HOW TO :: HOMEMADE PRESERVED LEMONS

This is an awesome and easy way to stock your pantry and a super easy and affordable option for Christmas gift giving – Preserved Lemons.

What’s even more fantastic is Meyer Lemons are just coming into season. They are thin-skinned lemons that cure in the salt quickly, so you can still start this project this week and pass them on for holiday gift giving. I was at the grocery yesterday and found gorgeous Meyer Lemons, 2 for $1. HALF of one lemon fits perfectly in a small 1/4 pint jar. That means for $1 + cost of a jar, you can make FOUR gifts that people will love. Not to mention, you’ll be turning them on to a new ingredient that may just inspire them to get creative in the kitchen. Do it! (ALSO – if you dig those adorable & perfectly-fitting canning labels, check out my store. I designed these! I love them, and so will you. Finally a canning labels that worksAND looks amazing on the jar.)

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HOW TO :: Harvesting Fennel Blossoms

It’s your last chance to harvest late-blooming fennel blossoms, so if you haven’t stocked up already or you’ve never tried before, now is the time. Now! 

Wild fennel looks very much like the fennel fronds you see in the grocery and at farmers markets, though wild fennel is not a bulbing variety. Instead, wild fennel grows tall and vigorous in the wild, offering up licorice-scented fronds nearly year-round that can be harvested and used as a fresh herb. These blossoms have a distinct fennel flavor without the sharpness that is found in both green and mature seeds.

To collect fennel blossoms, wait until Continue reading

URBAN FORAGE :: ROSE HIPS & Anna’s Rose Hip Sherry

Rosehips are easily foraged in fall and make awesome jams, purees and tinctures. I was recently reminded rosehip season is upon us, when I read Johanna Kindvall’s blog, kokblog, which I’ve been reading for yeeeeeears. She is a one-woman illustrative dynamo (check out my homepage illo) and I love her recipes and ideas. Her sister, Anna Kindvall (who curates electronic art), makes this amazing-sounding sherry that I think we should all attempt this year. Anna likes to use rosehips before the frost (more acidic), but I’ve always picked them after Seattle’s first frost – in early November.

Check out kokblog for the recipe and notes on making and storing your foraged sherry. And for more rosehip info, here is an earlier piece of writing on rosehips from my second book, Apartment Gardening.

“Rosehips are the seed buds that follow the rose bloom in July. Rosa Rugosa plants make hips somewhere between Continue reading

Onion Thyme Tart

Fall is HERE, and I have the wool sweaters to prove it. Makes me crave fall-food – anything cozy and warm, like this quick and simple Onion Thyme Tart from Urban Pantry as published in Leite’s Culinaria. Puff pastry is a delicate, flaky pastry made by folding layers of butter between layers of dough. Puff is an excellent staple to keep in your frozen pantry, as it can be used for both sweet and savory dishes. I made it once (a very laborious process!), then decided that I’d rather save time and buy it from the freezer section of my local grocer. I consider it my lazy food: it’s quick-baking, takes little effort to embellish, and is a great shortcut for serving a crowd. I serve this Onion Thyme Tart recipe as a complement to soup or salad or for an easy pre-dinner nibble.–Amy Pennington from Leite’s Culinaria Pretty as … Continue reading

What To Do In The Gardens Now

Fall is most definitely here, even if the days are still warm where you live. (Lucky you!) So, while I know you want to hang on to those tomatoes and you’re just praying for them to ripen, it’s time to let go of the dream and pull those plants out…..Stat! As our days shorten, there is less time for fruits to ripen, so do yourself a favor this week (that’s right – THIS one, the first week of October) and pull out and compost ALL tomatoes, zucchini, peas, beans, peppers and anything that has gone to flower. Clear your soil of all root hairs and debris and plant garlic & mulch or sow thickly with cover crop so that your soil has protection this winter.

How to Grow Leeks

January 2013

January 2013

Whether you’re growing leeks from seed (too late this fall, so wait till spring) or start (better get them in now!), you’ll have to grow them in a trench if you want a nice bit of white. Why? Because covering the base of the leek with dirt blocks it from the sun and leaves the column of the leek soft and white. The same practice is done with frisee or endive in the field. If you do NOT plant in trenches, you’ll still grow leeks, but the white bit will be super short and you’ll be disappointed. Watch this video to see Continue reading

Honeydew Cucumber Soup

My friend Debbie just emailed me asking for an easy summer soup and this one came to mind. It’s a great time of year to make the most of summer fruits – they won’t be around much longer. This process is a bit tedious, as you need to hang the fruit pulp to drain, but it’s worth it! Satisfying and refreshing, this soup is a total winner for an easy summer meal.  Jalapeno adds a little heat and the cilantro helps to cool your palate.  This makes a huge batch – enough for a family dinner with leftovers, but works well if you prefer to half it. 1 ripe Honeydew Melon, peeled & seeded 3 to 4 cucumbers, peeled & seeded ½ cup plain yogurt (either whole or non-fat) ½ jalapeno, seeded and minced Handful of cilantro leaves (more or less, as you please) ¼ cup fresh lime juice Salt … Continue reading

Charred Broccoli Rabe & Herbed Quinoa

A super healthy recipe of mine was featured on PureWOW today, and I’m stoked to share it with you! This is a weekday go to for me, as it is easy to make, uber tasty and really good for you. Quinoa is a complex carb that takes the body some time to break down which means you’re fuller longer. Veeeeery important on those long, hectic days. Try it and let me know what you think! Charred Broccoli Rabe & Herbed Quinoa Serves 4 1 cup quinoa, washed 2 cups water 1 bunch broccoli rabe 10 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed 5 tablespoons olive oil ½ carrot, sliced thinly and cut into matchsticks ¼  cup almonds, toasted & chopped Handful of dried currants or raisins ½ cup fresh tender herbs, chopped – any combination of mint, parsley, cilantro, dill ¼  teaspoon cumin 1 tablespoon honey 1 lime, juice reserved Salt and … Continue reading

HOW TO :: DRYING EDIBLE FLOWER PETALS

Mid-summer is a beautiful time of year in the garden – most plants are producing flowers and fruit adding to the visual texture of a working productive garden.

Harvesting and drying flower heads (or herbs) is a satisfying project
and the perfect way to extend your harvest. Plus, taking flower heads from plants will prevent prolific re-seeding, which is often the goal. If you’ve ever let your bronze fennel go to seed before removing the yellow fennel blossoms, you know what I’m talking about. (Note to self: dig out bronze fennel this summer.)

In all of my gardens, I plant flowers in order to attract pollinators and add to the list of plants. Many of these blossoms may be harvested and stored for winter Continue reading

Just Eat It – Harvesting the Whole Plant

Urban farming implies that you’re growing in a small space, so maximizing that space with an eye toward production is the most practical way to grow and harvest food. Fortunately, many plants are a virtual buffet, with edible, harvestable parts from root to stem. You need only know what bits you can harvest and how to introduce them into meals for a progressive harvesting schedule that lasts for months. Today: a round-up of goodies to harvest and cook with — a timely, seasonal guide for what to harvest now. Read More over at my bi-weekly column, City Dirt on FOOD52.