|early January, aloe vera blooming|
And despite the very wet weather we experienced the last week of the old year and the cooler weather we're experiencing now, the garden is still producing. Our loofah experiment was mixed. The plants grew very quickly, taking over the bamboo trellis Tom built for them and then spreading past the garden and into the yard. The fruits grew huge, but as they were still green when we had our first frost, we were afraid we would lose the entire crop. However, Tom managed to harvest several large fruits that had matured to the fibrous texture of bath sponges, and he is now trying to cure them out. This requires peeling them and soaking the spongy interiors in a solution of bleach and water. The hot, humid Louisiana climate made them moldy, but we will be able to salvage some of the loofahs for sponges.
|arugula, mustard, bronze fennel|
Usually at this time of the year I begin planning my spring garden, but this year we're expecting some big changes in our lives, and so I am enjoying the garden I have now.
Recipe: Arugula Pesto (Original recipe here)
4 cups packed fresh arugula
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup pure olive oil
2 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted, plus 1 tablespoon (I used pecans because that is what I had on hand)
1/8 teaspoon vitamin C (optional) (I did not include)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Prepare an ice water bath in a large bowl, and bring a large pot of water to a boil. Put the arugula in a large sieve and plunge it into the boiling water. Immediately immerse all the arugula and stir so that it blanches evenly. Blanch for about 15 seconds. Remove, shake off the excess water, then plunge the arugula into the ice water bath and stir again so it cools as fast as possible. Drain well.
Squeeze the water out of the arugula with your hands until very dry. Roughly chop the arugula and put in a blender. Add the garlic, salt and pepper to taste, olive oil, 2 tablespoons of the pine nuts (I used pecans), and the vitamin C, if using. Blend for at least 30 seconds. In this way the green of the arugula will thoroughly color the oil. Add the cheese and pulse to combine. The pesto will keep several days in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.
Pull out before dinner to get to room temperature. Before serving, add the remaining 1 tablespoon toasted pinenuts (or pecans or walnuts).
Recipe courtesy Michael Chiarello
Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/michael-chiarello/arugula-pesto-recipe.html?oc=linkback
|gourd box with a crocheted surround that I made|
|bottom of the gourd box--I made up the pattern as I went along, so I'm glad the crocheted bit turned out as well as it did.|