Tag Archives: lettuce

Late fall update

In the (hoop) house: Still producing – one cherry tomato, one cucumber, several peppers, and green beans. Ready to eat – bok choi, onions, leeks, and KALE. Up and growing nicely – lettuce, cabbage, brussels sprouts, more leeks, broccoli, cilantro, Swiss chard, turnips, rutabagas and garlic.

New fireplaceNew fireplace: After living for 15 years with a mantel but no fireplace*, we finally made a decision and purchased (online) a ventless gas fireplace with mantel. Mike stained it in September, we put it in position in October, and connected the gas in November. We still need to finish the wall opening and put in some slate or tile beneath the surround. *The Universalist Fellowship, which owned our house in the 1970’s, removed the original gas fireplace. The next owners got so far as to buy an old mantel, but never completed their project.

Pickles, salsa, chutney: Throughout the fall I’ve been pickling and canning stuff, mostly involving peppers. Green sauce/salsa, pepper relish, Mexican escabeche, and chutney.

grating lemongrassLemongrass harvest: We finally got a frost last week, so we had to bring in all the houseplants, and my three big pots of lemongrass. Every year I’d tell myself that I was going to do something with the lemongrass, and this year I finally did. I cut the stalk about 3″ from the soil, then removed the leaves so all I had was the stalk. I washed and cut it into 4″ pieces and froze them in a ziplock bag. To use them in cooking I simply take out a stalk and grate it with my microplane grater, or throw a stalk or two into a soup. Here are links to previous posts that pertain to lemongrass: Vietnamese Penicillin, Viet FeastThai Seafood Hotpot, and Grass of Lemon

Oklahoma road trips: Since September Mike and I have done three Oklahoma weekend rambles.

  • First to Roman Nose State Park near Watonga, OK, where we stayed at the very nice, newly remodeled lodge. Saturday we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast on the patio with two pots of French press coffee. The night before we’d stopped at Eischen’s Bar  in Okarche – the oldest bar in Oklahoma – for fried chicken and fried okra. Saturday afternoon we took back roads on the way home and I was amazed at the number of wind generators that had been put up.

Eischen's bar in Okarche, OK Roman Nose Lodge patio  Wind generator, south of Weatherford, OK

  • Second on our list was Lake Murray in southern Oklahoma. Beautiful setting, but an incredibly dumpy lodge. I felt like I’d fallen into a time warp and emerged in 1965. We did have a fabulous catfish dinner on the banks of the Washita River at McGehee’s near Marietta. Thank goodness they have big billboards directing you to the restaurant, else we’d never have found it.
  • Third on the list is the town of Woodward, where I went to attend a family wedding (at the old theater), and then Mike and I returned two weeks later to pick up some antique chairs I’d bought. Once again, lots more wind farms going up, and we met Mike’s cousins for a great lunch at Waggs Bar-B-Q. We weren’t there long enough to visit Alabaster Caverns, but that is definitely worth doing if you’re in the area.

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Lettuce be thankful Part II

Lettuce to transplant Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce Lettuce in pots

The Amish Deer Tongue overwintered very well, and in anticipation of the leafy deluge I have been scoping out more inventive ways of preparing lettuce. Last year I made lettuce soup, which we will have again soon. But today I made some Peruvian Green Sauce (Aji) which was easy, delicious, and different. Mike asked “Did you say this had lettuce in it?!” It would be great as a green salsa with chips, on tacos, with scrambled eggs, etc. I pretty much used the recipe from the link above, but added some green onion and lime juice, and of course used my lovely bright green Amish Deer Tongue instead of anemic iceberg lettuce. The success of this Aji sauce made me think of other things you could do with blended lettuce…

  • Green tzatziki sauce – Blend 1/4 cup whole milk yogurt, 2 Tbsp tahini, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 minced clove garlic, handful of fresh mint and parsley (chopped), 1 small head of bibb or leaf lettuce. [I made this today, and I think I’ll serve it with some lamb on Sunday, maybe along with a green rice pilaf.]
  • Very green spinach dip: Use the Knorr spinach dip recipe, but blend a head of lettuce with the sour cream and mayo before adding the soup mix and spinach.
  • Extremely green onion dip: sour cream, green onion, chives, garlic, dill, lettuce, salt and pepper.
  • Green rice pilaf, risotto, and sushi rice: blend the lettuce with the water or broth before adding to the rice.
  • Green tabouli: blend the lettuce with the lemon juice and olive oil
  • Green Alfredo/bechamel sauce: blend lettuce with a little cream and add just as the sauce finishes cooking.
  • Green mayo for potato salad
  • Green Caesar salad dressing: Ha! Lettuce dressing on lettuce…
  • Green bread (I should have done this for St. Patrick’s Day)

Last night I made two leek & arugula pizzas – one with a crushed tomatoes/garlic/rosemary/oregano, and one with Arugula & Leek pizza; Aji sauce a garlic and rosemary bechamel sauce. Topped both of them with mozzarella, and the “white” pizza also had a good amount of asiago on it. Mike made the dough for these, and I must say that the bread flour really was much stretchier and easy to work with, and does make a nicer crust than all-purpose flour.

