There is absolutely nothing better than a vegetable which you have grown yourself. From picking the seed packet to harvesting and eating the vegetable, the entire process is a labor and war with poor soil conditions and pesky insects and diseases and failed crops, dry soil, too much sun and all other negatives one can experience growing basically anything. But mostly its love. It is love that brings you to the garden every morning, to see the progress or overnight growth, to water each plant enough, to weed and transplant plants and to simply feast your eyes on all the colors and flowers. It is quite poetic, actually.
While this years garden is quite young, less than two months, I have already been able to harvest a lot. The red leaf lettuce you see on the photo above, has been cut down once already. The basil in the left corner has been pinched from the top numerous times for sauce, homemade pizza and my latest, basil papardelle pasta from scratch. Be patient, the picture and recipe is at the end of post. 🙂
The tomato plant gave us 3 large tomatoes already and has a dozen more lovely tomatoes growing, the pepper plant yielded 2 large bell peppers and has many more growing and lots of flowers. For a while, I had no idea what the plant in the left bottom corner of the bed was. It looked like a cucumber, but now I see it is a lovely green striped squash. I don’t know its name because the seed was in the soil I had delivered. Same goes for two tomato plants which sprung out of the said soil. Score for me! I have also used the green onion stalks for fajitas and chili.
I have started a new garden as well. It is in a different spot and we rented a tiller from Ace Hardware, for $30 a day. Mike had it done in 45 minutes, and then the kids came and helped clear the 20×20 field. We created rows, added compost to the sandy soil us Floridians have been blessed with. (Total sarcasm right there!) The next day, I transplanted red cabbage and planted yellow, white and red onions, garlic, carrots, broccoli, beets, corn, potatoes and an array of squashes and pumpkins. I am watering it everyday, wishing I bought more mushroom compost. The issue with the sand is that you water it until your arm is ready to fall off, and then stick your finger in the soil and its dry! I curse a lot and keep watering. Mulching is in order!
This past week, we were not only able to eat from the garden, but provide the garden with a beautiful helper. Our first bee hive. Mike built the entire hive himself, and purchased the bees and frames from a lovely beek -bee keeper, from Altamonte Springs. The bees wasted no time, and got into their job collecting pollen from our farm and the surrounding neighbors. My neighbor called me today and said she saw them on the flowering bush by the coop. The sight and sound made her very happy. Bees do that. The sound, the busy-ness. Mike sits by them every night as he waits for the chickens to retire to their roosts. I love watching him sit there, on a cinder block and I can feel the peace it gives him. My heart swells just thinking about it.
We also have some new members on the farm. Our kitty Sonny had kittens and our rabbit-doe had her litter. Unfortunately, out of 9 only 3 are left. We had a little mishap on the farm, a few days ago. Teatime the horse, got into our barn area, which includes the rabbit cage area. She is huge and as she was turning, she knocked over the cage with the pregnant mamma. The removable bottom fell out and mamma rabbit ran out. We believe, this caused her not only stress, but may have killed some of the kids. It is sad, as any loss is. But the remaining three are doing great and I will post pictures soon.
Our little chicks are all grown up. Well not yet, but they moved out of the brooder into the chicken coop. They are still a little shy and prefer to hang out in the coop door. I love watching them scatter in a posse of 10, from the coop to the barn and back.
Now for the pasta. I have thought about making herb pasta, simply because it looks and smells so good. My pasta adjustment for the Kitchen aid mixer is perfect. When. It. Works!
As it does not, I simply proceeded with my own pasta making attachments, my hands y’all! When I was small, my mom would make noodles for her chicken noodle soup, every Sunday. All by hand, of course! I remember watching pull out the large cutting board, create a well from flour and add eggs. Then she would whisk the egg with a fork and create a lovely ball of dough in a matter of minutes. She rolled it out, thin and even all over, cut it into thick strips and stack the strips largest to small on top of each other. Finally, she would cut thin short noodles for the soup. Dust them with flour and shake them gently with her hands. Her own mom taught her and it was my moms responsibility since she was 9 years old.
So I picked some basil and proceeded to make pasta as well.
3 cups AP flour
3 farm fresh eggs (I have eggs, so if you are local you may purchase form me)
3/4 cup of water (may not need all of it)
3/4 cup of freshly chopped basil (or any herb your like)
Dump the flour on a clean work surface and create a well. Break the eggs into the well and using a fork, whisk the eggs in with the flour to combine. This helps the eggs from running all over. Add basil and more flour from the sides of the well and start adding a little water at a time to bring the dough together. Continue, until you have a ball of dough, which is not sticky. Start need the dough to get the gluten working. This takes about 5 minutes. Form a log and cut in 3 pieces. Wrap each piece in saran wrap and let it sit for about 15-20 minutes.
Take one dough, and start rolling out into a nice, even and thin layer. Dust with flour and turn over until it is to your desired thinness. If you are using your pasta maker, I am jealous, run it through from the thickest to the thinnest setting. If you like your pasty with a more of a bite, make it thicker. Just make sure to adjust cooking time as well. Once the pasta dough is the desired thinness, roll it from the shorter edge and then slice with a knife about 1/2 inch wide. These will expand in the water, of course. Or use your pasta maker adjustment for different pasta styles. This is perfect for any pasta you want to make. I don’t want to go all Bubba Gump on you here. (Forrest Gump reference LOL)
Separate the pasta and dust with flour to prevent sticking. You can cook the pasta right away, or freeze it, dry it, refrigerate it. I made an incredible pasta dish with it.
To those who just want to skip the process and get down to eating it, I sell these to order as well and can make the pasta plain or use various herbs. Just let me know.
Next post will be about my new and amazing new toy, and outdoor pizza oven! Ok its not just a toy, I am writing a cook book for the manufacturer, so it is work. Hey, if all work included awesome pizza and everything else I can make in this lovely pizza oven, then I am ok with it.
Random picture of the day:
Peanut butter cookies. Yah, I wish I had some right now. And the pasta. No. I want pizza.
Till next time!
For orders on eggs, pasta and home-made bread please contact me at 407 718 0204.
The pasta and bread requires a 2 day notice.