Monthly Archives: June 2012

Garden Update

After 4 days away from the garden, lots of work to do this morning, both weeding and plant care.

Still not sure what is going on with the cucumbers.  Might be bugs but I don’t see any, so it may  be a disease.  I have gotten half a dozen really nice tasty cukes and there are lots of babies on the vines, so I will wait it out a little longer.  It is odd because the winter squash, which is next to the cucumbers is thriving; I am not being too gentle with it, trying to keep it contained in its section of the garden.  Never an easy task.

The zucchini plants seem to be past their early issues and are producing nice fruits now.  Arielle made zucchini bread this morning and I will make a zucchini frittata for dinner.  Even the plants I tossed into the old compost pile are bearing – see pics:

     

The 2 half-rows of bush beans I planted 2 weeks ago have survived the birds so far, so today was thinning day.  I am hopeful that I may have some beans later in the summer.  I planted a few different types interspersed, so I will not know which they are til they start bearing their pods.

       

My main work was with my tomatoes.  When I went out this morning, the branches of every tomato plant were so heavily laden with tomatoes that many had broken or bent and were now resting on the ground.  I removed some of the broken branches and am ripening those tomatoes in a paper bag.  The rest I tied to the plant supports with garden twine. THe plum tomato plant is especially vibrant, lots of sauce will be made!

You can just barely see the brown twine in the center of the photo

More heirloom tomatoes

Just one little section of the plant, the whole plant has between 75 and 100 tomatoes on it

Still have some swiss chard – now it is the second round of the already harvested plants.  The okra plants are growing nicely now that they have sun exposure since most of the swiss chard is gone.  The leeks are getting thicker.  I have a variety of sizes now, so I will be able to harvest over a period of time instead of all at once.  There is plenty of parsley and basil.  And the pepper and eggplant plants all have fruits, just waiting for them to mature.

It is a fun time in the garden now.  A time of anticipation and the beginning of variety in my harvest.

 

Categories: Recipe | 2 Comments

Pesto

If I had to name the one go-to food in our house, it would be pesto.  Not only do I love it, but when my son refuses to eat anything else, pasta with “the green stuff” always brings a “Yes!”
I like to make a double batch and freeze the extra in one of three ways:
   – in ice cube trays (one cube per person is a typical serving)
   – plastic freezer bags
   – cute little glass jars (my new favorite).
Cubes provide the convenience of being able to defrost exactly the number of servings needed.  The plastic bags lay flat and store very efficiently in the freezer.  The glass jars look nice and using the pesto from them just feels a bit more special.
A go-to summer meal is to toss the pesto with pasta, and add whatever is in abundance in the garden:  steamed broccoli,green beans, sauteed zucchini, etc.  Sometimes we will add chicken or fish, but it is not necessary..  You can then grate a little more parmesan on top if you want.
PESTO
Play with the quantities til you get a taste and texture you like:
Put in a food processor (you can also use a blender, but it is more of a pain – if you do, put the oil in first):
2 cups (packed) fresh basil leaves, no stems
sea salt – start with about 1/8 tsp, you can always add more at the end
2 large garlic cloves, cut up
1/4 cup shredded parmegiano reggiano
2 Tbsp pine nuts
pepper to taste
Pulse til well blended and a good consistency.
Whatever you don’t use right away can be frozen.
Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Pesto, Recipe, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , | 12 Comments

Lentil Salad with Swiss Chard

This morning I picked the second-to-last large bunch of swiss chard.  There are still more bunches, but they are small second-growings of bunches we have already eaten.  I am in a bit of a hurry to finish the chard so that my okra plants (which are interplanted with the chard) can get the full light they need to grow strong.

It will be another hot day and my son and I have a play date at the pool for the afternoon, so I wanted to make a salad that could be made this morning and served at dinner tonight.  Thus, the lentil salad.   If you want to use it as a side salad, you can omit the feta.

