Monthly Archives: June 2013

Cauliflower and Broccoli Farro

Every time I make farro I am surprised a how much I like it and wonder why I don’t make it more often.  Every single time.  But then I forget.  Months go by.  I don’t make farro, a bag sits in the pantry. Then I make a dish using farro and…am surprised by how much I like it.  It is a sad tale, but it is true.

Cauliflower & Broccoli Farro IMG_3555

This time it was the cauliflower and broccoli that grew in my garden that compelled me to make some farro.  I had a recipe from I have made several times for King Tut’s Cauliflower Farro that called only for cauliflower, but wanted more color, so I added the broccoli.  This would be good with other vegetables as well.

cauliflower & broccoli farro 6

Cauliflower & Broccoli Farro

Adapted from

1 1/2 cups farro

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 small head cauliflower (or half a medium head), broken into small florets (from the garden)

1 small head broccoli, broken into small florets (from the garden)

1 onion, diced

1 carrot, diced

1 celery stalk, diced

Kosher salt, to taste

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice


Bring a larg pot of lightly salted water to a roiling boil. Cook the farro at a boil until tender, about 25 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

While the farro cooks, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook the cauliflower, broccoli and onion until the cauliflower begins to soften and the onion starts to become clear, 7 to 10 minutes. (I like to cover the skillet for at least half the cooking time)

cauliflower & broccoli farro2

Add the carrot, celery and salt to the vegetable mixture, continue cooking and stirring until cauliflower is completely tender, about 7 to 10 minutes.

cauliflower & broccoli farro3

Combine the farro and vegetables in a large bowl, stir to mix evenly.  Pour the lemon juice over the mixture and stir.


Serve immediately and enjoy!

cauliflower & broccoli farro 6

Serves 3 to 4.


Categories: Broccoli, Carrot, Cauliflower, Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Vegetarian | Tags: | 1 Comment

Swiss Chard and Egg Bake

I do love making breakfast dishes for dinner, there is something very comforting to me in doing that.  I think also that it enables me to relax and make breakfast dishes that take longer than I am willing to take in the morning – I wake up really hungry every day, and waiting an hour to eat while I cook breakfast is just not something I am willing to do.  So, if I want a baked egg dish, breakfast for dinner it is.

Swiss Chard & Egg Bake 6

I found this recipe in Bon Appetit’s May 2013 issue, they call it Company Eggs and serve it with hash browns, a radish salad and a cocktail.  I served it with some freshly steamed english peas and whole grain toast.  Aside from being tasty, it was surprisingly filling.

Since only three of us were eating, I halved the recipe, but I will include the full recipe here.  All of the main ingredients in this dish are local – the swiss chard and onion are from my garden and the eggs are from Farmer Kim.  Having such a “local” dish  always makes me happy.

Swiss Chard and Egg Bake

from Bon Appetit

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, thinly sliced (from the garden)

4 garlic cloves, minced

Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper

2 bunches Swiss chard, (from the garden)  thick center ribs removed, leaves coarsely chopped – about 12 cups

1/2 cup heavy cream

12 large eggs (from Farmer Kim)

2 oz. sharp white cheddar, grated (about 1/2 cup) note:  I used sharp yellow


Preheat oven to 400F.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 8-10 minutes (with the onion fresh from my garden it took only half that time).

Swiss Chard & Egg Bake1

Add chard to the skillet by the handful, tossing to wilt between additions.  Cook, tossing often, until tender, 8-10 minutes.

Swiss Chard & Egg Bake 2

Add cream and simmer until thickened and almost evaporated, 8-10 minutes; season with salt and pepper.  Spread mixture evenly in a greased 13″ x 9″ baking dish.

Swiss Chard & Egg Bake 4

Using the back of a spoon, make 12 small, evenly spaced divots in the chard mixture.  Crack 1 egg into each divot.  Season eggs with salt and pepper. Sprinkle cheese over.

Swiss Chard & Egg Bake 3

Bake, rotating dish once, until egg whites are almost set and yolks are still runny, 15 – 18 minutes.

Swiss Chard & Egg Bake 5

Let stand 5 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

Swiss Chard & Egg Bake 6

Serves 6.


