Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Garden progress

The first sugar snap peas and strawberries from this year's garden

This month has gone by so quickly!  It has been a fun month of garden preparations, local festivals and travel to a dear friend's wedding.  The weather has been unpredictable making gardening a challenge, but we're finally getting to harvest some spring produce.  Here are a few photos of what's growing in the garden.

Blueberries, strawberries, blackberry blossoms and rhubarb 

 Peonies and hydrangea buds

Shelling peas, sugar snap peas, potato bin and radishes

Lettuces, mesclun, bok choy and kale

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Other related posts:
Seed starting and garden bed preparation

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Spring Celebration Lunch

Grilled vegetable fajitas and corn on the cob with pesto butter

A few girlfriends and I got together to celebrate a belated birthday.  Taking advantage of the spring weather and between the rain showers, I grilled vegetables for fajitas.   We topped freshly made corn tortillas (thanks to my son) with grilled vegetables and tofu, cooked pinto beans, greens from the garden, salsa and avocado.  These were served with a side of corn on the cob with pesto butter.

Portabella mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini, sweet bell, jalapeño  and poblano peppers on the grill

Marinade for grilled vegetable fajitas

makes 1 and a half cups marinade

1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
1 tablespoon Bragg's amino acid or salt to taste
1/3 cup salsa
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon each, fresh chopped oregano, tarragon, cilantro, rosemary (substitute 1 teaspoon each dried herbs)
1 teaspoon each, chili powder, ground cumin, and smoked paprika
chopped jalapeño or powdered cayenne to taste

Mix until well combined.  Pour over sliced vegetables (eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, sliced tofu, peppers, etc.) and toss to coat.  Let sit for at least 30 minutes (or overnight) and then grill.

Aquas frescas

To help cool the heat of the peppers, we had frosty glasses of super simple to prepare aquas frescas. To a pitcher of filtered water, add your favorite fruits, cucumbers or herbs.  This one is:

Aguas Frescas

1/2 lemon sliced
1/2 orange sliced
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1 handful of fresh mint 
1 5-inch piece of lemongrass split in half

And for a dessert, we had a decadent layered parfait of gooey crust, creamy chocolate avocado pudding, fresh fruit and locally made organic vanilla ice cream.

  Layered parfait

Layered parfait

makes 6, gluten free

1 cup pitted medjool dates
1/2 cup pecans
sliced strawberries or other fruit like cherries or peaches
scoops of ice cream, frozen yogurt or dairy or non-dairy whipped cream (optional)

For the crust, put the dates and pecans in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped and begins to clump together.  

In your serving dish, pull off pieces of the gooey crust and place in the bottom of the dish.  Next add a layer of chocolate pudding, followed by a layer fresh berries and top with ice cream or whipped cream if desired.

This meal is easily adaptable to whatever vegetables or fruits are in season or you have on hand.  Much of it can be prepared ahead and then laid out in buffet style for everyone to fix their portion just the way they like.  I hope you take time out to celebrate spring.

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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Spring blooms

Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America, Washington, DC

I went to a plant sale sponsored by the garden guild at the Franciscan Monastery in Washington, DC.  it turned out to be a warm, sunny day.  After picking out a few plants to add to my garden, I took some time to walk around and enjoy the grounds.  Here is some of the beautiful plants in full bloom.


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