Lentil Salad with Swiss Chard

1 pound lentils

3-4 cloves of garlic, divided

12 oz baby white potatoes

l bunch of chard – enough to make 4 cups of chopped leaves (from the garden)

3 Tbsp olive oil, divided

1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes

3/4 cup spring onions or scallions, sliced thin (from Filasky’s Produce)

1/2 cup chopped flat leat parsley (from the garden)

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp lemon juice

salt & pepper to taste

4-6 ounces feta

Pour boiling water over the lentils, covering them by at least 2 inches, and let them soak for 30 minutes.  Drain and put the lentil in a pot with well-salted water to cover.  Add 2 whole, peeled garlic cloves.  Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until the lentils are tender (do not overcook or they will get mushy). Drain again and discard the garlic cloves.

Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in salted water til they are tender, about 15 minutes.  Drain and allow them to cool completely.  Peel and cut into about 1/2 inch size pieces.

Wash the chard and remove the leaves from the stems.  discard the stems.  Chop the leaves or cut into thin strips.  Chop the remaining garlic.  Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a skillet.  Add garlic and red pepper flakes, saute for 30 seconds then raise heat to high and add chard leaves, cook, tossing, until they wilt.  Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp of vinegar and toss.

In a large, wide bowl, combine the lentils, chard, potatoes, spring onions, parsley.  Drizzle with 2 Tbsp of oil, 1 Tbsp of vinegar and 1 Tbsp lemon juice – toss til well combined.  Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.  If you are using feta, toss it in now as well.

Let the salad sit for at least 1/2 hour, taste again and correct the seasoning.  Enjoy!

Makes about 8 cups, enough for 4 large main dish servings or 8 side dish servings.

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Swiss Chard, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Zucchini Pasta with Tomatoes & Feta

And so it begins…zucchini time!

It is always so disarming, first a few cute little zucchini; a few weeks later and we will be innundated and no amount of zucchini bread baking will be able to keep up.  But the season here is usually short lived, our plants are prone to a disease and as fast as it starts, zucchini season will end.  So, I make the most of it while it it here.

We are starting the season with a quick dinner – zucchini pasta with spring onions, feta, grape tomatoes, fresh basil and garlic.  Hard to go wrong with that mix.   It is quick to make, start to finish it was about 20 minutes.

Zucchini Pasta

1 pound pasta, I used fettucini, but you can use whatever you want

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 pound zucchini, thinly sliced (from the garden)

2 spring onions, sliced (from Filaskys Produce)

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups grape tomatoes, quartered (not quite yet from the garden)

1 cup feta, crumbled

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (from the garden)

Salt and Pepper

 

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water.

While the water for the pasta is heating, prep the vegetables.  While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the crushed pepper, zucchini and spring onions.  Cook for about 4 minutes, add the garlic and cook another 3-4 minutes til the zucchini is tender.  Remove from heat.

Drain the pasta and add to the zucchini skillet. Mix through til the pasta is well coated.  Toss in the feta, tomatoes and basil.  taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Serve and enjoy!

Serves 4-5.

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Recipe, Tomatoes, Vegetarian, Zucchini | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Swiss Chard – White Bean – Tomato Ragout

Still harvesting swiss chard, but what new to do with it?  I wanted something really flavorful, and different from the dishes I have already made this season. Last year I had tried a few white bean/tomato dishes that were very tasty.  So when I saw a dish in Martha Rose Shulman’s Mediterranean Harvest cookbook for a ragout  of swiss chard and white beans, it was time to try it.  The recipe below is based on hers.

                           

I also was visiting Baxter Farms and Jay shared some of their freshly roasted soybeans (made from their own soybeans) with me.  I decided to crush some and add it as a topping for a little texture.

I was going to have an afternoon where I could fuss with it while I worked at home, so I used dried beans.  If you have less time, you can use canned beans, just make sure to rinse and drain them.  You would pick up the dish from the beginning of cooking the onions and tomatoes.

