I absolutely cannot wait to be picking fresh veggies from the garden this summer. I started my little seedlings for this year's garden a few weeks ago indoors under a grow light, and they are really starting to show out.
Now that they are an inch to two inches tall, I am starting to give them daily exercise by shaking them up just ever so slightly with an oscillating fan. This will help replicate the outdoors a bit and toughen them up so that transplanting won't be such a shock when the time comes. The fan needs to be pretty far away from the plants to avoid wind burn, just a tiny little vibration. This isn't necessary, as the plants will need to be hardened off before transplanting, but I am experimenting this year to see if it gives my tomatoes a thicker, stronger stem.
All the fuss over the plants sure had me craving a whole mess of vegetables! I love a good veggie stew and it makes for a good ready-made weeknight dinner (along with a slice of cornbread!) when you make a big pot on Sunday. It also freezes well.
Loaded Veggie Stew
- 1 medium yellow onion (diced)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 3 celery ribs (chopped)
- 3 carrots (chopped)
- 1 pound red skin potatoes (chopped into bite size cubes)
- 1 cup cabbage (chopped)
- 1 cup lima beans (frozen or fresh)
- 1 cup corn (off the cob, frozen or fresh)
- 1 cups green beans (cut into bite size pieces, fresh or frozen)
- Diced tomatoes (3 cups fresh, or 1 28oz can)
- Dark red kidney beans (1 15oz cans)
- 1 can tomato sauce (15oz)
- 1/2 cup parsley (chopped)
- 2 tablespoon fresh thyme (removed from stems, or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 3 sprigs rosemary (leaves removed from stem, chopped)
- 1 cube vegetable bouillon (or beef or chicken)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 quart water
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Throw all ingredients, except the green beans, canned kidney beans and balsamic vinegar, into a large pot (crumble the bouillon cube in last). I don't even worry about thawing the frozen veggies! This is also one of those dishes where you can get away with not sautéeing the onions and such first.
Bring contents to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add kidney beans and green beans. Bring back to a boil, then reduce to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar and continue simmering for 30 more minutes. Check the veggies to see if they are tender enough for your liking and, if not, keep on simmering until they are!
As I mentioned, this stew goes so darn well with cornbread! Enjoy!