Eating from your garden

Eating from your garden

Now if you are not excited or motivated quite yet about growing a garden maybe these recipes will get your mouth watering.

Roger’s Salsa: Roger Lipp


12         tomatoes (or two large cans of crushed tomatoes)
1 (15 oz) can of  tomato sauce
1 bunch cilantro, chopped coarse down to the stemmy part
2 stems green onion, chopped medium
1          red onion, chopped medium (I use two slices from the center portion)
2          jalapenos, chopped fine (leave seeds in) — if you want mild salsa substitute Anaheim peppers; if

you want hot salsa substitute 4 habaneras.
4-5       garlic cloves, chopped fine


Combine these ingredients in large glass bowl.

If tomatoes were room temp to start with, I add two ice cubes and mix in.  The following seasonings are very approximate… I don’t measure.

Add the following seasonings to taste (measurements given are approximately what I use… ish)

2 T       fresh oregano leaves, chopped
1 T       cumin powder
1 T       coarse ground black pepper
1 T       fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp     marjoram

I have to admit I was pretty jealous of Roger and his world-famous (OK maybe more friend and family famous) salsa, but now I have bragging rights of my own – Bruschetta.

I spent weeks working on a recipe – finding what other people were doing – tweeking and tweeking until I got something that I loved. Now when I’m asked to bring something to a party, I make the bruschetta several hours ahead and let it set in the fridge and let all the flavors meld.

Bruschetta: Kathi Lipp


1/3 c. olive oil

3Tp. balsamic vinegar

1/8 c. chopped fresh basil or 1/2 tsp. dried

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

4-5 medium, ripe tomatoes, (I prefer Roma, but any firm tomato will do) seeded and chopped. Drain in a strainer for 15 minutes. (You can use a paper or cloth towel to very gently press out the extra moisture)

2 baguettes, cut into 1/2-inch slices

4 cloves garlic, sliced in half

½ c. grated Parmesan cheese


Combine oil, vinegar, basil and pepper in a large bowl and whisk together. Add drained tomatoes to oil and vinegar and toss to coat. Allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes, and up to 4 hours.

Toast bread slices on one side, flip and then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese on the other. Once toasted, rub the cut side of the garlic on the top of each slice.

Top each slice with the tomato mixture.

Serves 8 as an appetizer

Nothing makes me feel more “gardeny” than to go out to our back patio and harvest dinner. This is a pretty simple dish, but nothing will highlight your gardening prowess better than the recipe below.

Garden Pasta

8 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

½ c. butter, melted

¼ c. chopped fresh basil, or 1 T, dried

8 ounce dried angel hair pasta, cooked

Parmesan Cheese, grated

Combine tomatoes and garlic in a saucepan. Simmer for 15 minutes then set aside.

Toss pasta with butter and basil.

Stir in tomatoes and serve with Parmesan cheese grated on top.

Serves 6

If I could only have one item growing in my garden, it would be tomatoes. If I could only have two, the next item would be bushels and bushels of basil. Make this pesto one time and you will want to install an indoor hot house to grow basil year-round.

Garden Pesto

2 c. fresh basil leaves

4 tsp minced garlic

2 T pine nuts, roasted

1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil

2 T fresh-grated Parmesan

Salt and pepper, to taste

Chop the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil. Blend in the cheese, salt and pepper.

Do you have a favorite garden recipe? Mind sharing with us?

Plan your garden

Plan your garden

Every good idea needs a plan. Gardening may intimidate some but it is rather easy and you do not have to dig up your yard and plant a farm. It can be as simple or as difficult as you make it.

Keep it Really Simple. To start with, I suggest you start with a simple concept for the types of plants you purchase. For the past several years we have planted a low-maintenance  “Salsa Garden” and have enjoyed the variety and simplicity of that assortment every time.  Here is what goes in our salsa garden:

  • A variety of tomatoes plants
  • Peppers
  • Cilantro
  • Green Onions

Ask an Expert. Explain that you want to keep it simple and ask what you need. My own experience here is that it will do you no good to ask the 17 year-old at the giant Depot store what are the best tomatoes to grow for an early harvest in your area of the country. This is where the little mom and pop gardening store shines. Ask one of the employees (who probably is in the midst of growing her own garden at home) what you should get.

Use the Correct Container. Read those little tags carefully that tell you how big the pots you plant in should be. I was crowding my plants and not getting the results that I needed.

Figure out your watering system. For most gardeners I know their watering system is them. But since I travel a lot, it was important that I didn’t need to rely on teenagers to keep my basil alive. If you know that you are not going to want to rise at dawn every morning with a c. of coffee in one hand and a hose in the other, you may want to create a system for watering.