Garden Food

Garden Food

August: the official tomato season. All summer I’ve been protecting my tomatoes—warding off bugs, squirrels, and birds of many kinds—making sure the green sprouts have enough time on the vine to turn that glossy, sun-kissed red. It’s paid off. Although some of the baby tomatoes were eaten by wild life, most survived to be used to the full potential. This past weekend, I picked five tomatoes and used them in my weekend pasta recipe.

I have this new routine down where every weekend I try to make something new. I actually recycled a recipe that I used once already this summer but I used different ingredient this time, so I’m counting it anyway.

This One Pot Summer Pasta recipe that was introduced to me through A Cup of Jo has been amazing. The recipe is from the book Every Day is Saturday by Sarah Copeland. It’s simple because all the ingredients—pasta, herbs, veggies, onion, oil—get placed in the pot and cooked all at the same time for abut 15 minutes.  Plus, the ingredients can fluctuate depending on what’s in your fridge or the produce aisle.

It’s the perfect kind of dish to make for a millennials on a budget who don’t want to get all technical in the cooking scene.

This was the second time I cooked up this pasta. For my initial go at the dish, I mixed together a sweet onion, kale, and rainbow chard. The second time, I chose to dice up some of my summer tomatoes and throw them into the mix, along with broccoli, a handful of basil, and another sweet onion. 

It turned out delicious. Topped with parmesan, it was sweet and creamy with a little zest to it. Perk: it made my kitchen smell heavenly.

One side note: The original recipe doesn’t have meat in it, just pasta, herbs, and vegetables. So if you’re looking for something a little heartier, I’ve also made the recipe with grilled chicken on top. It complements the flavors while adding a little protine to the meal.

If you’re interested trying out the recipe for yourself, check it out here.

What recipes have you been experimenting with this summer?

Summer Garden // 01

When I was a kid, my mom used to grow a huge garden every summer. It was a raised garden bed, made out of wood two by fours. The bed was about four feet wide but rain the entire length of the yard. Our yard wasn’t that big, but the garden always seemed huge to me. It hosted an array of plants–peas and green beans, cucumbers and tomatoes, carrots and lettuce, and a variety of herbs ranging from thyme to rosemary. There was also a smaller garden on the side of the yard where a strawberry plan liked to expand its vines, always came back larger and larger every season.

I remember that garden because it provided the staples for our summer dishes. We’d make jams and jellies and chop up the carrots to go along with the chicken ‘n noodles. We had so many tomatoes and cucumbers that we’d canned some of them for the colder months.

My Mom’s Garden – Circa 2012

I’ve had relatively small gardens myself since then. Nothing more than a few herbs, tomatoes, lettuce, and, this year, spinach. They are in raised garden beds, but not the kind made out of wood slates that are a big as the yard allows, but ones that are plastic and sit nicely on a patio deck.

When spending all of the prior cold months inside, it makes me excited to spread out all the green and tend to something that I can harvest later. It also reminds me of when I was a kid, gardening with my mom in the months of May, June, July, and August.

Since this spring was my senior year in college, I spent most of my time with my head in the books while on campus. I didn’t have much time to shop at gardening stores or Lowes for seeds or even started plants. However, my school has its own greenhouse on top of the science and technology building, and–at the end of every semester–the biology club sells the pants from the greenhouse. So, miraculously, I picked up the few staples I grow every summer thanks to the break that I took studying and the biology club.

The only small thing that this came with was I had to bring the plants with me to class the rest of the day. It wasn’t so bad, I just had a lot of people commenting on my plant babies.

They had a nice little box to sit in while I toted them around.

Now that they’re planted in my garden, they have been growing steadily. My tomatoes have stemmed out and have become fuller, while my lettuce is becoming leafier. I’ve already harvested a few leaves from the basil plant. The rosemary and parsley haven’t grown too much, but they’re a bit slower at growth. I added fertilizer to the beds a few days ago, the growth of all the plants started to become stagnate and it made me worry, but as soon as I fed the little baby plants they’ve been lively since. I planted spinach by seed a few days ago. It’s slightly late in the spring seasons to plant the first batch of spinach, so they haven’t sprouted yet. Hopefully, they will sprout soon.

I’m looking forward to harvesting the first of my lettuce soon, hopefully, the tomatoes will come shortly after. I’ve been looking for good recipes so I can use my herbs in summery dishes. Maybe I can make a full-on meal with everything I’ve grown, substituting a few things from the grocery store.

The whole process of growing plants and getting to use their harvest is both humbling and satisfactory. I hope this tiny garden that I’ve had the past few years can grow into a larger one in the years to come, just like the one my mom used to tend to in the summer months when I was a kid.

Who knows, maybe I’ll even get into winter gardening, something that’s always peaked my interested but I’ve never ventured out to try.

Yolk, Indianapolis​

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It’s fitting, really, that my inaugural food post happens to be about a brunch restaurant featuring bacon waffles. I love a good brunch meal and between the choice of pancakes and waffles, I’d choose waffles almost every time. 

Today is my brother’s birthday and to treat him to a birthday meal, my family went out on the town to a restaurant called Yoke

 

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The restaurant —  located in the heart of Indianapolis, on the ground floor of the Salesforce Tower — sits on a corner of a busy intersection. The restaurant opens up to the city street, with windows from floor to ceiling. While sitting at the table waiting for our food, you could look out and watch the city life go by. The atmosphere was light, airy, and refeashing.

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It was really hard to choose what to order! From the Nutella Crepes, Red Velvet French Toast, and Chicken ‘n’ Waffles, there was a variety of dishes to chose from. I ended up settling with the Bacon Waffles (pictured above).  There were bacon bits actually cooked into the waffles. So delicious.

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If you’re ever around the Indy area, looking for a unique place to stop in and dine, or if you’re on a lunch break at work and looking for a good bight to eat, I’d definitely suggest Yolk.  You won’t be disappointed.

 

*Note: this is not a sponsored post. I dined at the restaurant on my own accord and truly enjoyed the experience and food enough to give it a space on the blog.