Gettin' fresh … in Northern Nevada

Posts tagged “pepper

July Update

It has been a while since I updated on my mini garden.   You know how it goes … summer is busy.   And, well, plants just grow.   (hopefully)

Today seemed like a good day to share because we just ate some fresh green beans.   It wasn’t a big harvest but it was enough for a good side dish to a meal.   Not too shabby for three small plants, in my opinion.

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My favorite way to cook green bean is credited to The Pioneer Woman, click HERE to see how it’s done.

The peppers are still growing … albeit very slowly.   They are being attacked by black ants.   Peppermeister told me to use some baking soda to protect them.   It seems to be working for the time being.  (fingers crossed)

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How’s your garden growing?   Any good harvests yet?    I’m holding out for a homegrown tomato.   (Soon.   Mmmmm.)

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Just Keep Growing …

I did some maintenance work in the garden boxes this morning.   My new mantra is “just keep growing … just keep growing …”

The basil finally decided to get its groove on:

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All of the transplants have been released from their mini greenhouse lids … and look at that happy, full row of kale!

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I’m proud of the pepper progress, albeit super slow.

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And, there’s even a baby tomato hiding in there!

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How’s your garden growing this week?


The Veggie Box is Back!

I have returned from the desert wasteland of fresh options in Northern Nevada to report that I should have just stayed with my tried and true CSA box from last year.   The co-op in town is good but not convenient for me.   The other basket/subscriptions are OK but not always local.   And, the farmer’s markets are less than I had hoped for in my area.

The Great Basin Basket CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) subscription by Lattin Farms is the way to go.   For real.   Boom.   Don’t mess around with anything else.   Know that your farmer is in Fallon and your food is fresh.   Done.

You can expect to see weekly reports from me about what’s in the box through the fall and I will gladly pay whatever the subscription costs because it has always proven to be completely worth it.   I managed to get in on the summer subscription after it had already started and the membership coordinator happily pro-rated my weeks through September.   This costs $29 a week.   Paid in full, in advance with eager anticipation.

Here’s what I received today:

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All organic summer squash, seedless watermelon, sweet peppers, eggplant, early girl tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, garlic and a Galia melon from Lattin Farms.  There is also a bag of green beans from River Bend Farms and two big red torpedo onions from Pioneer Farms.

Aren’t these onions glorious?

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What’s a Galia melon?   According to the handy dandy instruction sheet that comes in every veggie box, a Galia melon looks “like a cantaloupe on the outside and a honeydew melon on the inside and offer a delicious, sweet flavor.”   All I know is that it smells like heaven.   This should be really good this weekend when it’s hot outside and I’m craving something cool and sweet.

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I can’t wait to taste those little yellow cherry tomatoes.   nom nom nom

 

Can you believe that I’m even excited to see the eggplant?  Now, if I could only remember which blog posted an eggplant recipe recently that actually looked good.    Any suggestions on that one?

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For my pepper peeps, these are Antohi Romanian Sweet Peppers and the veggie instructions included an interesting story about them:

“Jan Antohi was a touring acrobat when he defected to the United States.  In late 1991, he visited his family in Romania for the first time in more than 8 years, and came back with seeds of this delicious heirloom.   Romanians fry these in a hot skillet to experience the sweet, full flavor.”   

I remember these peppers from last summer and can attest … THEY ARE TASTY!

I’m excited to try some new recipes and share them with you again.   Tonight’s menu is easy:  grilled chicken and grilled summer squash.   Put ’em on the BBQ and get ‘er done!  Yum.


The Practice of Producing Pepper Plants

Last year, I took up an offer for some free pepper seeds.   Not just ordinary old seeds from any store or even specialty seeds from the overpriced home garden shop, I got seeds from a fellow blogger.   Blogmeister, if you will:   The Peppermeister.    Sir Pep happily shared a nice bounty of pepper seeds and I have attempted to make them grow.

Attempt is the key word here, people.   Attempt.

Here are my lovelies in late March, all full of hope and dreams:

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I was particularly proud of my nice little labels for all of the varieties that I was going to soon harvest.   Please comment on how nice the labels are, it will make me feel better.

Take a look at my first born sprout.   This is a magic moment in Pepperkind.

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Progress is happening … aren’t they pretty?

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Here, my lovelies were growing nicely and the weather was getting warm so I decided it was time to migrate my seedlings to a protected area out in the yard.

HONESTLY, I attempted to protect them.   Attempt is the key word again.   Ugh.

Devastation.    It was colder that day than expected and the direct sunlight was not kind.   Dammit.

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Well, a few survived and I’m still attempting to produce a few pepper plants.   Wish me luck.  I’ll keep you posted.

