Dill Crisps, Yum

This is a tasty addition to a veggie or dip tray.  It makes good use of that fresh dill in the garden.  After all, even though I love to feed the Swallowtails, I love to eat it myself also!

Dill Crisps

2 Whole wheat pitas
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh dill
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Preheat oven to 400′

Slice each pita into 8 triangular wedges.  Seperate each triangle in to two at the seam.  Set the triangles, crumbly side up, on a slotted broiler rack.

In a small dish, combine the olive oil, dill, and cheese.  Use a pastry brush to paint the mixture lightly onto the triangles.  Bake in the center of the oven until just brown a the edges and slightly curled.  about 5-7 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Growing Dill

Dill is so pretty when it blooms

If your looking for an easy to grow herb, Dill is a great choice.  For beginner gardeners there is nothing to boost the confidence the way Dill can.  Not only is it easy to grow, but it makes your fish and tarter sauce taste wonderful.

Of course, there are many more ways to use dill.  Dill goes great with cucumbers, it is a key ingredient in pickles.  Many dips make use of dill as well.  I have also found that the bags of lettuce that had a sprig of dill in them stayed much fresher longer.  I can’t document the science behind it, but it works.

The first year that I had my garden boxes I planted dill in the bed with other herbs.  The dill grew easily and went to seed.  The seed dried and then fell to the ground.  The following fall, the seed sprouted and I had fresh dill until the first frost.  The dill had time to seed before the frost so I had dill the next spring.  Now, I have lots of dill.  This is not a problem since dill is not an invasive plant, it grows quickly and then dies back.

Another reason to plant lots of dill is to feed the Black Swallowtail Butterfly babies.  Black Swallowtails only feed on dill and other members of the carrot family as caterpillars.  I love seeing these beautiful butterflies fluttering around in my gardens.  So, I plant enough for me and for them.

The caterpillars I love to feed
Black Swallowtail Butterfly
The Beautiful Black Swallowtail

Not only do butterflies feed on dill, but many other good bugs love the dill blooms.  Dill fits in nicely with gardens planned to attract pollinators and good bugs.  Last but not least, I love the scent and the beauty that dill brings to the garden.  Dill is a favorite of mine and will stay in my landscape as long as I garden.  My mother says whenever she smells dill it reminds her of summers spent at the farmer’s market selling produce with her grandmother.

Dried Dill Seed Heads
Rub the seed heads and drop the seeds into the envelope

Another Great Recipe for Green Beans

Nothing beats veggies from the garden.

With green beans coming in at least twice a week from the garden, I love to find different ways to cook them.  This recipe comes from my in-laws.  Being both filling and light, this dish is excellent in both the summer with fresh produce and then in the winter from produce frozen from the summer.  It is also a one dish meal which just amps up the perfectness…

Stewed Green Beans:

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Onion chopped
4 cloves of garlic
1 lb of ground meat (beef, turkey, or lamb works great)
1 lb of green beans.
1 16 oz can of stewed tomatoes

In dutch oven, heat oil and then add onions.  Cook until soft and add garlic.  Stir for 2-3 minutes.  Add ground meat and cook until brown.  Once brown, add green beans and stewed tomatoes plus one can of water.  Boil until green beans are tender.

It doesn’t get much easier than that!

Stewed Green Beans
When using fresh beans, break off the tips and then snap in half, this makes for easy eating.

Are You “Green Bean” With Envy?

After months of waiting to plant in the garden, the first of the warm season crops have come in, green beans.  These are so very good fresh from the garden.  I don’t know why I waited so long to start planting these, they have been very easy to grow.

From the description in the seed catalog, “Valentine” sounded like a good choice in a green bean so I decided to give it a try.  I am so glad that I did.  Last year and this year, the seeds germinated well and came up quick.  Once the seeds break ground it only takes about 3-4 weeks and you have green beans for your dinner.  The first picking I had enough for dinner, the second picking I had enough for dinner two nights and to fill a gallon bag.  Not bad for one week’s time!  Being that Valentine is a heirloom variety, I will let the beans ripen and turn brown on the plants so that I can save the seeds and plant them again next year.  However, I won’t let that happen until the very end of the season.  Once a plant thinks its job is done by producing offspring, it will quit producing.

A lovely plant making green beans for me.

Fresh green beans are hard to beat when it comes to flavor.  Grown organically, they are as good for your body and health as they are for the soil.  Beans will fix nitrogen from the air into the soil.  Given that, it is good to follow green beans with a heavy feeding crop like tomatoes or corn.

With good mulch and moderate water, green beans grow easily and produce very well.  If production keeps the pace, this 2ft X 8ft bed will make enough for us to eat regularly and freeze enough to use through the off season.  I also plan to plant again at the end of August for a fall garden.

Here is the recipe that will make anyone love green beans:

Basic Green Beans

2 tblsp butter
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic
1/2- 1 lb of fresh green beans (frozen beans can be used)
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (water will work in a pinch)
Salt and pepper to taste.

Melt butter in medium sauce pan.  Add onion and cook until softened then add garlic.  Stir until garlic is slightly browned.  Add broth and bring to a boil.  Add green beans , salt and pepper, and bring to a boil.  Boil until desired tenderness- about 10 minutes.  When you are using fresh green beans break the ends off and then snap the beans in half, this makes for easy eating.

If you want to kick this up another southern notch, add a tablespoon of bacon fat to the pot when you add the green beans then bring to a boil.  That is what makes southern cooking so good!