It's been a busy Tuesday. Trying to catch up on housework, laundry, getting ready for a garage sale...garden work, baking bread (didn't get it done on Monday this week, had to wait until today). I wanted to share some of the beautiful produce from my garden...we picked this for a garden salad for dinner tonight. It was too pretty not to photograph :)
head lettuce (this is the first year I've grown this...it is Ithaca Head Lettuce, and it looks and tastes exactly like a head of lettuce you buy at the grocery store), romaine lettuce, rainbow baby greens and mesclun mix...onion, tomatoes, cucumbers and cilantro. I used this to make a yummy dinner salad just like my grandma Russell always made (I remember her always using these exact ingredients from her garden to make a salad). And to top it off, Homemade Ranch Dressing. I am not much of a ranch dressing sortof gal, in fact, I think I would rather eat dirt than eat the Hidden Valley Ranch in a bottle (BLECH!). But homemade Ranch...now this is some GOOD STUFF!
Homemade R anch Dressing (Sherelle Christensen)
-1 c. mayonnaise
-1/2 c. sour cream
-1/4-1/2 c. buttermilk
-1/2 tsp. dried chives (fresh during summer)
-1/2 tsp. dried parsley (fresh during summer)
-1/2 tsp. dried dill weed (fresh during summer)
-1/2 tsp. garlic powder (if you don't LOVE garlic, you might want to use a little less)
-1/2 tsp. onion powder
-1/8 tsp. seasoning salt
-1/8 tsp. pepper
(if you love cilantro as much as I do, chop up about 1 Tbs. and add to the mixture)
Combine all ingredients in a large mason jar and shake well. Refrigerate.
And...if you just don't feel like making your own homemade ranch dressing, I would suggest Uncle Dan's Ranch dressing mix. You mix it yourself with milk and mayo, and it is by far the best ranch mix I have ever had!
This ranch is also super yummy to dip pizza and sandwiches in! We like to make panini sandwiches in the panini grill (with homemade honey wheat bread) and then dip them in this ranch. It is sooooo good! Ranch dressing is also the perfect way to get your kids to eat salads and veggies!
Since I'm on the subject of garden produce...namely tomatoes, I thought I would take a bit to mention something about tomatoes. The other night I was busily trimming my tomato plants (they were so out of control, it took me three hours), and I thought about all of my blogging friends who have emailed me and told me they are growing their first garden this year. I thought that I would share a little about tomato trimming. Did you know that when it comes to tomato plants, the goal isn't to get them as big and bushy as possible? I learned this the hard way. When I first started growing tomatoes, I though that I was very impressive because I had the largest tomato plants in the valley. Sadly, when fall came, I had giant healthy plants with millions of small tomatoes, and by the first frost of fall, only a handful of ripe tomatoes. It was basically a waste of my time, because I hardly got any tomatoes! I have learned over the past couple of years, that the poor plants just keep producing and producing, and putting all of their effort into growing big, beautiful useless leaves. I now trim my plants several times throughout the summer. This allows them to get more air and sun to the inner parts of the plant, and it also allows the plant to work harder on nourishing tomatoes instead of tons of growth. It will also help with problems like mold, yellowing leaves etc. I usually trim off most of the leaves from the bottom portion of the plant, and then I thin out the rest of the plant, cutting off those big bushy leafy stems that have nothing else on them (i.e. no blossoms, new growth etc.). There are quite a few online articles that will help you learn where to trim them. Anyways, I just thought I would share this tip with some of my fellow gardeners...
The plants on the left have been trimmed, and the ones on the right haven't...