Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Saturday, June 20, 2009

What I'm Harvesting in My Kitchen Garden-Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice Eve Greetings!

Here in Portland we had an amazing mid-May with higher than average Summer like temperatures, that created an awesome environment for planting heat-loving vegetables a little early. My tomatoes, sweet peppers, basil, eggplants, zucchini & summer squash are already doing tremendous. I'm very excited for this year's harvest, I think it's going to be a GREAT season for veggies. In June, our weather has returned to it's norm for Portland--overcast, rain, some sunbreaks, and temps in the 60's and 70's.

I've been attending the east bank farmer's market in Portland each week since it opened in May. It's been really awesome to see it change every week. The beginning of the season was limited with lots of greens, fava beans, and some early root crops like carrots, radishes & beets. Suddenly 3 weeks ago it just exploded with the addition of strawberries, raspberries, squash & yes the first tomatoes of the season. I've really enjoyed going to the farmer's market with my $40 budget each week and bringing home what's fresh & local. Then I create my weekly meals exclusively around that produce plus what I'm harvesting at home. It's been a wonderful experience cooking & enjoying such simple local food.

In my own garden I harvest almost every day lots of home-grown goodies. My favorite activity is watering the garden. I do so by hand, not drip irrigation, so that I can spend time with my plants observing them for growth, pests & disease. These days while I'm watering I graze on copious amounts of fresh strawberries & snow peas. The other night after a dinner party, I brought my guests into the garden to pick their own strawberries. Then we whipped up some fresh vanilla cream to dip them in. Yummy. Here's a sampling of what I'm harvesting right now on the eve of Summer Solstice:

Arugula, Beet Greens, Radishes, Snow Peas, Strawberries, Fennel, Kohlrabi, Kale, Spinach, Sorrel, Lettuce, Basil, Cilantro, Tarragon, Rosemary, Oregano, Sage, Lavender, and lots of edible flowers: calendula, marigolds, rose petals, violets.

My ornamental alliums, zinnias, amaranth, and daylillies have just begun to bloom. The pumpkins, winter squash, and cucumber plants are just beginning to send out their vines. The blueberry plants are loaded heavy with fat ripening berries. The garden is a-buzz with bee's, hummingbirds, butterflies, and lots of other beneficial insects and birds. It's a magical place. This is my 3rd year with this garden. I'm very proud of it and I know it's going to be a great season!

In Health & Wishing You Many Blessings,
Miss Jolie Ann

Raspberry & Lemon Curd Muffins

Raspberry & Lemon Curd Muffins
Original Recipe by Miss Jolie Ann

Hi everyone!

It's the beginning of raspberry season in Portland. My raspberry patch still has a ways to go until it's ripe enough for eating. I picked up 2 baskets of raspberries from the east bank farmer's market on Thursday-one red, one yellow. The red raspberries were not quite ripe, still pretty bitter. Unfortunate. The yellow's were sweet and delicious. Today I'm enjoying a relaxing "pajama's" day staying in relaxing, reading. So I decided to whip up this muffin recipe to use the yummy raspberries. I created this recipe with all ingredients I happened to have on hand this afternoon. Including the shining star--homemade lemon curd given to me for Christmas by my friend Jemae. I think the sweet & tart lemon curd nicely compliments the raspberries. Enjoy!

In Health,
Miss Jolie Ann

Raspberry & Lemon Curd Muffins
Makes 1 dozen muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup spelt flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp all spice
2 brown free-range eggs
1 cup butter, melted OR 1 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup lemon curd
1 cup unsweetened plain soymilk
2 cups fresh raspberries

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease a muffin pan.
2. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir well until combined.
3. In a smaller bowl combine the eggs, butter & vanilla. Mix well. Add the lemon curd and stir. Add the soymilk and stir.
4. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients in the large bowl. Stir until everything is just mixed. Add the raspberries and stir to fold them into batter.
5. Fill muffin tin with about 1/4 cup batter to each muffin.
6. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 20 minutes until muffins are brown on the top and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.