I've been told I have a green thumb. I've also had my fair share of shriveled up greens, bug infested herbs, and sickly looking flowers in my trials of growing. To be honest, my garden is a true labor of love and always a work in progress.
A friend once told me plucking weeds and tendering to home grown goods is great stress relief. I should mention she is a Master Gardener (for those of you completely unaware, there ARE such certifications & "Master Gardeners" are the REAL deal)! Nevertheless, I am prone to agree with her thoughts. It is definitely nice to have fresh produce several yards away from my front door.
From fresh basil, ripened tomatoes, colorful peppers, and sweet carrots, the raised bed has been plentiful this summer. Not to mention the millions (maybe a slight exaggeration) of cucumbers…My husband has basically reaped in the benefits of readily available jars of dill pickles. Here is the recipe I used (courtesy of All Recipes: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/233542/refrigerator-dill-pickles/).
A garden can't be complete without tomatoes-- one of my favorite harvests! Along with eating several tomato sandwiches, I used a simple recipe to roast them which can be eaten as is, or used as a basis for Mexican dishes or Italian sauces.
Here's my recipe for Roasted Tomatoes:
- 3 cups tomatoes sliced or diced into bite-sized pieces (can use cherry, grape, or Roma)
- Olive Oil (enough to drizzle & coat)
- Salt & Pepper
- 6 leaves of Fresh Basil chopped (use more or less as desired for flavor)
- 1 cup onion (diced)
- 1 cup green peppers (diced)
- 3 cloves of garlic (finely diced)
- I cup Kalamata olives (sliced in 1/2) OR 1/4 cup capers (these 2 ingredients are SALTY! Omit salt and season to taste)
- Fresh cilantro and/or parsley (to taste)
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Prepare tomatoes (wash, dry, and slice accordingly). Prepare basil, peppers, onion, and garlic. Toss together. Layer evenly on metal baking sheet. Lightly drizzle with olive oil to coat ingredients. Add olives (or additional ingredients). Salt and Pepper to taste.
Place into oven for 20 minutes. Tomatoes will start to shrink and onion will become opaque when ready. Use caution to ensure basil does not burn.Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes (this gets VERY hot) before serving. Sprinkle with fresh parmesan.
OR cool completely and freeze to use for salsa or bruschetta. To make into a rustic and chunky pizza or spaghetti sauce— add to blender and pulse until desired thickness. Add 1- 6oz. can tomato paste to thicken.