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Banh Mi Inspired Lettuce Wraps and A Cooper’s Hawk

It’s slim pickens here in the high desert for CSA veggies so today’s recipe was purchased entirely at the regular grocery store.   It was quite tasty.   Don’t judge.

Last summer, I had a Vietnamese-style banh mi sandwich from a food truck.   The light vinaigrette with the sweet crunch of veggies inside of a sourdough baguette and then, the after-kapow of a little bit of hot serrano peppers was enough bliss in one bite to create an immediate addiction.   I was hooked.   Yum.

Today, I was craving some banh mi, dammit.   And, here’s what I came up with …

banh mi lettuce wrap

My not-so-original recipe ideas came from searching the internet, HERE.   Being a total non-conformist, I made one up and it came out pretty darn good.   Especially, when you consider that I didn’t have a sourdough baguette in the house and got a little crafty with the lettuce wrap idea.   (Watch out, P.F. Chang’s, I’m gunning for ya!)

Now, don’t kid yourself.   Cutting up a bunch of veggies into cute little pieces is a pain in the ass.   I have a kitchen mandolin but I am slightly afraid of it.   I will thin slice a few things on it but the whole ‘julienne’ idea seemed pretty dangerous to me today.   This kind of cutting requires more patience that I generally have.   I did get lazy toward the end and just chopped up the cucumbers.   Shoot me.

Cucumber, carrots, radishes, red bell pepper, serrano peppers and cilantro

Cucumber, carrots, radishes, red bell pepper, serrano peppers and cilantro

Indoor chicken grillin' with the grill pan

Indoor chicken grillin’ with the grill pan

Basically, I marinated the veggies in some ginger-soy salad dressing with a little bit of extra rice wine vinegar and then added some grilled chicken.   We had some baby romaine lettuce heads and just peeled leaves off to wrap up the mixture.   Lettuce burritos!

Dinner must have smelled good because we were visited by a Cooper’s Hawk.    He literally flew into our front window and freaked the F@#K out of us.   Excuse the crappy picture quality … I wasn’t prepared.   This was an impressive dinner guest.

What the Cooper's Hawk?

What the Cooper’s Hawk?

Based on the stare he is giving us, I think we should just give him our plates.    YIPES!

 


Sunday Morning Hash

At my house, weekend breakfasts are kind of a big deal.   We tend to lean hard on the bacon and eggs side of things but I love a good mess of home fries or hashbrowns.    Today, was one of those Sundays where no one was terribly inspired to make Eiffel Tower pancakes or anything special.    So, we made ‘do.’   We jokingly call it ‘making use of the resources available’ while others would call it ‘repurposing leftovers.’    Whatever you want to call it, breakfast is good.

Today,  I went for all of  the things that I have too much of from the CSA box and/or leftover from dinner earlier in the week.

I started with some potatoes … then, the recipe grew …

Peppers seemed like a good idea.   I just picked three different colors.   Pretty scientific.

I added a big tomato but it was a lot juicier than I expected.   It was at this point that I gave up all hope for crunchy potatoes.   I went for flavor and added the leftover apple cider pulled pork and covered it with cheese.

The end result was pretty good.   And, it powered us up for a good day of getting chores done around the house and running errands.


Fall CSA, Week Two

I have to admit that for the first time all year, I wasn’t really all that excited to go get the veggie box this week.   Feeling kind of uninspired.   Blah.    No reason.   Just blah.

Getting my tookus to the store and getting the veggie and fruit boxes did perk me up a bit, though.   It’s hard to not be impressed by the fresh box of goodies.   And, I did notice that I could smell the pears while I was driving home in the car.   (So, I ate one with dinner.)

Allrighty then, what’s on the menu this week?

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Anaheim and romanian peppers, delicata squash, spaghetti squash, heirloom tomatoes, roma tomatoes, summer squash, eggplant (they are cute little white ones … too bad I hate them so much), cherry tomatoes, garlic chives, onions and potatoes

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The fruit box was full of all kinds of goodies.   Four different varieties of apples, pears and a couple of peaches.

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The CSA newletter included a recipe for stuffed eggplant that looked (almost) good enough to make me try another attempt at eggplant.   Maybe.   Here’s a link to their site, if you want to check it out.  There’s even some good information on the nutritional value of my dreaded foe, the Ughplant.


Chile Relleno Casserole

Just before dinner last night, I decided to be creative with the mini stockpile of peppers  going on in the crisper.    Not enough hot peppers to make something schnazy, not enough big peppers to stuff, just a mix of everything.  I wasn’t really sure where I was going and decided to spin the recipe roulette wheel for fun.
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My good friend, Google, came to the rescue.   Seriously, what did people do before they had Google to bestow every bit of knowledge on them?   OH, ya.   I have a whole bookcase of cookbooks.   And, (SHOCKER!), I even remember encyclopedias … but, I digress … we were talking about peppers.

