Archive for July, 2011

July 24, 2011

Basil Bouquet

When you trim your child-sized basil plants and you get this splendiforous bouquet,

you have only one thing that awaits you on the day after the trimming…. PESTO!

Now, this is really not a hardship for us because we all (okay, all except The Picky Eater) love pesto.

So after a  quick run to stock up on the essential ingredients (we weren’t quite sure how much pesto we were going to end up making), we stripped our basil tops of their leaves, and began.

  • 2 cups of loose packed basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons lightly toasted pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Place in a blender, and blend until smooth.

8 batches later, here’s what we have!  Needless to say, the freezer is stocked…but I’m not sure if the pesto will remain uneaten until those deep dark days of February when you really really really wish it was July…

July 21, 2011

It tastes like pumpkin pie….

…said The Picky Eater as she tasted the yellow and green summer squash at dinner last night. This was not what I had expected. First, that she was willing to try it, and second, that she would like it enough to have seconds. All I did was slice the squash imto medallions, brush with olive oil, sprinkle liberally with garam masala, and broil for about 10 minutes or so. Such an unremarkable preparation that I didn’t even take a picture!

And then I decided to press my luck even further and asked if she would try the fingerling potatoes from our CSA and garden. Simply boiled and tossed with butter. And you know what? She liked them. And took seconds.

This is why we garden and CSA. I don’t think she would have tried them if they’d come from the store.

Who knows what tonight will bring?

July 16, 2011

Simple Summer Supper

In mid July, when your garden is overflowing with options, what should you make for dinner?

First, you need to inventory what’s ripe (and what remains from the CSA that needs to be prepared).

For us, from our garden:

  • tomatoes, both cherry and full-sized
  • lotsa lettuce, still (although I fear we may be at the very end)
  • basil, as tall as a small child

From the CSA:

  • pole beans
  • yellow summer squash
  • red onions
  • garlic
Looks like our menu will include:
  • Linguine with fresh tomato sauce
  • Sauteed beans, squash, and onions
  • Green salad
Making fresh tomato sauce to serve over piping hot pasta is one of our favorite treats of the summer.  Based on a recipe from one of my go-to cookbooks: The Only 25 Recipes You’ll Ever Need, this is incredibly easy and wonderfully delicious.
  • Begin with approximately 2 cups of fresh tomatoes – we used a mix of cherry tomatoes of different sizes and colors from our garden.
  • Dice the tomatoes.
  • Chop up 1/2 of a red onion.
  • Slice a handful of fresh basil – whatever variety you have handy.
  • Mince 1 or 2 or 3 cloves of garlic.
  • Place in a medium sized bowl.
  • Then add 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil,
  • 1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar,
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  • Gently toss.
Then serve over warm long noodles – we’re in a linguine space these days, but any shape will do.
Grate fresh parmesan on top.
Accompany with a green salad, sliced tomatoes with vinegar and parmesan, and sauteed veggies.
Eat well and enjoy!
July 10, 2011

Take Two Tomatoes

The birds, squirrels, and chipmunks will not emerge victorious this year.  No, after our post last week about Tomato Thievery, we have changed our harvesting practices and now bring in the tomatoes to ripen fully on our sunny window sill.

And ripen they did.

The Carbon is below in all her glory.

And here is what the Paul Robeson looks like when ripe.

So, we sliced them up.

Drizzled them with balsamic vinegar and shaved parmesan.

And enjoyed the taste of summer.

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July 9, 2011

Corny Cupcakes by The Picky Eater

It was the 4th of July, and the Picky Eater wanted to make dessert.  As any self-respecting mom, I, of course, have copies of Woman’s Day laying about the house, and the Picky Eater, for the first time ever, picked up one with a melon granita on top, and began to talk about how much she wanted to make one.  We discussed what we had in the house, and realized that we really didn’t have any of the necessary ingredients.  So, I told her to look at some of the other magazines laying around, and she found another edition of Woman’s Day which had these crazy corn-like cupcakes on the cover.  And this is what she wanted to make.

Since we were doing much better on ingredients for this one, we decided to proceed.

First, she gathered all the ingredients, and read the directions twice.

Mixing the ingredients is hard work:

Although we had bought extra icing as back up, she decided that we should really make the Brown Butter frosting. So, while the cupcakes baked, we made icing.

And then, of course, we needed to add the “kernels” and the “butter pats.”

And, they were amazing and perfect and consumed rapidly prior to the fireworks….

For those of you who might be interested in making your own, the full recipe can be found here.

July 4, 2011

Tomato Thievery

On Saturday afternoon, I was taking pictures of our garden produce, and planning to write an eloquent essay on the bounty that our family gardener had produced.  And so, let me begin with that essay.  To say that we have been luxuriating in an abundance of lettuce is an understatement.  Growing lettuce is so amazingly easy, and incredibly rewarding, that is amazes me that everyone doesn’t have a bed of lettuce outside of their back door.

But never being a family known to stop at one type of plant, we have, of ucourse, a good sampling of other produce.

Our Marketmore cucumber, grown from seed, has just produced its first three eatin’ sized cucumbers.

Our basil is as tall as a small child, and there will need to be pesto makin’ on the Family Foodies’ “to do” list this week.

And, we harvested our first baby potatoes – only three so far, but sweet and delicious!

But the pride of the garden has always been our tomatoes.  And, yesterday, at about 3 pm, I took pictures of tomatoes ripening, in anticipation of being able to pick them today or tomorrow.

At 7:30 pm, the Man of the House walked in with the ripening Paul Robeson, the one in the picture right above this paragraph, and showed me the devastation. I was so distraught, that I couldn’t bring myself to photograph it. It had been pierced, with a beak we believe, and most of its juicy insides were consumed. We did, however, cut out the bird-eaten part, and tasted the unstolen side. It was delicious, even though not fully ripe.  It made us long for the ability to eat a fully ripe Paul Robeson. It was a most bittersweet evening.

Apparently the long hot June means that the critters who live in our neighborhood really really want our tomatoes.  Some summers, we have limited thievery, but this summer our first two sun golds were snatched, and we have had to start picking BEFORE the tomatoes are all the way ripe, because somehow the critters know when the tomatoes are just about ripe….

Well, the plants have been quite productive, so we are hoping and praying for (1) rain, and (2) less thievery.  We have not had success with cayenne pepper, and haven’t quite decided to try fox urine, and aren’t entirely sure that we could actually make netting work given the location of our garden.  So we continue to hope and pray and pick earlier than we want to. But, maybe, with time and rain, we can let the tomatoes ripen all the way on the vine.

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