Tag Archives: basil

Starting Veggie Seeds Indoors

there’s something magical about going from seed to plant to plate…

…start out by grabbing some seed starter equipment. i like seed cells with the compacted soil pellets that expand when water is added…

Seed Cells

Seed Cell w. Soil Pod

…drop a few seeds in each cell…

…i use mostly heirloom and rare varieties to keep things interesting…

Seed Cells; Soil Pod Expansion

…label everything so nothing gets mixed up…

San Marzano

…pop on the dome – this will simulate a greenhouse…place out of direct sunlight…

…the seeds should sprout within a week…

Green House Dome

…here’s what i’m starting indoors for ’12…

  1. tomatoes
  2. swiss chard
  3. beets
  4. spinach
  5. basil
  6. thyme
  7. dill
  8. parsley
  9. scallions
  10. hot peppers
  11. sweet peppers
…after about a week when majority of seeds have sprouted, take the dome off…
…tomatoes…
  1. cherokee purple
  2. san marzano
  3. amish paste
  4. roman striped
  5. roma VFN
  6. riesentraube (cherry)
Tomato Seedlings

…swiss chard & beets…

Swiss Chard & Beets

…scallions – spinach – thyme…

Scallions

…lots of basil for pesto sauce…

Basil

Parsley

Tomato Grid

…after ~2 weeks, when majority of seedlings have sprouted, place by a window for some sunlight…

…the tomatoes are standing strong…

Tomato Seedlings; Two Weeks

…the basil is growing towards the sun…

Basil; Two weeks

Seedlings; Two Weeks

…normally pepper seeds won’t sprout as quickly as the rest since they prefer warmer temperatures, so we have to hack the system…

…plant seeds, except this time you’re going to place the seed tray on a heating mat…set mat on high every morning until sprouts begin to appear. once majority of seeds have sprouted, take off the dome. keep tray on mat and continue to heat every day to keep the soil warm and until all of the seeds have sprouted…

Hot & Sweet Peppers

…hot peppers…

  1. scotch bonnet
  2. tam jalepeno
…sweet peppers…
  1. quadrato di asti rosso
  2. friarello di napoli
  3. red mini bell

Pepper Grid

…once it’s consistently in the 50’s outside and the nights don’t get too cold you can transplant into the ground…about the second week in april…

…the rest of the veggies will be sown directly in the ground…

  1. romaine paris cos
  2. cucumber
    1. beit alpha
    2. delikatasse
  3. rotonda bianca sfumata (sicilian eggplant)
  4. ping tung eggplant (thai eggplant)
  5. melon charentais
  6. arugula
  7. zucchini lungo bianco
  8. swiss chard
  9. beets
good luck!
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Oven-roasted Tilapia with Fresh Tomato and Zucchini Pan Sauce


  • 1lb Tilapia fillets (~4)
  • 3 Pints of cherry tomatoes
  • 3 Zucchini, large cubes
  • 6 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • Red Pepper Flakes, a pinch goes a long way
  • 1/2C White wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1/4C Sherry Wine
  • 4T EV Olive Oil
  • 4T Roasted Garlic Butter
  • Basil, ~20 leaves, chopped
  • Parsley
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • Kosher salt
  • Cracked black pepper

Printable Recipe

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a saute pan over medium-high heat, saute red pepper flakes and minced garlic in 2T olive oil until fragrant. Toss in the whole cherry tomatoes and cubed zucchini, toss to coat and sprinkle with s&p. Saute until tomatoes begin to soften, shrivel up, and release their juices – ~5 minutes. Zucchini will still be firm so cover and let steam for ~10mins until fork tender.

While zucchini steams, prep the fish. In an oven-safe skillet add remainder of oil to bottom. Place filets on top.  Add 4T of roasted garlic butter around the filets. Splash with 1/4C white wine. Sprinkle with s&p, chopped basil, and lemon zest. Roast in oven until edges start to turn opaque.

Back to the tomatoes – uncover, splash in the sherry and remainder of white wine and bring to a boil for a few minutes. Tear up the basil leaves, toss in and mix. Sauce should have thickened up a bit. Taste and adjust for s&p.

Remove fish from oven. Carefully remove fillets to a dish. Dump the tomato and zucchini sauce into the skillet and carefully place fillets on top. Pop skillet back in oven for ~10 minutes or until fish is uniformly white and flakes when plucked with a fork.

Serve fish atop rice (I like rice pilaf with this dish) with a heaping ladle of tomato and zucchini sauce. Finish off with a squirt of fresh lemon, parsley, basil, a light drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of fleur de sel if you have it, and a few twists of the pepper mill.

You’re gonna love this one.

Damn, it feels good to be back!

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

What up people?, I’m back! Intended to take the summer off from blogging, but turned into half the fall too, my bad. No worries though, I had my sidearm locked and loaded to capture any impromptu cooking.

For a little summer reading I picked up, A Tuscan in the Kitchen: Recipes and Tales from My Home. Helped reinforce the idea that cooking is about creativity and the freedom to improvise, not necessarily exactness – unless you’re whipping up a souffle or something. So here’s to less measurements and more freedom, just don’t burn the garlic!

Moving on…let’s talk about this pasta dish I whipped up the other night. It just so happened that I had a ridiculous amount of cherry tomatoes lining my windowsill, ready to be used, and basil overflowing in the garden.

Let’s get to it.

Printable Recipe:

http://tinyurl.com/25u34gp


Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

ripe cherry tomatoes – slice in half – toss into a baking dish

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

tear up all of the fresh basil – toss half in with tomatoes

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

add in olive oil, sherry wine, garlic, s&p – mix it all up

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

roast @ 450F for about 30 mins – stir a few times  so nothing burns

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

spaghetti will take about 5-7mins,  cook pasta when tomatoes are almost done

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

when tomatoes finish leave in roasting dish and toss in remainder of fresh basil and a handful of pecorino romano – drain pasta – save 1C pasta water – scoop pasta in roasting dish – mix it all up – you want it saucy, so if dry add in pasta water a lil at a time

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati
mix well – you wanna get all the sauce stuck on the pasta – serve with more pecorino romano and fresh cracked black pepper – if you have an aversion to tomato skin than pulse the sauce when it’s finished in a food processor or put it through a food mill – don’t ever say I didn’t try to help…

enjoy, this pasta is muy yum