Keeping things simple in a not so simple world

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going garlic

This past winter holiday, we received a lovely card with a picture of a garden plot full of garlic and the caption, “Ajo up the Wajo!”  (Ajo is Spanish for garlic.)  This card was announcing a very sweet gift of a plot of garlic.  Can I just say that this was the best holiday present ever?!?!?!


Well, that lovely plot has flourished!  And this week we harvested some of the scapes.


These lovely plants have all the flavor of garlic and are great for pesto.  I made a large batch, freezing two jars and keeping the other for a recipe I hope to share with you tomorrow.

Garlic Scape Pesto

The amount of pesto you make depends on how many scapes you have. I recommend about 6-8 for one good jar.
You should be able to purchase scapes at your local farmer’s market.

6-8 garlic scapes, cut into large pieces
1/8 cup olive oil
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup nuts – pine, almond or walnuts

In a food processor, process all ingredients together, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides. Adjust ingredients as needed.
Store in a glass jar. Freeze for up to eight months.

Serving suggestions:
Use like basil pesto on pasta.
Mix with eggs or in a frittata.




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rhubarb strawberry soup

The end of rhubarb season is upon us.  It is truly such a short season.  Though, many grocery stores do sell frozen rhubarb, it is not quite the same.

A favorite rhubarb treat of ours is rhubarb strawberry soup. It is nice on its own, as a breakfast treat or a great replacement for strawberry shortcake.

Rhubarb Strawberry Soup
It is important to use organic apple juice. Half of all pesticides used on produce are for apples because they attract so many pests and diseases. Also, a lot of those pesticides contain arsenic.

1 large bundle rhubarb cut (about 2-3 cups)
1 large container strawberries, cored and sliced (32 ounces)
1 jug organic apple juice (64 ounces)
1 large or 2 small cinnamon sticks

In a large stock pot, place the juice, rhubarb and strawberries. Bring to a boil and add cinnamon sticks. Reduce to a simmer and cook until somewhat thickened (about 15-20 minutes). The rhubarb will literally melt and the strawberries will become very mushy. Remove cinnamon stick(s). Puree in a blender or with a hand/stick blender.
Chill and serve.

Serving options:
Serve with sour cream or creme fraiche.
Pour over biscuits for a strawberry/rhubarb shortcake.
Add some silken tofu just before blending for a boost of protein and serve for breakfast.


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breakfast salad

I regret to say that I did not take any pictures of this lovely salad.  Everyone was so hungry after a trip to the pool, it was inhaled too quickly to  take pictures.  It is a salad perfect for brunch or a quick dinner after a dip in the pool.

Breakfast Salad

1/2 package of bacon, fried to a crisp and cut into tiny pieces
1-2 eggs per person, poached
Mache salad greens (also known as lamb’s lettuce)
Balsamic vinaigrette

Place a large handful of mache on each place with a sprinkle of bacon and 1 or 2 poached eggs. Drizzle some balsamic and freshly ground pepper, serve.

As an addition, some nice crisp asparagus would be a nice addition to this salad.

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salad and sangria

Tonight’s dinner was magnificent.  Truly exceptional.  I have to share it with you, because everyone was happy.  Even the daughter who doesn’t like bitter greens.


Salad Sicilia
Based on this recipe.

1 head radicchio, sliced
1 head chicory, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 head of fennel, thinly sliced
1 large handful of arugula
2 large oranges, cut into segments (save the remnants for dressing)
1 granny smith apple, thinly sliced and julienned
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup slivered almonds

Mix ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl.
For dressing: squeeze the remnants of the orange and add a splash of grapefruit juice. (While we like the sweetness of fruit juice that cuts through the bitter greens, the grapefruit juice keeps the dressing from becoming too sweet.) Add a touch of olive oil, a pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper.

We prefer to keep the dressing separate from the salad because the recipe makes so much salad (we have lunch tomorrow!) that if we were to put the dressing on the salad it would make it soggy.

DSC01474 DSC01473

Our new favorite cheese
Oh what would I do without Trader Joe’s!
Their Toscano with Black Pepper is amazing! I like it with Trader Joe’s rasin rosemary crisps.

Instant Sangria
And to top off an amazing dinner, we need an amazing drink.

In a blender mix 1 cup organic strawberries (de-stemmed and cored) and 1/2 cup blueberries with a splash of triple sec, simple syrup and a dash of cardamom. Mix with wine. Serve.


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garden and herbs update

Today I wanted to share with you an update on our garden and herbs. Lots of pictures, little text.
Gardening is hard work, but very rewarding. The kids get a huge thrill watching the little green shoots struggle to the surface.
Nothing tastes sweeter than the plants that you have grown and labored over. Whether you use them simply or in gourmet fusion combinations, they are a delight. I hope that this update inspires you to try some gardening on your own.


This year I planted several varieties of basil: lime, lemon, purple, Thai and lettuce leaf.  All were planted in containers, but I also planted Thai and lettuce leaf as seedlings to be planted in the garden.  One can never have too much pesto…


Coriander (cilantro)


This is the same chive plant I have had for 6 years.  It just continues to grow.  We use it most often for eggs with goat cheese.


Container garden is great for greens.  In this case, swiss chard.  Unfortunately, our son accidentally tipped the pot when the plants were still young and we lost several.  I will get more seeds and plant them after these are harvested.


More basil.

DSC01445Sage (same plant for 4 years).  This year I am going to try making a sage pesto.  More basil and some thyme.


Broccoli, carrots (yellow), peppers, leeks and strawberries.




Spring veggies:  Snap peas (several batches harvest already!), golden beets, purple carrots (variety dragon), red beets.


Golden beets and carrots


Oh, these beautiful carrots!


Red beets


Mounds of cucumbers (two varieties), golden and green zucchini (planted 2 days ago!)


Garlic!  And yes, we’ve already delved into the scapes!