All month long, we’ve been blogging about what it means to be “green”. For me, being green means doing a little gardening. I don’t have a lot of room for a big garden at my house, but my mom always had a large one, with everything from pumpkins, corn, beans, tomatoes, squash, and peas to potatoes, peppers, carrots and more. Last summer, I had a few tomatoes and peppers that I planted in pots, and they did alright, but I think I’ll try a different method this summer. I’ve been finding all sorts of ideas on Pinterest on how to do small gardens in pallets and crates, raised beds and planters. I also planted basil last summer, and it did well, so I think I’ll add a couple of other herbs this year.
One of my favorite things to do with fresh from the garden produce is make salsa. Although I can’t grow avocados, this Avocado Salsa lets me use up a bell pepper, and some of the recipe reviewers suggest adding tomatoes and cilantro, too, so there are lots of ways to use up whatever you have on hand.
- 1-2/3 cups frozen corn, thawed
- 2 cans (2-1/4 ounces each) sliced ripe olives, drained
- 1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 4 medium ripe avocados, peeled
- Tortilla chips
- In a large bowl, combine corn, olives, red pepper and onion. In a small bowl, combine garlic, oil, lemon juice, vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper. Pour over corn mixture and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Just before serving, chop avocados and stir into salsa. Serve with tortilla chips. Yield: about 7 cups.
- 4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled
- 4 cups white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
- 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
- Place strawberries in a food processor; cover and process until pureed. Transfer to a large glass bowl; add vinegar and lemon peel.
- Place 1/4 cup basil in a small bowl. With a mortar or a wooden spoon, crush basil until aromas are released. Repeat with remaining basil; stir into strawberry mixture. Cover and let stand in a cool dark place for up to 3 days, stirring once daily.
- Line a strainer with four layers of cheesecloth or one coffee filter and place over a large saucepan. Strain vinegar into pan (do not press out solids). Discard solids.
- Heat vinegar to 180°, over medium heat. Carefully ladle hot mixture into hot half-pint jars, leaving 1/4-in. headspace. Wipe rims and adjust lids. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner. Yield: 5 half-pints.