Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Creating a garden room

This is a garden room outside the family room to sit, relax, and dine with the family.  It is a space that transitions from the house to the garden. Garden walls are created with potted plants filled with beautiful foliage. My entire garden is a tropical garden. This space allows me to experiment with different color schemes. This is my spot to sit and sip a cup of chai overlooking the garden after full day of hard work.



Much needed shade is provided by the jasmine vine on the trellis all day





Different view of the garden






For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including vegetarian, gluten free and vegan recipes),please check out my books, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen and Trader Joe's Simply Indian at my website komalinunna.com.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

California living

For me, year-round beautiful weather, eating off the land, and outdoor living is the epitome of California living. Al fresco dining is part of California outdoor living. This is the place where we enjoy many meals overlooking the garden. Whatever is growing in the garden becomes a centerpiece for the table. If you have read my previous posts, you know that I am drowning in tomatoes, so those tomatoes became part of my tablescape. Enjoy!








Purple beans, multi-colored cherry tomatoes, Thai basil, oh my! Who needs flowers when you have produce to create a centerpiece like this.











For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including vegetarian, gluten free and vegan recipes),please check out my books, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen and Trader Joe's Simply Indian at my website komalinunna.com.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Buried in tomatoes

This is a very busy time for harvesting in my kitchen garden. Almost everything is yielding with a vengeance. This year, my tomatoes are going bonkers, yielding a lot more than ever before in my kitchen garden. This the harvest from one raised bed with 7 plants. I attribute my my success to my homemade compost with chicken manure. Now I know that adding  a chicken coop was the right decision for my backyard farming.

This is one harvest
 hom





I like to harvest vine ripened tomatoes on these large shallow baskets to protect them from bruising





Isn't it a shame not to indulge in a caprese salad after such a huge tomato harvest?



I know what I am doing next couple of days, canning and making tomato pickle. I  like to preserve my kitchen garden harvest as much as possible for the rest of year to enjoy and appreciate homegrown goodness.

For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including vegetarian, gluten free and vegan recipes),please check out my books, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen and Trader Joe's Simply Indian at my website komalinunna.com.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Eating off the land

I grew up in a farming family in India. I brag about my farming roots whenever I get a chance. I guess farming is in our DNA.  I call my husband and I "backyard farmers" with great pride, with emphasis on the word "farmers". Every day I walk into my garden, I feel proud to be a farmer's daughter to carry on the tradition of my family roots.
 This time of year, tomatoes are everywhere. I reserve one raised bed in the kitchen garden  to grow all types of cherry tomatoes. I love to grow all different shapes and sizes and to use them in my recipes or pop them in the mouth while they are still warm from the sun. During this season, I make a different salad everyday using all homegrown produce. Whatever I am harvesting that day makes my meal. If I am pruning a Thai basil bush, then Thai-shrimp fried rice is on the menu for lunch. If I am harvesting zucchini, our morning breakfast will be zucchini pancakes or zucchini curry for dinner. If I am harvesting cherry tomatoes like today, those cherry tomatoes will end up in the form of a salad or turn into a garden pasta. Today I decided to make pasta using freshly picked tomatoes.

Sun gold is my ultimate favorite cherry tomato to eat fresh



Yellow pear tomato

Black plum


Red cherry


I harvested enough tomatoes for lunch. While I was at it, I harvested some sweet basil and Italian parsley, too!



I gathered some pantry staples such as extra virgin olive oil, crushed red peppers flakes, fresh garlic, and a pound of spaghetti


Garden pasta

Ingredients:
1 lb spaghetti, boiled al dente according to package instructions,  reserving 1/2 a cup of pasta water
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 1/2 lbs multi-colored cherry tomatoes
small bunch of sweet basil
2 tablespoons of minced Italian parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup freshly grated parmeson cheese

First, boil the pasta according to the package instructions and keep it aside. Heat a wok on medium high heat. Add 4 tablespoons of olive oil to the wok. Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes and fry for a minute


Add cherry tomatoes and warm through the tomatoes


Add cooked pasta and stir in


Add chopped basil and parsley and stir in


Add a cup of grated parmeson cheese and mix in. If you need to, thin the pasta with reserved pasta water.


Voila! Pasta is ready. Enjoy!


For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including vegetarian, gluten free and vegan recipes),please check out my books, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen and Trader Joe's Simply Indian at my website komalinunna.com.

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

My colorful patio

I love having color in the garden. Many times we can achieve this by using lots of flowering plants. Bright beautiful flowers against green foliage is pure magic. When I use flowering plants, often I have to replant to bring life into my patio before the season ends. But I have a different approach to bring color into my outdoor living space. I use foliage plants in the containers to bring the long-lasting color.  Coleus are my all time favorite foliage to use in my patio. Please come along and enjoy the tour. This is the place I entertain all through the spring, summer and fall. 

In this space Ambuliton, also known as flowering maple, gives the height and drama against contrasting blood coleus. 















These flowers are called cassandra, which was a favorite of my mine growing up in India










For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including vegetarian, gluten free and vegan recipes),please check out my books, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen and Trader Joe's Simply Indian at my website komalinunna.com.