Plant Fact: Marigold Flowers

These bright yellow-orange flowers, Marigolds, are not only good for keeping the bugs out of the garden, but have many other uses. This edible flower can benefit your health in several ways.

Part of the Marigold family, Calendulas provide more medicinal benefits.

Benefits:

  • Natural anti-inflammatory
  • Reduces eye inflammation and conjunctivitis
  • A natural antioxidant and antiseptic (helps fight infection)
  • Soothes and helps heal burns, cuts, and rashes
  • Relieves irritated skin that may be red, swelling, dry, itchy, and sensitive
  • Natural bug repellant

The petals of these flowers can be dried and used to make teas, ointments, and drops.

Grow your own beneficial calendula flowers and make some homemade Calendula Lotion!

Calendulas/ Marigolds come in the following seed pod kits:  Incredible Edibles, and any custom herb.

 

 

PLUS, these flowers are edible! So use these fresh vibrant petals to add color to your food such as sauces, cakes, custards, cheese, salads, and even butter.

Garden Checkup: Treating “Blossom-End Rot”

Blossom-end rot can occur in tomatoes, pepper, cucumber, squash, and melons. Often times, the damage appears when the fruit is half-way grown. These soggy areas expand and turn dark brown and harden. The effected areas will begin to rot and the fruit should be cut-off and discarded.

Blossom End Rot is not a pest, parasite, or disease process but is a physiological problem caused by a low level of calcium in the fruit itself. There is no cure for blossom end rot, only prevention. This can occur when tomatoes are nutrient deprived or under erratic watering. Typically adding more nutrients will resolve the problem and tomato plants will recover.

How much nutrient are you giving your tomatoes? 

The nutrient level should be increased when growing tomatoes upon the third feeding and moving forward.  

Nutrient level for 6/7/9 pod gardens is 8 ml (2 capfuls) upon the first two feedings, and 11 – 12 ml (2 ½ to 3 capfuls) upon the third feeding and moving forward.

Nutrient level for a 3 pod garden is 4 ml (1 capful) for the first two feedings, and 6 ml (1 ½ capfuls) of nutrient upon the third feeding and moving forward.

Make sure that you are checking your water level every other day. Once the tomatoes are established, they will consume quite a bit of water daily, especially if you are running your furnace more often. Do not wait for your AeroGarden to alert you that your water level is low to add water. Your AeroGarden will alert you when the water level is very low. It is ideal to keep the water level in your garden to the “fill line”, and to be consistent in your watering habits.

Here is the solution. Start with a “rinse and refill”. Empty the contents of your water bowl, rinse it, and replace the water adding the appropriate level of nutrient (12 ml). This will restore the pH level in your AeroGarden. Add 1 Tablespoon of Epsom Salt to the water. Remove and discard the browning tomatoes.

In addition, make sure you are pruning your tomatoes. Go ahead and prune back the leaves that are shading out your tomatoes. This will encourage your plant to continue to produce tomatoes. Also, your green tomatoes will be exposed to more light, encouraging them to ripen.

TIP OF THE WEEK

WATER

1. Adding Water

  • Add water to “Fill To Here” indicator located under the Water Port flap.
  • Use room temperature tap water or bottled distilled water. Do not use well water which may interfere with our nutrients, or softened water, as it contains levels of sodium usually harmful to plants.
  • The ‘Add Water’ reminder alert will appear on the control panel when the water level is low. For best results, keep the water level topped up to the fill line at all times.

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EGG CURRY WITH TOMATOES AND CILANTRO

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Try this egg-tomato curry with your AeroGarden Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes and cilantro!

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

1 onion, finely chopped

1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 medium russet potatoes (about 1 pound), cut into 1-inch chunks

1 (14.5-ounce) can cherry or diced tomatoes

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

8 hard-boiled eggs, peeled

Cilantro leaves with tender stems (for serving)

1/4 cup plain yogurt

Steamed basmati rice or naan (for serving)

Special equipment

A spice mill or a mortar and pestle

PREPARATION

Grind coriander and cumin seeds in spice mill or with mortar and pestle to a powder.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add coriander, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne and cook until mixture starts to stick to bottom of skillet, about 1 minute. Add potatoes and remaining 1 Tbsp. oil and toss to coat. Add 1/2 cup water and scrape up any bits in bottom of skillet. Stir in tomatoes and their juices and salt. Bring to a simmer, breaking up tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Cover and cook, adding more water by the tablespoonful if necessary, until potatoes are tender, 20–25 minutes.

Stir to combine (it’s okay, and kind of preferred, if some of the potatoes get a little smashed here). Add eggs, turn to coat in sauce, and simmer until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Divide curry among bowls and top with cilantro and yogurt. Serve with rice or naan.

Cooks’ Note
If you prefer purchasing pre-ground spices, substitute 1 tablespoon ground coriander for the coriander seeds and 2 teaspoons ground cumin for the cumin seeds.

SMOKED SALMON QUICHE WITH KALE AND BASIL, AND SESAME SEED CRUST

smoked_salmon_quiche_0091-copyINGREDIENTS

Sesame seed crust:

3 tablespoons sesame seeds

1 cup wholemeal spelt flour, plus extra for dusting

1/3 cup unsalted butter

1 egg

Olive oil or butter, for greasing

Filling:

1 tablespoons olive oil or butter

1 large onion, finely sliced

1/2 cup crème fraîche (use low-fat if you fancy it)

1/2 cup plain yogurt (use low-fat if you fancy it)

5 free-range eggs

1/4 cup kale, woody stems removed and leaves finely sliced

1/2 cup smoked salmon slices (preferably wild and MSC-certified), torn into bite-sized pieces

To serve:

Leaves from 1/2 bunch of fresh basil

PREPARATION

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Toast the sesame seeds in a small dry frying pan over medium heat until fragrant and golden. Tip onto a plate and leave to cool.

