Container Gardening

Container planting

Container Gardening

My wonderful and very talented wife of 36 years was the genius behind the whole idea of naming this blog Gardens and Grills because a number of years ago when we were both a little more active she loved to putter in the garden while I puttered at the grill making snacks and stuff for her break time. Unfortunately she got sick and had to stop working in the garden because she simply couldn’t handle it however I am happy to say that she has gotten very much better and is now back at it.

Now not being a flower/plant guy I have no idea, with the exception of the cactus, what any of these plants are I do however know that they were all purchased separately and planted in the container and the end result is my wife’s handiwork which is also a really awesome display of her artistic talents and showcases that even a small container can look beautiful.

The weather in my part of the universe has gotten a little crappy the last few days so I will have to wait for it to improve before I can display some more of her projects so until then  enjoy your own garden whatever type it may be.

Until next time……

                             Happy Gardening 

Roses

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Roses

It’s late October here in Canada and one would think with nighttime temperatures dropping below 50° F that mother nature would be busy bundling up her kids and getting ready for the long snowy nap. Well you and I would be wrong in that presumption as is evidenced by these little darlings happily soaking up the sunshine and enjoying the 62° F temps we have today.

Now I have to admit that I don’t know a whole lot about flower gardening, that’s my wife’s domain, and I do realize there are flowers that are Fall bloomers but to me Roses have always been a Summer flower and to see them blooming in the fall is just wondrous. So while the trees drop their leaves and the squirrels gather nuts for the winter I will continue to enjoy the beauty that is blooming outside my window.

Until next time…….

 

Raised Veggie Garden

 

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When I first decided to do a blog my wife and I kicked around various and sundry themes in an effort to come up with something unique but also something that would reflect what we both like. After about a half a dozen ideas we hit on the simple reality that she liked to garden and I liked to grill and so gardensandgrills was born.

Now in the very beginning I had every intention of writing as many garden posts as I did grilling ones however as oft time happens life jumped up and my wife became sick so she could no longer garden as she loved and since I was picking up the slack doing things she couldn’t the gardening aspect for us was put on the back burner.

Fast forward and she is doing remarkably better than she has in years and she can get back into the garden which then allows me the time to get back to my second love, or maybe my third after my wife and cooking….. veggie gardening.

What you see pictured here is a raised garden idea that I found on the web and decided that it was exactly what I had in mind and that with a little time and patience (it’s 14 feet wide, six feet deep, ten inches of soil and each side section is five feet wide in the front) I could build myself however mother nature had something to say about my schedule but after three straight days of rain I managed to get it finished and the planting done….. all for around $350.00.

Now, as with anything else that gets planted into the ground, I need to weed, feed and pray because I really really want a bumper crop of veggies and herbs and since I planted things I use all the time, Celery, Cucumbers, Red Onions, Tomatoes, Garlic, Chives plus the Hot Peppers for some awesome Salsa and Relishes….. I’m a wee bit on edge but we will see what happens.

So there you have it, my raised veggie garden and although it may not be another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond” what it grows will surely contribute to that.

Until next time……….

                           Bon Appetit

 

 

Habaneros baby

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This picture is of just some of the Habaneros that are currently residing in my Herb Garden and these things have been breeding like rabbits leaving me with the “I don’t know what to do with all of them” conundrum so I mentioned it to my boss and he suggested a Habanero paste and as intriguing as this might be I figured I would start with something a little easier and make—— HOT SAUCE.

Now most people know some hot chili peppers like Jalapenos or Cayennes but Habaneros may not be as well known outside the hot chili pepper clubs so let me give you a very brief run down on these things. Chilies as you may know are rated on the Scoville Scale which is the scale used to rate the heat intensity of a pepper and of course the higher up the scale the hotter the pepper. For instance a sweet bell pepper rates a zero while Pure Capsaician (this is the chemical in peppers that produces heat) is rated at 15,000,000 and this is hotter than U.S. grade pepper spray. To further illustrate the various heat levels Jalapenos, which most if not all people are familiar with, rate between 3,500 and 8,000 on the scale while Habaneros sit at between 200,000 and 350,000 so suffice it to say that only someone with a death wish would want to eat one of these things by itself so when  using these things be careful and ALWAYS use disposable gloves.

