Garden update & What is this thing??

Jun 23, 2011 by

OK, I’ve been meaning to do a garden update for a long time.  So here we go…

CORN!!!  I have corn!!!

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I tried to corn last time, and it all grew, but only got about 3-4 feet tall and then promptly turned brown and fell over dead.  This time I have several ears that are almost ready to eat.  It didn’t grow super tall again, but its looking much better this year.  I love corn.

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I am trying really hard to get better at planting less veggies as its just my beautiful wife and myself and we can’t eat or give all this stuff away fast enough.  I like cucumber, but don’t know that many things to do with it other than salad.  So this year I only planted one plant.  That one plant then took over the entire corner of this box and shows no signs of stopping.

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I have many many cucumbers growing very nicely and will be figuring out what to do with them besides a salad. Any ideas?

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Finally got some beans to grow.  Those have been elusive until now.  Also planted more peas as I LOVE them when I’m out in the garden.

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And I cut down almost all of my artichoke plants and they are already starting to grow back.  I love it when I don’t have to re-plant anything.  Lazy garden FTW!

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Same thing here, peppers are coming back nice.

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Basil coming in.  I’ve missed having fresh basil for a long time now.  I need to have it all the time.

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Here is the lone carrot.  Not sure why I only have one carrot, but behold, here it is.

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Also tomatoes didn’t come in crazy like last year.  I did get one plant and it is taking off huge.  This one plant will probably supply all the tomatoes we need.

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Yellow squash.  nice.

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and yes more zucchini.  These things are growing like nuts.  Just pulled out another 12+ pound one the other night.  Made it into zucchini noodles for pasta.  yummy.

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And the beets grow huge in my garden again.  Started eating these again and they are yummy.  Dwight would be so proud.

Now its time to play,

What is this thing growing in my garden????

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OK, what is this thing? Is it a weed?  Is it a plant? Vegetable?  Its growing near my strawberries, where I planted a few things, and then forgot what I planted.  Nothing grew, so I put the strawberries there, but then this thing grew up and it looks like its something, but I have no idea what.  Any ideas?

Ben…

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Here are my garden helpers.  And by helpers I mean they sit out front and bark like idiots and everyone that walks by.

 

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Zucchini Waffles

Jun 15, 2011 by

Yes I said it, zucchini waffles.  And yes I made them, and yes they are awesome.

The zucchini have taken over one of my garden boxes.  I did a much better job this year of spacing out the zucchini better.  I only planted a few plants and gave them lots of space.  They took all that space and then some.  They have taken over.  I have more zucchini than I know what to do with.

And we’re not talking small zucchini either.  I picked a HUGE one out and after making a huge double batch of the best zucchini bread in the world, and cooking and eating it with every meal, I still have so much zucchini left over from that SINGLE zucchini.

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These things are so big!

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And I just pulled out three more huge ones from the garden the other day.  I clearly rock at growing zucchini.

So I am on a mission to cook with zucchini and I had an “a-ha” moment the other night when I thought to myself, “two words, zucchini waffles!!”  They sounded so good, so I set out to modify the most amazing zucchini bread recipe into the most amazing zucchini waffle recipe ever.

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And I think I nailed it.  They turned out light and fluffy and supremely awesome.  If your looking for something different, give these a try.

Lets get started, here’s what you’ll need.

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I have no idea what I’m doing…but its working

Jun 8, 2011 by

 A  new neighbor moved in across the street.  Nice couple with a young kid.  They asked me about my garden as its huge and takes over my entire front yard.  Since they have moved in she has started a garden of her own in their front yard and has come over to ask for advice.  My answers have been filled with  a lot of this.

I have no idea what I’m doing…but its working

I’m good at figuring things out.  Its probably one of my best skills.

Quick story: When I was really little I found a small piece of gray plastic on top of our piano.  It was a few days before Christmas and I stared at that piece of plastic for a few minutes and then I walked up to my mom and dad and proclaimed, “I know you got me the Millennium Falcon for Christmas”

They had indeed bought  and assembled the Millennium Falcon and had this extra tiny piece that they left out thinking nothing of it.  I had found it and was able to figure out that this was the piece that held on the radar onto the ship and thus discovered ruined my Christmas present early.  I was very happy with myself that day.  My parents, not so much.

I can jump into a project and not know what I’m doing, but figure it out and make it work.  It doesn’t always work out perfect, but those times are few and far between.  Most times it works out really well and I learn a lot in the process.

My garden is one of those adventures for me.  My grandpa had a garden that I barely remember from when I was little and thats about the extent of my gardening knowledge.  I know to grow anything you need dirt, sun, water and some luck.  I am lucky that I live in southern California where we have a lot of the sun part of the equation so its very easy to grow things.  But for the rest I’m learning and making it up as I go along. And its working

I pulled out a HUGE  zucchini yesterday I didn’t even know I had in my garden.  It was hidden below the big leaves of the zucchini plants, where it sat among a lot of other zucchinis growing.  This thing was giant so I chopped it up and made a big double batch of zucchini bread, my favorite, and gave it away to the neighbors.

