Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Pasta with Fresh Lemon, Tomato & Basil

Original Recipe by Miss Jolie Ann
Inspired by my friend Sherrie

My co-worker and friend Sherrie is a ray of sunshine in my life. She is full of smiles, affection, warmth and humor for all who cross her path. She even calmly puts up with me when I can't sit still because I'm so hyper from my otc hayfever medication. Ever since she has found out about my kitchen-garden blog and my desire to complete a cookbook, she's been unconditionally supportive and encouraging.

Sherrie and I share a love of fresh home-grown seasonal produce and homecooking. While sharing telephone switchboard duty at our workplace we often swap stories of garden and recipe favorites. If you doubt Sherrie's influence on me let me share the infamous Giant Red Mustard Greens story. I have never grown mustard greens or had any desire to grow them. I don't think I've ever cooked with them either. In early spring when Sherrie and I were getting to know each other she shared how much she loved eating home-grown Giant Red Mustard Greens. Well, I trusted her completely, no questions asked. How could i have missed out on Giant Red Mustard Greens all this time? I set out to find starter tray packs of this mystery vegetable. Every week I looked for it at work (oh yeah, just a reminder-we work in a plant nursery), has it come in yet? I kept bugging and bugging the veggie chicks Jenn & Lana, until finally it arrived. I planted it, it thrived in my garden and upon harvest and cooking it was delicious.

But, I digress....Last week Sherrie was enthusiastically sharing her current favorite dinner recipe "Boxcar." Which is essentially cooked spaghetti with a raw sauce of fresh tomatoes & basil. She and her husband ate it several days in a row without tiring of it. So, Sherrie's boxcar inspired me to invent this pasta with fresh sauce of lemon, tomato, basil & garbanzo beans. I threw in the optional garbanzo beans to add some protein. This recipe is quick and easy to prepare-throw together the sauce while the pasta boils. Serve at room temperature. Yum!

Love ya Sherrie!

In Health,
Miss Jolie Ann

Pasta with Fresh Lemon, Tomato & Basil

1 lb organic spaghetti or linguine --No linguine for Harry! :)
4 ripe fresh organic tomatoes-chopped
2 cloves organic garlic-pressed
Handful of organic basil leaves-cut into thin ribbons
Freshly squeezed juice of 3 organic lemons
1 tsp fresh organic lemon zest
1/4 cup organic extra virgin olive oil
Optional: 14 oz can organic garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
Sea Salt & Black Pepper to taste
Freshly shredded organic Parmesan cheese to taste

1. Cook pasta according to package instructions. (Usually boil 10 minutes...)

2. While pasta is cooking, combine tomatoes, garlic, basil, lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, and optional garbanzo beans in a large bowl.

3. Drain pasta, rinse with cold water, drain again. Place pasta in bowl with lemon tomato mixture. Stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let cool and come to room temperature. About 10 minutes. This also allows the pasta to absorb some of the tasty liquids.

4. Top individual servings with shredded Parmesan cheese.

Spring Panzanella Recipe from 101 Cookbooks

Spring Panzanella Recipe from 101 Cookbooks:

I absolutely love this recipe from Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks site ( ) I have sugar snap and snow peas coming out my ears as these 2 plants in my kitchen garden have kicked into overdrive. As my co-worker Steve T. says "I'm pee-d out." :) Usually my pea plants would have produced over a month sooner and wilted in the high temperatures of Portland's "suddenly summer." (In case you don't live here, that's from 70 to 100 degrees this past week) But, it's been a wacky weather spring, eh? With bowls and bowls of fresh picked peas, homegrown basil & thyme I tackled this recipe and was delighted by the colors, textures and taste. The veggies are bright green and the fresh garden herbs a flavorful compliment. It's a winner recipe for late Spring staples: peas & asparagus!

The only adjustments I made were to fit my kitchen-garden situation. I used my snow and sugar snap peas un-shelled, sliced into segments equal to the asparagus bites. And, I substituted baby dinosaur kale leaves for the spinach, because that's what I have growing in my garden. At Heidi's suggestion I used a whole wheat seeded loaf. Mine was a multigrain loaf from Trader Joe's that had wheat, rye, cornmeal, flaxseed, sesame seed and sunflower seeds. The bread was perfect with lots of texture, visual appeal and flavor. It was challenging to not eat the shallot-thyme encrusted bread cubes toasty hot straight out of the oven.

