Posts tagged ‘chives’

The daily harvest

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I’ve written before about how something as simple as tending to a row of peas can calm frenzied days, and how flowers from the garden can lighten even the saddest days. My faith in garden therapy continues to grow. It’s been a spring and summer of gardening in five or ten minute stints throughout the day as I navigate the joys and challenges of being a new mommy.

Our little guy has his own chair outside on the deck and many mornings we enjoy our breakfast or lunch outside and I do the watering in between bites, or pick a strawberry or two for us to eat. Once in a while a weed gets pulled, but only in the food growing areas. The rest of them have free reign of the yard, I’m afraid (motherhood is doing wonders for curing my perfectionist tendencies).

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Best of all is going out, usually late afternoon, to harvest something good for dinner. We’ve had a steady crop of greens that I’ve been using in salad and pasta – rainbow chard, spinach, arugula, bok choy and more – since late spring. Cucumbers have been a success as well – from one little plant I’ve harvested at least a dozen full-sized cukes. Tomatoes are also collecting in a basket I keep on the windowsill. I’ve been picking them a bit green to encourage others on the vine to ripen up. The tomatoes I grew this year shot up sky-high, so it is a race to get the fruit before the plants topple over from the weight.

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We have plums, plums, and more plums. I have made six beautiful plum cakes over the past couple of weeks, and I might still make one or two more. The plums are wonderful for eating fresh as well. No one is enjoying them more than our 7-month old. Good luck eating one if he is in arms-length of you: he’ll reach over, grab it away and hoover it down with the most intense passion and focus. All that is left a minute later is a sticky, drippy, gooey mess of plum juice and slobber all over everyone and everything. Motherhood also cures you of caring about whether your house or shirt or arm is clean: I am in love with this kind of mess.

Apples, sadly are a bust this year, for reasons unknown. Last year’s harvest was incredible, so I will have to figure out what we did wrong so the pie-making can recommence next season. Tent caterpillars might be to blame. We found a pile of them nesting in the tree in the late spring, so I wonder if they ate all the blossoms. Last year’s apple sauce is still here, though, and almost as popular as the plums with our little guy.

Fresh herbs – chives, dill, sage, basil, thyme, and oregano – are all thriving in pots and in the garden. The ambitious me wants to dry mint leaves, lemon balm, lavender, and rose petals for tea. We’ll see if that happens this year, but for now I am reminding myself to brew up a pot of what’s growing fresh in the garden.

There will be time enough for tea bags all winter, and for weeding maybe some day. For now I will enjoy my five minutes here and there in the garden by picking something good to eat.

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August 7, 2015 at 11:18 am Leave a comment

Corn chowder

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A recipe for all the beautiful corn available right now. I have dill, chives and jalepeno peppers growing in my garden so I used those to flavour the chowder, and I couldn’t resist garnishing with the pretty flowers starting to form on my dill plants.

Corn chowder
Serves 6

4 cobs of corn, cooked and cut from the cob (save the water you boil the corn in to use as broth in the soup)
6-8 new potatoes (about golf ball sized)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 can coconut milk
1 red pepper, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped
1/4 cup chives, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

In separate pots, boil the potatoes and corn until cooked. The potatoes should be a bit overcooked (you want them nice and soft for blending in the soup). The corn should be a bit undercooked to make sure it keeps a fresh taste to it when you heat it up in the soup. Save the corn water for blending into the soup – like a corn-flavoured broth.

Saute the onion, celery and carrots (I used the big pot the corn was in to save on washing). Add potatoes and half the corn. Puree the potato mixture in a blender using the corn water until it’s the consistency of a very thick soup. Add back into the pot and stir in coconut milk, red pepper, shallots, jalepeno and the remaining corn. Season with salt and pepper to taste and heat until the soup is warmed through – about 10-15 minutes. Stir in the dill and chives just before serving. We ate ours for lunch with a slice of quiche.

July 30, 2015 at 11:34 am Leave a comment

End of summer garden

This weekend feels like the end of summer. The weather is still warm, but it is changing, as is the light, which is thinner now and less intense. Shadows are more pronounced and I see them invading sunny places earlier in the day. I don’t mind – there is something beautiful about the dance of tree leaves in the shade.

The plants of summer are still growing – yellow impatiens, a pot of blue forget-me-nots grown from seed that are just catching their stride, green tomatoes, mint, oregano and chives – but they’re slowing down. Two strawberry plants joined the garden this year and I’m pleased about that: from what I’ve seen in other people’s yards, they don’t wither away in the cold. I’m hoping the Asian greens will stay with me, too, if I don’t eat through them before winter arrives. Gai lan (Chinese broccoli) is the one below with the beautiful white flowers.