Swiss Chard – White Bean – Tomato Ragout

To make the beans:

1 pound dried white beans (great northern, canneloni) – soak overnight in 8 cups of water then drain

7 cups water

1/2 large onion, chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

bouquet garni – made of a few sprigs of parsley, thyme, a bay leaf and parmesan rind. (from the garden)

salt

In a large pot, combine the beans, water, onion, garlic and bouquet garni. Bring it to a boil and skim of any foam that forms.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 1 hour.  Season with salt.

To make the rest:

Beans from above or 3 cans of canneloni beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 large onion, chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 tsp dried) (from the garden)

28-oz can of whole tomatoes, crush the tomatoes with your hand.

1 generous bunch of swiss chard (3/4-1 pound) (from the garden)

freshly ground pepper

salt

freshly grated parmesan

crushed roasted soybeans (optional) (from Baxter Farms)

While the beans are simmering (or before doing anything with the canned beans), heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and thyme and cook about 1 minute, til fragrant.  Add the tomatoes and their juice.  Add salt to taste and cook, stirring often til it is cooked down and the mixture thickens, 15 – 20 minutes.

After the beans have cooked for an hour (or taking the drained beans), stir the tomatoes into the beans.  Simmer 30-60 minutes (30 if canned beans, 60 if dried).  The beans should be very tender.

Meanwhile, separate the chard leaves from the stems. Wash both.  Slice the stems 1/4″ thick and stir into the beans.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Shortly before serving, slice the chard leaves into slivers.  Stir them into the beans and simmer 5-10 minutes, til tender but still bright.  Discard the bouquet garni, add pepper, adjust salt if necessary.  Pass parmesan and crushed soybeans to sprinkle on top.

Serves 6

This is really, really good!!!!  Even my meat-lover really enjoyed it.  And the soybeans added a really nice touch.

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Carrot Salad Pita Sandwiches

What to do with all those carrots?  My carrots have grown bigger and more abundantly this year than they ever have, so I wanted a dish that would highlight them.   So, how about a carrot salad worthy of being a lunch in itself?  By the way, I attribute the quality of the carrots to the 10 years we have been adding our compost to the soil in the garden.

 

Carrot Salad Pita Sandwiches

Note:  You can play with the proportions to adjust to your preferences.

4 carrots, grated (from the garden)

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup raisins

4 oz container mandarin oranges or pineapple chunks, drained

2 tsp canola oil

1 Tbsp cider vinegar

Lettuce for lining the pitas, optional (from the garden)

Pitas, the number depends upon how stuffed you like them.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine carrots, walnuts, raisins, pineaapple/oranges, oil & vinegar.

Line pitas with lettuce leaves (this helps reduce leaks). Add salad in amount desired.  Enjoy.

If you plan to take these with you to eat later, bring the salad in a container separate from the pita and add when ready to eat, otherwise it will get way too soggy.

Categories: Carrot, Kosher, Recipe, Sandwich, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Raspberry & Dark Chocolate Scones

All I can say is, “Oh my goodness, these are wonderful!”  Another winner from joyofbaking.com.  I did not change the recipe at all (other than to use black raspberries), so I am referring you back to their page for it – click here.

I did have help making these, so I decided to include some of the pics…

Cutting up the butter

Whisking the yogurt

Ready for the oven

 

Categories: Breakfast, Cammy's Cooking Adventures, Dessert, Kosher, Recipe | Leave a comment

Fava Beans & Pasta

My meeting today took me near one of my favorite farms – Highland Orchards in Wilmington, DE.  They grow naturally, and grow a lot of fruits and vegetables that I do not, so I am like a kid in a candy store when I go into their shop.  Today I bought blackberries, black raspberries, red raspberries, snow peas (which I ate on the drive home), apples, spring onions and fava beans.  I am realizing that I am buying a lot of spring onions, perhaps I will grow them for next year.

I will post the raspberry scone recipe another day, but tonight it was pasta and fava beans.  I have never cooked fava beans before so it was part recipe reading and part experimenting with what I know we like.  The result was a tasty, satisfying dish that I would definitely make whenever I have access to fresh fava beans.