I’m working on starting a few businesses right now and its been very frustrating lately at the pace in which they are moving.  I had hoped to launch one several months ago, but its been delayed by technical difficulties and working with outside vendors.  I am very tech savvy and that only leads to huge frustration when I can’t figure out a technical problem.  The flip side of that is when I do figure it out, and I always do, it feels amazing.  A huge sense of accomplishment comes when I figure it out, make it work, and learn something in the process.

A lot of people don’t start things because they think they don’t know what they are doing.  They don’t know how to grow a garden, so they won’t try.  They don’t know how to start a business so they won’t try.

My advice, is just try.  You don’t need to know everything about everything.  You will learn as you go.  You will figure it out. And you will come out on the other side with a huge sense of accomplishment, you will have learned something and you can use that knowledge and inspiration to help others do the same.

What are you afraid to try right now?  Go do it.

Ben…

p.s.  I still have half of this huge zucchini left so if you know of any good recipes for zucchini, let me know.

 

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Plant a row

May 26, 2011 by

I was just outside working in the garden.   Removed some old beans and replanted a bunch of veggies in some places where I had room.

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My zucchini is taking off and is going to be awesome.  My artichokes are slowing down and no longer have 2 dozen of them.  My tomatoes are slow, but they are coming in.  And I have one lonely carrot.

I love my garden.

I also love this idea I saw the other day.  Plant a row, is a program to get gardeners such as myself to plant an extra row of veggies to help feed the homeless.  Simple and brilliant.

I give away food from the garden to neighbors and friends and family when they come over, but for some reason never think to give it away to the local food bank.  But now I will, and I hope you do too.

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If you’ve got some room in your garden or yard, plant some veggies and donate it to your local food bank.  Its a nice simple way to help those in need.

Ben…

 

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Wild West Salsa Competition – Year 2

May 15, 2011 by

It was that time of year again for the Carlsbad Wild West Fest and time to make some salsa for the salsa competition.

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And so I whipped up some TrulySimple salsa and it was pretty darn tasty.

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First thing, I headed out to the garden to grab some ingredients.  Here are some chives

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My garlic is AWESOME.  First time I’ve harvested it, and it is SO fresh and garlic-y

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My cilantro rules.  I love growing this stuff.

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And some onions.

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I cleaned up all the veggies with the help of my friends Joe and Sophie-Helen

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Here’s all the ingredients laid out.  I grabbed some corn and tomatoes from the store as the ones in my garden are not ready yet.  Also some black beans from trader joes.

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Starting out with a tomato base.   Chop them up.

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Throw them into a big bowl.

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Cilantro next.  rinse it off.

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Chop up a bunch into smaller pieces.

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throw it in with the tomatoes.

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Next the chives.   Chop them up and throw them in.

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Now for the onion.  Chopped up a couple of onions.

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and throw them in the mix.

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Ok, you want to get your corn blackening at this point.  Fire up the grill on high and just lay them on it.

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Turn them every 3-4 minutes or so until you get the nice blackened color all around.   Then set them aside and let it cool down a bit.

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Now the garlic.  This is the first harvest of my garlic and it is so good.

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It tastes so fresh and amazing.   I grabbed 4 cloves and diced them up

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once its all minced up, throw it in the mix.

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OK, when the corn is cooled down cut if off the cob with your knife

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also grab a couple of cans of black beans and rinse and drain them.

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and we throw it all in the mix and stir

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add lime juice from half a large lime

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and add salt and pepper to taste.  It didn’t need much.

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And now for the competition.    Setting my my presentation here.

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YES, I have an iPad as part of my multimedia presentation.  YES I’m a huge nerd.  But everyone really liked that and I got compliments on it and my photos, so that was nice.  Thanks to my wife for letting me steal borrow her iPad.

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Here are some other tables.  Very nice layout.

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I liked this framed Grandma’s salsa

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Here was another salsa that was very unique and really tasty.   I liked this one a lot.   Very spicy, but very good.  I”m going to make this.

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The wild west fest has some great characters

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and some fun entertainment

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I got a lot of votes from the various tasters coming through, but right as I ran out of salsa (it was very popular), someone came by and told me, “oh your out of salsa?  Did you save any for the judges?”

WHAT???  Doh!

That did not bode well for my strategy, and thus I did not win this year.

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But I had a fun time.  Much like this kid who is so happy with with his cotton candy.

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and this kid was enjoying chasing the peacocks around.

Overall it was a fun event, and next year I will be back to own this salsa competition.

Ben…

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