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02 July 2008

in the jardin

Here is how the garden is looking just over a month after planting. We've been mandating weeding time from the kids each morning and so this is probably the most successfully tended/weeded garden we've ever had. It's in a tucked away corner of the yard, easy to forget about if you want to- but we're on top of it this year. We didn't plant a garden last summer (2 months in Europe) so I think we're all extra excited to get our hands dirty and have some fresh veggies in time.
Morning weeding after working out is one of my favorite times of the day (thanks in part to the umbrella), it's a good time to get a little personal chit-chat time with the kids too- they usually wander out after a bowl of cereal, generally willing to help out and get their hands dirty.
I have vivid memories weeding as a child- mostly positive. Except the one time I came face to face with a big fat tomato worm at very close range... I think that might be one of the reasons I despised tomatoes for so long.

Ahhh... the basil, (and dill and cilantro behind that, then the onions, peppers and bush beans in the back...). I've been babying these plants because there is nothing in the world better than fresh basil when it comes to summer cooking. Pesto is perhaps my kids favorite food flavor. They get very upset when I try to pass off store bought pesto in the winter. Every fall- forced by the impending frost, I spend a day in the kitchen using every last sprig of basil I can find from my garden and madly make batch after batch of pesto. I freeze it in ice cube trays, so handy to pop out 3 or 4 cubes at a time, for delicious fresh summer flavor all winter. As well as a pasta sauce, pesto is so delicious as a rub for salmon or mahi mahi (any fish or chicken really) on the BBQ.

Pesto Sauce:
1 cup fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
2 cloves garlic
Coarse or rock salt
2 tablespoons pine nuts (get a giant bag at Costco)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino cheese, or 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

Place basil, garlic, salt and pine nuts in a blender or food processor. Whirl until finely chopped.
With motor running, add oil in a thin stream. Scrape down sides to make sure all solids are well mixed. Continue to blend until you attain a smooth sauce.
Add cheeses and give the machine one short burst to blend ingredients well.
Makes about 2 cups.

We were so happy to find this tiny praying mantis wandering about the garden this morning, it was about an inch long and doing all the funny little praying mantis moves- the head tilt, boxing hands, and praying, of course. I wish I could have gotten a perfectly focused shot but I was too impatient and the subject wasn't really very cooperative.

Flowers in one of the pots on my front porch, I couldn't help but snap off a bunch of close up flower shots this morning. This is one of my favorite pics. I love the dark pink flowers, I can't remember what the are called, some kind of verbena perhaps?


Midge said...

Your garden rocks! I'm jeleous of all the fresh goodies growing out there. I'm sure your kids are taking pride in that garden. What great memories they are creating.
Random side note, I just saw the biggest jack rabbit outside my house I thought it was a dear at first.

steph said...

Lovely garden. Maybe my kids could attend your summer work program?

Daybreaking Dickersons said...

It's the first time I've planted Herbs and I have a ton of Basil. I was actually going to look up a good recipe for Pesto and freeze it. Thanks for saving me the time. Pesto is pretty much my favorite.

val said...

your garden is lovely. We have always had one til we moved....but will have one by next Spring. Don't forget to plant basil between tomatoes to ward off bad bugs!

Hiedi said...

Wow! Your garden looks so great. That's how I was hoping mine would look this year, but alas, it didn't work out how I'd hoped (maybe I just didn't work as hard as I'd hoped I would). You're amazing. You do so much what with sewing all the goodies you do, exercising, gardening, etc, etc. Good idea to use the umbrella out there. I'm going to try that next year. Maybe it will help me spend more time in the garden than I did this year.


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