Ah, I love this time of year. The warm weather, long days, outdoor activities, beaches, sunshine, etc. This year, I decided to plant a vegetable garden on my patio (I also added some flowers for color :).
I grew up with a
in my family's back yard. We always used lettuce from the garden to make salads. I would help my mom water and had the special task of looking for the green horn worms to pull off the lettuce so they wouldn't eat it all. They are the same exact color as the lettuce and tomato plants, so it was hard to find them! Kept me busy for hours... haha
I'd pick all different varieties of cherry tomatoes and eat them straight off the vine. Then, late summer... we'd pick the biggest, ripest tomatoes and make the most delicious and juicy BLTs with real bacon on white bread with mayo. Amazing.
My city apartments haven't provided me with the outdoor space needed to create a patio or whiskey barrel garden... until this one. A few weeks ago, I went down to Lambert's to pick up the starters... black seeded simpson lettuce, basil (love my caprese salads), rosemary, mint (for mojitos of course), italian flat leaf parsley (for everything), arugula, cilantro, tomatoes, and flowers.
Last week, I hadn't been food shopping in over a week but I really wanted a salad. I sat staring at the fridge until I realized that my lettuce and basil were ready! Below is the meal I threw together. I always have a can of chickpeas in my cabinet... along with barilla protein plus pasta, and feta. It came out delicious. Here's the recipe (and it's vegetarian for those who are interested). It is also SUPER easy and QUICK.
- Lettuce from the garden (I use black seeded simpson)
- Juice of one half lemon
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Barilla Protein Plus Pasta
- Basil from the garden
- Salt, crushed red pepper, garlic, parmesan
- Boil water with salt, once it starts boiling - add in pasta
- At the same time, throw the chickpeas on a grill pan with o/o, crushed red pepper, and salt, remove once cooked through and put aside
While it cooks
- Rinse and drain lettuce and basil
- Tear and arrange lettuce on plate, add tbs of feta, o/o, and lemon
- Dry the basil, roll and cut into thin little strips
- Once pasta is cooked... toss with chickpeas, o/o, squirt of lemon, 2 tsp of parmesan, crushed red pepper, (garlic if you have it), and basil (add the basil last)
Serve and enjoy!
I highly recommend starting a garden in the summer months. Even if you only have a few feet of outdoor space... you can use a few pots to grow basil and some lettuce. If you don't want to start from seed, go ahead and pick up some that are already started. Let me know if you have questions and enjoy! (oh and I randomly found a horn worm on my lettuce on my patio yesterday- brought me back. I got rid of the little bugger!)
Left: Plant, Right: Bloom :)