Anita – Week 4

Unfortunately, it’s not quite time to harvest my vegetables, but I’m still excited about the growth I’ve seen thus far. According to the packaging, most of my vegetables will be ready to harvest in 60 – 70 days. So, I am halfway there!

Gardening has been such an adventure. I rarely went into my back yard, now I’m back there daily. Gardening has helped make me appreciate being outside (except for when it’s REALLY hot.) Writing these reports has helped me to reflect on the process and identify my gardening strengths and weaknesses. I have a list of things to do differently next round. And I’ve improved my understanding of the Central Texas environment and the importance (and tastiness) of producing and using products grown and created locally.

As I stated in an earlier post, the seeds I purchased were part of a gardening kit. The kit was a salsa recipe kit. So it felt appropriate to share a salsa recipe with y’all.

Fresh Tomato and Black Bean Salsa

Recipe adapted from Everyday is a Party Cookbook, by Emeril Lagasse, with Marcelle Bienvenu and Felicia Willett, 2000

Prep Time:20 min
Serves:6 to 8 servings


4 cups chopped vine-ripened tomatoes
2 cups dried black beans, cooked in salted water until tender, cooled (about
2 cups)
1 cup small diced red onions
1 large fresh jalapeno, seed and cut into small dice
1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Crispy corn tortilla chips


Combine the first seven
ingredients in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add the lime juice and olive
oil. Mix well. Spoon into a serving bowl and serve with the chips.


And for those of you who are planting or plan to plant strawberries, here is a recipe for a tasty treat :)

Strawberry Upside-Down Cakes
adapted from Organic and Chic
makes 24 mini cakes

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 ¾ cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups strawberries, sliced vertically

Preheat oven to 350. Grease cupcake tins. Sprinkle a teaspoon of brown sugar into the
bottom of each cup, then arrange 4-5 strawberry slices on top. Reserve extra berries and

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating
well after each. Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. In another, whisk
together milk and vanilla.

Alternate adding flour and milk mixtures to the large bowl, starting and ending with the flour.

Make sure everything is well combined, but don’t overmix.

Divide batter equally between cupcake wells. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until a toothpick
inserted in center is clean. Cool for 5-10 minutes, then invert onto a cookie sheet. Carefully
replace any strawberries that didn’t stick to the cakes.

While cakes are baking, cook the reserved berries and brown sugar over medium-low heat,
until thick and jam-like.

Cut the rounded tops off the cakes so each cake can sit flat. Add a spoonful of the cooked
berries to the top of each cake and serve.

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adventures in urban gardening