Tuesday, May 17, 2011

garden season - finally! (?)

Well now, this certainly has been kind of a weird spring in the Chicago/northern Illinois area! Mainly below-average temperatures with no lack of rain, followed by a brief spell of highs in the '90s. Hopefully we've "weathered" (groan) most of the unpredictability of spring and can now settle in and get a decent garden planted. If nothing else, there will be a bumper crop of mesclun on the Lonesome Road; check out the little volunteer lettuce plants (above) from last year's garden... can't wait until they're big enough to make a fresh and tasty backyard salad!

Look closely - this little dude (? - I'm not really interested in determining the sex of toads, LOL) was discovered during some rototilling. Thankfully he escaped in time...

I'm sure that everyone in the state of Georgia will hate me for saying this, but I really prefer Walla Walla onions, and they are planted in the Lonesome Road garden for the first time this year! We also planted California white garlic, there is nothing like fresh garlic instead of that puckered-up, dried-up grocery store junk. I also hope to make batches of buttery slow-baked garlic, delicious when used for garlic bread, added to soups or pasta sauces, mmmmm!

Ah, a dog's life! Jane the Dog enjoying a bit of fresh air and sunshine. She enjoys the garden too - Jane loves fresh carrots.

A Lonesome Road garden tradition - Roma-style tomatoes. I always hope for a bumper crop for making pizza/pasta sauce to freeze in the fall.

These are just a few of the things you'll find in the Lonesome Road garden. This year's plans also include popcorn, green and yellow string beans, snow peas (the husband's favorite), cucumbers, pumpkins and melons (please please please, no squash bugs this year!), carrots, and probably lots and lots of volunteer dill (like every year). Hot peppers? Definitely, as well as herbs like oregano, thyme, and basil.

[while we're on the subject of salads... try this yummy Tequila-Orange salad dressing. Perfect on mixed greens, spinach + a bit of julienned jicama and avocado!]

Whisk together: 6 tablespoons fresh orange juice, 4 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons tequila, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 4 teaspoons honey, 1 small garlic clove, very finely minced, sea salt to taste


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