In My Garden – June 2021

In My Garden – June 2021

The big news in the garden this month has nothing to do with plants.

Water Tanks

Water Tanks – and Casey investigating

Two 3000 gallon water tanks with outlets for fire hoses.

One out of four wells is expected to run dry this year in Mendocino County because of the drought. Our county depends heavily on seasonal rain water for all our water needs, and it was a very dry winter. These tanks also have outlets for fire hoses if needed (there are no fire hydrants out here in the country). So far our well is holding steady but we worry. The water from the well will go into a new filtration system before being pumped into the tanks for use inside the house. We have several new outlets directly from the well (unfiltered) for watering the garden.

Our lawn has gone dry and brown, it goes unwatered.

Summer is beginning to show its head in the vegetable garden

Vegetable Garden

Vegetable GardenThe first tomatoes – still green but  there are lots of flowers on the plants

Green Tomatoes

Green Tomatoes

Broccoli is heading up.

Broccoli

Broccoli

The first baby zucchini

Zucchini

Zucchini

The cucumbers are also under plastic to keep them warm but aren’t showing a lot of growth yet.

In the flower garden the spring native wildflowers are beginning to go to seed. Although they look a bit messy I will leave them to sow their seeds for next spring.

I know it is early summer when the roses and lupins start to bloom.

First Rose - Just Joey

First Rose – Just Joey, they one is very aromatic

Lupin

Lupin

The snapdragons starts a good friend gifted me in the fall are blooming in all colors.

Snapdragons

Snapdragons

And the bees love the lavender in bloom along the driveway.

Lavender

Lavender

The pollinator garden showed very few annuals this year (maybe because of so little and very sporadic rain), but lots of perennials are showing their heads. Dominating are Sweet William Dianthus in all colors, California poppies, and Shasta daisies.

Pollinator Garden June 2021

Pollinator Garden June 2021

Just for fun, here is what it looked like in June of 2019 the first year, and June of 2020.

The rhododendrons are almost finished although I did manage to find a few to cut and bring into the house.

That’s my garden summary for this month. How is your garden doing?

June – Cauliflower Cutlets with Arugula Salad

June – Cauliflower Cutlets with Arugula Salad

The inspiration for this cauliflower cutlet (or pancake or fritter) recipe came from G. Daniela Galarza at The Washington Post. As written it is vegetarian, gluten, and dairy free. I’ve modified it slightly, adding more seasoning and using fresh riced cauliflower rather than frozen. I will include instructions for both using both fresh and frozen cauliflower. I like the addition of some soft goat cheese but that is entirely optional, the original recipe did not call for it.

The ingredients are mostly pantry staples; rice or chickpea flour and frozen riced cauliflower. I’ve made them with both brown rice flour and chickpea flour. Chickpea flour produces a tender, meatier fritter; brown rice flour fries up crispier. These cutlets or patties or fritters make a perfect lunch dish out on the patio now the weather has warmed. Or make them for a light supper. Or as a side for a BBQ. Or simply put a poached egg on top and call them savory pancakes.

Leftovers are good the next day in a sandwich with some sharp mustard, lettuce and slices of summer tomato.

Cauliflower Cutlets with Arugula Salad

Cauliflower Cutlets with Arugula Salad

Ingredients for about 10 cutlets:

  • 1 (10 oz) package of frozen cauliflower rice or measure 10 oz of fresh cauliflower (about 1/3 of a large head), chop into chunks and pulse in your food processor until you have finely chopped bits or 10 oz of already riced cauliflower from the store.
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, grated
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced or grated
  • 3/4 cup (about 3-3/4 oz) of rice flour or (2-1/2 oz) of chickpea flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • optional: 1/2 cup of fresh goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 avocado or grape-seed or canola oil plus more if needed

Salad

  • I small cucumber, sliced or chopped
  • 1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 radishes, sliced into coins
  • 1/2 can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 – 3 handfuls of arugula or mixed greens
  • 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons of wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of flavorful olive oil
  • kosher salt to taste
  • optional: chopped fresh parsley, crumbled fresh goat cheese

Method:

  1. Make the cauliflower cutlets: If using frozen – microwave the cauliflower on high for 3 minutes until partially steamed. If using fresh from a head – chop about 10 oz into chunks (about 1/3 of a large head) and process in your food processor until the texture of rice, steam in the microwave about 3 to 4 minutes on high. If using fresh already riced – Steam in the microwave for 3 – 4 minutes. In all cases, cool before using.
  2. Line a tray with a cooling rack or paper towels, set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until frothy. Whisk in the grated onion, garlic, rice or chickpea flour, salt, spices and goat cheese if using. Stir in the riced cauliflower.
  4. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat with 1/4 cup of oil. Add a large spoonful of the batter, spreading into an oval.
  5. Flatten into an even thickness and cook until the bottom is golden brown and small bubbles appear on the top. Gently flip and fry until the other side is golden brown.
  6. Remove to the tray to cool slightly.
  7. Repeat as needed until they all are cooked, adding more oil if needed.
  8. In a large salad bowl combine the dressing ingredients. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, garbanzo beans and radishes tossing to coat them with the dressing. Add the arugula and toss again.
  9. Serve the fritters warm, with the salad and optional goat cheese on top.
Cauliflower Cutlets with Arugula Salad

Cauliflower Cutlets

Cauliflower Cutlets with Arugula Salad

Cauliflower Cutlets with Arugula Salad

I am taking this dish to Fiesta Friday #383, hosted by Angie and cohosted this week by myself. Please come on by to read blogging posts about cooking, gardening and crafts.

May – Green Eggs

May – Green Eggs

A jar of pesto in my fridge is a given, as ubiquitous at mayo. In addition to its obvious use as a sauce for pasta, try it on grilled cheese sandwiches or a baked potato or grilled vegetables or sliced summer tomatoes.

It’s not quite basil season here yet but I can recommend the basil pesto from Costco as an out of season substitute. It is actually quite good although missing some of the wonderful aroma you get when you make your own. But, it’s very handy to have a jar in the freezer or fridge and it keeps very well.

Pesto

Basil Pesto from Costco

This is such a simple recipe that I will tell it to you in pictures…

Melt a couple of generous spoons of pesto in a non stick skillet.

Melting Basil Pesto

Melting Basil Pesto

Crack in your desired number of eggs.

Green Eggs

Green Eggs

Sprinkle with some flaky salt

Green Eggs

Green Eggs

Cover, I like one I can see through

Green Eggs

Cook to your preferred state of doneness.

Serve on toasted bread or an English muffin, drizzling some of the pesto over the egg

Green Eggs

Green Eggs

Green Eggs

Green Eggs

Yum.

You could also add a slice of ham as well, then you would have green eggs and ham. Enjoy!

Have a wonderful Memorial weekend everyone.

 

May – Sweet and Salty Cream Cheese Tart

May – Sweet and Salty Cream Cheese Tart

If you have been reading my blog for any length of time you will notice something, there are not many recipes for desserts. In fact I could probably count the number on less than one hand.

Looking backward in time…

In June of 2015 there was Lavender Nut Cake.

Lavender Nut Cake

Lavender Nut Cake

In February of 2015 there was a Panettone Bread Pudding. It was a wonderful way to use up the leftover holiday Panettone.

Panettone Bread Pudding

Panettone Bread Pudding

In December of 2014 there was Raspberry Streusel Bars. They were delicious if I do say so myself, very ‘more-ish’.

Raspberry Streusel Bars

Raspberry Streusel Bars

And lastly (my first blogged dessert recipe) in November of 2014,  a recipe for Pot of Chocolate. This one is special for a couple of reasons. First, it was my mother’s secret recipe and second, it was the first recipe of mine to be featured on Fiesta Friday. I was a very new blogger at the time and it was Fiesta Friday #41. It’s now Fiesta Friday #382 and here I am, still part of the party . You can find the link to Fiesta Friday here. It’s a virtual (aren’t most things now) party, a collection of posts hosted by Angie. Come on over to read a collection of blogs about cooking, gardening, decorating and crafts.

Pot of Chocolate

Pot of Chocolate

I am shocked to realize that I haven’t posted a dessert recipe in six years!

Here is number 5, now I have a full handful.

This recipe is by Alison Roman and comes from her cookbook Nothing Fancy. It appealed to me because it’s not too sweet and has a salty component. Salty things are my weakness. Although it is essentially a variation of cheesecake, it’s not cloyingly sweet or rich. That’s especially true if you use labne instead of cream cheese as I did.