Categories: Breakfast, Kosher, Recipe, Swiss Chard, Vegetarian | Tags: | 1 Comment

Fun with Snap Peas – A Colorful Pasta Creation and Running Update

Snap Peas are in abundance in the garden, and they are juicy and sweet! Cam has been requesting snacks of snap peas every few hours – it does a gardening mother proud.

Even with our eating as may as we can right off the vine, I still have plenty for playing with at dinner time.

Snap Pea, Carrot, Avocado, Tomato & Feta Pasta 1

Once I started adding ingredients, I didn’t stop. The result was a fresh, colorful and very flavorful pasta dish that I will definitely be making again and again.

Snap Pea, Carrot, Avocado, Tomato & Feta Pasta 5

I am not sure what to call this, it is minty and lemony, it has a mediterranean touch, but it also has an interesting list of ingredients. Kaleidoscope comes to mind, but I think for now it will be “Snap Peas and Friends Pasta with Feta.”

Running update
It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t fast, but I did my 9 mile run yesterday. Still trying to figure out my best run/walk ratio, I am varying between 4:30 and 6 minute runs with 30 to 45 second walks. The good thing is that my leg seems to have healed, no pain during or after the run. My half marathon is in 4 weeks. I want to up my weekly mileage between now and then.

Snap Peas and Friends Pasta with Feta

12 oz. pasta (I used rigatoni, but any shaped or tubular pasta should work well)

8 oz snap peas, strings removed (from the garden)

2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2″ thick disks

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp unsalted butter

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp dried mint

Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1 avocado, chopped

4 oz Feta, cut into small cubes

Splash of lemon juice


Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water according to package directions. During the lat 3 minutes of cooking, add the snap peas and carrots.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add the mint and a dash of salt and pepper. Pour into a large serving bowl.

Snap Pea, Carrot, Avocado, Tomato & Feta Pasta 2

Drain the pasta and vegetables and mix with the garlic oil.

Snap Pea, Carrot, Avocado, Tomato & Feta Pasta 3

Add the tomatoes, avocado and feta. Add the splash of lemon juice and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Snap Pea, Carrot, Avocado, Tomato & Feta Pasta 4

Divide into individual plates and enjoy!

Snap Pea, Carrot, Avocado, Tomato & Feta Pasta 5

Serves 4.

Categories: Carrot, Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Recipe, Tomatoes, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Mexican Broccoli-Corn Lasagna

For the first time, I have had success with spring broccoli in my garden. Planting broccoli and cauliflower is usually an exercise in frustration for me, big beautiful plants that produce no edible parts.  I am attributing my success this year to our cool spring.  But whatever the reason, I am very happy!


The first head I harvested produced almost exactly 2 cups of florets, just the right amount for the recipe for Mexicali Lasagna I found in The Best 125 Meatless Pasta Dishes by Susann Geiskopf-Hadler and Mindy Toomay (another success from my searching through my friend’s cookbooks when they are not looking, ok, even when they are looking). I have adapted the recipe to my tastes and to my available ingredients. It was a big hit!

Mexican Broccoli Lasagna


Mexican Broccoli-Corn Lasagna


2 cups V-8 Juice

1 cup skim milk

1 Tbsp dried oregano (from the garden)

1 tsp garlic powder

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/3 cup water


2 cups loosely packed broccoli florets (from the garden)

7 oz can diced green chiles

Olive oil spray

15 oz part-skim ricotta

8 oz jalapeno jack cheese, shredded

2 cups frozen corn (from Filasky’s)

2 Tbsp parnesan cheese, grated

9 no-boil lasagna noodles


About 30 minutes ahead of time, set out the frozen corn to thaw.

Preheat the oven to 375F.

In a medium saucepan, heat the V-8, milk oregano and garlic powder. When the mixture is steaming, stir the flour into the water until well incorporated. Whisk this roux into the sauce and simmer over low heat, whisking frequently, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.


Meanwhile, steam the broccoli for 4 minutes, then rinse with cold water to cool. Drain and set aside.

Spray a 9×13 baking dish with olive oil spray. Ladle in 1/2 cup of sauce and top with 3 noodles. Distribute 1/2 the chilies over the noodles. Use a soup spoon to dot the chilies with 1/2 the ricotta.


