Monthly Archives: July 2011

From the garden: Giardiniara

Standard

Photobucket

This week brought a bumper crop of red hot cherry peppers. I love these little beauties; they have a sweet hot punch. I’ve been racking my brain trying to think of a good use for them. And then I remembered Giardiniera: an Italian sweet hot pickled vegetable mix typically used as an antipasto. Perfect! And oh, so delicious!

Once you’ve tasted this deliciousness you’ll discover a million uses for it. Here’s a simple, but scrumptious bruschetta … I hate to admit it, but I ate almost a whole loaf of this perfectly toasted sourdough bread topped with Giardiniera for dinner along with handfuls of sweet cherry tomatoes from the tomato bush outside my door. Oh, I was so stuffed, but man was it good! The flavors of summer are intoxicating.

Photobucket

Or you can top an Italian sub sandwich (as they do in Chicago), or layer it on pizza, or a bagel with cream cheese, or mix it in with your salad. Or eat it straight out of the jar. Whatever, you’ll love it!

And it’s a great way to use up your summer veggies. A win-win in my book.

Oh, and did I mention it’s ridiculously easy to make? Uh, huh. Follow me.

Read the rest of this entry

From the garden: basil pesto!

Standard

Photobucket

Well, with all this heat my second round of basil has exploded. I just harvested five big ol’ bushes, which means I’ve got basil coming out my ears. This much basil can only mean the sweet deliciousness of pesto, baby! Woohoo!

I love pesto, but even I cannot eat quite this much of it. It’s time to freeze pesto, my friends. This recipe for vegan pesto has become a household favorite, even with my very picky pesto-loving Mister.

Pesto is so stinking easy to make and even easier to freeze for future use, it’s silly not to. Here’s my vegan take on the traditional pesto. And if you don’t like this just as much as the original, I’ll eat my Giants cap!

Read the rest of this entry

Why?

Standard

Photobucket

Why does Hannah choose to drink water from a jar full of flowers when she has a big bowl of fresh, CLEAN water not ten feet away?

Why?

Cats. Who understands them? Someone please fill me in.

Grateful and confused,
mic

From the garden: Kaleidoscope carrots

Standard

Photobucket

I’ve been cleaning up my alley garden in preparation for a new round of plantings. Yesterday I decided to pull up my carrot crop; I had neglected them a little too long. Aphids were starting to attack (I HATE aphids) and I forgot to thin them out as seedlings which means they were growing right on top of each, stunting each others growth. I decided to yank ’em, enjoy them as babies, and start the new crop while there is still plenty of time in the season.

Holy baloney, don’t these colors look incredible? I’m so happy I went with the Kaleidoscope Mix from Cooks Garden. It was one of my few splurges on seeds. For the majority of my planting I pick up seeds at the local Walmart or garden center for $1-2 a pack. These seeds were $4.95. But look at the colors! They’re beautiful! Who doesn’t want to eat that?

Read the rest of this entry

Gardening galore

Standard

Photobucket

Sorry for the silence, but I’ve been recovering from finals by tackling the gardens that I neglected during finals. Unfortunately, there’s still more to do … I’ll have plenty of pictures in the next few days. In the meantime, here’s a quick shot of the latest flowers from the garden: hydrangeas.

Bok choy for breakfast?

Standard

Photobucket

Currently, my local farmers’ market is overflowing in bok choy. On Thursday I picked up 10 little baby boks that were 5 for $1. I love baby boks and man, can you believe the price? I couldn’t resist. With so many baby boks on hand I challenged myself to come up with new ways to use ’em. First up: breakfast.

Bok choy for breakfast sounds a little strange doesn’t it? Believe me, it’s delicious and perfect for morning when you pair it with honey and cinnamon.

I don’t get up in the morning and crave the harsher greens like collards and mustards, but bok choy, especially baby bok choy has a soft and almost sweet flavor that seems just right for sleepy weekend mornings … like a comfy, cozy bowl of oatmeal, it’s warm and soothing.

Also, this dish couldn’t be faster or easier …

  1. Saute some baby boks (no need to chop ’em, just throw them in whole) in a swirl of oil (I use grapeseed, but safflower would have also been terrific. I didn’t want the overwhelming taste of olive oil with my cinnamon and honey.)
  2. About two minutes in drizzle a little honey on top and sprinkle generously with cinnamon.
  3. Add prunes and continue to saute another 3-4 minutes until baby boks are nice and wilted.

Voila! Fast, easy, comforting, sweet greens for breakfast. I ate this on its own paired with a hot cup of tea and it was divine, but I think it would also be a wonderful addition to a Sunday brunch, say with a spinach and cheese frittata.

Enjoy!

Holy yum!

Standard

Photobucket

The abundance of fruit in the summertime calls for fruit pies and cobblers. I particularly love cobblers for their easy preparation and flexibility of fruit to dough ratio. I like more fruit and less dough in my cobblers.

I’m always trying new recipes in search of dishes that are “even better” … and this cobbler topping has landed on my Holy Yum! list. I couldn’t get Jack to stop eating it right out of the pan. We both loved this cobbler topping and I stuck a copy of the recipe in our “family cookbook”, which means it’s pretty darn special. In the past 18 months I have only tucked three recipes in there and this was one.

Plus, for those who care this recipe is vegan, has a low sugar GI and is probably the healthiest recipe that I’ve come across. Jack kept asking: How much butter was in there? None. How much sugar? No refined sugar at all. He gave me the squinty eye. Impossible!

What can I say, as far as cobbler toppings go it’s pretty darn healthy. What a boon that it’s the best tasting one, too!

This is a very generous recipe—I used half on my cobbler and added the rest to our homemade granola. It was delicious and didn’t last long!

Here you go, I hope you enjoy it as much as we have >>

Read the rest of this entry

Vegans aren’t just granolas anymore

Standard

A couple of months ago my mother-in-law, Jeanne, asked me to send her some vegan recipes. While putting together my list I ran across Vegan Black Metal Chef and his videos. I laughed all the way through the making of “Phad Thai”. And now I covet his awesome knife. Screw the standard chef’s knife, what I need is one like his!

 So, Jeanne … uhm, these are for you. 🙂