Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fall Tomato Garden

I promise No More Tomato Blogs after the fall harvest....Here are the new babies...recently planted and being tracked from the day of planting to the first fall harvest. This is my first season for fall planting. We pulled up the summer tomato plants over Labor Day and put the new ones in about mid-September. Here are the first pics.

About 2 weeks after planting we noticed the bottom leaves were being eaten by something. All the leaves had giant holes in them. I thought it was some type of slugs, and I was told to put a saucer of beer in the garden. The slugs would drink the beer and die. This did not work, although the saucer of beer was gone, nothing was dead and the leaves were still being eaten.

On closer inspection I discovered this guy. The green horned tomato worm. He is the same color as the tomato plant stem. You really can not see them. They come out at night, and attached to the lower leaves and stems of the tomato plant and begin their journey to totally destroy the crop. Once found, I screamed.

I called the nursery where I got the tomato plants. I explained what I had found, as if I discovered a new species and was told this is very common in the south, and welcome to fall planting. I tried to pull him off, knock him off, scream at him and nothing worked. Finally, I had to cut off the leave where he was sitting on. I was told to step on them, as they would come back if we didn't. I waited for my husband to come home and do this step, but I made the mistake of watching. Don't do this! This worm was so full of my tomato plant that he made a huge lime green mess.

Lesson learned. Look closely at the tomato plant and stems while watering. They hide on the underneath part of the leaf and are very hard to find.

These are the pics of the first planting and the worm. I will follow up bi-weekly with plant stats and record the first tomato picked of the season. By the way, we have tomato flowers on all 5 plants.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

crostini with goat cheese, prosciutto and figs

Figs. This is the first year that I have eaten figs on a regular basis. I never found the occasion to try them before. My mother-in-law makes fig preserves and my husband raves about them. I still did not try them until this past summer. Now I can't get enough. They are very sweet. Pairing them with something savory and salty makes a good combination.

This crostini was spur of the moment. We bought figs over the weekend and stuffed them with goat cheese, rolled them in prosciutto and broiled them until crisp. When you bite into the hot figs, you taste salty from the prosciutto, sweet from the figs and a creamy tartness from the goat cheese. All in all a very good bite. You should try this for a quick appetizer.

Anyway, the crostini. I had leftover figs, prosciutto and goat cheese. I did not want the stuffed figs, but wanted to use all of the above in something different. I always have bread on hand. Remember, I'm a carboholic. I love rustic loaves of bread but this was a french baguette from Panera bread.

I sliced the bread into 1/2" slices. We had 3 each for an appetizer portion. I brushed the slices with a little olive oil and my husband grilled the bread until it was light brown and had grill marks. Do no over grill. The bread should have a slight bite to it, but not fall apart into crumbs. I spread about 1 teaspoon of goat cheese on each slice of warm bread. I topped the cheese with ribbons of prosciutto and a fig half(I peel mine). To make the ribbons, I used 4 pieces of prosciutto stacked and sliced into thin strips. Separate each strip and you will have prosciutto ribbons. These were quite tasty and quick. I think next time I will drizzle a little aged balsamic vinegar on top of each crostini. ENJOY.