Evenly distribute the broccoli and 1/2 the jack cheese over the ricotta.


Ladle 3/4 cup sauce and distribute evenly. Top with 3 lasagna noodles, pressing down slightly.Distribute the corn, remaining chilies, ricotta and jack cheese evenly over the noodles.

Spread 3/4 cup of sauce over the cheese and top with the last layer of noodles. Distribute the remaining sauce over the noodles and top with parmesan.


Cover and bake for 45 minutes.

broccoli corn lasagna

Uncover and bake for 10 minutes.

Mexican Broccoli Lasagna a

Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Mexican Broccoli Lasagna

Serves 6 to 8.

Categories: Broccoli, Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Recipe, Vegetarian | Tags: | 4 Comments

Qormeh Sabzi – Chicken Version (and making the green vegetables for freezing)

I have previously posted the beef version of Qormeh sabzi that I usually make, and it is very good.  While I was in Iran last week,  I got some tips from my sister-in-law, Nastaran, as she made it for our first night’s dinner.


One of the things she told me was that I can make it using chicken, that it does not need to be beef.  That was great news since we really do not eat much beef in our house (maybe once a month, if that often).  And surprisingly, the chicken version tasted just like the beef version. Some of the vegetables she uses are not found in our stores, so that adaptation I still need to make.  Mine does not come out quite a green given the different vegetable, it is a little paler due to the whites of the leeks and scallions.

qormeh sabzi with chicken 11

Another of the tips she gave me was to make extra of the vegetables and freeze them for use later and in other dishes. What a great idea!  So I did that as well with this dish, I started off with cooking the vegetables, so the recipe below includes a double batch of green vegetables.  This require a lot of vegetables, here is the parsley I used from my garden.

qormeh sabzi with chicken 1

I made this for a combined Father’s Day/Birthday dinner for my husband.  He was a happy man!  Thank you Nastaran for your great advice!


Qormeh Sabzi – Chicken Version

Green Vegetables (makes double what is needed, freeze the extra)

3 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 bunches leeks, chopped

4 bunches scallions, chopped (green and some of the white part)

2 – 3 bunches of parsley, chopped (from the garden)

4 Tbsp dried fenugreek

Qormeh sabzi

1 cup dried kidney beans

1Tbsp vegetable oil

2 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

1 small onion, chopped

2 -3 cloves garlic, chunks or minced

1 tsp cinnamon

1 Tbsp turmeric


1/2 cup water

Prepared saffron (1/4 tsp saffron ground with salt, 1 Tbsp hot water added)

2 – 3 dried limes


Lemon juice


Prepare the green vegetables

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the vegetables and saute until well wilted, about 10 minutes.

qormeh sabzi with chicken 2

Set aside. Half can be frozen for later use.

qormeh sabzi with chicken 5

Prepare the Stew

Soak the dried kidney beans in 2 – 3 cups hot water for 1 hour, changing water every now and then.

qormeh sabzi with chicken 6

Make the prepared saffron.

qormeh sabzi with chicken 7

In a pot over medium heat, add the oil, chicken, onion, garlic, cinnamon, turmeric, pepper and water.   Cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Add the vegetables and cook about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The greens should get dark.

qormeh sabzi with chicken 8

Add the prepared saffron, the beans and their water, and about 1 quart more water.

qormeh sabzi with chicken 9

Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook several hours (t least 2, but more is better).

Meanwhile, poke holes in 2 – 3 dried limes, soak in water (not hot water). Add limes with about 1 hour to go.

qormeh sabzi with chicken 10

Add salt & lemon juice to taste.

Nastaran adds 2 Tbsp flaked barley near the end (I do not have that yet, so I did not do that this time).

qormeh sabzi with chicken 11

Serve with rice.  Enjoy!!

qormeh sabzi with chicken 12

Serves 4 – 6.

Categories: Leeks, Main Dish, Persian, Recipe | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Saffron Cauliflower and Shrimp Pasta

The cauliflower is in!  All of my plants produced usable heads this spring, with no bugs.  What a nice change. The cool, wet weather this spring has benefitted the early vegetables, but I am not sure what the effect will be on my hot weather veggies.  The tomato plants are not happy and my okra disappeared.  Only time will tell.


