Tag Archives: tomatoes

Barley and Arugula Saute

I had read a recipe for a Barley, Arugula, and Grape Tomato Saute and since I rarely ever follow a recipe, I read it and was inspired to make my own version of it.


  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 pint baby bella mushrooms, chopped into small pieces
  • 5 shitake mushrooms, chopped into small pieces (these were left over from something else and hanging out in my fridge…this would work just fine without the addition of the extra mushrooms)
  • 10 grape tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • olive oil
  • lemon zest
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3-4 cups baby arugula

I cooked up 1/2 cup of barley in 1 1/4 cups salted water.  While that was simmering away, I sauteed the garlic in a little bit of olive oil and added the baby bellas and shitakes.  I let those cook for 8-10 minutes and then I added the tomatoes.  When the barley was done (all the water was evaporated-about 30 minutes), I added the barley to the pan of goodies.  I then added the chickpeas and arugula and cooked it until the arugula was wilted, just a couple of minutes.  When I took it off the heat I added a whole bunch of lemon zest.

It tastes great and it would work well with a variety of other grains: wheatberries, brown rice, etc.


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Roasted Tomato Sauce

Hi There!  Today I made a simple, yet delicious tomato sauce so I thought some of you with an abundance of tomatoes on your hands might want to try this.  I did not really invent it.  I read a bunch of recipes online and went from there.



  • Tomatoes, halved and quartered depending on size (I didn’t count them, I put one baking sheet and another dish equivalent to about half a baking sheet in the oven)
  • One vidalia onion, cut into cubes
  • 6 big cloves garlic, halved
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Post Cooking, Pre- Blending

I put everything in a single layer on a baking sheet and cooked it at 300 degrees for 2 hours.  Then, I put it all in a bowl and used my immersion blender to puree. I didn’t bother taking the skins off because that’s just too tedious for me and I don’t mind them.  However if you are going to try this and you mind skins, peel them off before you puree.

Post Blending

It’s delicious.  If I make it again, I might add some crushed red pepper flakes to make a spicy version.  If you try it, let me know how it comes out.


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Straw Bale Garden

I've got cherry tomatoes coming out my ears. Good thing I love these sweet little suckers.

The jalapenos took awhile to get started, but now they are doing great!

I've got 2 tiny watermelons growing. I wonder how big they'll get before the end of the growing season.

There are a few of these beauties.

I've got one measly cucumber growing....


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July 25, 2011- Edible Beauty

I took this at the farmers’ market over the weekend.  Am I the only one that thinks these are little bits of gorgeousness? I think I might love summer solely for the taste of in season tomatoes.  I don’t really eat them fresh at any other time of year.

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July 7, 2011- Garden Update

Hi Friends!  What a lovely morning it is here in Northern VT.  Some crazy thunderstorms rolled through yesterday afternoon and last night and now it is sunny and 70 degrees.  I ventured out to the straw bale garden this morning to see what happened while I was away in NY (thanks for watering, Dan).  That sunshine did my plants good!  Check it out.


Pole Beans- These guys either have outgrown or will shortly outgrow the poles.  If you look on the left side of this picture you can see one of the plants growing off the pole and straight out to the side. Anyone have any suggestions.  Also, they are growing like crazy, but don’t yet have any beans.  Is this normal?


Lots of little flowers starting on all of the tomato plants

I'm pretty sure these are going to be bigger slicing tomatoes. By the end of planting these starts, I stopped keeping track of which plant was which type of tomato.

I was trying to show how thick this tomato plant has gotten. It's almost the size of my pointer finger.

Aren't these pretty?



All along this pepper plant looked as if it was barely growing.  It hasn’t ever looked like it was dying, but it didn’t really seem to be doing much.  It still doesn’t have any flowers, but it finally looks as if it’s grown some.



I don’t know if we have a warm and sunny enough climate to grow cantaloupe and watermelon.  I mean people do it, but being a newbie at this, I think I need optimal conditions.  I have flowers on both plants, we’ll see what happens.  Here is a picture of the watermelon.


In addition to all of this I’ve got basil growing between the two of the tomato plants.  I also had some chives that were good for awhile, but pretty much look like they are dying now.

I’ve had my first casualty, The cucumber plant is completely dead.  I’m not sure what happened, but I’m going to try throwing some seeds into the bale and see what happens (Thanks for that tip, Colleen).

Happy Gardening!  I can’t wait until I can harvest these things!

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June 22, 2011- Inch by Inch

I often have this John Denver song in my head when I’m out back admiring my veggie plants.  I look at these things more than anybody in their right mind needs to.  Remember what these looked like just one month (and a day) ago?  The difference is tremendous.  Here are some pictures that I took yesterday, exactly one month after I began planting in the bales.

Zucchini plant- Something I just learned is that the zucchini plant produces male flowers first. Those will fall off and die. Once the plant knows there are male flowers to pollenate the female flowers, it will start producing the female flowers. Those are the ones that become zucchini.



The Setup


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May 21st- The planting has begun

Today I planted a bunch of tomatoes (red cherry, sunburst cherry, early girls, and beefsteak), 1 jalapeno plant, 1 zucchini plant, some chives that a co-worker pulled up from her garden, and some garlic that was dug up and replanted. Later or tomorrow I’m going to plant some cucumbers, winter squash, cantaloupe, and watermelon. I’m going to buy those plants started since the little seedlings didn’t really make it. I’m planting the squash, cantaloupe, and watermelon in the sides of the bales.  Here’s a view of the setup:

4 bales and 3 containers so far

I had big plans to build a support system for the tomato and cucumber plants out of posts and remesh, but that just didn’t happen.  Maybe next year.  For now, I’m using stakes for the tomatoes.  Hopefully they’ll hold up in the straw bales.  If not, I’ll figure something else out.  I’ll probably buy a cage of some sort for the cucumbers to vine up.

All but one of these are from the seeds I started.  They were doing great when I first planted them, but I moved them into my guest bedroom so Jack (my cat) wouldn’t get them and I think it was a little too cold in there.  They are little, but I think they are going to be okay.  If all of these tomato plants make it and produce a bunch of tomatoes, I’m going to have way more than I can consume.

Red Cherry Tomatoes





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