French Laundry gardens

We celebrated my friend's 40th birthday with lunch at the French Laundry last Sunday. It was a wonderful day.


Before lunch, I went into the garden and took some photos of their produce.  Here are the garden photos to whet your appetite for the food photos.


It was lovely walking around and seeing all the different varieties of vegetables that we were going to eat.   Lots of color and different shapes and sizes.  I particularly loved all the different sizes and color of the eggplant/aubergine, and the long pointy tomatoes.


Food photos up next! Such creativity.
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July Harvest continues

The yum continues!  This has been a fabulous month for our home grown fruit and vegetables.


Delicious juicy nectarines!
Top of the list this month has to be our nectarines.  They are large and juicy and picking one perfectly ripe from the tree and enjoying its flavor is like a slice of heaven.  It feels like such a luxury to eat perfection twice a day!

But that doesn't take anything away from all our other goodies.

This month - in fact this evening- we've polished off the apricots.  We've enjoyed them most of all cooked with a little water and a single cardamom pod (removed before eating) and some cinnamon and cloves. The spices complement the fruit so nicely.  I was amazed at how the cardamom brought all the flavors together.

Apricots
The tomatoes are coming along well now.  Here they are prepared with some fresh basil, balsamic vinegar and Kite Hill Cassucio cheese which is a non dairy, vegan cheese made using traditional cheese making techniques, but using almonds and macadamia nuts.






Yes, our new collapsible bucket came out again for the harvest and was quickly filled up!


But I'm sad to say that our one failing this month was the padrone peppers. We had been enjoying them so much but couldn't keep up and have now learned our lesson. If you let them grow large, their heat grows exponentially!  I prepared one each for us to top a yummy mushroom risotto when my friend was here for  the weekend. I was the first to taste it - and gosh - was it powerful! To think that when they are small, they are quite delicate and you can eat them whole, seeds included.  Be warned - at 3 inches long - don't try eating them at all! Phew!


Yes, the red cabbage, purple potatoes and cucumber also continue. How many rainbows can two people eat????

Roll on August and lets see what yummies that brings. What's been your favorite this month?
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Freezer and cupboard soup

Do you make freezer soup/stew?  I love it! It's a way of clearing out and creating a new dish at the same time.


The idea behind it is that you use up some ingredients that have been open and lingering in the freezer or cupboard for a while, and put them all together to make a delicious soup or stew.

This one I made from the ends of bags of frozen corn, peas, edamame, and spinach.  In went a box of Pomi tomatoes, some cooked brown rice,  and a little water.

Then comes the exciting bit - spices.  Here's what I added this time:

  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • couple of pinches cayenne

It was the nutritional yeast that really made it.  It has that cheesy flavor that, to my mind, went so well with the rice.


So open up your freezer and use up a few things!  Create your own combination of spices to add and make soup to last you a few days.  Every time you make it, it'll be different!

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I love the fall

Along with our grape harvest, we are harvesting other fruits and vegetables every day too.  Here is what we've picked this week:

Cherry tomatoes by the ton!

Godello grapes, rescued before stomping began!

John's prize home grown watermelon!


My favorite fruit - fresh green figs with jammy red centers!

I just love this time of year!

We still have apples and pears in the fridge, lots of quince on the tree and veggies on their way.....

What are you harvesting or enjoying in season right now?
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Swimming in tomatoes!

The joy of growing your own fruit and vegetables: you wait for ages to begin harvest, then have masses all at once!
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Even with just two tomato plants, we are nearly overwhelmed with tomatoes! We pick them just about everyday but yesterday seemed to tip me over the edge. We've been managing just eating them raw, but I now know I have to get cooking with them. I'm planning on making some roasted tomato soup and then also trying some tomato sauce. I've never tried that before. Should be fun.

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For today however, I'm roasting some for my lunch and will have them on some gluten free toast.

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They are drizzled with blackberry balsamic vinegar, and sprinkled with homegrown oregano and marjoram. Hmmm. Here's the oil-free recipe. Can't wait for lunch time.

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Recipe: Balsamic Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
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Ingredients:
Cherry tomatoes
Balsamic vinegar - plain or flavored
Fresh herbs, such as basil, oregano, marjoram

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F/ 200 degrees C
Halve tomatoes and place on silpat or parchment paper on a baking tray. (It is important to use a non stick surface as no oil is added in this recipe.)
Sprinkle with chopped herbs of your choice
Drizzle with balsamic vinegar
Roast in the oven for 25 - 30 minutes.
Serve warm with crusty bread or on toast.
Store at room temperature for maximum flavor.
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