Cauliflower has become one of our favorite vegetables to build a meal around. I usually pan or oven roast it; this recipe is a change, in that the cauliflower is steamed. This version is a very minor adaptation of a recipe by Deborah Madison’s Vegetable Literacy from Splendid Table.

saffron cauliflower and shrimp pasta

The orange pasta is a carrot squash pasta.  I had never tried it before, but it worked perfectly for this dish.  The flavor complemented the saffron very nicely, and it added some color to what would have been a very white bowl.

Saffron Cauliflower and Shrimp Pasta

(adapted from “Vegetable Literacy” by Deborah Madison)

1 cauliflower (about 1 1/2 ponds), broken into small florets, the core diced (from the garden)

2 bsp olive oil, plus more for tossing the pasta

1 onion, finely diced

2 pinches saffron threads

1 garlic scape, minced (from the garden)

1 pound gulf shrimp

Scant 1 tsp red pepper flakes

2 Tbsp dried parsley (from the garden)

Sea salt

8 – 12 ounces pasta bow ties, shells, or other pasta (we used carrot squash bow ties)


Steam the cauliflower florets and core for 4 minutes.  Taste a piece, it should be on the verge of tenderness, but not quite fully cooked.  Set aside.

saffron cauliflower and shrimp pasta2

Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.

Peel the shrimp, then saute over high heat in olive oil until pink and firm, after 5 minutes or so.  Toss with 1/2 minced garlic scape and some of the parsley.  Set aside.

saffron cauliflower and shrimp pasta1

Heat the oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saffron and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft, 6 minutes or so.  The steam will activate the saffron so that it stains and flavors the onion.

saffron cauliflower and shrimp pasta3

Add the garlic scape, pepper flakes, and a little parsley.  Stir, then add the cauliflower. Toss to coat with the seasonings.  Add 1/2 cup water, and cook over medium heat until the cauliflower is tender, just a few minutes. Season with salt, toss with half the remaining parsley and keep warm.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain, transfer to a warmed bowl and toss with a few tablespoons of olive oil and the remaining parsley.

saffron cauliflower and shrimp pasta4

Taste for salt, then spoon the cauliflower over the pasta, mix lightly.

saffron cauliflower and shrimp pasta5

Spoon into individual pasta dishes and top with shrimp. Enjoy!

saffron cauliflower and shrimp pasta

Serves 4 – 5.

Categories: Cauliflower, Main Dish, Pasta, Recipe | Tags: | 1 Comment

Kale, Tomato and Egg Tacos

I decided to finish off the kale in my garden to make room for the lettuce growing next to it. For a quick dinner with a good hit of protein, I made egg, kale and tomato tacos. A little wet and messy, but really good!

Kale, Egg & Tomato Taco 2

With all the greens that have been harvestable in my garden, it is a vitamin-rich time for us! I love it!  Next up – broccoli, cauliflower and peas!

Kale, Tomato, and Egg Tacos

2 bunches kale, torn (from the garden)

15 oz canned tomatoes with their juices, preferably San Marzano, crushed by hand

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp olive oil

8 eggs (from Farmer Kim)

1/4 cup milk (skim is fine)

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

8 whole wheat fajita-size tortillas


Heat a deep saute pan over medium-low heat. Add kale, tomatoes, garlic and oil. Braise for 20-30 minutes.

Kale, Tomato & Egg Taco

Meanwhile, make the scramble eggs. Beat together the eggs, milk and cheese. Cook over medium to medium-high heat, stirring to scramble as they cook, to your preferred level of done-ness. We like ours soft scrambled.

Kale, Tomato & Egg Taco 3

Heat the tortillas either over the stove or in the microwave. For each taco, lay a line of kale-tomato mixture and a line of eggs down the middle of a tortilla.

Kale, Tomato & Egg Taco 1

Fold into a taco and serve 2 per person. Enjoy!

Kale, Egg & Tomato Taco 2

Serves 4.

Categories: Kale, Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Vegetarian | Tags: | Leave a comment

The First 60 Hours in Iran

The first 60 hours of our visit to Iran are always the most interesting.  Since we take so many naps, it always feels like a week in those first two and a half days. This trip was no exception. In the first 60 hours we traveled by planes, trains, and automobiles, visited 3 different cities, slept in a 450 year-old caravan stop, visited a zoroastrian temple, I had my first 1st cooking lesson, and had a background check done by the military.



