You say to-may-to, I say to-ma-to. . . Wed, June 25, 2008

I won my bet! Farmer Richard owes me $1!! We have six beautiful tomatoes — all picked before July 1! I ate one raw right in the garden — still warm from the sun. Life doesn’t get much better.

Tonight we’ll have one of my favorite summer treats — Caprese Salad. A simple salad of tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella.

Easy recipe! Slice tomatoes and combine with fresh basil and fresh mozzarella and dress with olive oil, salt and pepper. We use Greek olive oil and mozzarella from Chapel Hill Creamery (that we can buy closer to home now with the opening of the Hillsborough Weaver Street Market!!). Simple and delicious!

Pesto! Pesto! Sun, June 22, 2008

It’s that time of year. Pesto of all kinds. We have beautiful basil in the garden — traditional sweet basil, lime basil, and even thai basil. We’ve also used the scapes (flower shoots on garlic pods) to make a delicious spicy pesto. My basic pesto recipe is below (I generally make at least a double batch because it freezes so well.). Feel free to substitute other herbs or garlic scapes for the basil or other nuts for the pine nuts. Serve over meats, pastas, potatoes or as a simple dipping sauce for fresh bread. Variety is the spice of life!


Basic Pesto:

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 4 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste

Combine the basil and pine nuts and pulse a… read more

Perfect potatoes! Fri, June 20, 2008

We’re digging potatoes now, too! We planted a United Nations spread of heirloom potatoes — everything from Russian Banana to Peruvian Purple to French Fingerling to Yukon Gold and even King Harry! They are beautiful. The potatoes pictured above are Crimson Reds and All Blues — a perfect combination for a patriotic potato salad.

We’ve been eating potatoes every way imaginable. Sauted with pork fat and onions. Boiled with butter and salt. Roasted with olive oil and rosemary. Boiled and then served cold in salads. The possibilities have so far been endless!

Email if you’d like more specific recipes. . .

Vive la France! Their greenbeans at least. . . Tue, June 17, 2008

This is such a wonderful time of year. Almost everyday, something new is coming on in the garden. Today we picked our first haricot vert — a french heirloom green bean. They are smaller and more tender than conventional beans and taste a thousand times better.

Haricot vert are incredibly simple to prepare. You snap off the ends (but not the the entire bean) and saute to taste. I tend to cook them with butter (I use fresh butter that we make ourselves but store bought works just fine) and tiny bit of lemon juice. Heat the butter in the pan. Let it just start to melt and throw in the beans. Saute covered for 5 to 6 minutes, add juice of half a lemon and saute uncovered for another couple of minutes.

It might have choked Artie but it ain’t gonna choke Stymie. . . Sun, June 15, 2008

I always love a good piece of advice from one of the Little Rascals. . . Unlike Stymie, the Coon Rock Gang is loving our first crop of artichokes! They were started in flats in the hoop house this winter and transplanted to the garden in mid March. And, this weekend we were finally able to enjoy the fruits of our labors. They were delicious.

Preparing them is much easier than you’d imagine. You simply cut off and thorny points from the leaves (and remove any outer leaves that have become brittle) and wash them well. To cook, put an inch or so of water with a touch of olive oil and salt in a pot and invert the artichokes in the water (so that the flower opening is facing down). Cover and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes — or until the pods fell tender when squeezed. Serve with… read more