Here now for your tongue burning pleasure is my version of Hot Sauce………

Ingredients:

Eight to ten Orange Habaneros – I will use the orange for the color effect on the finished product

Four to six garlic cloves- peeled

One small onion – chopped

Three tablespoons Canola oil

Four tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 cups white vinegar

1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes

Juice of three limes

Two tablespoons sugar

Putting it all together:

In a medium sauce pan heat the oil (medium heat) and add the onions, Habaneros and garlic and cook until the onion starts to turn brown- stir continuously

Reduce the heat and add the remaining ingredients cooking until the tomatoes break down

Pour the contents of the pan into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth

Strain the contents through a fine mesh strainer and refrigerate for a minimum an hour– Also remember that the longer you let it sit the better the flavors marry together.

Now obviously you can adjust the heat level of the sauce by using more or less of the Habaneros or by substituting a different type of pepper altogether. That’s the beauty of a recipe……. making it your own.

So there you have it another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond”

So until next time…………….

                                                               Bon Appetit 

 

Revitalize rather than toss (part two)

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So the second part of my herb garden is now finished and the herbs are HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY—- well except for the Lemon Verbena—- I think it’s history but I” try to give it some TLC and see if it can be “reborn” so to speak.

The white legs and support posts are plastic stair rails that I found at our local Re-Store and since any money I spend in there goes to Habitat for Humanity I was more than happy to purchase all they had. Helped that they were $1.50 a piece as well.

Now as I said in my earlier post I planted things that I will definitely use in any cooking I do and I’m rather exited since my Habanero plants are sprouting their little pieces of heat and my Tomatillo plant has little Tomatillos on it which will serve me well when I make Salsa Verde in the not to distant future. As well my Vietnamese Cilantro is moving along quite well as is the Curly Parsley which are the most vital components (well except maybe for the garlic) of any Chimichurri (see sauces and dips).

What I hope the whole Revitalize rather than toss post (both parts) demonstrates is that with a little bit of  imagination and a very little bit of cash, think the total for the whole project was in the $20.00 range, you can give yourself something that will serve you in your culinary pursuits as well as save a little room in your local land fill.

So until the next Simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond………

Bon Apetite 

 

Revitalize rather than toss (part one)

 

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This post is going to be a little bit different than anything else to date because it does not have a recipe attached nor is it something that just anybody can do and I don’t mean that in a negative way. It’s simply that this post won’t appeal to you if you don’t have an old BBQ sitting around gathering rust.

The BBQ pictured on the left is one of the first charcoal BBQ’s I ever purchased and although it was useful in the beginning it simply didn’t really fill my need and so it was eventually replaced and wound up being relegated to the side of the house where it started collecting rust.

Fast forward a couple of years and what was once my vegetable garden has now become my better half’s domain with plants and bushes and trees”—– Oh My!  So I decided to revitalize my old BBQ and turn it into a Herb garden…. that’s half the finished product on the right which happens to be the bottom part of the “cue”. This kind of project is easy and does not take long as it is a simple matter of clean out the dirt, scrape off the rust and paint it with a colorful Rust Preventative paint. As I said this is the easy part.

If you’re a cook like me choosing the right herb to plant is the hard part and you do need to put some thought into it or you will wind up with a bunch of stuff you can’t use and you have then wasted your money.

When I picked the ones that I wanted I took a look at the things I like to cook and then designed the herb garden to compliment my recipes. I now have things like Pineapple Sage, which is excellent with poultry, Vietnamese Cilantro— Why?— Why Not?, Greek Oregano, Habaneros and Jalapenos—- Okay those last two are not herbs but I like to use hot peppers in some of my dishes and sauces. I have two types of Basil-one for spaghetti sauce and one for pesto and something I have never cooked with in my life but I am ssssssooooooo looking forward to using it—— Tomatillos—- otherwise known as Mexican Tomatoes and I only wound up with these because the lady at the garden center has them growing wild in her garden. Tomatillos make an excellent Salsa Verde (green chili sauce) for which I can use the hot peppers and Cilantro I am growing and then include it in things like Chicken Enchiladas, Green Chicken Tacos or simply as a dipping sauce for homemade Nachos and this is why it is important to match your cooking style with what you grow.

So as you can see Revitalizing something like an old BBQ can open up a whole world of new projects and can make your favorite dishes sing with flavor.

I still have to finish what was the top part of the BBQ and that will be part two of this post so please stay tuned and until next time……..

 

Bon Appetite