Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Planting the Seed

                                      

 As much as we may like to think that our husbands can read our minds, they can't. Sometimes you have to express what you want. Two weeks ago I decided to do just that. I thought I would "plant the seed" by telling my husband I wanted a vegetable and herb garden for Mother's Day. I couldn't let another Mother's Day go by with receiving the standard flowers (as nice as those are, but they die in two days), or the possibility of getting another purse. As much as I love purses, I really didn't need another. Yes, ladies I just said that. I know, weird that came from me. But this Mother's Day I really wanted to do something as a family, and I have been wanting to do a vegetable and herb garden for a long time. Every summer I have the thought, but never act on it. One year I got as far as starting the plants by seed, planting each vegetable variety in little peat moss pellets, but failed to take care of the little sprouts and get them in the ground.

For some of you who may be thinking, "What kind of gift is that? How about being pampered at a spa for the day?" I have to say that I am really lucky that I could do that sort of thing any time. It's not special enough. My kids are older now, and I remember a more simpler time when they were younger and they would make Mother's Day cards and gifts in school. My mother always said,  "These days never come again." And she was right. So what could be more special than being together and creating family memories. The garden was the perfect way to spend time outside away from cell phones and the TV, and it was the perfect gift because it would be one that would keep on giving all summer with its bountiful produce. And since I love to cook, it was something I would enjoy and appreciate. And who knows, maybe another "seed" would be planted in the minds of my children and get them to think about what simple pleasures are.
                                                                                                                                                                     
                                      

The original plan for the project was to be 1 part recycle, 1 part gardening and 4 parts group project, meaning all of us would do it together.  The recycle part was to use wine crates as raised planters, but I wasn't successful in finding them. Apparently, I wasn't the only person who had seen that idea (ahem, Pinterest). I opted for raised cedar planter boxes instead, and after we cleared some plants out and leveled the area as best as we could, we assembled them and filled with soil. I did manage to get some recycling in the project by making plant markers from wine corks and wooden skewers. I thought the kids were going to moan and groan about doing it, but they rose to the occasion and there were no sour faces.  For the cost of a nice purse I have something far more purposeful and meaningful to me.  After awhile the material gifts, as nice as they are to receive, don't really matter anymore.  I can't wait to see everything as it grows and I'm looking forward to cooking with my harvest this summer and sharing all the recipes with you. Life is good! 

In my garden: Japanese eggplant, zucchini, Japanese cucumber, orange, green, yellow, and purple peppers, jalapeno peppers, poblano/ancho peppers, habanero peppers, lemon boy tomato, heirloom black krim tomato, cherry tomato, beefsteak tomato, sage, sweet basil, purple basil, oregano, lemon thyme, thyme, rosemary,dill, chives, grapefruit mint, flat leaf parsley, and from seed - beets, radishes, green onions   


P.S. I didn't get a break from being in the kitchen on Mother's Day.  I made my mom Lemon Raspberry Tea Squares which are delicious!  I've been told I should open a bakery, these are that good. Gifts from your kitchen are always nice to give.

Lemon Raspberry Tea Squares

1 1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon of Kosher salt
3/4 cup raspberry preserves
Confectioners sugar to garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 or 9 inch baking pan and lightly dust with flour.  With mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, Add egg, vanilla, salt and lemon zest and continue to beat until smooth.  Add flour in small batches and mix well.  Place half of the batter on the bottom of prepared pan, pressing down.  Add the raspberry preserves, then crumble the remaining dough on top of the preserves.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.  Allow to cool for 20 minutes before you cut into squares.

1 comment:

Carlinne @Cook with 2 Chicks said...

These look wonderful! I can't wait to bake them for my family ;)

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