Tonight's Dinner Hamburger and Swiss Chard

Tonight’s dinner was a half pound of freshly ground hamburger cooked sous vide with a side of fresh Swiss Chard from my garden. It was paired with a bottle of 2006 Cabernet Captain’s Reserve from the Rubicon Estate in Napa. I cooked the hamburger in a vacuum bag at 135° F (57.2° C) for 60 minutes. When it was done the meat was dried and seasoned with Montreal seasoning, sea salt and pepper on both sides. It was then seared for a little over a minute a side in a very hot cast iron pan. The meat was finished with blue cheese melted on top with a torch. The Swiss chard was the last from my indoor Winter garden and it was braised and steamed for about 15 minutes. I get too full with a bun so I substituted a slice of whole grain bread. Next time around I think I will try 130° F (54.4° C) for an hour. It was delicious and moist. Here is what it looked like. Almost like an open face Croque Monsieur but with a delicious burger twist! Let me know if it's even better when you try it out at 130F - I haven't tried burgers yet with my APC, but I'd like to. I've done bratwurst and those were excellent. Did the wine serve as a good complement with everything?

I'm also curious to know more about your indoor winter garden - what else did you grow? Any challenges / tips? I'd like to get my own garden going for cooking and am starting with some herbs. Considered the aero-garden option but ended up going with Burpee packets and starter soil. I love using fresh herbs and I recently planted a few trays and pots of seeds after being inspired by @Simon_C (btw, Simon, I don't think my rosemary cutting attempt is going too well, unfortunately...) Luckily, the California whether should make it a bit easier to grow the seeds since I'm a little behind in planting them but my lack of any sort of a green thumb will make it slightly more challenging.

I planted rosemary and thyme a few days ago so now I'm just waiting for them to sprout. Crossing my fingers!! I plan to add mint and basil this weekend and then lavender in a few weeks after the seeds have finished cold-stratifying (thanks wiki-how). Did you have any herbs in your indoor winter garden? If so, any tips on how I can avoid many wasted Burpee packets and hours of care?

@jordan Wine compliments almost everything. :slight_smile: I will enjoy the rest tonight with hanger steak. The burger was really good too. I think that it might benefit from adding a little Worcestershire sauce and seasoning to the meat before cooking. I was thinking that 130° may leave me a little room to sear it longer as well. If I was making thinner burgers I don’t think I would use sous vide. But for larger ones it works great.

Here is a picture of my garden:

It is like a giant Aero Garden There is room for 28 plants and it is almost 6 feet tall and the base is about 2.5 feet in diameter. I grew several different types of leaf lettuce, chard, kale, spinach and herbs. I had Italian and Thai basil, thyme, chives, dill and cilantro. I had 3 grow lights (visible at left and right of picture) on a timer as it is in a North facing room with no real sunlight. The water pump was on a timer as well. I had multiples of each thing so I could harvest for dinner every night. This is a very low maintenance setup. All you need to do is add water and nutrients occasionally. I was able to harvest from November until yesterday when I took it apart getting ready for Summer.

The only tip I have is for basil. It tends to grow very fast and will go to seed if you don’t watch it. When it starts getting bigger prune it back fairly aggressively. Put the cuttings in plain water and before you know it they will sprout roots and you can plant each one and grow new plants all Summer and Fall. They also make great little gifts.

All of my Summer seedlings are growing nicely indoors. I am just waiting for the danger of freezing temperatures to pass. 3 or so weeks away for here. Summer plantings include several heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, green and jalapeno peppers, cucumbers and an assortment of herbs. I get my seeds from a place called Seeds Now What I like for my garden its that they have small $0.99 packets of seeds. 15 tomato seeds will last me for years. They are all organic and no GMO.

Wine is a herb lol! I am blessed to live on the doorstep of one of the world’s finest wine producing regions, the Margaret River region of Western Australia. Even cheap cask wine here is superb quality. That indoor garden looks incredible, is it something you bought or is there an Instructable? I would love to do something similar but on a smaller scale just for chilis.

@Simon_C We bought this one; there are plans for variations on line. There is no dirt purely hydroponic, a timer controls the water flow I use 15 minutes on 15 off around the clock. For cooler weather planting 15 on and 30 off works well. There is also a timer for the grow lights that are needed when indoors. Each section has holes that direct the water from below over the roots below and back to the reservoir below. Plants seem to grow larger and faster using this method. Once it was first ready I could harvest daily throughout the winter. The small leaf lettuce got tired after a few months and I replanted it.

Thanks, can you please let me know what it’s called so I can google it and buy one?

I’m interested in knowing its name, too.

It is called a Tower Garden Thanks for sharing, that’s a really great setup, I’ll check out the seeds website you sent over since I might need to pick up another batch. My doggies got into two of the planters and decided to dig in and find what was at the bottom. Only lost some of the rosemary but maybe all of the thyme, I hope it’s not too late to start over with it .  :o3

To cool. Need one

I recently purchased a tower garden. I haven’t setup the tower garden yet. 
I’m completely a noob when it comes to gardening. 
Any help or suggestions from would be greatly appreciated.

@Heather The tower Garden is really easy if you follow the directions. When you use it outside in the Summer cut back a bit on the food as the plants are sucking up so much water and it can be too much for them. I would also recommend that you go for variety, Tomatoes are fun but at the height of the season you can be overwhelmed. I also have my favorite herbs growing. Before the frost I move them to the indoors. Also trim the roots often. They can get too long and plug the pump. The plants seem to do better when you aggressively trim the roots. Also lear how to prune tomatoes. They will grow too many branches that take away from production. Any questions just ask.