Today was the first day of the farmer’s market, and of course we got there too late for the asparagus. The one grower who brings asparagus sells out within 15 minutes of opening (Hello! Doesn’t this sound like a business opportunity?). I bought three eggplant and four peppers from the same lady as before, who grows them in large Styrofoam cups and sells them for $1.00.  I also found a Black Cherry tomato plant at another stall, which I haven’t seen here before. I’ve already planted most of my tomato plants, but I couldn’t resist collecting another unusual one. Here are the tomatoes I planted last weekend: Cherokee Black, Black Krim, Black Prince (yeah, I’m totally into the black tomatoes now), Caspian Pink, Old German, Box Car Willie, Mortgage Lifter, Yellow Pear, Orange Oxheart, Grape, and a mystery volunteer tomato that sprouted in a houseplant pot this winter (probably one of those crazily productive yellow tomatoes). Still waiting to be planted are Sweet 100, Amish Paste, and Better Boy. Every year I say I’m going to plant fewer tomatoes, but I just can’t help myself!

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Unseasonably cold & warm: typically Oklahoma

LettuceAfter a couple week of unseasonably cold temperatures (lows in the single digits), we are now experiencing unseasonably warm/mild temperatures (lows in the 40’s). However, in Oklahoma the weather fluctuates so much that the term “unseasonable” ceases to have meaning. Today I took a peek under the row covers to see what had survived. The weeds – henbit, chickweed, and rye grass – were flourishing, of course. Small seedling of pak choi and mustard looked good; the larger plants were sadly burned, although most of them will pull through. The spinachspinach looked good, and most surprisingly, the lettuce looked great (Amish Deer Tongue, especially).

Although it feels like I’m jumping the gun, it’s about time to start things for my spring garden. I’m going to start spinach in peat pellets again this year, and try the same with Swiss Chard and lettuce. I’m not going to do peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes.

Tonight we’re going to Barb & Mark’s for a dinner party. We’re taking a nice rustic loaf of bread Mike made, and I’ve made three spreads: Red pepper hummus, green pea “guacamole”, and herbed cheese. For the peacamole I started with this recipe, and then (of course!) made some substitutions.

  • Fresh cilantro, not essential oil (I’ve never even heard of this before)
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp pickled jalepenos
  • Sesame seed tahini instead of almond butter

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Lettuce soup?

What to do when you have too much lettuce...

What to do when you have too much lettuce...

What to do when all your lettuce starts to bolt at the same time?

The last week has been awfully wet, and warm too. Good conditions for tomatoes – not so great for lettuce. Of course this lettuce has been in the ground, just hanging out, for about 4 months, so I can’t really complain. There is no way Mike and I can eat all of this stuff in salads, so I decided to try lettuce soup. Sounds weird, I know, but the reviews on Epicurious were good.

Naturally I had to make a few changes to the recipe so I could use more stuff from my garden: leeks, mint, and dill.

I used a leek instead of onion, a red potato and with the skin on, and added the minced garlic and a little fresh mint at the blending stage. Then I chopped fresh dill and sprinkled on top. It was quite good, and are the reviews said, it is very versatile. Mike and I agreed that it tasted like a cross between broccoli and asparagus soup. This makes me very happy that I can use the “old” lettuce in the garden for a tasty soup!

While in Fort Collins I couldn’t resist buying two artichoke plants and some Galactic lettuce. I’m going to plant them together in large pots and see how they do.

A note on beer making – check out all the free recipes at Hops & Berries, and this software for serious brewers.

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Lettuce be thankful (for beer)

Last fall I planted Amish Deer Tongue lettuce, which looks like another variety I’ve grown in the past  – Oak Leaf. However, I think the Deer Tongue is better (read about it here and here). Despite the crazy weather we’ve had this spring*, it has held up very well and still doesn’t show signs of bolting. I had it under cold frames until mid-March, and we’ve been eating it since January. The outer leaves are a bit raggedy, but if you strip off the outer leaves (and I’ve got so much of it that this isn’t an issue) you end up with a really beautiful little Bibb/Romaine type head that keeps well in the fridge. Speaking of which, my Bibb lettuce is bolting, so it looks like the Deer Tongue is what I’ll be planting in the future. Seeds of Change has a red variety, which I’m definitely going to get – red lettuce is so sexy!

*Too warm in January and February, then late, hard frosts; very dry until this last week, and now way too wet!

Corn poppies and larkspur are now blooming. Once again, my David Austin antique rose has been sabotaged by (too much) rain, just as it begins to bloom. I believe the variety I have is Gertrude Jekyll (great name, huh?). The wild roses that Em brought me several years ago from Ft Supply are blooming profusely. The pink ones are especially nice – double, fragrant, and very hardy – and I’ll keep them, despite their tendency to sucker and spread all over.

Mike and I are going to Ft. Collins so he can run a marathon this weekend. I wonder if we can find some asparagus along the irrigation ditches. When we were very young, poor students at CSU  one of our favorite things to do on weekends was take long walks and harvest the free asparagus. But Ft. Collins has become so urban since then, I wonder if irrigation ditches still exist in town.

While we’re  in Ft. Collins Aric has advised us to visit some of the local breweries. We may want to go back at the end of June for their beer festival. Good thing these breweries didn’t get established until after Mike and I graduated!:  Odell, New Belgium, Coopersmith’s, Ft. Collins, Conor ONeills and Big Horn. And then there are others nearby: Avery, Boulder, Lefthand, Bacchus Meadery, Walnut, Oskar Blues, Twisted Pine, BJ’s, Mountain Sun, Crabtree, Pitchers, Pumphouse, Rock Bottom, Boulder Draft House, Restone Meadery, Library,  and Altitude (ok, the last two are in Laramie, but that’s considered local, isn’t it?)

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