Kimberly Moore

Kimberly Moore
Delray Beach, Florida, USA
September 27
Managing Director
Parasol Creations
Kimberly ~ Chief Umbrella Holder at ~ Director of Social Media & Digital Strategy at ~ Taste Tester at ~ THE Hungry Goddess Herself at The Hungry Goddess - blogger, writer, foodie.

JUNE 14, 2012 10:00AM

The Optimistic Gardener – Sharon Matten

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I have a confession to make.

I am an optimistic gardener.

I love the promise of a just planted garden. Every small plant newly imbedded in the freshly cultivated soil, has the potential to grow into a beautiful, bountiful one. Every year after planting I stand back admiring my freshly planted garden and just know that this will be the year of huge yields!

This year for Mother’s Day my family treated me to a trip to my favorite garden center, Meinke.

I love walking through the rows of flowers and vegetables, looking for family favorites as well as new and unusual ones. Meinke has an amazing selection of fresh herbs, beautiful flowers, a wide variety of peppers (lots of hot ones!), and a huge assortment of typical and heirloom tomatoes. We always manage to buy some unusual vegetable plants (this year we bought mini eggplant and strawberries), and plant them with the tomatoes and peppers in our backyard garden. In addition, we look for different types of mint plants, and have the regular variety along with chocolate mint (imagine a peppermint patty in a plant!) and citrus mint. We like to use the mint for tea – the chocolate mint tea is especially good! I also bought cilantro, parsley, rosemary, and a few types of basil.

I optimistically planted my herbs in long planters which stay on our deck off the kitchen. I dreamt of popping outside and clipping garden-fresh herbs for my aromatic summer recipes. Until my evil garden nemesis, the squirrel, dug up my entire assortment of herbs! I had even planted peppers in between to dissuade the squirrels, with no luck. They dug up the entire pepper plants and left them sitting next to the planters, the herbs were no were in sight (unless you count the newly fat squirrels sitting on my deck)!! ARG!! The darn pesky and annoying squirrels even ate our strawberry plants. All of them. Down to the roots. Not a single remnant of the strawberry plants. My strawberry dream is now a thing of the past. Sigh.

My Optimistic Garden






The Carnage


Last year I planted lots of small onion bulbs, and this year was rewarded with gorgeous, long, green, scallions popping up in my garden.

These onions are perfect for Rice Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables. I originally wrote about this recipe for for a gluten-free article (great for the GFE’s!). I love rice noodles. They are the chameleon of the noodle family, taking on the flavor of whatever sauce or other ingredients they are combined with.

One of my favorite rice noodle dishes to serve on Shabbat is Rice Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables. Since the rice noodles absorb the flavor of the sauce they are made in, they almost always taste better on the second day – perfect for Shabbat lunch. Rice noodles are also incredibly easy to prepare. You just fill a bowl with boiling water, add the noodles, come back in 30 minutes and tra-la…the rice noodles are done! Springy, with an al-dente texture. So easy!

I often will make this dish vegetarian, leaving out the chicken, and it becomes a great favorite side dish. You can adjust the quantity of vegetables, adding more if you really like a particular one, without overly changing the result – like garden fresh scallions! This recipe is relatively low in fat. Using flavor rich toasted sesame oil gives this dish a huge taste boost without a lot of oil.

All the mint!

Another plus is that this recipe can be made gluten-free. The rice noodles by definition contain no gluten, and it is easy to purchase gluten free soy sauce at your local grocery or health food store. There is no reduction in the quality or taste of the end product. Perfect for GFE’s (Gluten Free Eaters)!

My dear sister in NY (where there are bunnies and raccoons in addition to the squirrels!) told me that if you plant hot peppers close to your other plants the animals won’t touch the plants in your garden. Good thing we like our food hot and spicy here at the Matten house!!

The optimistic gardener in me is looking forward to tons and tons of vegetables this summer…I’ll keep you posted. Oh, and look out you squirrely squirrels – I’m on to you!!!

Get the Recipe for Rice Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables


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