Category Archives: Garden

Pesto with Mustard Greens and Cashews

  

We joined a CSA this summer, and we picked up our first weekly box a few days ago. It’s been a lot of fun so far trying to figure out what everything is and what to do with it.  The tricky part is trying to figure out how to use it all up before the next weekly box arrives. 

The first week was all greens, except for popcorn. Needless to say, salad has been on our menu every night. 

We got a huge bag full of mustard greens in our box, something new to us.  I found this recipe, which was a nice shift from eating them in salad. Even better, pesto can be frozen. 

I made a slight modification by substituting cashews in place of walnuts. 

  
I washed the greens well and discarded the thick stems. 

Then, I pulsed the garlic in my food processor, added the greens, cashews, olive oil, and salt, and then pulsed again adding a bit more olive oil until the mixture was a good consistency – not too thick. 

 You can store the pesto in the fridge or pour in an ice cube tray and freeze for later.

Serve on pasta or slather on crackers or crusty bread. A few scoops is all you need, as it packs a punch of garlicky-mustard flavor. It was delicious on cheese tortellini topped with fresh grated Parmesan.  

 

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Veggie Love

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I was chopping up some produce from my recent shopping trip, when it struck me – vegetables are so beautiful. Just look at the vibrant colors of these carrots and celery. Check out this cabbage…the deep purple hue…the ribbons and patterns of each layer.

My goal this year is to delve deeper into “eating the rainbow” as some nutrition articles call it. I’m hoping to spread the veggie love throughout our household. To accomplish this, I’m branching out by seeking colorful fruits and vegetables that we haven’t purchased in the past.

This cabbage is an example. My 10 year old and I were watching Pioneer Woman recently, and we saw how she added red cabbage to a smoothie and then froze the mixture into smoothie pops. She’s so darn clever. While the 10 year old loves veggies….the 8 year old does not. Well, other than corn and potatoes…which don’t count.

Enter, the cabbage-sicle. Wish me luck.

And no, I firmly believe that blended trickery is not the answer, but it’s a start. Baby steps.

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We’ve also joined a CSA, which will provide an ample source of locally grown veggies each week as well as allow us to support a local farm. This will be our first CSA endeavor, and I’m totally psyched for it. My biggest fear is that we won’t be able to eat all the fresh produce we receive each week before it goes bad. Fortunately, with my foray into canning last summer, I hope to can and freeze any excess to preserve as much as possible. I’ll still have my garden, so I’m already anticipating that there will be some weeks when we just can’t eat any more veggies.

So, back to the cabbage. Aside from the cabbage-sicles, I’ve found a great carrot and red cabbage slaw recipe that I’m going to try. And, I haven’t even started in on exploring the endless recipes on Pinterest for “new to us” veggies.

Bring on the veggie love! (Lord knows we need eat after all these monthly cake club creations we’ve been baking and eating!!!)

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A Minnesota Tomato Harvest

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Summer is officially over here in Minnesota. After months of caring for our tomato plants, we came to the realization that it was time to harvest the last of the tomatoes before the first hard freeze.

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This was our first year growing tomatoes from seed and our first year growing them in pots on our deck to keep them from being a tasty treat for the local deer and bunny population. Because we got a bit of a late start, we didn’t truly begin to see the fruits of our labor until mid-August when we were blessed with the first juicy, ripe Sweet 100’s.

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Unfortunately, with the onset of autumn and the temperatures dropping rapidly, our plants were heavy with a plethora of green tomatoes that begged to be saved for our winter enjoyment. But…what to do with a billion green cherry tomatoes? Well, chutney seemed the obvious solution, but after a bit of searching online, I landed on a few quick pickle recipes that captured my interest, so I decided to give it a try…with my own minor adaptations.

And, for the ripe tomatoes, a slow-roast just seemed like the best way to enjoy these sweet, red nuggets throughout the cold months of winter. I plan to store them in the freezer and add them to pastas and sauces to bring a blush of summer to our blustery Minnesota winter months ahead.

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Spicy Pickled Green Cherry Tomatoes

Makes 1 Quart and 2 Pints

2-4 pints green tomatoes (depending on size, enough to fill jars)
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
2 Tbsp pickling or sea salt
4 tsp dill seed
4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp black peppercorns
4 cloves garlic

Bring vinegar, water, and salt to a boil in medium saucepan. Fill sterilized jars with tomatoes. Fill each pint jar with 1 clove of garlic, 1 tsp dill seed, 1 tsp red pepper flakes, and 1/2 tsp peppercorns. Fill the quart jar with 2 cloves of garlic, 2 tsp dill seed, 2 tsp red pepper flakes, and 1 tsp peppercorns. Using a funnel, pour brine into each jar until tomatoes are covered leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Place caps and rings on jars. Allow to cool on counter for a few hours, and then store in the refrigerator.

Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

2-4 pints ripe cherry tomatoes
4 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 sprigs thyme
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

Wash and remove stems from tomatoes. Slice tomatoes in half. Place on parchment lined baking sheets with cut side facing up. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Top with thyme sprigs. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.

Bake at 300 degrees for 90 minutes. Turn off oven but do not remove tomatoes. Allow to cool in oven for two hours. Transfer baking sheets to freezer. When tomatoes are frozen, transfer them to an airtight freezer bag for storage.