I’m looking forward to spending the afternoon outside on the patio in my wicker lounger chair saying farewell to summer and enjoying the beginning of fall. Next weekend I’ll find a garden store so I can plant kale, chrysanthemums, and winter pansies.

September 16, 2012 at 12:33 pm 1 comment

Gnocchi with chanterelle mushroom sauce


We hosted a dinner party on New Year’s Eve and with that I decided to tackle a long held goal: to make homemade gnocchi. I consulted several recipe books for different variations on how to make the actual gnocchi pasta and landed on Mario Batali’s version, along with a sauce inspired by my affection for chanterelle mushrooms.

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January 2, 2012 at 11:34 pm 5 comments

Strawberry salad!

A quick post to point you in the direction of my strawberry salad recipe. It’s strawberry season again and enjoying the ripe red fruit in a delicious salad is a rite of summer for me. I found beautiful BC-grown organic strawberries for sale at the corner store on our street this week and I’ve been blissfully eating my way through a big basket for the past two days.

I’ve updated the original recipe to include mint and chopped green onions along with the salad greens, strawberries and goat cheese. Those herbs combined with the creamy cheese and the juicy sweetness of the strawberries is a magical pairing.

Happy strawberry finding and salad eating!

June 12, 2010 at 8:28 pm 3 comments

Zucchini and tomato strata

Egg stratas are a favourite food of mine. They’re healthy and nourishing and one of those foods that can be made with an endless variations of ingredients and flavours. This weekend it’s ripe tomatoes and small organic zucchini along with fresh herbs from my patio garden. The dill tastes beautiful in this dish with the tomatoes and zucchini. If you make stratas, I’d love to hear about new ideas for flavour combinations.

The recipe below serves two to four people and can easily double or triple if you’ve got a larger group.

Zucchini and tomato strata
4 slices of bread
3 eggs
1 cup of milk
1/4 cup onion, finely minced
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped (or 1 teaspooon dried dill)
1/8 teaspoon paprika
Fresh ground pepper
1 tomato, diced
1 small zucchini, chopped
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup fresh chives, finely minced

Break bread up into small pieces and spread in a greased 9″ round baking pan. Whisk together eggs and milk and add onion, mustard and spices. Pour over bread. Scatter tomatoes and zucchini over top of bread and egg mixture and press down lightly. Top with cheese and bake at 375F for 25 to 30 minutes until egg is set. Sprinkle fresh chives over top.

Serve with muffins and fresh fruit for breakfast or with salad for lunch or dinner.

May 22, 2010 at 1:55 pm Leave a comment

Macaroni and cheese

Great mac and cheese is the holy grail of comfort food. I’ve been making the dish for a couple of years now and it has always been tasty, but never quite right. Until now. I think I’ve finally learned to cook my personal vision of perfect macaroni and cheese: creamy, cheesy, simple and delicate in texture and taste with a bit of heat from paprika.

I made this recently and there are two things I did differently than normal. First, I used tiny little bow-shaped pasta. Second, I added the pasta directly to the creamy sauce and cooked it in that until al dente. I haven’t tried it with a larger pasta like penne yet, but with these tiny little noodles (see photo below of their size next to a fork) it worked beautifully. Also easier and less clean-up.

The recipe below makes enough for a generous serving for two people. Double or triple for a larger crowd. It’s equally good served creamy right from the stovetop or baked with a simple breadcrumb topping. Serve with a green salad on the side.

Macaroni and cheese
1 small onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, parsley, chives etc)
1-1/2 cups water
2 cups milk
250g mini-pasta shapes
2 cups of grated cheese (I used cheddar and asiago)
1 chopped tomato
Fresh ground pepper
Pinch of paprika
1/2 cup breadcrumbs

Saute onions and garlic in butter until softened. Stir in flour and herbs. Add in water and stir until smooth. Stir in dried pasta and add remaining milk. Stir continuously over medium heat until the pasta softens, about 10 minutes. Add a splash of water or milk if you find the sauce is boiling down too much. When the pasta is very close to being done, stir in the cheese until it melts and then add chopped tomato. From here you can dish it into bowls with a sprinkle of paprika and fresh ground pepper. Or if you like your mac and cheese baked, pour the pasta into a greased casserole dish, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, paprika and pepper and bake for 10 minutes at 425F. (more…)

May 17, 2010 at 12:10 pm Leave a comment

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