Google found a full list of pepper cooking ideas.   This one stood out to me today from The Pioneer Woman, Lazy Chiles Rellenos.   Take note:  The Pioneer Woman’s recipe has chiles from a can.   I have real chiles so I needed to figure out how to roast them first.   Google sent me here for instructions.

Great.  I’m prepared now.  Let’s do this!

Clean, seed and put ’em in the oven.
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Then, there was this whole –keep an eye on them until they blister and then EASILY (liars!) pull the skins off– technique that is supposed to happen.    Put your blogging cameras down.   This is where you burn your fingers, end up with hot chile capsaicinoids in your eyes and curse the world.   Holy Scoville, my eyes were burning!    I almost gave up.   But, for the sake of the blogosphere, I’m still here documenting a near miss in dinner-time adventures.

For the record, I wasn’t really that successful getting all of the skins off of the peppers.   I went ahead and put them in the casserole anyway.   Dinner be damned, I’m eating these peppers!

Looky, looky!   It turned out OK.    Dinner was not ruined.   The casserole did actually taste like chile rellenos and wasn’t spicy hot.   I’m thinking that the cheater version with canned chiles is probably pretty good.   Plus, her recipe is definitely a lot easier.

And, thankfully, I opted for a sweet BBQ sauce on the chicken that I cooked to go with this lovely dish.    The sweet sauce on the chicken and the zip of the peppers balanced out just right.   Mmmm, mmmm good.


Sunday Salad Prep

I don’t know about you but Sundays are usually a chore day for us.  Today, we did what seemed like 10,000 loads of laundry, ran to the store for supplies and did our preparations for the upcoming week.  We are creatures of habit.

For the next two weeks, our regular schedule is going to be a mess.  My little dude (who is 3) will be starting swimming lessons.  I am totally excited about this.  I am not a swimmer athlete type but I do love to go swimming.  I am really hoping that this goes well and my little dude does too.  However, it is going to completely kill our normal routine.

What does this have to do with veggies? Well, it added some more work to my Sunday prep day.   I am super proud of my hard work so I thought I would share:

Lunch containers ready to go …

Just look at those yummy crunchies waiting to have some nuts, berries, cheese, croutons, whatever sounds good added to them … or be eaten just the way they are …

And, look how packed my fridge is!  (I can’t believe I’m posting pictures of the inside of my refrigerator on the internet.  Dorky.)


Store Bought Produce

I love the little mini sweet bell peppers that they sell at the store.   And, not quite everything is available through my weekly CSA, so I have a package in my fridge.   This is my first year on the CSA so I haven’t figured out the whole “Eat Seasonally” thing yet.   But, I am working on it.

At any rate, I noticed a few things and I thought I would share.   I have been thinking about how amazing it was that the CSA produce was picked, packed and ready for me within literally one or two days — farm to table.   Then, I saw this:

Trace me?    Oh, ya.   I’m on it!

 

 

 

 

 

I used my handy, dandy Android QR code app to zap into into the phone.   It ended up just taking me to the produce code.  Not that exciting.   But, me, being the clever investigator that I am, also noticed this:

 

These peppers were grown in Mexico.   Aren’t I observant?

 

 

 

 

And, there is a company website, http://www.harvestmark.com, where you can enter the produce code and trace your food.   Game on.   Let’s go for this adventure!

The website let’s you enter the code and then, just like the QR code, tells you what kind of pepper it belongs to and there is also a status line that indicates there have been “No issues reported” for this product.  Well, that’s nice.  I was hoping to not get poisoned by my food today.   Whew.   What a relief.

Back to my detective work.   I also noted this finding:

 

Packed on April 23, 2012.    Today is May 5, 2012.  (Happy Cinco de May, by the way!)   I purchased these peppers last Saturday, April 28, 2012.

Does this company expect me to believe that these peppers were PICKED on April 23, 2012, and readily available in my Costco on April 28, 2012?   Really?

 

Picked and packed for my peppers does not mean the same thing.

I wonder how long ago they were PICKED.    Like from the pepper plant in Mexico.   Hmmmm.

I can’t wait for my CSA to have peppers.   I will know where they came from and how they got to me.

At this point, I should admit that I really like this brand of peppers and buy them all of the time.   That’s not my complaint.   I am just now discovering the whole business of how your food gets to you at the chain store.   Yikes.   Eye opening.

What do you think?

I think I’m going to check out the local co-op downtown next week.   FIELD TRIP!   Wanna go?