Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Mind The Scape!

Yummy things to do with garlic while you're waiting for the harvest!

THING ONE: The Scape
(That's a fancy botanical word for a flowering stem, usually leafless, rising from the crown or roots of a plant. Scapes can have a single flower or many flowers, depending on the species.)
Anyway, for our purposes (to EAT and COOK), I just found out that the garlic scape is one delectable thing! If you're growing garlic and a scape comes up, by all means cut the bugger off and eat it! If left, the scape hardens and curtails further growth of the bulb (that's the garlic part you'll be wanting in the fall). Kim O'Donnel, the author of the recipe below, claims that the scape's a garlic lover's nirvana. She also suggests: dicing it into scrambled eggs, adding to a veggie sauté or using as garnish for rice. We only have one small scape today, so it's going into a stir fry tonight, but I plan to make this pesto asap!

Garlic Scape Pesto

1 cup garlic scapes (about 8 or 9 scapes), top flowery part removed, cut into ¼-inch slices
1/3 cup walnuts
¾ cup olive oil
¼-1/2 cup grated parmigiano
½ teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste

Place scapes and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and whiz until well combined and somewhat smooth. Slowly drizzle in oil and process until integrated. With a rubber spatula, scoop pesto out of bowl and into a mixing bowl. Add parmigiano to taste; add salt and pepper. Makes about 6 ounces of pesto. Keeps for up to one week in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

For ½ pound short pasta such as penne, add about 2 tablespoons of pesto to cooked pasta and stir until pasta is well coated.

THING TWO: Green Garlic Leaves!
Now, the point is not to denude the entire plant, which, once you taste it you may end up doing out of sheer exuberance. If you carefully cut off some of the long, green leaves of the garlic plant, and chop them up and eat them, you'll be really happy you did, and your plant won't feel the least bit stressed out. Last night I took some tomatoes, tossed them in olive oil, kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, and about 1/4 cup of roughly chopped green garlic leaves, and roasted them in the oven at 425 degrees for about 30- 40 minutes. The garlic melts and it's just incredible.

(a special thank you chef guru Celeste, who sat in the garden with me and showed me the green garlic leaf light...)


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!!!

If you want to be happy for an hour,
get drunk.
If you want to be happy for three days,
take a wife.
If you want to be happy for a week,
kill your pig and eat it.
But if you want to be happy for a lifetime,
become a gardener!


XXO Yvette

Monday, April 21, 2008

Another Artichoke Meal, Harvested By Madi And Ryan...And A New Recipe!

Recipe: Roasted Heirloom Cauliflower

The cauliflower I used for this recipe is a mixture of Purple Cape and Cheddar varieties. I got these at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market, but we scored some Purple Cape seeds from Seed Savers Exchange, and we have baby plants growing in the garden. These varieties of cauliflower are so delicious. It's not the steamed white stuff from the 70s, that's for sure! And what kid doesn't love eating yellow and purple veggies?

Cauliflower Heads, broken up into florets
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper
Lemon Juice

Preheat the oven to 425. Toss cauliflower florets with olive oil, a sprinkling of salt, some pepper, and squeeze lemon juice over the whole thing. Roast for about 20-30 minutes, until slightly blackend.



Thursday, April 17, 2008

More Thoughts On Saving Seeds...

This tomato plant came from seeds that Fred saved from last year's tomatoes by cutting a tomato in half, squirting the seeds onto a paper towel, letting it dry out, and then storing it in the garage (cool and dark), in a bag. So simple. Now we have a half a dozen Purple Cherokee plants! This practice is not only efficient and simple, but it has a deep hand in protecting the diversity of edible plant life on the planet. If you think this is waxing too poetic, just read the following article in Vanity Fair this month about Monsanto's Harvest Of Fear, which already un-feeds the world with its genetically modified terminator seeds (these are seeds that are manufactured to produce a sterile crop, thereby disallowing farmers to save seeds for the following year, thus forcing them to buy more seeds), toxic pesticides (buy any Roundup lately? If so, you're killing the fish!) and then tell me if small acts like this aren't of supreme importance! We've already started to see signs of impending mass-starvation due to farmers turning away from staples and onto corn for bio-fuels, raising the prices of rice and wheat so high that rural, third world folks will no longer be able to buy food. Now they're after milk as well.

If you're reading this and you want to know more, a new documentary was aired in March on French television (ARTE – French-German cultural tv channel) by French journalist and filmmaker Marie-Monique Robin, The World According To Monsanto, a documentary that most Americans won’t ever see. The gigantic biotech corporation is threatening to destroy the agricultural biodiversity which has served mankind for thousands of years. Please watch it. You'll be rushing to plant some tomatoes.


Wednesday, April 9, 2008


My dear friend and forever pal Annick turned me onto the incredible non-profit organization, Seed Savers Exchange. We've been ordering their fantastic heirloom seeds, and using their planting guides, which are a must!

Last weekend, we planted potatoes with the help of this LINK!
I can't wait to dig them up and cook them!

Exploring the Seed Savers site has really peaked my interest in the idea and importance of preserving the diversity of the foods we eat. It becomes extremely political, especially if one takes into account the race to corporatize the very essence of farming by GMO'ing as many crops as possible. This was a huge impetus to start this garden, as neither Fred nor myself wishes to put the Mind of Monsanto into our mouths. This year, Fred is growing Purple Cherokee tomatoes from seeds he saved from last year's plants. It is incredibly satisfying, and truly completes elegance of the plant-eat-compost circle.

The whole subject of saving seeds borders on the apocalyptic, if you really research and consider what is going on with our food supply. It is such a huge issue that the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) have created an organization called The Global Crop Diversity Trust, which is basically a giant seed vault in the Arctic, designed to protect the world's seed supplies in the event of global catastrophe.

To find out more about the The Global Crop Diversity Trust's Arctic Seed Vault, watch the 60 Minutes story on their homepage.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Our wisteria plant is going crazy this year. I've never seen it so filled with flowers (and bees and hummingbirds!). I had to take some photos of it just cause it's so pretty...

What kind of bird is that?

XXO Yvette

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Artichoke Recipe!!!

Last July, we planted several 4" artichoke plants (Green Globe and Purple Sicilian). The plants are now about 5' by 3' and are producing tons of little artichokes. Baby artichokes are so tender that other than the outer leaves, you can practically eat the entire thing!

Cook (kudos to Celeste for this recipe!!):
Prepare the artichokes by snipping off any thorns on the tops of the outer leaves.
Steam the artichokes for about 20 minutes (ours are pretty small (see photos), so if you have larger ones, steam them longer)
Cut the artichokes in half, lengthwise, and scoop out the choke.
Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.
Put on the grill for about 3-4 minutes and serve.

Chop fresh herbs and mix with mayonnaise (lately I've been using fresh tarragon and chives). Squeeze some lemon juice in, add fresh ground black pepper to taste, mix and serve...

PS. Don't forget to compost the waste!

XXO Yvette