So this is what I've been doing the past three days. We have just built two raised beds (there's another bed that's a mirror image of this one to the right). We felt we needed to do something to deter the rabbits, slugs, and French Bulldogs that devour our vegetables. My husband ordered 5 cubic yards of topsoil to fill the newly-built raised beds. Five cubic yards didn't sound like a lot to me, but when I found I could barely exit our garage after the delivery truck dumped it in our alley, I felt entirely different about how much 5 cubic yards actually is. Rain and more cold is on the way, so it most likely will be next week before anything is planted into the garden.
Next on our list? We're going to build a harvest table for the patio. I need a table to seat at least 10 people. Hopefully, after that is finished, we can begin hosting dinners for friends -- with vegetables from the garden!
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Each and every spring when I plant my vegetable garden, I place red cabbages at the corners of my "formal" garden beds.
My garden will NEVER rival the Château et Jardins de Villandry in France, but I am rewarded by the end of the summer with more red cabbage than I know what to do with.
So, what do I do with the red cabbages that aren't given away to friends? This season, I've been making Apple-Cabbage Slaw with Crystallized Ginger. It's easy, fresh, and delicious. And I always add more julienned apples than the original recipe calls for. Here's my version...
• Apple-Cabbage Slaw with Crystallized Ginger
adapted from Whole Living | 2010
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 5 cups finely shredded red cabbage
• 2 large apples (I used Braeburn) peeled, cored, and julienned
• 1/4 cup finely diced chives
• 2 to 3 knobs crystallized ginger, halved and thinly sliced
1. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt; toss together with the cabbage, apples, and chives. Sprinkles with the crystallized ginger.
TAKE a LOOK:
There are recipes I have had in my files for years. I am always tearing out, writing down, or copying somehow, anything that sounds good to me. This was one of those recipes. But whenever I ran across it, while rifling through my files, the ingredients were out-of-season. The stars were aligned this week when I pulled the recipe and had both August garden tomatoes and watermelon in my kitchen.
I am crazy for this salad! I served it with grilled chicken paillards, a potato salad with grainy mustard and sopressata, and green beans. If you'll be having a barbecue over the upcoming holiday weekend, MAKE THIS! I'll be doing a little traveling the next two weeks; getting away to celebrate our (40th!) wedding anniversary (yes, I was very young when I got married). And, I will also be visiting my family in Ohio. It's been quite a while since I've spent time with Antique-of-the-Week Susan, and I have yet to see the historical property, The Willow Tree, that my nephew has been renovating. Postings will most likely be few and far between the first half of September, but I will have my camera along, and plan to photograph The Willow Tree inside and out. A wedding is scheduled there during our visit, so I might also get a few photos of the event preparations. It will be a nice break from all of the projects and deadlines I've created for myself prior to my daughter's November wedding. Have a great weekend!
Tomato & Watermelon Savory Salad
recipe by Bill Smith | SAVEUR Magazine • September 2008
• 1/4 cup champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
• 3 teaspoons sugar
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
• a 4 pound seedless watermelon
• 1 1/2 pounds beefsteak tomatoes (I used Purple Cherokee and an heirloom cherry tomato)
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and cayenne. Quarter and thinly slice half of a small red onion. Toss it with the vinegar mixture and set aside to rest for about 30 minutes; this will help to soften the onion. Cut the flesh of the watermelon into 1-inch cubes and transfer to a large bowl. Core the tomatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes; add tomatoes to the watermelon. Right before you plan to serve the salad, pour the vinegar mixture over the watermelon and tomatoes, along with the olive oil. Season with addition kosher salt, if needed, and freshly ground black pepper.
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Oh no, it doesn't end with the cucumbers. Zucchini have taken over my garden and my yard. I cautiously approach the plants, slowly lift up the leaves, and there they are -- just what I feared -- zucchini the size of a watermelon. That's what happens when I ignore them for a few days. There are more zucchini out there than I will ever have an appetite for. Why can't the squirrels, mice, and my French Bulldog Pipi eat the zucchini instead of my tomatoes? Again, neighbors are the (grateful?) recipients.
And I almost feel as though I should apologize for passing along another zucchini bread recipe... Almost. I have done various types of sautéed zucchini, stuffed zucchini, and zucchini fritters. The one redeeming thing about zucchini bread (or muffins) is it freezes well. And that's what I've been doing; about 3 loaves a week. This time, the zucchini bread is studded with plump dried cranberries; tasty when spread with salted European butter :-P
• 1 cup dried cranberries
• 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
• 2 cups sugar
• 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
• 3 large eggs
• 1 cup canola oil
• 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
• 2 cups shredded zucchini
• 1 cup chopped walnuts
PREHEAT OVEN TO 350˚F
1. Place the dried cranberries in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let soak 10 minutes to plump; drain and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and nutmeg. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, and vanilla together until smooth. Add the zucchini and mix just to combine. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry. Mix until almost all of the flour is incorporated. Add the walnuts and plumped cranberries and fold through the batter until evenly distributed and no flour remains.
