This weekend I decided to put in an herb and vegetable garden again. I’ve been lazy the last 2 years and didn’t plant anything in the garden. One of the reasons why I didn’t was we had an irrigation valve go bad. We had to turn the backyard irrigation water off most of the time or the sprinklers would come on by themselves.
I needed to replace it but I was really dreading doing this due to how much work it was (I had to completely dig up the valve box like I was starting over) replacing a valve servicing my hill, downhill lawn, garden and fruit trees. You see when we expanded our patio I had to also expand our yard.
Here it is before the new concrete was poured.
In the pictures above you can see my expanded patio was occupying most of what used to be my original yard. So to expand our yard I had to also put in a retaining wall. (A few pics of that)
Drainage pipe and rock to control expansion.
Due to all this I had to completely redo all the irrigation, so I decided to put in underground valves in valve boxes. (A few pics of that)
Underground valves / manifold connecting to lawn sprinklers and drip irrigation for planters.
Valve box being positioned.
Lids on and waiting to have soil filled in around them.
Here it is once most everything was finished except putting in the fountain, the plants and the rock ground cover.
And here it is after the fountain, the plants and the rock ground cover were done.
Here you can see why I didn’t want to have to dig them up.
Well I finally decided to fix it. Here’s the valves as they looked before I fixed them. (The valve on left is the bad one)
As it turned out I didn’t have to dig everything up (thanks to a pry bar) but it still took around 90 minutes to complete. (The new valve was like 1/8” longer than the old one)
Now that I can water everything via the time-clock controller again I started out with some herbs, (From left to right is Sweet mint, sweet basil, chives, lemon thyme and sage)
peppers and tomatoes.
The peppers were a variety pack.
I started out by planting the herbs in pots.
I divided the basil and chives into 3 different pots so I can rotate them inside the house and outside the house.
Here are one of the basil's, one of the chives and the thyme in our kitchen garden window.
I planted the peppers in 3 half wine barrel planters.
Serrano and Jalapeno.
Anaheim & Cayenne
And the hot stuff - Habanero & Bhut Jolokia
These are all up the hill on our side yard where I’ve already planted some larger tomatoes.
I planted the sage and the smaller tomatoes in my downhill garden beds. Here’s a picture of the overall downhill garden.
This is some Oregano that comes back every year. (Since 2013)
This is a wonderful savory and satisfying soup. This recipe will make 2 meal size servings or 4 side servings.
1 large green bell pepper
1 large red bell pepper
1 small onion
2 medium yellow squash
3/4 cup fresh small broccoli florets
4 oz of cooked breakfast sausage (pre-cooked weight)
1 1/3 cups of milk
1 1/3 cups of water
2 beef bullion cubes
black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
Slice and steam the squash, you want it mushy. Slice the peppers and onions and saute in oil until tender but not over done. Now combine everything in to a medium pan and slowly bring to a slow boil stirring often. Reduce temp and simmer until the broccoli is tender. Serve hot and top with grated hard cheese such as Parmesan. Enjoy!
One of my favorite toppings on steak is Blue-cheese & Herb Compound Butter. I made this many time before but I ran out of what I had in the freezer so I made some more up Monday night. Here are the ingredients for this batch. You can load it up with your favorite ingredients. (like John's recipe below)
5 oz. Crumbled Blue Cheese
1 stick Unsalted Butter
1/4 cup Italian Parsley Leaves (Minced)
1 tsp. Thyme
1 tsp. Dill
1 tsp. Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Place the blue cheese and the soften butter in a bowl.
Add the minced the parsley, and other ingredients and thoroughly mix together with a fork.
Spoon approximately 1/4 of the mixture onto some plastic wrap.
Take the front edge of the wrap and tuck over the mixture and roll this up and then twist the ends tightly to form a log.
Repeat with the balance of the mixture.
I took one log and put in into the fridge and the other three I froze for future use.
This will be split into two posts because of the number of images I have. Here's Part 1:
When I first started thinking about the challenge, I knew I wanted to do some kind of chile relleno dish - but one that would be a little heartier than just a regular cheese stuffed relleno. I dug into several options, including wrapping the stuffed chile in corn husks and grilling that way, but then I started playing around on a variation of my favorite dish at my favorite local Mexican restaurant and this recipe was born!
Yesterday I documented the making of the fire roasted salsa, which I made a day early to let the flavors blend.
Yesterday I also dry roasted 3 ears of corn and cut them from the cob and made cornbread:
While the cornbread was baking, I also simmered some chicken breasts in broth flavored with a healthy scoop of Penzey's taco seasoning and the juice of 2 limes:
I then shredded the chicken using my tried and true Kitchen Aid mixer method:
All of that got put in the fridge overnight to await today's cook.