Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dill, Bacon, & Green Bean Potato Salad

I guess you could say that this post is Dill Weed - Part 3: YUM! I honestly wasn't planning on doing a Part 3, I promise. However, after I used the dill sour cream from Part 2 for this, I decided I had to share!

Like I mentioned in Part2, I was planning on throwing the dill sour cream over potatoes for a quick potato salad. I went to the grocery store to get dinner (pork tenderloin), potatoes and green beans for a side. From there I decided to mix the green beans in, for connivence, then it grew from there. This is the result. Simple, not so healthy, but super yummy!

Dill, Bacon, & Green Bean Potato Salad
4-5 Slices Thick Cut Smoked Bacon
12 Ounces Fresh Green Beans (chopped into 1" pieces)
1 lb 12 oz Potatoes (sliced into small pieces)
Dill Sour Cream (from Part 2)

Cut bacon into 1/2" pieces and fry until crispy. Remove bacon and set aside to drain. Fry potatoes in bacon grease (See health note below!) until tender. Blanch green beans. Mix green beans, cooled potatoes, bacon pieces and dill together. Refrigerate.

Health Note:
This is obviously not the healthiest recipe as is... but I love bacon. I figure moderation is the key. I wouldn't serve this with every meal. However, you can also easily make this recipe healthier. Here's how:
1. Throw out the bacon grease and boil your potatoes.
2. To make it even healthier, in addition to boiling your potatoes, use turkey bacon instead of regular bacon.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dill Weed - Part 2: The Loot

Now, what to do with all that dill? One thing about growing your own herbs and veggies is that sometimes you end up with a lot of one thing all at once. A good example of this was the dill I harvested a few days ago. Extending the shelf life of these items seems to be key.

I did a little research online and came up with a few things to try. First, I froze a bunch of it. Second, I made dill sour cream (which I will probably throw over some potatoes for a quick potato salad. Whenever I think dill, I think dill and potatoes. They just seem like a match made in heaven.) Third, dill butter.

Frozen Dill
Cut off the stems and put it in a freezer bag. I envisioned it turning into a mushy dark green mess. However, after frozen it still looks same, just a bit darker. Online it said to use it within two months. I'll let you know how it goes.

Dill Sour Cream
Mix dill, sour cream, a little garlic powder, a little onion salt, and pepper in a food processor. (I used my mini one again.) Use it as a dip or dressing.

Dill Butter
Mix dill, softened butter (used unsalted so I added a little salt), and pepper to taste. Use food processor to blend, adding just a little vegetable oil to make it spreadable. Store it in the fridge until you're read to use it. Enjoy on toast or corn on the cob. We had it on our toast this morning... very tasty.

Dill Weed - Part 1: Growing Dill

I love dill! I decided to grow some in our garden boxes this year. It grew like a weed in the Chicago humidity. I'm guessing this might be why they call it Dill Weed. (I'm so clever, I know.)

It stretched up, up, up, and then bolted. Bummer. For those of you that aren't familiar with the term bolting, this is when an herb, or lettuce, starts to flower. The plant is usually doomed after this happens. Certain herbs, like dill and cilantro, bolt quickly. You can usually get two to three harvests out of them before the plant throws up flower spikes and is done growing. (My cilantro will be the next one I chop off.)

The dill lasted about a month and a half. I planted it June 2nd and chopped it July 17th. I spent $3.99 for a 4.5" pot. My final harvest, pictured above, is a LARGE amount of dill. I would have paid much more than $3.99 to buy the same quantity of fresh dill at the grocery store. I got my money's worth out of this plant even though it didn't last long.

Bolted Dill

Chopped off Bolted Dill

I left the chopped off part to see if, by some miracle, it would defy nature and start to grow again. So far it's simply turning yellow and starting to look like death. Oh well. My motto with gardening is "you never know for sure until you try!"

Stay tuned to find out what I did with all of this dill...

Sunday, July 17, 2011


This is one of my favorite summer gathering recipes. Our families always request it! Here's the link to the recipe. I do alter it a bit by using seasonal fruit instead of the fruits listed. I usually use strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. I've also experimented with different flavors of Jello Instant Pudding like cheesecake and french vanilla. I bet it would be good with chocolate, banana cream, or even Oreo. It's a great fresh dessert that is not too sugary sweet.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I'm Hungry

Tom was gone tonight and I had a lot of studying to do so I decided to whip up a quick meal for myself. This is what I call a pantry meal. It arrives without any sort of recipe and is derived from items I have on hand. After rummaging through the fridge I decided on pasta with homemade pesto. Pesto is one of the easiest things to make! I promise.

Basil & Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

Ingredients: Basil (from my patio garden!), sun dried tomatoes
(from Trader Joe's garden), toasted pine nuts, parmesan cheese, olive oil, and a little salt.

Directions: Place ingredients in a small food processor
(LOVE this thing... you can get one for around $15 at Target.) and process...

Add a little olive oil until you get the texture you want.
I used about a 1/4 cup. (I would use less if your
sun dried tomatoes came packaged in oil. Mine where dried.)
... and presto - it's pesto!

It really couldn't be easier. I made it in less time than it took to boil the water for the pasta. Once the pasta was done I tossed it with some spinach, the pesto, and a little goat cheese... yummy!

This is a great vegetarian meal or side dish. However, you could easily throw some chicken on the grill and pile it on top for a more carnivorous main course. In fact, I might just do that with the left overs for tomorrow night's dinner.