First Harvest of the Year

Planted some mixed greens seeds left from last year. Not all the “mixed” seeds germinated. It’s mostly arugula with some baby spinach. Tastes amazing! I used the real estate between tomato seeds while they were germinating. The green only took a few weeks to grow.

Cool easy broccoli recipe

I learned this one from my fried Lynn. Toss broccoli with garlic, EVOO, S & P. Roast ’til al dente, and sprinkle with lemon juice. This is my first time getting it right on the grill. Timing and stirring is a challenge on the grill. I recommend using a Grizwald (good cast iron pan.)

Works in toaster oven and oven too.

Tomato tradgedy

So, last year, my first year, I only lost two tomatoes all year to animals. But there is something in my garden this year that is sabotaging me in a big way. It waits until the seedlings have two to four leaves and then rips them off, sometimes eating them, sometimes leaving them on the ground. I was absolutely crushed when I found the leaves eaten off of 6 of the 8 tomato plants I was growing. I was forced to head up to Thayer Nursery and buy some seedlings.

Of course the didn’t have the obscure varieties that I wanted to grow, but the selection was pretty good. And, I like working with them more than going to the home center. Andy has been my gardening guru up there for about a year now. Really cool guy and really knowledgable. In addition to the seedlings, he sent me home with some hot pepper wax to deter the thieves… hopefully.

Cooking & creating without stress

By the end of my restaurant career I was so burnt out that I couldn’t really create anymore. I would overthink everything and become obsessed with quantifying everything to an absurd degree so that I could teach other people to execute without fucking up… which never works. (Wow! That sounded more conceited and bitter than it was meant to be… Oh well!)

My point is that once I recovered from cooking for a living, cooking became fun, easy, and creative again. Now, I want to make something I’ve never made before, I just google it… then ignore most of what I find, create what I want, and it usually comes out amazing. Below is my first attempt at stuffed mushrooms. I just had my 10th anniversary and finally found a way to make my wife eat a mushroom!

And I got to use my first herb from the garden. Fresh nepitella is amazing with mushrooms! More to come on the garden!

How the F*** am I supposed to know what is a weed?

This is only my second year gardening. I started having no idea what I was doing. I now have only a slight idea what I’m doing. Thanks to a few good books, particularly Northeast Gardening by Charlie Nardozi and help from my new buddy Andy and Thayer Nursery, I’m learning on the fly… and making up things that seem to help.

One thing I did last year to help plan out my beds, keep my rows straight, and identify where my “crops” should be germinating was to staple string lines when I planted.

The picture is either brussel sprouts or broccolini. Something ate my sprouts last year early in the year – the only crop I lost completely. And broccolini is new this year. But both are pretty easy to distinguish from weeds. Many other stuff isn’t. The strings help. This year they have also meant knowing what isn’t germinating, so I have planted supplementally twice so far.