We arrived in Tehran around midnight Sunday, the day was spent visiting with family and spending time in the kitchen with Nastaran, watching and taking notes on how she makes her Qormeh Sabzi.  I will be doing several posts making adaptations of the various dishes she cooked, as each main vegetable comes into season in my garden.


Fun in the kitchen with Nastaran


Qormeh sabzi – green vegetable stew

Early Monday morning, we boarded a train for Yazd, a city in the center of the country, near to 450 year old caravan stops, a 1200 year old fortress and a 5,000 year-old castle/fortress.  It was great fun wandering over these well preserved sites.


5,000 year-old castle in Maybod


Zoroastrian temple


450 year-old caravan stop – our home for the night


Cam wandering around the Saryazd fortress, dating from sometime between the 1st and 9th centuries AD

As we traveled around, we hit a military checkpoint, the first I have ever encountered there.  Other than holding us up for 15 minutes while they ran some background checks, it was fairly unexciting.


Actually a rare shot of the officer not smiling

Our trip to central Iran was topped off with dune climbing and camel riding in the desert.  That was great fun! and also an opportunity for some wonderful pictures…


Cam on the camel with his cousin Leili


Wandering in the desert


the dune got really steep, Cam had to resort to crawling

Quite a bit for 60 hours!

After 8 days of visiting family, I flew to Istanbul for a conference.  Istanbul is marvelous!  And with the demonstrations, it was an exciting time to be there.  I was fairly sheltered at the university where my meeting was held, but even there there were student protest marches.


March at Bogazici University


The view from the university


Inside the Blue Mosque

And, of course, more food…!



Here is a preview of some of the other dishes I will be recreating from Iran and Turkey…


Gheimeh – beef and yellow split peas


Khoresh karafs (celery stew)


A typical meal – so much good food!


Joojeh kabob- chicken kabob with roasted tomato and pickled olives


Mediterranean salad #1


Mediterranean salad #2

Categories: General, Recipe | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

10 Most Popular Posts of the First Year

I will be back in the states in a couple of days, but while I am away, Adventures in Garden Cooking is marking its first anniversary (or is it birthday?)  I can’t believe the blog is a year old, I still feel very new at it.  I hope my posts and recipes have been of use to you; that is why I drive my family nuts saying, “Wait, don’t eat! I need to take a picture!”  They have gotten used to my keeping a camera in the kitchen and frantically snapping shots while trying not to burn whatever it is I am taking pictures of.  At least they no longer laugh when they walk into the room.

I had a wonderful moment recently was when I was editing a post. Cam, the 4 year old, looked at the picture and said, “That looks delicious!”  I like that our work together on the blog is helping to create a love of food and cooking in him.  I am hoping to have more Cammy’s Cooking Adventures this summer as we harvest from the garden.

Before I started writing this I looked at the stats from the blog and there are some definite trends….people read my recipes for basic foods, such as sun-dried tomatoes and pickled peppers, recipes with interesting combinations, and my recipes for Persian foods.  The blog has been read all around the world, by people in 70 countries, that is more than 1/3 of the countries in the world! That just blows my mind!

So, the top 10 posts of YEAR 1 were:

#10 Green Bean Pulau (Persian Rice Pilaf)

gbp16    gbp17

#9 Sun-dried Tomatoes in the Oven

sundried11 sundried10

#8 Corn and Poblano Lasagna


#7 Khoresh Bademjun – Persian Eggplant Stew


#6 Mashed Potato Latkes


#5 Pickled Jalapeno and Serrano Peppers

pickledjs8 pickledjs9

#4 Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells with Lemon Sage Brown Butter Sauce

butternut squash stuffed shells5

#3 Ali’s Turkey Meatloaf in the Slow Cooker

meatloaf5 meatloaf4

#2 Freezing Corn

Tube pan kernel cutting technique Press all the air out of the bag before sealing

#1 Zucchini Chocolate Chip Bread

zucchchocchip6 zucchchocchip5

I am really looking forward to this next year….so many things to grow and to cook!

Categories: General | Leave a comment

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