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Gardening 2022!

Elsa
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 Elsa
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giant marconi

Yes, it's December. I wish I had a greenhouse! 

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JoFrance
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Those are just beautiful!  What did you end up doing with them?

You have such a great garden.  

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Elsa
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@jofrance that's not my pic, but I do grow these peppers every year since I discovered them. I highly recommend them.

They take a little longer than most peppers to produce, but once they get going, they are unstoppable.

Unlike bell pepper which often encounter problems before they have a chance to turn red, there peppers look just like the picture... red and green on the same plant. And you can easily have 30 peppers on one plant, at a time.  On a good year, the stalk is thick and sturdy enough to support the fruit. It's just nuts.  You can easily get fifty peppers off each plant, some red and some green so they're beautiful.

As for what I do with them... anything and everything. They are perfect for stuffing. I started with this recipe:

https://www.myhumblekitchen.com/2010/08/stuffed-marconi-peppers-mexi-style/

And adapted of course. You can go Mexican or Italian for stuffing... or, American for that matter.

They also cut into strips for sausage and pepper sandwiches.

My husband also likes bowtie pasta with hot Italian sausage (crumbles or chunks, not whole). I add chopped peppers of various colors because I like the look?  I use these but also sweet banana peppers (yellow) and there is a Russian orange/yellow pepper out there which is good as Marconi but different. One of these makes a meal.  You can get seeds from this guy:

peppers

https://www.ebay.com/itm/324775286910

These peppers are also insanely prolific.

Back to the pasta, I also throw dehydrator (not sun) dried tomatoes from previous gardens. I do like colors in food, so I will have a variety of tomatoes in that mix.  I also add a can of tomatoes.

So..

Put on the pasta water.

Fry 1 # hot sausage chunks. Cut the sleeve off and tear pieces by hand.
olive oil
garlic
Chopped peppers, use plenty because you'll have plenty
Throw a handful of dried tomatoes... or two in there.

When everything is fragrant, add a can of diced tomatoes. This will plump up the dried tomatoes some and bring it all together.

Once the pasta is done, dump everything in your frying pan into the drained pasta, mix and serve with fresh grated parm.

Outside of over-cooking pasta, this recipe is foolproof.  You can use any medium chunky pasta but I do think bowtie is best.

Oh!  For people who don't know how to cook Italian food and want to try this, rule of thumb, you need 3 T of olive oil for a pound of pasta as sort of a minimum but more is fine.  You're going to use a large frying pan. You definitely need to coat it

On sausage, the brand matters. I hate Johnsonville. I would try a store brand first. When I was in Denver, Safeway had good hot Ital. sausage. I buy Aldi hot ital sausage here which is excellent... but it is hot!

On dried tomatoes, I dehydrate them and then put them in freezer bags so there can be no spoilage. If you put them in oil, you have to be concerned about them becoming rancid.

Last, when I have more peppers than I can eat or give away, I chop them and put them in freezer bags. I suppose it would be best to boil them briefly then ice, then freeze. I don't have time for that because I am not perfect. I just chop them and dump them in the bad. I wind up with a number of bags of chopped pepper. I use these all year, in stir fry but also on pizza.

Just grab a handful (or two), thaw with water, just running through your hand or whatever.  Chop them finer if need be - this takes 10 seconds. Dump them on you pizza and that's it!

edit to fix the link and again to add pic.

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JoFrance
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@elsa 

I could never grow a good pepper like that.  The most I can get is chili peppers.

I love stuffed peppers.  I usually do a spiced up American version of Beef, Pork and Veal chop meat with red pepper flakes cooked in canned and crushed tomatoes.

Peppers are so versatile I always include them in so many dishes. One of my favorite sandwiches to eat is salami, provolone slice cheese with green peppers and mustard on a whole grain bread. Peppers are such a great addition to any sandwich.

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Estella
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Wow! Look at those peppers! Thanks for the rule-of-thumb tip with regards to olive oil and pasta. ??

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Elsa
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@estella you're welcome!  That's what it takes to coat one pound of pasta but if you're putting a lot of stuff to sauté, consider that and adjust.

1/4 cup is also common to use.

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/spaghetti-aglio-e-olio-recipe-2043225

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Estella
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@elsa Now I understand why Italians get through so much olive oil! In Melbourne Australia where there is a huge Greek and a Italian migrant population, many mum and pop stores sell 4L cans of olive oil! I used to wonder what I would do with it if I brought a can home. Now I know! Thanks! ?

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Elsa
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@estella Italians don't step more than a few feet without reaching for the oil!!

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Estella
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@elsa Twenty years ago I borrowed a book on olive oil from my local library. I was surprised to find that there were so many types and not all of it was used for food. Oh, those mum and pop stores have everything: passata by the crates, Italian tinned tomatoes (they are more flavourful than the fresh local tomatoes of the same variety), pasta of every description and at Christmas time - panatone! It took me a while to learn that one was not supposed to eat the whole panatone alone, although it’s a very light cake! ??

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NotMyCircus
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@estella Me and my housemate were gifted with a chocolate Panettone for Christmas this year (her daughter’s boyfriend is Italian). Housemate eats like a bird, so I ate a lot of the cake myself. It dried up before I could finish but it was pretty good.

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Estella
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@notmycircus Sounds like you had a great Christmas! Some people turn leftover panettone into bread and butter pudding. But it is so light that for me the risk is eating the whole thing in one sitting. ??

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Elsa
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Dollar Tree has their heirloom seeds in stock now. 25 cents a pack.

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CocoPeaches
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I started seeds this week: onions, leeks, celery, some flowers and herbs - all things that need a nice long head start. I don't plant out until end of May/early June.

I start a lot of plants indoors under grow lights. This year I'm using soil blocks instead of the plastic cell packs that I've used in the past. I did some experimenting with soil blocks last year and the results were superior, so stronger, healthier seedlings is one reason I'm switching methods. The other main reason is space efficiency. I have a pile of grow lights but I always run out of room. The soil blocks are more compact than the cell packs.

It's cold and grey outside today, but I'm excited for spring. We have a greenhouse kit to install as soon as the weather permits. Now time for me to stop procrastinating on filing taxes...

Loving the Virgo moon with grand trine in Earth today!

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Elsa
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I started some seeds, yesterday. I also started tilling my flower garden. I hope to finish this today.

My new engine in the old mower turned into a mess... which my neighbor is trying to fix.  He thinks it will be good to go on Friday. 

The mower will pull the small tiller so I can get some cool season stuff in before my neighbor gets over here with his tractor and turns the rest of the garden.

Season of lots to do!!

Oh yeah! My husband is spending time with his mother (on palliative care).  She likes to grow things so he is planting strawberries and venus fly traps in her section of the community garden at her asst. living place.

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