Fava Beans and Pasta

1 pound fava beans in the pods (or more) (from Highland Orchards)

8 ounces of small pasta

1 generous Tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic, sliced

2 large sprigs of parsley, finely chopped (from the garden)

2 spring onions, green part only, chopped (from Highland Orchards)

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp butter

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

First, prep and cook the favas:  shell them from the pods.  Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and prepare a bowl of ice water.  When the water boils, add the favas and blanch for 30 seconds.  Remove with a slotted spoon and put in the ice water.  Let it cool about 5 minutes.  Drain the beans and remove their skins.

Bring the water back to a boil and add the pasta, cook according to directions.

In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and cook the garlic, parsley and spring onions (reserve 2 Tbsp for garnish) til the scallions are soft, about 1 – 2 minutes.  Add the fava beans and about 3/4 cup of the cooking water. Simmer until the favas are tender, about 8 – 10 minutes.  Add the lemon juice.

When the pasta is done, drain it and add to the skillet, cooking and tossing til the pasta is coated .  Stir in the butter, salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with reserved scallions.

Serves 4

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Recipe, Vegetarian | Tags: | 1 Comment

The Garden

This morning’s harvest.  This will turn into pesto, a salad for lunch and garlic sauteed chard for with dinner.  I still need to figure out what I want to do with the baby zucchini.

People have been asking me what how big my garden is and what I am growing.  Here is the garden back in early March during our prep time.  We grow organically, only adding in our own compost. That is my wonderful husband doing the tilling.  The plants in the front are the strawberries.

  

Here are a couple of shots I took this morning, one from each end.

   

On the left, from front to back:  Strawberries (to the right, out of the picture are leeks, lettuce & carrots), open space where the spinach and broccoli were, rhubarb, rainbow chard, 3 types of peppers (jalapeno, serrano, pepperoncini), 3 types of eggplants, parsley, basil, and 9 heirloom tomato plants, cherry tomatoes and romas. What you cannot see are the okras that are just starting out in between the chard.

On the right:  cucumbers, zucchini (the large plants on the left), sweet potatoes, and several varieties of winter squash, including a few volunteers form last year, so what I get may be a bit of a surprise.

I had also planted snap peas, green beans and edamame, but this year the birds ate just about every pea or bean I planted 😦

In august I will add in some fall crops and maybe some over-winterers.  I will make the final decision on what as the time gets closer and I see what our weather is like.

 

 

Categories: General | Leave a comment

Garlic Scape Pesto

If you like garlic, you definitely need to try garlic scape!  And this pesto is a simple and quick way to truly enjoy it!

I had gotten garlic scape from Beechwood Orchards at the Univ. of Pennsylvania farmers market. Garlic scape is the shoot from the garlic that produces the flower and seeds.

To cook with it, cut off the seed head (the bulbous part on the end).

We still had some pistachios that my husband brought home from his visit to his family, I combined the two, added grated parmegiano reggiano and sea salt into a garlic scape pesto.

Garlic Scape Pesto

10 garlic scapes, cut into about 1 inch pieces (from Beechwood Orchards)

1/3 cup pistachios

1/3 cup shredded parmegiano reggiano

Pinch of sea salt (I used black lava sea salt)

1/3-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Put the garlic scape, pistachios and cheese in the food processor and pulse until medium-finely chopped.

Add salt to taste, process and add oil until it is the consistency you like.

  

 

Makes about 1 cup, which is enough for two 4-serving dinners.  So I used half and froze half.

To use with pasta, cook your desired pasta, reserve 1/4 – 1/3 cup of the cooking water.  Mix together drained pasta, pesto and enough water to reach desired consistency.

If you want to add meat, saute cut up chicken with sundried tomato and a little of the sun-dried tomato oil.  THen stir into the pasta

 

 

 

 

Categories: Garlic Scape, Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Pesto, Recipe | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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