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  • Wednesday, June 17, 2009
  • So my red rubies are back this year.....andthey are here like gang busters! Last year I picked a heap and told myself I had to prepare for this 'picking sprint' this year. Well it caught me off guard and I looked yesterday and they have peaked already! So tonight off I go! Last night Broden and I did start picking and he had so much fun. I love that I am raising Broden along with the harvest....he loves all the waves of fruit coming in. My rule is - during harvest time you gorge yourself on that fruit cause it only happens once a year! That is what we did last night, just pick and eat and pick and eat. When I asked him what he wanted for dinner he said, "CHERRIES!"

    Here is something I just pulled from Mother Earth News, didn't know they were so good for you!
    "Recent university studies suggest that cherries can reduce pain caused by arthritis or muscle strain, help prevent Type 2 diabetes and possibly slow the growth of cancerous tumors: all great reasons to eat more cherries and even plant a few trees yourself."
    I will post some pics and recipes once I finish picking!

    Garlic Scapes!

  • Harvests are rolling in one after another! First strawberries, then peas, now cherries, and....GARLIC SCAPES! Last year I saw them, cut them, and did nothing with them. This year I am determined to try them out. I planted heaps of garlic so I have LOTS OF SCAPES, so this should be fun. For those of you that don't know what they are, I pulled these from other blogs/aricles:
    "If you are a garlic lover, but haven't ventured beyond the bulb, grab up some garlic scapes now while they're in season. These long, curly strands that resemble green beans gone wild are actually the early stalks from a garlic plant. Growers remove the scapes to encourage bigger bulb growth. Lucky for us. The scapes have a mild garlic flavor that works perfectly in soups, stir-fries, pestos or just a simple scape saute. When you see them at farm markets, bring some home to try in this quick dip that makes a perfect appetizer for an early
    summer gathering."

    "Garlic scapes are the flower/seed stalk that shoots up from the garlic bulb. I like the way they curl and from what I understand if they not cut off they will eventually straighten out and bloom. The reason they cut them off they is so the bulb can get more energy to grow bigger and better. The farmers’ markets and the CSA shares in this area are brimming with garlic scapes. Judging by the comments I heard at the market this morning, not everyone knows what they are or what to do with them. Tonight for dinner I’ll annoint them with some olive oil and grill them just like I do asparagus. They can be chopped thick or thin and added to salads and stir-fries. My favorite thing to do with them is to make garlic scape pesto. It is super easy to make and refrigerates well for several weeks in a well sealed jar. I also plan on popping some into the freezer to top off my winter soups. I use this pesto on brushetta, pasta, eggs, foccacia, and just about anything I grill like shrimp, salmon, chicken. It’s also fabulous added to mayonnaise and smeared on a big roast beef sandwich. Now I’m hungry!!! "
    So more from me once I try them, but here are some recipes I found online that I will be trying!

    1/3 cup sliced garlic scapes (3 to 4)
    1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice, more to taste
    1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt, more to taste
    Ground black pepper, to taste 1 can (15 oz.)
    cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
    In a food processor, process garlic scapes with lemon juice, salt and pepper until finely chopped. Add cannellini beans and process to a rough puree.

    With motor running, slowly drizzle olive oil through feed tube and process until fairly smooth. Pulse in 2 or 3 tablespoons water, or more, until mixture is the consistency of a dip. Add more salt, pepper and/or lemon juice, if desired.
    Spread out dip on a plate, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with more salt.
    The 6-7 garlic scapes, chopped
    approx. 1 c. olive oil
    1 c. grated parmesan or asiago cheese* (The latter tastes best.)
    Use food processor and puree the scapes. Add olive oil, add cheese.

    Choose scapes that are very young and tender, taking care to trim off the bottoms of the stems and the tips of the flower heads. The recipe that follows is best when made the day before serving and then refrigerated. Let it stand at room temperature before serving.

    2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
    2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
    8 ounces young garlic scapes, trimmed
    1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped tomatoes
    3/4 cup dry white wine
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper or to taste
    1 teaspoon salt or to taste
    1 tablespoon chopped parsley
    1/4 cup grilled haloumi cheese,cut into very small dice (see note below)

    Heat the oil in a broad sauté pan and add sugar. Stir to caramelize the sugar for about 2 to 3 minutes and add the scapes. Cover and sauté over a medium-high heat for no more than 3 minutes, occasionally shaking the pan to prevent the scapes from scorching. After 3 minutes, add the chopped tomatoes and wine. Stir the pan, then cover and reduce the heat to low; continue cooking 5 to 6 minutes, or until the scapes are tender but not soft. Season, then add the parsley and haloumi, and serve at room temperature.

