We live in zone 6a and I have been gardening and cooking for years. This blog is an opportunity for me to share with you my success and those failures that come about on occasion. Plus, I want to hear from all the gardeners and bakers and cooks out there and learn from you. Feel free to share your ideas.







Saturday, July 16, 2016

Basil, Garlic, and .......?

What do you do when you have lots of basil? Make pesto. I just finished putting the food processor away. I cannot imagine making pesto without it. A couple of years ago our 30 year old food processor gave out while making pesto. What a chore to finish up the batch. I ran over to Costco and bought a Cuisinart. Fabulous piece of equipment when I have to make batches of pesto.

I have 7 large packets in the freezer now. This is the best pesto I have ever made. The basil and garlic have been terrific this year. So I planted more basil today. I should have basil by mid September for probably 12 batches of pesto. That should be enough to last until next summer. Yum!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Garlic--The Best Ever Harvest


The thing about garlic, it can be a bit of a guessing game when it comes to harvesting. So I dug up a couple of bulbs and was amazed at how large they were. I planted Music garlic last fall. It always does well for me in our zone. But this year's garlic was test harvested 2 weeks earlier than usual and they are the biggest bulbs I have ever seen. These are true beauties. Twice as big as usual. So hopefully the rest of the harvest will be at least this impressive. 

Also my winter squash so far is doing great. I decided to plant it far away from my raised beds. I have had trouble with squash vine borers. This year, planting in a different location may have made the difference.

The harvest for the week will be Swiss chard.





Sunday, June 5, 2016

First Harvest - Kale.

There is only one thing that I will make with kale from the garden and that is soup.
The below is a wonderful recipe from BonAppetie magazine. I did make revisions however. The pancetta was replaced with 12 ounces of mild Italian sausage. I did not drain the tomatoes, but used a cup of the juice and eliminated a cup of water. I also eliminated the bay leaves, leeks,  and the Pistou.





Ingredients

SERVINGS: 8 

Minestrone

  • 3 sprigs oregano
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancetta (Italian bacon), chopped (optional)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, white and pale-green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
  • 1 Parmesan rind (about 2 ounces; optional)
  • 3 cups cooked cannellini beans, cooking liquid reserved if desired, or two 15-oz. cans, rinsed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces baby Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed, cut into ½” pieces
  • ½ bunch Tuscan kale, ribs and stems removed, leaves torn into 1” pieces

Pistou And Assembly

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • Kosher salt
  • Preparation

    Minestrone

    • Tie oregano, rosemary, and bay leaves together with kitchen twine.
    • Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium. Add pancetta, if using, and cook, stirring often, until browned around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add onion, leek, carrots, celery, garlic, and red pepper flakes; season with salt. Cook, stirring often, until onion is translucent and carrots are tender, 10–12 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring to coat, until slightly darkened, about 3 minutes.
    • Add tomatoes, crushing with your hands as you go, then herb bundle, Parmesan rind, if using, and 6 cups water or reserved bean cooking liquid, or a combination. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Add potatoes, reduce heat, and simmer until potatoes are tender and flavors have melded, 20–25 minutes. Add kale and beans; cook until kale is tender, about 5 minutes. Discard Parmesan rind and herb bundle.
    • Do Ahead: Soup can be made 2 days ahead (or 2 months if frozen). Let cool; transfer to airtight containers and chill.

    Pistou And Assembly

    • Pulse garlic and basil in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in oil, Parmesan, and lemon zest; season with salt. Serve soup topped with pistou.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

When Rhubarb Bolts

This is what you get when rhubarb bolts. Isn't this lovely?
It does not last more than several hours, but it was fun to see it in an arrangement.


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Meyer Lemon Ricotta Pancakes: Easy and Delicious


These are fabulous pancakes from Kevin Lee Jacobs who has a terrific blog and website at A Garden For The House at http://www.agardenforthehouse.com , but I did revise his version. I used ricotta cheese instead of cottage cheese, and added the juice of a Meyer lemon from my tree. Yes I am still getting Meyer lemons indoors. In about a month I will be setting my Meyer lemon on the patio. By then it will no longer be snowing. Yes we had snow yesterday.

Sprinkle your pancakes with confectioners sugar or pour some real maple syrup on them.

You know you could even add blueberries to the batter or top your pancakes with them.





Low-Carb Cottage Cheese Pancakes
Kevin Lee Jacobs
Ingredients for about 20 4-inch diameter cakes
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups cottage cheese (any fat content you like)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (or, use 1/2 cup gluten-free pancake mix)
Optional: 2 teaspoons sugar
Optional: 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Grease and preheat a skillet or griddle over a medium flame, or warm an electric skillet to 350°F.
Put all ingredients into the jar of a blender. Blend at high speed until perfectly smooth — about 15 seconds.
Ladle, by the quarter-cupful, the batter onto the hot surface. When air bubbles appear along the edge of the pancakes, flip them over, and brown the other side.
If you are not going to serve the pancakes right away, keep them warm on a baking sheet in a 200°F oven.
Serve with butter, pure maple syrup, honey, or whatever sweet substance makes your tail wag.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A Way To Garden with Margaret Roach

As you well know, I am a fan of podcasts. Margaret Roach's website and podcasts are fun and informative. She used to be with  Martha Stewart and was the lead gardening expert. She is still spreading the word on great gardening tips and information. Click here for more info. She even posts the chores for the month. Although she seems to be ahead of me in that department.

Oh to have her garden. It is so lovely. Also it would be great to hear her speak in person. As many of you know, last year around this time, I had a wonderful opportunity to attend a luncheon with  gardeners and P. Allen Smith. He was the speaker and what fun that was!



Sunday, April 3, 2016

Spring Has Sprung

Here are a few photos of what is going on in the garden. Mostly tulips, grape hyacinths, rhubarb and my garlic at this point. I planted Music garlic which has always done well for me.The garlic is really ahead of schedule. I usually harvest it the second week of July. We shall see if it is early this year.

We had a relatively mild winter compared to other years. However, we have had plenty of rain over the past several months. Everything looks so lush and beautiful.

A couple of weeks ago I planted lettuce, chard and kale which is just starting to pop up. I love this time of year.