Posts filed under ‘Recipes’

Northern Giants

Sunflowers are called girasoles in spanish.  Their yellow and black faces can be seen peeking over the tops cornstalks and fences throughout the garden.  Bringing joy to the gardener and bees to the plants, sunflowers are a must have in gardens around the world.  In many indigenous American gardens, sunflowers are planted along the northern edge of the parcel.  This is done  so they don’t shade out the garden.  In the northern hemisphere, the suns rays come from the south making it the sunniest side of the garden.  any tall plants or structures on the southern edge of the garden will shade out the garden.

July 25, 2012 at 11:24 am Leave a comment

Garden Fresh Tacos

Tacos are a great way to enjoy any fresh garden food.  Whatever you have laying around the kitchen and garden will taste great wrapped in a warm corn tortilla. Today we made sauteed squash tacos with queso fresco; garnished with cabbage, and fresh herbs.


– Cooking Oil (we used ghee but any cooking oil will do)

– Several summer squash

– Onion

– Cabbage (or lettuce)

– Queso fresco

– Corn tortillas

– Cilantro

– Oregano

– Mint

– Fennel seed

– Salt

– Salsa (optional)

First, chop the onion into small pieces and begin sauteing it in a pan with the oil.  Add a dash of fennel seed and some salt  While the onion cooks, chop the squash into smaller than bite-size pieces, and in a few minutes add them to the onions.  Cook until tender and remove from the heat when done.  To make the garnish, cut a few thin slices off the top of the cabbage; add cilantro, mint, and oregano leaves and chop together with a heavy knife.  When you’re ready to eat, warm up your tortillas and place them flat on a plate.  Put a Thick slice of queso fresco on the tortilla first.  Cover this with a healthy spoonful of the squash mix.  Finally, add the cabbage garnish and any salsa.  Fold the tortilla in half, making sure to retain contents as much as possible.  Enjoy your taco(s) outside with a cold beverage on a warm day for maximum flavor.

Fresh Garden Tacos from joe b on Vimeo.

June 7, 2012 at 10:02 pm Leave a comment

Fava Bean – Seed Bank to Dinner Table

Fava Beans are a great crop to grow in Coastal California.  They can be planted in the fall for a spring harvest or in the spring for a fall harvest.  Under the right conditions, the plants can reach over 4 feet tall and have long pods filled with big tasty beans.  When grown over the rainy season, irrigation is often unnecessary due the plentiful rain.  The leaves are edible, and often show up in gourmet dining establishments when they’re in season.  As a bonus, they can be used as a cover crop in the winter to reduce weed growth and boost your soil fertility.  A great addition to any garden, Fava Beans are easy to grow and fun to prepare.

To incorporate the all mighty fava into our garden I went to the seed bank at Subrosa last spring and procured some heirloom purple fava beans (about 5 seeds total).  I sowed these in the back of our parcel for the 2011 summer season.  After many months of growing, blooming, and finally drying, the fava bean seeds were ready for harvest.  I collected a basket full of dried fava bean pods  and brought them home.  After a few more days drying in the sun on my the porch, I shelled the beans and gathered them into a glass jar to save for later.  In the fall the whole parcel was sown with the beans in rows about 18 inches apart.  These hearty plants grew all winter with the help of the sun and rain.  In April, when the first seed pods were forming, I cut down three quarters of the plants and dug them into the soil for compost.  The remaining favas stayed in the ground a few more weeks until the pods were large and fully developed.  Last week they were ready, so I harvested three quarters of the remaining beans.  One row was left for seeds.

The fresh fava bean pods were brought home, and together we shelled the first bag of them.  The whole beans were then boiled for one minute and then drained.  After this, the beans have to be husked one by one.  Once this is done, you are ready to enjoy your beans.  Some people complain that fava beans are lot of work to prepare.  This may be true, but in reality the work is easy and goes by pretty quickly.  I feel that the ease of growing and harvesting of these beans makes up for the little bit of extra work in the kitchen.  And besides, if you grow your own dry beans, you have to shell them anyways, so the difference in work between favas and black or pinto beans is minimal.

We ate our fava beans over a bed of quinoa with a garnish of fresh garden oregano and cilantro with lemon juice and pine nuts.  A dash of salsa livened up the mixture with some fresh chile and tomato flavor.

May 26, 2012 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

Drying Herbs

When I have excess fresh herbs from my garden, I like to dry them and save them for the winter.  Harvesting is the first step in the process, much time can be saved by using appropriate techniques.  The best time to harvest most herbs is when the herbs have long stems with lots of large developed leaves on them.  The longer the stem, generally the easier it is to remove the leaves from the stem once dried.  It is important to harvest before the main stem starts growing smaller stems; the extra stems are harder to remove.  Remove distressed leaves while harvesting to save work later.

As soon as possible after harvesting, rinse the herbs under running cold water.  A quick pre-soak will clean up more dusty herbs very nicely.  To be extra green, save the wash water to use for irrigating later.  Give your herbs a good shake and then arrange them in a colander, or drying rack with lots of room for air flow.  In a few hours when your herbs are completely free of the rinse water, arrange them into bundles and tie them with string or ribbons. As the herbs dry you may have to retie them to keep the bundle together.  Hang these bundles in a cool dry dust-free place for a few days or weeks until the leaves are dry and fall off easily.

To remove the leaves,  hold the herbs over a large cookie sheet or baking dish with a lip.  Grab the stem of the herb with one hand and with the other, pinch the stem and slide your fingers down to the other end.  The leaves should fall right off.  As you work, pick out any stems that make it into the cookie sheet.  When you are finished, put the leaves in a jar and label it.  These little herb jars make great gifts.

May 19, 2012 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

Basil Pesto Recipe

Here is an easy recipe for pesto (courtesy of my mom).

Photo coming soon!

3 tbs. melted butter
2 cup of fresh basil leaves (washed and dried)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp. salt
2 garlic cloves
2 tbs. pine nuts
Grind up together in a blender or food processor.  Don’t overdo it.  You can also use a mortar and pestle or a knife and a cutting board.

mix in

1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 tbs. Romano cheese

Enjoy on pasta, toast, sandwiches, salmon, chicken, veggies etc.

May 10, 2012 at 11:01 am 1 comment