Plus Growing Herbs with Miracle-Gro AeroGarden
You might remember that last month, I wrote a post, Gardening all Year with AeroGarden. I’ll just say again that I was just thrilled to get the chance to try out a Miracle-Gro AeroGarden, because we had thought about getting one for the last couple years.
The actual owning of one has been pure pleasure and just makes me sorry that we hadn’t bought one a long time ago. Seriously – SO fun!
You can check my first post to hear about how easy it was to get set up and get started. Today, I’m going to talk about maintaining the garden while things are growing, and also share a super fast and easy recipe, for Vermicelli with Shrimp and Fresh Herbs.
My herbs had already begun to grow really well at the time of the last post, and I had only just begun the stage where the herbs needed to be pruned to help them become nice and full. Pruning is always necessary when you are growing herbs [or most everything, really], which is great because, with herbs you can use those pruned leaves and stems. Plus pruning keeps things to a manageable size, and helps plants grow better, with nice full foliage, rather than being tall and spindly.
The AeroGarden comes with very clear instructions on how and when to prune the little plants. This is particularly useful for a novice gardener, but even I was happy to have it on hand so I could be certain I was doing it correctly.In the days since starting the garden, I have lost track of how many times I’ve gone in and trimmed the plants for use in a recipe. It is so great to have this fresh and steady supply of herbs to use whenever I need them.
The other thing that is really handy is that the AeroGarden tells me when it is time for adding the nutrients that feed the plants, as well as when it’s time to refill the water reservoir. That is a particular plus this time of year, when I have so much going on – it can be set to only alert you certain times of day, so it’s not beeping in the middle of night. That is the kind of thoughtful detail that I appreciate.
The best part of course, is having beautiful fresh herbs for cooking.Which brings us to this recipe. I wanted to really showcase the vibrant flavors of dill, parsley, cilantro and chives, and I knew that shrimp would be the perfect main ingredient. I chose vermicelli pasta for this recipe, because the delicate butter sauce is perfect for a lighter kind of pasta. You could also use angel hair, capellini or thin spaghetti. Vermicelli with Shrimp and Fresh Herbs makes a great weeknight meal – it’s ready in under a half hour, and uses just a few ingredients.
- 1 pound fresh or frozen E-Z peel shrimp
- 4-5 tablespoons butter, divided
- 6 to 8 shallots
- pinch red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup half and half
- 1 cup loosely packed herbs [I used dill, parsley, cilantro and chives], roughly chopped so that you have about ½ cup.
- 1 lemon
- ½ lb. vermicelli
- Peel the shrimp, leaving the tails on if desired. Blot dry with paper towels and sprinkle lightly with salt. Set aside.
- Get a 3-quart pan of salted water on high heat for cooking the pasta.
- In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter.
- Peel the shallots, cut in half the long way and then in ¼ inch slices - you should have about ½ cup.
- Add the shallots to the melted butter, and lower the heat.
- Add a generous pinch of the red pepper flakes.
- Cover the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, until shallots are very soft, stirring once or twice.
- Raise the heat, and add the shrimp, in a single layer. Cook about 2 minutes on the first side.
- When you put the shrimp in the pan, get the pasta in the now-boiling water; if you are using vermicelli, that usually takes 5 to 6 minutes to get to the al dente stage, so keep an eye on it.
- Turn all of the shrimp over [tongs make this easier], and cook another minute.
- Add the additional 2 tablespoons of butter, and the half and half, and bring up to a simmer.
- Add the herbs and stir to combine. Taste a little of the liquid and add salt if needed.
- When it's done, drain the pasta, saving ½ cup of the cooking liquid.
- Stir the pasta into the shrimp and sauce. Add small amounts of the pasta cooking liquid if needed, to ensure there is a light sauce.
- Cut the lemon in half. Cut ½ of the lemon into narrow wedges. Squeeze the juice from the other half and add to pasta. Put the wedges in a small serving bowl to pass at the table as needed.
- Serve in a large shallow bowl, or fill plates in the kitchen. You can snip chives over the top if desired.
- Refrigerate leftovers.
It is so fresh tasting – the herbs are perfect with the shrimp!
I’m looking forward to cooking with fresh herbs from the AeroGarden for months to come. I already ordered a seed starting tray as well, for when I start the veggie plants for the garden. And my grandkids, who love to grow things, are each getting the newest AeroGarden, the 3SL for Christmas this year.
You are invited to join us for the #AeroGarden Twitter Party.
Mark your calendar for Tuesday December 9, 2014 at 9:00 PM EST. You could win one of 6 3SL AeroGarden prizes!
Register for that by clicking here.
And you are going to want to hang on to this clue you will need during the party:
How much faster does the AeroGarden grow than soil?
Answer: 5 times faster than soil.
And KitchenPLAY is giving away 4 AeroGarden ULTRA LEDs.
Click here to enter!