Archives: backyard

summer sandwich

When some wonderful and lovely friends came over for lunch on the weekend, I thought a feast of grilled veggie sandwiches, with meats and cheeses on ciabatta bread would be a nice, refreshing, summery treat that would suit everyone’s lunch time pallet.

grilled zucchini, roasted peppers, spinach, raspberry cheddar cheese

spicy salami, grilled zucchini, roasted peppers, raspberry cheddar, & baby spinach

For some garden fresh sides I threw together some lightly steamed green beans tossed with fresh chopped mint from the garden, reduced balsamic, olive oil and crumbled feta cheese.

grilled veggies & smoked gruyere

homegrown tomaotes, mini bocconcini, basil, balsamic & olive oil

The other side dish consisted of  tomatoes from the garden with basil, and mini bocconcini cheese, olive oil and balsamic.  Simple food but super delicious!

 grilled veggie & meat sandwich on ciabatta bread

beefy tomatoes

Beef eater? Beef cake?  Beefsteak? It doesn’t matter what the name is of these tomatoes because one thing is for sure, they are definitely beefy.

beefsteak tomatoes, homegrown tomatoes, backyard vegetable garden, raised beds

We used an old pair of jeans cut into rags to tie up our massively growing tomato plant.

homegrown, beefsteak tomatoes, backyard garden

I swear some of these beefsteak tomatoes from our garden are the size of 5 pin bowling balls. They are huge, delicious, fresh and juicy.

beefsteak tomatoes, sunday morning breakfast

Fresh cut garden tomatoes go perfect with a Sunday morning breakfast.

 

 

friday night lights

After the daily renovating Steve and I have been retiring to our backyard, safely away from drywall dust and the smell of paint, home to warm breezes and true summer night feelin’.  Unfortunately we do not have a light in the backyard so hanging out in the dark-yard after dusk can get a little difficult.

hanging up patio lights

On one particularly grueling day of renovating I was shocked to see Steve sill having the energy to drag out the ladder and proceed to hang up lights outside (hammer and all).

Hanging up Christmas lights in July, backyard lights

Christmas in July, backyard lights

The lights created a beautiful warm orange post sunset glow a la Christmas in July.

patio backyard lights

We can now hang out in the backyard after the sun sets to play cards and have our own patio beers to our hearts content!

out on the line

The days are so hot and dry.  It’s perfect for hanging laundry out on the line.  This load dried in no time flat, and looked so colourful and beautiful blowing in the summer breeze that I just had to take a picture.

 

drying laundry, on the line, hanging laundry on the line

watching the garden grow

One of our favourite things to do in the evening is to sit out back and watch our garden grown.  It’s amazing to see the fruits of our labour blooming and growing so quickly.  I love picking things fresh from the garden and incorporating them into a meal for that day.

antique metal garden chair, backyard relaxing, red brick wall

potted asian eggplant

homegrown, backyard vegetable garden, tomatoes

kale leaves, backyard vegetable garden

homegrown peppers, backyard vegetable garden

snowpeas, homegrown vegetable garden, backyard vegetable garden

melon plant, backyard garden, baby melon

Check out that little baby melon growing. So cute!

zucchini flowers

I love eating batter fried zucchini flowers. My favourite summer time savoury treat. I make a batter mixture of flour, water, garlic salt, pepper, and some grated cheese of whatever I have lying around. This time I threw in some of the herbs that I've been growing in the herb boxes in the backyard. Then I coated the flowers with the batter mixture, and pan fried them in olive oil on medium heat until golden brown and crispy.

pan fry zucchini blossoms, fried zucchini flowers

panfried zucchini blossoms, zucchini flowers

 

 

backyard delights

This weekend I had my ultimate Korean bbq dream come true.  My friend Vern had suggested a Korean bbq themed backyard party at our place.  Such a good idea!

I made Japanese gyoza dumplings of 3 varieties (chive, dill, & garlic scapes).  I picked the  herbs right from our garden to complement the ground pork, chopped cabbage, and crushed garlic gyoza mixture.

 japanese food, homemade gyoza, dill, chives, garlic scapes, pork dumplings

 japanese food, homemade gyoza, dill, chives, garlic scapes, pork dumplings

I gathered this year’s first home grown bouquet for a table centrepiece. I threw in some fresh mint, lavender, and even some little yellow blossoms that came from our bok choys (they’ve already shooted and started running hence the blossoms).  So far I’m loving the early summer harvest of fresh flowers, & delicious herbs.

garden picked fresh flowers, mint, lilis, lavender,

Here’s mine and Vern’s combined spread of a mixture of Japanese homemade tsukemono and Korean pickles and sides, plus the pan fried gyoza, fresh cold tofu with grated ginger, green onions, and soy sauce (super refreshing).  The table was already ram-packed, and the bbq’d meat was still to come!

Korean BBQ side dishes, gyoza, tofu, tsukemono, pickles

Vern brought Kalbi short ribs, that she marinated Korean style for 2 days.  I put together Japanese yakitori chicken sticks, marinated over night in a reduced version of soy sauce, sugar, mirin, and sake.  I saved the left over marinade to glaze on top while bbq’ing.

calbi, short ribs, yaki tori, Korean BBQ

calbi, short ribs, Korean BBQ, fresh garden lettuce

Fresh picked lettuce from the garden to wrap meat in, after dipping in sauces and adding kimchee or pickles.

yakitori, Japanese food, chicken stick, green onions, BBQ

pork belly, Korean BBQ, fresh garden lettuce, kimchee

Homegrown lettuce with samgyupsal (bbq'd pork belly), dipped in a savoury sesame oil sauce, with kimchee, and baby sugared dried anchovies.

Korean BBQ, calbi, side dishes

Hite Korean beer

black sesame, goma, icecream, strawberries, mint, condensed milk, dessert

Dessert black sesame ice-cream with garden fresh mint, strawberries and condensed milk.

inosculation

This weekend we finally bought our replacement to a tree we uprooted last year that we called the weed tree.  It was a strange hybrid of lilac and some type of unruly weed.  Half the tree had real lilac flowers, while the rest had some cheap variety of imitation blossoms -minus even the sweet smelling fragrance of a true lilac.  My guess is that the lilac bush’s trunk was somehow spliced with the fast growing weed tree’s trunk at some point during it’s early growth.  Apparently the grafting of two different species of tree or bush is not entirely unheard of, and as I’ve just learned, this is called inosculation.  Anyway, the weed tree was non too pretty, grew like crazy, was prone to lilac mold and had a bad root system.  It had to go!

lilac tree

cutting down a tree

The replacement to the old weed tree, is a sweet mangolia that already has plenty of buds, and looks as though it’s just about to bloom.  Magnolia trees aren’t cheap.  This set us back about $140 including tax.  But for some peace of mind, it did come with a one-year, stay alive warranty.  I’m going to keep a close watch on this magnolia -sleep with one eye open, and an arm chained to it’s trunk.  I’ve heard of people thieving expensive trees; a friend in town once told me that their newly purchased Japanese maple was dug up and stolen out of their very own backyard!

suacer magnolia bud

saucer magnolia tree

magnolia tree

I can’t wait until our magnolia tree starts to mature.  Even as a small shrub, I’m still in love with it, and it already adds a whole new feel to the backyard.

 

backyard planning

We were so excited to sit in our backyard after the long winter that we put on our winter coats, poured some pints, and grabbed our new gardening book, Grow Great Grub by Gayla Trail that I picked up from Mixed Media.  We can’t wait to start up our vegetable garden, and get working on our landscaping project for this year.

 

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