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.

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.




  • 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


    • 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.