Archive for August, 2009
Do you harvest the seeds from your plants? I do. I know this sounds like a tedious, painstaking chore, but actually, for the most part, it’s not. And when you compare how easy it is to harvest a handful of seeds to what you would pay at a garden centre for a tiny envelope of those same seeds, it’s an easy and satisfying thing to do. I love walking around the garden in late summer and fall collecting seed pods from the plants. Already I have a stash of small jars starting to fill up with chive, columbine, poppy, tomato and cosmos seeds. Sweet peas and nasturtiums will be next – these are in their peak right now, but it won’t be long before tiny seed pods form in place of the flowers.
Here is a quick outline of a few of the easiest seeds to harvest. It’s probably no coincidence that they are also some of the easiest plants to grow from seeds. (more…)
A recent trip to the market yielded a giant head of fresh cauliflower from Beck’s Farm in Innisfail, Alberta, along with some locally grown garlic and onions. After browsing the recipes in this month’s Canadian Living magazine I decided to try their cauliflower risotto recipe. Here’s my version of it, with a few small tweaks. It was delicious! (more…)
I discovered this year that poppies can be amazingly easy to grow. In the spring (early May) I sprinkled poppy seeds throughout our gardens in the front and backyard. I was fairly liberal with them, especially in places where we didn’t have much growing already.
They were a smashing success. There was a veritable poppy field growing in the front yard, and for a couple of weeks, I could hear people passing by on the sidewalk exclaiming, “Look at all the poppies!” They were beautiful. They grew up tall and straight, some of them almost waist-high, and the sight of them swaying gently in the wind was a lovely thing to look out on. They’re just about finished now. I’ve cleared them out and hung a couple of bunches of stems with seed heads still intact inside the garage to dry, possibly for an indoor arrangement, or at least to harvest some of the seeds for planting next year. I’m not sure if they are perennial or not. I am sure, though, that the squirrels have done a thorough job spreading the seeds around the yard. Squirrels are incredibly fond of poppies. I’ve seen them perched on a tree stump or in the garden dozens of times now, happily munching away on the seed heads of the poppies after they’ve finished blooming. (more…)
These are the best blueberry muffins I have ever made, and possibly the best I have ever tasted. I’ve been making muffins almost once a week since the age of 16, so that’s saying something! These were made with fresh blueberries and a generous helping of lemon zest, slightly crispy on the outside and deliciously moist on the inside. Yum! The recipe is adapted from the Four Sisters Inn Cookbook, which I am steadily cooking my way through as the weekends wind by.
Blueberry Lemon Muffins
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup yogurt
1-1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1-1/2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup flax seeds
Cream butter and sugar. Add lemon juice, yogurt and eggs and mix well. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, lemon zest, blueberries and flax seeds and gently fold into butter mixture. Spoon batter into greased or non-stick muffin tins*. Bake for 15 minutes at 350F. Makes 12 regular or 24 mini muffins.
*I recently received new muffin tins as a gift. I especially love the mini muffin tin, which is the perfect and amazing Non-stick Goldtouch brand from Williams Sonoma.
Caprese (ka-pree-see) salad, aka the delightful combination of fresh tomatoes, basil and buffalo mozzarella. The latter is pricey (about $10 for a chunk that will serve 4 people), but worth it, especially in the summer when basil and tomatoes are at their most delicious. The salad pictured above was made with tomatoes and mozza from our local farmer’s market, and basil grown on our back deck.
Not sure this is even worth calling a recipe – here’s how to make: Place a few tomato slices on a plate. A combination of different coloured tomatoes is nice, as are the funky shapes and colours of some heirloom tomatoes. Use a serrated knife to gently saw off a few slices from a round of buffalo mozzarella and place the cheese on top of the tomatoes. Scatter some fresh basil leaves on top. Drizzle each plate with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and dust with freshly ground pepper. Eat!
Dead simple to make, but incredibly tasty.