Sweet and Salty Cheese Tart

Sweet and Salty Cheese Tart

Sweet and Salty Cream Cheese Tart

Ingredients for the crust:

  • 5 ounces Ritz crackers or Nilla wafers (the Ritz crackers add the salty part). See notes below.
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 1 pound full fat cream cheese at room temperature, or 2 cups labne
  • 1 cup sour cream or full fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh grapefruit, lemon, lime or orange juice
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Fresh fruit for serving

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Make the crust. Pulse the crackers in a food processor until they are a fine crumb but not powder. Transfer to a bowl and add the brown sugar and butter, then the salt. Use your hands and mix until the crumbs are evenly coated and texture is like that of wet sand.
  3. Press the crust into an unlined 9-inch tart or springform pan, or cake pan lined with parchment. Using the bottom of a glass or small bowl, press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
  4. Bake until golden brown on the edges, 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Make the filling. Combine the cream cheese (or labne), sour cream (or yogurt) and sugar in the bowl of the food processor and process until very smooth and well blended, scrape down the sides as needed to combine everything. Add the eggs, fruit juice and a pinch of salt. Keep processing until even smoother and creamier.
  6. Pour the filling into the baked crust and bake until set and it no longer jiggles when tapped, about 25 to 35 minutes. It won’t brown, that’s ok.
  7. Turn the oven off and open the oven door a crack. Let the tart sit in the cooling oven for another 15 minutes or so, then transfer to a wire rack on the counter to cool completely. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. This process should prevent cracks but did not in my case. Simply disguise it with fruit, it doesn’t make any difference to the flavor.
  8. To serve, sprinkle with a little flaky sea salt and put some fresh fruit on top or the side.

Note: She says she has not tested off brand crackers or vanilla wafers, she has only used Nabisco brands.

I used labne (sometimes also spelled labneh) which is often (though not always) more strained than Greek yogurt, so it’s ultra-thick and spreadable, almost like cream cheese. It can replace cream cheese in some recipes although it is much more tart. I also used grapefruit juice, another tart flavor although often more sweet as well.

If you use cream cheese I might recommend using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream if you would like to retain some of the tartness.

Sweet and Salty Cream Cheese Tart

Sweet and Salty Cream Cheese Tart

You can make this up to 3 days ahead but wrap it tightly so it doesn’t pick up any off flavors from the refrigerator.

 

 

 

 

May – Chile-Roasted Chicken with Honey, Lemon and Feta (Plus Carrots and Croutons)

May – Chile-Roasted Chicken with Honey, Lemon and Feta (Plus Carrots and Croutons)

Another long title this time but I wanted to include it all as a description. The inspiration came from one of my favorite cookbook authors, Mellissa Clark from the NY Times. This is another sheet pan dinner. I’ve added a few things to make it a full meal, and simplified it as well. All you need is something green to complete it. We loved an arugula salad with a mustard and lemon dressing.

The original did not include the carrots or the croutons. I had a couple of bunches of multi-colored carrots from the recently opened farmer’s market and wanted to include them. They made a perfect ‘rack’ on the sheet pan and roasted to perfection under the chicken thighs. The croutons were added near the end of cooking time along with the feta. The irregularly shaped chunks became crispy on the edges and absorbed the wonderful cooking juices.

You could use another vegetable or even potatoes instead of the carrots, make sure they have a similar cooking time. Brussels sprouts would work, thick slices of cauliflower as well.

Chile-Roasted Chicken with Honey, Lemon and Feta (Plus Carrots and Croutons)

Chile-Roasted Chicken with Honey, Lemon and Feta (Plus Carrots and Croutons)

Chile-Roasted Chicken with Honey, Lemon and Feta (Plus Carrots and Croutons)

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs (or breasts)
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 – 8 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely grated or smashed into a paste
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • Zest and juice of one lemon, Meyer if possible
  • 1/4 teaspoon of red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving
  • 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 1 lemon (Meyer if possible) sliced thinly
  • 2 ounces feta, crumbled into large pieces
  • 3 thick slices of ciabatta or brioche, torn into pieces about 1 – 1 1/2 inch pieces for the croutons
  • chopped mint or parsley for serving

Method:

  1. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, mix together garlic, honey, olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon pepper flakes. Add the chicken and toss with your hands, spreading the paste all over the chicken. Add the rosemary sprigs and lemons slices, toss again to combine. Let marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or in the fridge for up to 8 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment or foil.
  3. Spread the carrots on the sheet pan, spread the chicken over the carrots with the skin side up, tuck in the rosemary spreads and lemon slices. Cook for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the sheet pan from the oven and tuck in the croutons around the chicken. Sprinkle the feta on top.
  5. Continue to bake for another 20 minutes until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F.
  6. Sprinkle with chopped herbs and additional red pepper flakes for serving.
Chile-Roasted Chicken with Honey, Lemon and Feta (Plus Carrots and Croutons)

Chile-Roasted Chicken with Honey, Lemon and Feta (Plus Carrots and Croutons)

It’s Fiesta Friday #382 and I am taking this easy sheet pan dinner to the party . You can find the link to Fiesta Friday here. It’s a virtual (aren’t most things now) party, a collection of posts hosted by Angie. Come on over to read a collection of blogs about cooking, gardening, decorating and crafts.