Tag Archives: pasta sauce

But we got ugly tomatoes

Summer is ending, as I clean up my garden beds and mulch the rest of plants that reached their term I am giving extra room to those that did not get a share of the spotlight just yet. We finally have a steady production of peppers and eggplants which seem to have waited until now to start presenting us with their gifts.IMG_5200 IMG_5199 IMG_5198 IMG_5158 IMG_5159 IMG_5154 IMG_5144 IMG_5146

Our pole bean are about to reach their term. They are now rewarding us with a massive production of pods which we pick daily as they  turn from green to creamy. The pods are heavy with beautiful white seed which we are collecting and drying out to prepare soup this fall. IMG_5149IMG_5150IMG_5164

It is amazing to see how much we have already harvested from just 6 sq feet we planted, we first picked the green beans until we could not eat them anymore, and so far have over 4lbs of beans saved for the fall.   IMG_5151IMG_5168

Our tomato plants seem to be begging to be yanked out of the ground. They do not look beautiful and happy, instead, they appear as if tired of bearing the fruit still on their branches.IMG_5213 IMG_5214

The tomatoes themselves do not ripen as beautiful as they used to, some end up with cracks, or yellow tones on their shoulders. They are still good to eat, and we have been enjoying them nonetheless, but find us making more salsas, sauces and stews with them than before.IMG_5216IMG_5156 IMG_5166

To date, we have harvested a total of 169 lbs (76.8 Kg) of food from our garden, and we are still getting a nice production. The most surprising plants this season have been the cucumbers, which have given us 45.8 lbs (20.8 Kg) of large plump and tasty fruit from only 6 sq ft of garden space, and they keep on going strong. IMG_5182

I have already started our fall garden, and once all is done I estimate our production will likely surpass 100 Kg for the year. It takes work, no doubt, but for us it is nice to have such a nice extension of our pantry or vegetable drawer, where we just go for as much as we need to cook just before using it.IMG_5175

Please, visit, like and follow my facebook page for daily updates from our garden.

It is Pesto Friday

From a very early age, our youngest son developed an unusual taste for basil pesto sauce. Funny for an extremely finicky eater. He was probably the only child to open up a Tupperware container of “green pasta” at lunch time at school, and comeback home with garlicky pesto breath…we still wonder why we never got a note from his teachers…

Since then, “green pasta” has become a staple at our home, perhaps as common as mac ‘n cheese is on most other tables. We prepare pesto and hold it refrigerated during most of the year. In the cooler months we buy two full plants a week from the vegetable market, and quickly process it into sauce to preserve the wonderful flavor. Since we started gardening, Basil has of course been a main component of our garden, but it took us a couple of years to get into the rhythm of producing enough for our own needs.

We put the basil plants in the ground the weekend of Mother’s Day (when the risk of frost ends in our area). We have figured that 15-16 plants hold us up for the summer once in full production. Three weeks ago we had our first significant harvest of leaves, since the cool days lingered longer than usual this year.

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We make sure to use the immature flowers before they go to seed

Every Friday we harvest the basil early in the morning, as the the flavor is stronger at that time of day. We clip off the top 1/3 of the plants leaves, to keep the plants from producing mature flowers and going to seed, so they just keep on getting bushier with every harvest. We do use the young flowers and the very tender stems near the top, but discard the tough stems right next to the plants to compost. Our weekly production is equivalent to what you get from two full grown basil plants from the vegetable market.

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Portion of the plant that gets harvested

Our son, H, is responsible for making the pesto immediately after the leaves are collected. Our version of the Basil Pesto sauce can be made in a few minutes.

After washing the leaves in cold water, place them in a blender or food processor with 2-3 garlic cloves and 1/2 cup of olive oil. Blend at high speed until a thick paste forms, adding extra olive oil until all plant material has been processed. Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of parmesan cheese to the mixture an continue blending until homogeneous. And it is done. Some recipes call for pine nuts, but we find it does not add much to the flavor, and given the price of pine nuts we’d be flat broke by now. We keep the pesto sauce refrigerated in a closed container until we need to use it. If it is too thickwe mix a couple tablespoons of the water where we cooked the pasta with the portion of pesto we are going to use at the moment.

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This is our weekly basil harvest

Our garden is now producing enough to make a quart of pesto sauce a week. I was hoping to start freezing it and saving it for the winter months, but so far we have eaten all our production…I told you, we go through that stuff real fast.