About this time every year, Poppy’s garden is feeling it’s most giving. No matter how many tomatoes or cucumbers he gives away to friends and neighbors, he is still about up to his ears in fresh garden produce. For the past few years I’ve been pretty central to this scene, as we’ve either been living close to or actually with Mom and Dad. I’ve spent many hours helping work in that garden as well as helping consume all of it’s plentiful bounty late each spring. This year, I was more than happy to take some it off of Mom and Dad’s hands, and inspired to create some delicious dishes out of it all. To my excitement, everything I made turned out pretty delicious. And of course when Daddy is home, some sort of yummy dish is bound to be cooked up.
tomatoes and peppers from Pop’s garden, tiny tomatoes from the farmers market
It was such a successful week in cooking, that I decided to document it! That and also I’m hoping that next year when I have 20 cucumbers sitting in a basket I will remember how I made those great pickles last spring Hopefully documenting here will remind me what was a hit in our home- and maybe it will become a hit in yours too.
::The big bunch of basil in the corner of the garden had gone to flower and was looking a like it may be on its way out. I harvested a bunch of it and made fresh classic pesto. A huge hit with Asher, he has even been pretending to drink pesto in the bathtub. Basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper in the food processor, and in less than 10 minutes, a yummy snack. I just add each ingredient by eyeing and tasting until I like it. Jar it and eat during the next week, or stick it in the freezer and be prepared to bring a snack to parties all the way through Christmas.
:: Another way to use basil and tomatoes, and another summer favorite for our family, caprese salad. You can go for larger tomato slices and whole basil leaves, or the way we usually go, cut things down to size so that tinier members of the family can easily enjoy as well. I usually buy the perlini mozzarella (tiny balls) so all I have to do is cut tomatoes and basil, drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. So wonderful with freshly baked bread!
hardly got a photo before it was gone!
:: If you’ve got plenty of herbs, cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers laying around, and love a cold summer soup, then you’ve got to try gazpacho. I looked up several recipes online and this one from food network seemed simple enough. I like simple recipes that leave room for customizing to your own families likes. For instance, I added more garlic, and garnished ours with lime, cilantro, and of course for the daddy, had an extra tiny bottle of hot sauce on hand. This made a great stand alone dish along with some fresh bread or pita chips, but would also go great with something like fish tacos or grilled shrimp.
:: So how else to use up all of those tomatoes? Fresh jalepenos? Onions? Cilantro? Do you see where I’m headed?
Salsa of course. Easy, delish and a great offering to bring to the next bbq you attend.
:: Now for the cucumbers. After looking up several different ways to make pickles, I came up with my own, and behold, it was awesome! After only one night in the refrigerator they were so great that we polished off two small jars the next day.
:: For a fun family dinner and to use up the last of the tomatoes, herbs and peppers, we did homemade pizza. There is really nothing to pizza, you can go totally from scratch or you can buy everything ready made at the store and put it all together in your own kitchen. We bought a bag of pizza dough mixture and a few of the toppings that the garden didn’t provide for us. It was so fun to watch Asher put all his toppings on and peek at them as they baked. Homemade pizza is definitely more delicious than order out and so worth the little extra effort to make. Don’t forget the bottle of red wine for Mama and Dad
:: Asher had fun while I pickled, chopped and mixed making marzipan animals with Daddy.
his giraffe/dinosaur with a tiny chip hat
:: Even with all my kitchen activity this weekend, Daddy was able to sneak his time in the mornings. Quiche on Saturday and scones on Sunday. Daddy-cooked breakfast is the best around here.
These scones were called “scottish scones”. Filled with oats and currants, they were filling and perfect for pretty much any topping your heart could desire. Asher went for tiny chocolate chips and Daddy and I went for cream cheese icing. Honey, butter, jam or just a good ol dunk in the coffee would have also been perfect. Homemade breakfast warms my heart and tummy
Were you missing this face?
The angel as always, she was playing at feet, napping or riding along on a hip while we cooked and ate our way through the weekend. Poor Bits caught her first tummy bug this week and spent Thursday evening in bouts of throwing up. She is good as new now, and can’t wait until she can partake in meals like gazpacho and homemade pizza. Soon my love! First you need to grow a few teeth…
Our kitchen feels very loved now (and is also begging to be cleaned), so until more cooking successes need documentation, have fun with these! If anyone has their own twist or some other family favorites I would love to try them, leave a comment!
loving spring garden pickins,