How To: Grow (Most of) Your Own Dinner

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This summer Swell is going to do a mini-series of "How To" guides to get you through the season.  The theme being a swell vision of sustainability through cooking.  Without further ado I give you a summer classic, Caprese Salad.

Everything you need to do this can be found in your local grocery store, sure, but homegrown is always best.  Think about how much energy is saved in the transport of goods when you grab a tomato from your backyard instead of the produce section at the back of the store.  An easy way to start a thriving tomato vine is to simply plant one you already have.  In a medium-sized pot, bury the varietal of your choosing in soil (preferably one without chemical fertilizers) and put in an area with plenty of sunlight.  With regular watering (2-3 times/week) you will see the fruits of your labor before you know it.

Basil can be started from a seed, or you can buy a small plant at a Trader Joe's near you.  I have managed to kill my fair share of basil plants, so pay closer attention to these instructions. Container grown basil should be planted in well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Using the proper soil type is important in order to successfully grow basil inside. As basil is not tolerant of water stress, make sure pots provide adequate drainage. While the soil should be kept somewhat moist, it should never be soggy; otherwise, the roots will be prone to rotting.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Information On How To Grow Basil Indoors http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/basil/information-on-how-to-grow-basil-indoors.htm

If you are really up for a cooking challenge, you can also make your mozzarella from scratch.  This is also quite simple, my mom and I did it together the last time I was in South Carolina.  Not only do they sell cheesemaking kits at Sur la Table and Williams Sonoma, but you can also just order one on Amazon.  If you use local milk, the carbon footprint of your meal will be almost nil, simultaneously supporting your local economy. If you don't have time for this additional step, I recommend Annabella Buffalo Cheese.  Top with a drizzle of balsamic and olive oil, sprinkle with Maldon Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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