didn't miss my apple tree's harvest entirely! 

like a nut job, frantically canning tomatoes, applesauce and marmalade before going on a big trip. 
I can't stand to miss out on the harvest! 

top left: Bearrs limes
bottom right: Calamondin / Kalamansi limes

This year I've had a bumper crop of limes -- from both of my trees! My Bearrs limes are slowing down for now but I really wanted to use some of them to make lime marmalade again. I made it a couple years ago and loved it SO much that I was eager to make it again! That lime tree has a particular cycle where it goes into growth mode and the whole tree will be covered in little tiny baby limes, they'll ALL mature at once and it's totally overwhelming... and then a new cycle starts. So right now, my ripe limes are almost all gone, and the tree is covered in baby limes and for a long while now I will be limeless. Citrus fruits take a long time to ripen.

marmalade beauty

I made a big double batch - about 2/3 Bearrs lime juice & peel and 1/3 Calamondin juice and peel. As you can see, it is totally gorgeous and made a lot. I made lots of small jars so that I can give it away at holiday time for Xmas prezzies. As you can't see, it also has a lovely limey flavor, a little sweet, a little bright, a little bitter... just a perfect marmalade experience! I'm so happy I made the time to do this! 

Waltham Butternuts

One more crop I'm so pleased with this year: my Butternut Squashes! Aren't they lovely? This is the variety that my grandma and grandpa always grew. They used to harvest 80 squash a year or something wild like that. I grew 14, which still feels fun and exciting to me. A few of them are HUGE and a few are small, so that's nice because I can pick accordingly, depending on what I"m planning to make. Butternuts will last a long time if stored in a cold, dark area, so my butternuts are hanging out in the garage, waiting for me to be in the mood for fall flavors. It will be wonderful to eat these and think of my grandparents who I loved so much.

beautiful Footie on the fence

Last but not least, I leave you with this picture I took of Footie, balanced on the gate, and looking intently up into the jasmine bush. He is a great cat.

Vegan Bowl Attack Giveaway Winner! 

Footie also wants you to know who won a copy of Jackie Sobon's excellent cookbook "Vegan Bowl Attack!" -- I used the Random Number Generator and it chose comment #38, from KZCakes! Whooo hooo! Congrats, KZCakes! 


  1. (1) You really are a crazed woman to be doing all that massive canning, etc. right before blast off, and (2) That's an incredible photo of Footie! See you soon. XO

  2. I am so jealous of your gorgeous harvest! The marmalade, soup, and lasagna (and salad!) look delicious!

  3. I am so impressed by your garden harvest! And how much canning you're doing before leaving on your trip! Also, that is a great photo of Footie on the gate. It looks like he is just happily smelling the flowers - so sweet!! Have a great trip to Italy!

  4. would you share your marmalade recipe?

    1. Yes!! I should have included a link! Here is the recipe I used last year and this year, with GREAT results! Let me know if you try it!

  5. Wow, what an amazing harvest! Everything looks delicious & such a great picture of Footie! :)

  6. Yay!!! I am muy excited for the book! I am super jealous of your tomatoes and eggplants and squash and I want to have a garden someday that will keep me perpetually stocked with produce!! I want to try that lasagna and soup soon!!

  7. That is such a beautiful photo of Footie!

    You are a master grower! Such a fantastic bounty of home-grown goodness!

  8. Amazing post as usual! I started braiding my garlic for the first time this year... I still have lessons to learn to make the braids pretty like yours.

    Thank you for reminding me of that soup recipe from Veganomicon. I really have to make it again.

  9. I wish I had a big enough garden to grow a good amount of food. But I can even grow non edible plants without all the wildlife eating it. XD I am going to try and grow some ground cherries because I hear they grow like weeds. Easy peasy low maintenance is the way I go. I am also growing hops this year, which I have low expectations for since the roots are settling in.

  10. Wow! Your garden sounds completely amazing. 14 squash is a huge accomplishment! I can't even picture a backyard with that much space. And your tomatoes look so good, especially the cute cherry ones. And the limes!! I would be a happy girl to live next to you.
    I haven't tried that tomato, bean & rice soup - thank you for mentioning it as I have that cookbook and will check it out =)

  11. Oh my goodness Amey! Your garden is amazing. Those garlic cloves look wonderful and it looks like you made the right choice with your eggplants, the lasagne looks perfect.


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