3. Divide the batter between 2 oiled and floured 9x5x3-inch bread pans. Place on the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake for 60 minutes or until done. Remove from oven and cool for 15 to 20 minutes before removing from pans.
It's July 1st and my garden has been planted for weeks. Tomatoes are on the vines. I've been picking and eating green beans for days. The zucchini plants are covered with squash blossoms. It is always hard for me to leave and go anywhere (even France!) this time of year. I worry about what will happen to my vegetable plants when I'm not around. Will the green worms devour my cabbages? Will the birds eat my strawberries? But most of all -- will my plants get enough moisture? After the recent heavy rains Minnesota has received, it's hard to believe watering should be a concern. But things have dried up and we are now experiencing extreme heat. So, what to do when it's the week of the 4th of July and my husband is ready to head "up north"?
Well... what you do is, devise a platform to attach the oscillating sprinkler to, secure it in place on top of the rose arbor, and put an automatic timer on the outdoor faucet.
During the practice run, it seemed to work just fine. I have the timer set for one hour of early morning watering -- which seems a bit excessive -- but by the end of a 90 degree day the plants are desperate for more.
Potted plants were moved near the arbor to benefit from the new sprinkling system, leaving the patio looking very bare.
So now, we can all relax for a few days (?)
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The weather so far this June has been incredible -- allowing many relaxed mornings in my garden. And while I wait for the majority of recently planted vegetables to start producing, I do have my rhubarb. And, I continue to search for different ways to use it.
With the Diamond Jubilee celebrations surrounding Queen Elizabeth this month, and the summer Olympics in London just around the corner, it seems like tea and scones are in order. Rhubarb Scones to be exact!
• Rhubarb Scones •
a recipe adapted from FOOD52
MAKES 12 SCONES
• 3 stalks of rhubarb
• 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 8 tablespoons COLD unsalted butter, cubed
• 1/2 cup vanilla sugar
• 2/3 to 3/4 cup heavy cream, plus additional for brushing onto scones
• Coarse sugar or Turbinado sugar for sprinkling
1. Preheat oven to 425˚F.
2. Slice the rhubarb stalks into 1/4-inch pieces. Toss with 3 tablespoons of the sugar.
3. Place flour, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine.
4. Add the cold butter and pulse until the size of small peas; then add the remaining sugar and pulse just until incorporated into the batter.
5. Transfer the flour mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the rhubarb pieces. Stir in the heavy cream, starting with 2/3 cup. Add additional cream (up to 3/4 cup total), until you have a slightly sticky dough. At this point, I knead the dough very briefly in the bowl; just until I feel that all of the dry and moist ingredients are evenly combined.
6. Divide the dough into two pieces. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, pat each mound of dough into a disk about 6-inches across. Brush the tops with heavy cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Using a sharp knife, cut each disk into 6 triangular pieces, separating them enough that they will not touch when baking.
7. Place the baking sheet in the center of the oven and bake the scones for 20 minutes or until golden. Remove to a cooling rack.
TAKE a LOOK:
My almost ripe tomatoes (that I wait all year for!) are missing!
One guess who did it.
Pipi has guilty written all over her face!
TAKE a LOOK:
Yes, Pipi's in my garden. Pipi is always in my garden.
But this is what I want to show you... GREEN BEANS! It was a slow start this spring and into summer, but all of my hard work is starting to pay off. I've been picking green beans daily, and tonight there will be a salad of roasted beets!
So, what did I make with the freshly harvested haricots verts?
... a pasta salad of penne, poached chicken and green beans with a dressing of olive oil, garlic, basil, and parsley.
As you can see, there will be red cabbage again this year.
More red cabbage in pots.
And Napa Cabbage -- a first for my garden.
Thanks for visiting!
PESTO GREEN BEANS and PASTA CHICKEN SALAD
1/2 pound Penne pasta
1 pound green beans (haricot verts, if possible)
3 cups cooked chicken, cubed
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
dressing: 25 basil leaves
15 parsley leaves
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves
salt & freshly ground black pepper
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and the pasta and stir. When pasta is cooked within 2 to 4 minutes of doneness (you will need to determine this by the size of your green beans), drop in the beans. Cook just until the green beans are tender. Drain; refresh immediately with cold water.
2. Turn the pasta and beans into a large serving dish. Add the chicken, reserving the 2 tablespoons pine nuts for garnish.
3. For the dressing: Place basil, parsley, mayonnaise and 3 tablespoons pine nuts in the bowl of a food processor and process until creamy. With machine running, pour in oil; blend well. Drop in the garlic and blend briefly. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Pour dressing over ingredients in bowl. Toss to combine. Sprinkle with reserved pine nuts.