Thank you for this great recipe Heidi!

In Health,
Miss Jolie Ann

Spring Panzanella Recipe from 101 Cookbooks

1 lb loaf of hearty, day-old, whole wheat bread into 1-inch cubes
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme - just pluck leaves from the sprig
a couple pinches of salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch asparagus, cut into segments
2 cups peas, fresh or frozen
4 handfuls spinach
1/4 cup small basil leaves
In a large bowl toss the bread with the garlic, shallot, thyme, salt and olive oil. Turn the bread out onto a baking sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes - or until they are nice and golden and crunchy.

In a cold skillet pour in a splash of olive oil, a splash of water, and a couple pinches of salt. Dial up the heat and when the water starts to bubble stir in the asparagus. Cover, wait about twenty seconds, now add the peas. Cover, wait a few seconds, now add the spinach. Cover and cook just a few more seconds until the spinach starts to collapse just a bit.

Put the bread crumbs in a large bowl. Now pour the asparagus and peas and all the pan juices over the top of the bread.Give it a good toss, add the basil leaves and toss again. Serve the salad family-style on a big platter.

Makes about 6 - 8 servings.

Early July Garden Update

Greetings from the July 1st Kitchen-Garden!

Yes, my kitchen-garden has been full of activity the past few weeks. I've spent a lot of time outside working and have been very slow in getting my blog entries published.

Around mid June another succession crop of radishes, carrots and lettuce seeds went in and are all doing well. At this time I also planted 1 slicing and 1 pickling cucumber plant. I companion planted my cucumbers with chamomile and also a "black-eyed susan vine" on the same trellis to add some color. I continue to harvest lots of lettuce, sorrel, peas, parsley, cilantro, basil, oregano. The scarlet runner bean plants are snaking their way up the trellis. The strawberries underneath are pumping out tiny juicy berries. One of my parsley plants from last year has totally gone to seed, and I've let it be because the ladybugs seem to really like. And, I do not want to disturb valuable ladybug habitat.

The last week of June I planted a perennial butterfly garden for Tanya for her birthday. (More about that in another posting) I harvested a bunch of lettuce and mustard greens to make room for the zucchini and yellow patty pan squash plants. At this time I also planted an eggplant and bell pepper in large black plastic containers. I'm hoping this will really heat it up for these heat-lovers that I had no room for in the raised beds.

This was all just in time for the insane 100 day we had on the last Saturday in June. That was a brutal day. I gave the garden a really good soaking that morning at 6am before going to work. The only thing that appeared to freak out in the heat was the cilantro that went 5 feet tall seemingly overnight and bolted.

Today I harvested so many peas. I ended up pulling out all the snow pea plants to make room for the up and coming cucumbers. I'll leave the sugar snap peas in another week or two. We'll see how long they tolerate the heat. And, they need to be removed to make room for the up and coming yellow wax bush beans. I also did a second planting of basil and cilantro.

I've noticed a lot of holes in leaves and upon further investigation found a sack of tiny white eggs under a kale leaf. I think it's cabbage moths AGAIN. So, it's time for another round of BT solution spray. Those little buggers can wipe out everything if kept unchecked.

In happier news I continue to see ladybugs all over my garden. And, the birds still love my yard-bathing in the birdbaths and eating out of the feeders. There are a lot more blue jays this year which is awesome. I was delighted the other morning to open my bedroom shades upon waking to witness a hummingbird devouring the inside of a reddish brown nicotiana flower in the middle of my vegetable bed! The first hummingbird that I've seen this season--I'm so happy!

Due to the suddenly hot weather I've spent more early morning time in the garden watering around 5:30-6am before going to work. One morning I took my tea and sat in the middle of the garden for an hour until 7am. It was a totally quiet time, no neighbors making noise. Just me and the birds. (And, my cat Sashi running around like she was on crack climbing up and down the giant plum tree!) What a beautiful morning that was. It made me realize I need to spend more relaxing times in my garden just BEING not DOING. I got to bird and bug watch. I got more in tune with the slow natural rhythm of my garden and not my hurried waterings, weedings, or plantings. I really got to enjoy the fruit of my gardening labors and appreciate all mother nature has to offer when we slow down enough to breath in deeply and enjoy it all. And, I've decided that 5:30-8am is my favorite time in my garden...

In Peace & Happiness,
Miss Jolie