Thursday, September 11, 2008

It's not over 'til it's over. And an excellent dip recipe.

A few weeks ago I was cleaning up the garden a bit. I started by pulling up my very sad looking zucchini plant (no tears were shed when this stopped producing) and a few of the cucumber plants. I started to pull out the beans, but then I noticed a bit of new growth and a few new beans and decided to let them be. Since then I've gotten about 2-3 more meals worth of beans and there are still a few more coming in. Not much, but definitely worth keeping around a while longer. What a nice surprise.

green beans and basil

My basil flowered long ago (I thought it was done for and let it go) but I'm still pulling off a few tender leaves and it's still trying to put out a bit of new growth. Next year I'll try to be more vigilant about pinching back the flowers, even if it looks sad.

My pepper plants are looking quite pitiful but even they are still trying. One plant has a few blossoms on it and the other has a few small green peppers. I won't get much more out of them - I'm mostly just waiting to see if the peppers will get any bigger - but it's amazing to see them all fallen over and wasted-looking and yet still trying to produce. As you can see from the photo below, we did finally get a few red peppers. I have to admit that I had gotten tired of waiting for them to turn red and picked a few while they were still green, but even the green peppers tasted great - much tastier than the green peppers at the grocery store.


If nothing else, I've learned to be patient with gardening and just sit back and see what happens because apparently it ain't over 'til it's over!

But on to that dip.

Today I pulled up another 7 pounds of tomatoes so I'll be scrambling tonight to use up those that are overly ripe, cracked or otherwise not ready for prime time (ie. slicing and eating fresh) by making more soup. The cherry tomatoes in particular are quite prolific and here's a recipe we made with some of the first we picked back in early August.

Layered Greek Dip
This recipe was posted by The Recipe Girl over on Cooking Light. As soon as I saw it, I knew I would make it and I knew it would be good. It's a Greek twist on the ever popular Mexican layer dip. The bottom layer consists of an herbed cream cheese. On top of that, a layer of hummus. That's what really sold me - I love hummus. Those two creamy layers are topped with a mixture of chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, olives and feta cheese. The recipe calls for scallions but I was making this for a crowd that included an onion-hater so for added flavor and color interest, I added some chopped pepperoncini. Oh, and you may notice that my dip has no cucumbers. After hauling out 11 cucumbers in one day and giving away 9, I found myself with no garden cucumbers when it came time to make this dip. Feast or famine!

This dip was met with lots of oohs and aahs and was gone in minutes. A BIG hit. I can see this becoming my go-to dish for pot lucks and parties. It's easy to put together, delicious and something just a little different. A winner all around.

Before I sign off and head to bed, let me just share that tonight I used up a bunch of cherry tomatoes by making a chickpea and spinach curry that I posted here a while back. All I did was substitute cherry tomatoes for canned, let it simmer for a bit longer than the recipe calls for and it turned out great.


  1. That dip looks great, I've seen recipes for it before but never tried it. I am a total hummus addict. My garden is still going, I'm hoping to get a crop until the end of the month at least.

  2. I'm thrilled that you enjoyed it. It's so much fun to find a new app recipe that is such a hit!

    On the basil, it's so funny that you mention the flowering thing... I had let my basil plant go into massive flowers and finally yanked it out of its pot and threw it away yesterday. I replaced it with a new plant, so we'll see how well I can keep up with this one!

  3. Ooh. That dip looks fabulous.

    I'm going to concur on the basil front... seems every year it gets to flowering before I can stop it. This year I was a bit better at pinching (and can still eek a few leaves out of my plants)... but she's getting pretty old and woody, despite my efforts! Argh.

  4. The dip looks just awesome.

    I also can't resist some gardening advice. If your basil starts to flower, just cut off all the stems (way down, but leave a few leaves on each) and strip off that basil (discarding the flowers). You can trim it like that as many as 4-5 times each year and it will keep coming back with more basil. I do this when I'm going to freeze basil.

  5. RecipeGirl - No, thank you! :)

    Lo - Keep an eye out for my next post about basil......

    Kalyn - Thanks for the tip - I will definitely try that if they bolt on me next year. I really did think they were dying off, so that's why I stopped pinching.

  6. Sara - I love hummus too. We have a chance for frost tonight, so I'm crossing my fingers!