TAKE a LOOK:
I ran across this recipe for Pipérade Tart the other day while I was going through my food files. I believe I clipped this recipe many years ago from a Gourmet magazine, altho' it was no where to be found during a recent search on-line at Epicurious. That tells me I clipped it many, many years ago. The definition of Pipérade is: (French) Tomatoes, sweet peppers, onions and garlic cooked in olive oil or goose fat until soft, then chopped herbs and beaten eggs added to the mixture and slightly scrambled. Served with fried or grilled ham and garnished with triangular pieces of grilled bread.
I always wonder, after I make something this good, why the recipe languished in my files for so long. I pulled it because I thought it would be a great vehicle for the bounty of tomatoes and sweet peppers I am still harvesting from my backyard garden. And after eating that first slice, all I could think about was when I would bake this tart again (a.s.a.p.!). I didn't serve the Pipérade with grilled ham as is normally done, altho' that is now my plan the next time around. I served spicy arugula with a red wine and dijon mustard vinaigrette alongside the Pipérade slices and I will certainly do that again.
This is a savory tart that works any time of the day. We ate it for dinner and I had the leftovers for lunch for following day. I'm having a houseful of people the end of October and this will probably be on a breakfast/brunch menu. The cheese crust stayed crisp after the leftovers were refrigerated, always a plus.
adapted from Gourmet Magazine
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 small red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
• 1 sweet onion, coarsely chopped
• 1/4 cup coarsely chopped scallions
• 2 large garlic cloves, minced
• 6 fresh Italian plum tomatoes -- seeded and coarsely chopped
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 7 dashes of hot pepper sauce
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
• 5 eggs, lightly beaten
• 1 prebaked Savory Cheese Crust (recipe follows)
1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over moderate heat. Add the red pepper, onion and scallions. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes. Stir in the butter and remove from the heat. Transfer to a bowl and let cool for 15 minutes.
2. Add the eggs to the cooled vegetable mixture and blend well. Spread the filling into the prebaked tart shell and bake for 30 minutes, or until the filling is set but not dry. Let stand for 15 minutes before slicing. Serve warm, at room temperature or slightly chilled.
SAVORY CHEESE CRUST
• 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
• Pinch of salt
• 4 tablespoons frozen unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
• 2 tablespoons frozen solid shortening, cut into small cubes
• 1 cup coarsely grated Cheddar Cheese
• 2 tablespoons ice water
1. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Cut in the butter, shortening and cheese until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the water, gather the dough into a ball and flatten into a 6-inch disk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 400˚F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into a 12-inch circle. Fit into a 10-inch tart pan. Trim the dough and place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
3. Line the pastry with foil and fill with dried rice or beans. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the rice or beans and foil and continue baking until golden. Let cool completely before filling.
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O.K. I totally get it. I understand why my husband wasn't crazy about this Peach and Tomato Galette
. We have been eating tomatoes day in, and day out; every meal. Omelets with cheese, basil and diced garden-fresh tomatoes for breakfast. Two pieces of toast, slathered with mayonnaise and plied with sliced, warmed-by-the-summer-sun tomatoes for lunch. Caprese salad or tomato bruschetta for dinner. And after all of this, I give him tomatoes for dessert!
I, on the other hand, thought the Peach and Tomato Galette
was absolutely wonderful. I have been hooked on the tomato-peach combination ever since last summer when I made Tomato and Peach Salsa
for the first time. Of course, only bake this free-form tart in August and September, when peaches and tomatoes are at their peak... a must!
• Peach and Tomato Galette •
The Heirloom Tomato from Garden to Table: Recipes, Portraits, and
History of the World's Most Beautiful Fruit by Amy Goldman
For the crust:
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 8 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
• 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
1. Place flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the cubes of butter and pulse until the size of small peas. Slowly add the ice water, pulsing to combine, until the dough just begins to come together. Flatten dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for two hours.
2. After dough has rested, roll dough into a round 1/8-inch thick and place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate while making the filling.
For the filling:
• 4 medium-size white or yellow peaches, peeled
• 6 small light yellow or white peach tomatoes ( I used yellow and red from my garden)
• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons plus 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1. Preheat oven to 400˚F.
2. Slice peaches and tomatoes 1/4-inch thick
3. Mix together the flour and 2 teaspoons sugar. Scatter over the bottom of the tart crust, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge of the pastry.
4. Place the peaches and tomatoes onto the pastry ( I did not use all of the fruit I had sliced), and sprinkle with the remaining 4 tablespoons sugar.
• 2 tablespoons butter, melted
• 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1. Fold the 1-inch edge of pastry over the filling and pleat.
2. Brush the edge with the melted butter and sprinkle with the sugar.
3. Place galette in center of oven and back for approximately 35 minutes, or until the crust is golden.
4. Remove from the oven and cool. Serve with vanilla bean ice cream, if desired.
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