Garlic Scape Pesto

While working in the garden I remembered that it’s time to harvest the garlic scapes.

Why do we harvest garlic scape? So the plant puts it energy into make bigger bulbs and not seed heads.

The scales are tasty…like a mild garlic. Everything tastes better with garlic, right?

I made a pesto that I can use on meat or fish, as a dip for crudités, on pasta, or I can make a butter of garlic scapes, thyme with a little lemon to slather on toasted bread and add to other recipes.

Here’s how I make pesto. Harvest and wash a dozen scapes before they flower. Chop into manageable lengths and add them to a food processor along a quarter cup pistachios, a quarter cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and about the same amount of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Process until smooth and add salt and pepper to taste.

To make the butter, I let butter soften to room temperature and add the finely chopped garlic scapes and thyme. Squeeze half a lemon into the mix and let it harden in the refrigerator. I use a glass container with a lid. When I want a garlicky flavor on whatever I am preparing…I scoop a small portion out.

Happy eating from the garden. Don’t you love this time of year?

Amazing Peach and Rhubarb Kuchen Recipe

Peach Rhubarb cakeThe recipe for this wonderful kuchen can be found at:

Credit belongs to Edward Lee as this is his Peach and Rhubarb Kuchen Recipe.

I have to admit, I like kuchens. In the fall, I often make an apple kuchen that is a family favorite with apples, coconut and nuts. So when I saw this rhubarb kuchen recipe, I had to try it.

Turns out, it is delicious and the perfect not-too-sweet cake to serve with tea or coffee.

The only change I made was in using canned peaches. There were no fresh, ripe ones at the market.

The cake came out very well. I served it to friends and family and it was devoured…yes, I mean devoured… quickly. Poof. Gone in a day.

That’s a sign of a good recipe.

Dinner from the Garden

When I was outside this morning harvesting the tomatoes and eggplants I was very aware of the chill in the air. This could be the last gathering of fresh vine-grown plum tomatoes for the season.

It’s been a good year here at the house, I have 17 quarts of tomato sauce frozen for the winter.

What should I make for dinner with today’s harvest?

I’m thinking of an eggplant and tomato sauce with plenty of basil, garlic and onions served with good Reggiano cheese from the Italian store. I’ll get a couple of sausages while I’m there.

The idea makes my mouth water.

(Later that morning)

Here’s what I did after a quick shop.

The paste tomatoes were washed and added to a pot of boiling water. This loosens the skin. It only takes a few minutes, so don’t walk away from the stove. Then put the tomatoes into a bowl to cool. Once cool remove the skins…which just slide off. Chop and set aside.

Next, cut the eggplants into slices and sprinkle salt on them to draw out excess moisture. After about 20 minutes, rinse the salt off and cut the eggplant into bite-size morsels.

Chop an onion, three big garlic cloves, and the basil.

Add olive oil to a pan and cook the onions, eggplant, and garlic until golden. Next add the skinless tomatoes.

Simmer until the flavors combine.

Tonight, I will cook the sausage and serve everything over pasta. To add even more flavor, sprinkle the top with chopped basil leaves.

I’ll let you know what himself thinks.

UPDATE: He loved it.

Lemon Thyme Pound Cake Recipe

I’ve been planning the menu for a party.

And, I’ve also been thinking about a delicious lemon verbena cake I tasted recently in Cooperstown. I’m not growing lemon verbena this year, but I have plenty of lemon thyme in the garden growing as a groundcover around perennials. And, it needs trimming.

I bet you can see where this is going.

Sunday, I carried a good handful of the lemon thyme into the kitchen and made a Lemon Thyme Pound Cake.

The recipe is from Martha Stewart and can be found here:

It is easy to make, doesn’t require any exotic ingredients, looks lovely, has a wonderful aroma and was a five-star winner in an informal family and friends taste test to determine which cake recipe would be served at an upcoming garden party.

Martha Stewart made individual little bundt cakes. I made a loaf. It took a longer to bake because of the pan’s shape, about an hour.

Lemon Thyme Pound Cake
• 18 tablespoons (2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more for pan
• 12 sprigs fresh lemon thyme, plus more for garnish
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (about 2 teaspoons zest)
• 1 1/4 cups sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 6 large eggs, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in lower third. Butter pan. Dust with flour, and tap out excess. Coarsely chop remaining lemon thyme leaves to make 2 tablespoons; whisk chopped lemon thyme with the flour, salt, and lemon zest in a small bowl. Set aside.

Put butter into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream on medium speed until pale and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, about 4 minutes. Add sugar. Mix until pale and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, about 3 minutes

Mix in vanilla. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition; mix until smooth. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing until just combined after each addition.

Pour batter into pan and tap the pan on counter to eliminate any air bubbles. Bake until a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack, about 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges to loosen and unmold. Garnish with lemon thyme sprig.

I hope you enjoy it the fresh herbal lemon flavor!

I’m thinking of serving it with a dollop of whipped cream and maybe some edible flowers for decoration. . . what do you think?

