Friday, January 16, 2015

Gardening--and food ideas

Hello, everyone.

It was 46F when I went outside this morning, it was cloudy, but the wind wasn't blowing and there was no wet stuff coming down. So after feeding the birdies I went over to the garden to thin some of the plants. (I did mention that my sweetie sowed *very* thickly on the rows he planted?) I didn't get them all, but I did take a big bowl of arugula (rocket) and a good sized bowl of mixed gai lan and Portuguese kale. Also there were a few small, just-turning tomatoes to be brought inside.
After first washing, the bowls ready to go inside.
I have in mind that the gail lan/kale mixture will be just right for using in the Suppa Toscana recipe--truth to tell, I wanted to get more Tuscan kale seeds and they were hard to locate, so I got the Portuguese kale instead. Now I read that it's a tougher leaf. But the leaves of that and the leaves of the gai lan "Happy Rich" look identical and, more importantly, feel identical in texture. So I'll cut them up and use them in the soup and see how it goes.

The Tuscan kale is the best for that soup--not too tough of leaves, good flavor, and no annoying frilliness on the green bits when you're eating. IMHO. And if you want it, and don't have a handy farmer's market to buy it in, you have to grow it. The only kale type stocked in grocery stores--even the fancy type of the HEB--is the curly stuff that looks so pretty on plates as a garnish. Fortunately it's a great fall garden plant and will hang on through cold weather (even light freezes) until the heat comes in in late spring. Now all I have to do is remember to buy some hot Italian style sausage, a potato, and a head of cauliflower. (I make a low-carb version of the soup, with just enough potato to keep the texture and a whole lot of cauliflower to make up the difference.)

The arugula I'll share with my sweet DIL and her mom. (There's a lot in that bowl! And there is still a whole lot in the garden.)

We have hopes that this afternoon will be at least 60F and we can bring the orchid pots out for some decent light. The blossom stems on one are showing actual buds now! (These are the butterfly type that is so easily available at the stores these days. They do well for us, hanging from the lemon tree The few other ones we're still learning out to grow along.)

It's about time to plant tomato seeds for spring/summer garden, if I can find a place to set them when they sprout. (Not outside in this weather!) Planting time for our area is mid to late February, and we never need to use gadgets like cold caps. (No wonder we weren't expecting the kind of normal spring weather we encountered in Spain! But that place is at a much higher latitude than we are. "Normal spring" is colder and wetter.)