    *You may omit the spinach or pine nuts, for example, if you don't have them, but they are nice touches.
    1-2 cups of garlic scapes
    1-1 1/2 lemons
    1 can chickpeas, drained.
    1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1-2 cups extra virgin olive oil
    1-2 teaspoons salt
    2-3 cups "tender" greens such as spinach, arugula, spicy greens
    mix2-3 tablespoons sesame tahini
    1 cup or more finely grated parmesan or romano cheese
    1 cup pine nuts
    Remove tops from 1-2 cups of scapes and reserve as decorations; cut in 2 in. lengths. Process with 1/2 - 1 cup olive oil in food processor for 2-3 min. until finely chopped.
    Add drained chickpeas. Add 2-3 tablespoons sesame tahini.Add juice of 1 - 1 1/2 lemons, seeds removed.Add 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste. You (I) want it to have an edge, but not to be overtly "Hot."Add 1-2 teaspoons salt - I use kosher, but any will do. Salt to taste, not too much.Process until chickpeas are finely ground. You may want to taste at this point to see if more cayenne is needed. Note that the sauce will "heat up" as it sits.
    Add 2-3 cups spinach or spicy greens or arugula, whatever you have, for more green color and to lighten the hummus. Process until finely ground and well integrated in sauce.
    I also added 1 cup finely grated parmesan and a cup or so of pine nuts, also all ground in for another minute or two. You want the sauce to be smooth for dipping. The raw scapes resist chopping so they require a good deal of processing. The end result will still have a little texture from the scapes and the pine nuts - a good thing! As a dip, finish by putting dip in a bowl and dribbling fine extra virgin olive oil over it. As a future revision I would add some lightly toasted cumin seed: heat 1 teaspoon whole cumin seed in a skillet until it begins to be aromatic; grind it coarsely in a mortar; mix 1/2 in the dip. Sprinkle the remainder over the top.
    This sauce / dip could as well be used as a pasta dressing or over a piece of fish to be baked. In this instance I served it as a dip in a bowl with peeled raw kohlrabi sliced thin and cut in half as chips. It got rave reviews.

    Season is passing in front of my eyes!!

  • Tuesday, June 16, 2009
  • So I am 30 weeks pregnant and for some reason I am really slowing down now...but my garden isn't!

    Quick update so I don't forget:
    • Just noticed tart cherries are peak and ready to be picked!!
    • Packed up 28 lbs of strawberries from Robs (picked three weeks ago), YUM! (SPENT $82.00)
    • Thought I had an ant problem eating my beans.....instead realized I have a BUNNY ISSUE!
    • Peas have peaked and are now finishing up (yummy season though)
    • Sprite melons just not doing well.......saddness
    • This week garlic scapes came out
    • EAting lots of chard, YUM!
    • Seeds in beets/carrot/lettuce bed not doing well......not sure if bugs or what
    • Beans finally coming up after my ant/slug/bunny issue (still fighting this furry animal)
    • New eggplant planted after the flea beetle ate last one
    • cukes climing up, same with butternut squash
    • Gold Rush squash in the ground
    • Corn doing FAMOUSLY!
    • Onion seeds didn't come up well
    • Tomatoes finally doing well
    • Straw bales doing well so far (acorn squash and tomatoes)
    • Herb bed doing pretty well, not all my seeds came up
    • Walkway garden is ROCKING......

    That is it for now! Gotta pick some Cherrries! Pics coming soon!

    Pure Beauty

  • Tuesday, June 2, 2009

  • Took this in the morning, and the picture came out great!

    Man.....this year is BIZARRE!

  • So this season is bizarre- started off HOT, HOT, got REALLY COLD, and now the days are HOT days and the nights COOL! Already I have some lessons learned:
    • Don't put out tomatoes and heat loving ANYTHING until you have 10 consecutive nights at 60 degrees. Tip from Gail. One of my tomato heirlooms didn't make it. Virginia coldness was just too much for this foreign variety :) Also my cukes and melons croked.
    • Bugs- with all of the rain we have gotten I have one zillion ants in the garden. I also had flea beetles devour my egglplant. SLUGS are also attacking my beans and tomas! So this year my approach MUST be different. Last year I shared with the bugs, this year they want more and I need to fight back.
    • Don't go crazy with internet gardening advice.....I poured baking soda over my beans to keep the ants away. Instead I killed the beans....oops. Next batch going in today.

    Overall everything looks good though. Progress includes:

    • heaps of strawberries! Harvesting now!
    • Peas are now coming in....they all go right into my belly!
    • Corn getting taller by the day.
    • Acorn squash in the hay bales looking great.
    • Herbs slowly coming up.
    • Next batch of melon seeds sprouting in the garden.
    • Squash bed built and 'cooking'.
    • New bed for pollinating flowers and squash is built, needs one more tilling.
    • Potatoes I planted last year are growing.
    • Cukes are up as well!
    • Kitchen garden planted along front path - no more flowers, only veggies this year!

      Below are some random pics:
    • Blooming peas
    • Kitchen garden. Growing golden chard, kale, and mini broccoli
    • Acorn squash on hay bale
    • Baby squash plants growing!