Rhubarb Lemonade

I have made some unusual lemonades from the garden including basil lemonade and strawberry lemonade, but the latest recipe is a first for me. And I really like it as it is a tart, and refreshing drink. It’s lemonade made with rhubarb!


12 stalks rhubarb, snapped into pieces between 4 and 6 inches in length
10 cups water
1/3 cup sugar or as much as you like. I prefer to use a smaller amount sugar and let guests add more as they like.
Juice of six lemons
One lemon cut in slices for garnish or use
fresh mint sprigs from the garden garnish.

Bring the rhubarb and water to a boil and simmer it for on the stove top for an hour. Strain the hot liquid, add sugar and stir to dissolve. Add juice from six lemons. Cool and serve with a sprig of mint or a slice of lemon.

Pumpkin Cupcakes

I am making pumpkin shaped cupcakes for the Harvest Dinner next Monday.

They are fun to make and would be perfect for the holidays, too.

I purchased orange and white paper cupcake liners from Amazon, bought a bag of pretzel sticks, tinted white frosting orange and made my favorite chocolate cake batter. You could use store-bought cake mix if you wanted.

Once the cupcakes were baked and cool, I frosted them and twirled the little “pumpkin” in orange sugar (also available on Amazon). The stem is a pretzel stick broken in half.

The leaves are mint and from the garden.

This batch was a test run and will be shared with friends and co-workers tomorrow.  I hope they like them.

I think they are a sure thing. Who doesn’t like homemade chocolate cupcakes!

Roasted Radish Quiche

Hmmm. What can I make for dinner?

In the refrigerator were eggs, Half-and-Half, Havarti cheese and bacon. On the counter there were the Icicle radishes harvested earlier in the day, tomatoes from the garden, and a beautiful yellow onion.

Dinner would be a crustless quiche.

Here’s what I did. I washed and sliced the radishes into chunks, coated them with a little olive oil and roasted them for 30 minutes in the oven. This took a lot of the peppery bite out of them and gave them a pretty glaze.

Then I sliced three strips of bacon into bite-size morsels and fried until half done adding a chopped yellow onion and cooking until the onion was transparent. Next, I added the cleaned radish greens chopped bite-size and cooked them until they wilted.

In a bowl I whisked 5 eggs and a little Half-and-Half. Once mixed I added the Harvarti cheese cut into small pieces.

I coated a pie pan with olive oil spray so the quiche wouldn’t stick, filled it with the bacon mix and placed the roasted radishes and chopped tomatoes on top and poured the egg mix over everything.

Bake at 350º  until center is firm about 30 minutes in my oven.

Another nice healthy dinner from the garden.

P.S. My husband liked it.

P.S.S. The roasted radishes were really good alone. I plan to add these to a roasted vegetable side dish in the future that includes carrots, Brussel sprouts, parsnips, potatoes and more.

Cherry Tomato Sauce…Yum

This morning there were two large bowls of cherry tomatoes (9 cups total) sitting on the kitchen counter.

Now there’s a colorful and tasty cherry tomato sauce made mostly with ingredients from the garden. Some will be spread on Italian bread, with fresh basil and mozzarella for lunch.

And the rest will go into the freezer and used in soups and sauces this winter.

Here’s how I made it.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Clean the tomatoes. To remove the seeds, squeeze each tomato until the skin bursts and the seeds fly into the sink or a bowl. It’s a little messy.

Place tomatoes into 1/3 cup of olive oil with one tablespoon garlic paste mixed in, salt and pepper.

Coat the tomatoes with the olive oil mix. Place them in a roasting pan in the oven for 30 minutes.  Keep an eye on them. When done, the tomatoes are just starting to brown.

This is what is looks like when ready.

Let it cool and place some of the mix in containers for the freezer.

I kept a half cup of the roasted tomatoes to use immediately and picked some basil and parsley leaves from the garden. These I chopped fine.

Then I loaded a slice of Italian bread with the mix, added the herbs and a slice of mozzarella and toasted it under the broiler. Yum.

I could also see this sauce tossed on pasta with Reggiano parmesan cheese and a few parsley or basil leaves to garnish. Yum. Yum.

How easy is that?

Fresh Homemade Tomato Sauce

My garden is abundant with rosy red tomatoes. So yesterday I made a fresh sauce. I used my Grandmother’s recipe with a few tweaks.

It was so tasty, I thought I’d share the recipe.

20 Italian plum tomatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper, 2 onions diced, 3 cloves garlic, fresh oregano leaves and thyme leaves finely chopped

I’ve watched the Barefoot Contessa roast vegetables to  enhance the flavor, so I tried that with the tomatoes to see if it made a difference.  I cut the tomatoes in half, poured olive oil, garlic, onions, herbs, salt and pepper over them and tossed. Then I placed them on a cookie sheet cut side up and roasted them in a 350 degree over for about an hour and 10 minutes.  Check on them after 50 minutes to be certain they aren’t burning.

Let it cool. Put it all in a food processor. The results were delicious over pasta. I garnished the top of the pasta with fresh basil chopped fine and served it with grated Reggiano cheese.

And, I am happy to say there are leftovers for today. 🙂 – Natalie