Meanwhile, grease an 8-inch straight-sided, loose-bottomed flan or cake tin (1-inch deep) and set it on a baking tray.

Once the sesame seeds are cool, tip them and the remaining pastry ingredients, along with 3 tablespoons of water, into a food processor. Whiz together until they form damp crumbs.

Alternatively, to make by hand, put the flour and butter into a large bowl. Pick up bits of the mixture with the tips of your fingers and rub your thumb into your fingers to blend the ingredients together, allowing it to fall back into the bowl. Keep doing this until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir the sesame seeds through. Lightly beat the egg in a small bowl and stir into the crumbs really well with a small knife until it starts to form lumps.

Add 3 tablespoons of water to bring it together.

Dust a clean work surface with a little flour and tip the dough out onto it. Bring it together into a smooth ball then roll it out to the thickness of that of a nickel (about 2mm) to give a roughly 8 2/3-inch circle (slightly larger than the diameter of the tin).

Carefully lower the pastry into the prepared tin, easing it against the bottom and edges. Use a small, sharp knife to trim the excess pastry off the top rim, using bits of the excess to seal up holes or cracks if necessary. Scrunch up a circular piece of baking parchment a little larger than the tin, then unscrunch and sit it in the pastry crust. Tip in ceramic baking beans or dried beans and bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling. Heat the oil or butter in a medium pan over a low–medium heat. Add the onion and cook down for about 10 minutes or until soft, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, beat the crème fraîche, yogurt, and eggs together in a large bowl until combined. Stir in the kale, season, and set aside.

After the pastry has been cooking for 20 minutes, remove the paper and beans and return the pastry crust to the oven for a further 5 minutes or until the pastry is cooked, the base is sandy to the touch, and it looks lightly golden brown.

Once softened, remove the onion from the heat and leave to cool. Once cool, stir into the kale mix.

Once the pastry crust is cooked, remove from the oven and pour in the kale mixture. Arrange the smoked salmon on top. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the salmon is catching colour and the quiche cooked through to the centre. Remove and allow to cool a little. Carefully remove from the tin, cut into quarters and top with freshly torn basil.

Courtesy of Epicurious.com

PARMESAN PEPPER CURLY KALE CHIPS

It’s almost time for everyone’s favorite cool weather crop, kale!  Try these crispy and healthy parmesan kale chips right from your oven.

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INGREDIENTS

3 pounds curly kale (see Cooks’ notes)

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

8 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided

Fine sea salt, divided

Special equipment: 2 very large bowls; 2 large (half-sheet 18- by 13-inch) rimmed sheet pans; parchment paper or nonstick foil

PREPARATION

Heat oven to 275°F with racks in upper and lower thirds.

Line rimmed sheet pans with parchment or nonstick foil.

Cut out and discard stems and center ribs from kale. Aim for 32 cups of leaves (use a 1- or 2-quart glass measure and pack leaves without crushing them). Wash leaves and dry well.

Transfer half of kale to a large bowl. Toss with half of oil, rubbing leaves to make sure they are well coated, then toss with half of parmesan, pepper, and salt. Once the first half is in the oven, repeat with the other half of the kale.

Working in batches, spread leaves in a single layer on lined sheet pans and bake, switching positions of sheets halfway through, until crisp, about 25 minutes. Transfer crisps with a metal spatula to baking sheets or platters to cool. Reuse parchment or foil for successive batches.

Cooks’ notes:
•Bunches of kale can vary tremendously in the amount of stems they include, skewing the weight and therefore the yield. Some varieties of curly kale, particularly organic ones, include very little stem, so you may only need to buy 2 pounds to reach 32 cups.
•Kale crisps can be made 1 day ahead and stored in an airtight container at cool room temperature. Re-crisp in 275°F oven, if necessary.
•If you’re using Tuscan kale, you can follow the exact same procedure using 2 pounds of Tuscan kale (aka lacinato or dinosaur kale) with 3 tablespoons olive oil, 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan, 1 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt.

DRY-RUBBED FLANK STEAK WITH GRILLED CORN SALSA

7.4_56389977_dry-rubbed-flank-steakINGREDIENTS

Dry Rub:

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 tablespoon ancho chile powder

1 tablespoon paprika

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1 teaspoon English mustard powder

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Steak and Salsa:

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for grill

3 ears of corn, shucked

1/4 red onion, finely chopped

1 jalapeño, seeds removed, finely chopped

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup fresh lime juice

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

1 1/2 pound flank steak

PREPARATION

Dry rub:

Combine brown sugar, chile powder, paprika, salt, pepper, cayenne, granulated garlic, mustard powder, coriander, and cumin in a small bowl.

Steak and salsa:

Prepare a grill for medium-high heat; oil grate. Grill corn, turning occasionally, until lightly browned all over, 8–10 minutes; let cool. Cut kernels from cobs and place in a medium bowl. Add onion, jalapeño, tomatoes, cilantro, and lime juice to corn and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper. Set salsa aside.

Meanwhile, coat steak with all of dry rub, packing on more than once if needed, and drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil to help rub adhere. Grill steak, turning occasionally and moving to a cooler spot on grill as needed to control flare-ups, until nicely browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 130°F, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes.

Return steak to grill just to recrisp exterior, about 1 minute per side. Transfer back to cutting board and slice against the grain. Serve topped with salsa.

Do Ahead

Salsa can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Courtesy of Epicurious.com