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Picture of the Week – The Fruits (er, veggies) of my Labour


A little while ago I told you about my tomato plant.  Update: we have tomatoes and I’m thrilled!

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Pass the pomodoro!


Ever since I started growing (and obsessing over) tomatoes on my back porch, few things make me as happy as the perfect tomato.  Doesn’t this one look amazing?

Unfortunately, I cannot take credit for this one, but it does provide me with some inspiration for my little plant.  My favorite thing about tomatoes is that there is so much you can do with them.  I picked these ones up at the market a few days ago and had so much fun roasting them in the oven.  They look so fresh!

In order to roast them, here’s what I did.  Cut them in half and line them up on a cookie pan (I used parchment paper) as shown above.  Drizzle some olive oil and add a few unpeeled garlic cloves (about 3-4) like so:

You then put them in the oven at 200 degrees F for 2.5 to 3 hours.

When you take them out, they should look like this:

From there, you can enjoy them on their own or throw them into your favorite pasta or onto your favorite pizza!  Here’s what I did with them:

The little tomato tree that could


We made it through our first week back to reality! So far I am really liking my new job and loving working from home.  J also had a great time at orientation meeting new people and getting to do fun Halifax stuff like kayaking and partying on Citadel Hill.

A while back when we were still in Ottawa, I went out for a jog and on my way back I picked up a little tomato plant that one of the neighbours was giving away.  I’ve never really done much (read: any) gardening, but I thought that having a little tomato plant could be fun.  It would be even more fun if we actually got some tomatoes!  This is how she looked when I picked her up:

As she started to grow, I had to give her a bigger home because she was getting to big for the one she came in.  Here she is after the move to Halifax.  She’s a bit hunched over because the truck ride to Halifax was a bit rough on her.  In fact, people told me I should probably throw her out and give up, but I just couldn’t. I was told that in order to get tomatoes, one would have to start earlier in the spring (I only picked her up in June).  I still wanted to try though just to see what would happen.

Lo and behold, a few weeks after we got to Halifax I noticed a tomato! For someone who has no kids, this would probably be the closest thing to my pride and joy:

Each day I would go and examine my one little tomato to see if it had grown, and to my absolute delight, one day I discovered that not only had it grown, but that “it” was in fact “two”!

A few days later, I noticed 3 more beginning to bloom.  They are a little harder to see because they are still young and are sort of hidden by the leaves above them, but if you look closely, you can see them.  You can also see how much their older siblings have been growing.

Here are the two most recent pictures that I have. It is now past labour day so I am just hoping that there will be enough warmth left for these little guys to reach their full potential.   I’ll keep you posted, and if you have any tips, feel free to share them. Thanks for reading!


Fattoush!


So, in keeping with my ongoing fetish for Lebanese food and culture, I have recently developed a more specific fetish – for fattoush. Yes, that’s right, a fetish for fattoush.

What is fattoush you ask? It is a delicious salad made from greens and toasted or fried pita bread.  The special ingredient, which makes it taste different than other salads you may have had, is sumac – a spice used in the Middle East which adds a bit of a lemony taste. You will love it!

Since my little fetish has started to become an expensive one because I am constantly going to Lebanese restaurants for a quick fix, I recently decided that the time had come for me to make some homemade fattoush.   It is actually quite easy to make and the  only tip I have is to not overdo it with the sumac. Be  somewhat generous, just not overly generous. Contrary to what I had previously thought, it is possible to have too much sumac. 🙂

This recipe is adapted from one taken from one of my favorite Lebanese food blogs – Taste of Beirut.  Enjoy!

Fattoush:

  • a head of romaine lettuce chopped up
  • cucumbers
  • diced tomatoes
  • diced radishes
  • green onions, sliced
  • a handful of chopped Italian parsley and a handful of fresh mint
  • green pepper
  • 1 large pita

Dressing:

1. 2 small lemons, juiced

2. 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil

3. 2  tablespoons of sumac

4.  2 or more cloves of garlic mashed in a dash of salt in a mortar

Method:

1.  Brush the pita bread with oil and sprinkle plenty of sumac on top

2.  Toast in a 325 F oven until the bread is crispy and golden – break into small pieces and set aside *Note – if you forget to brush with olive oil and sumac – you can just mix the bread in with the salad later and it will absorb the dressing and sumac*.

3.  Prepare all the salad ingredients; mix the dressing; when ready to serve, toss the salad with the dressing and mix in the pieces of pita bread.