Tag Archives: Pesto

Growing Garlic, Making Pesto

4 Aug

This year I grew garlic in the back yard.

It started with just three heads of an heirloom hardneck garlic variety ‘Music’ grown and seed-saved year after year by my parents.

I stored the cloves in the fridge for a week before planting (in case that helps with vernalization in our mild winter climate– unclear), then planted them in a raised bed in January (about an inch down, 4″ apart):

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Three weeks later, they’d sprouted:

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By mid-spring every clove had grown into a healthy-looking plant:IMG_20170319_175001 (1)

In May the garlic started putting out scapes, these smooth, curving shoots with the beginnings of bulbs at the end. These could become the garlic flower…IMG_20170524_200132_599

But instead we harvested them, to leave the garlic growing underground and also to cook with:IMG_20170524_193715

They make a delicious, spicy pesto (with some parsley, olive oil, pepitas, parmesan, and salt) that we ate that night and froze (in an ice cube tray) for future meals:IMG_20170524_200536

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By early July, the garlic was showing signs of being ready to harvest– the tops were about half brown and dead:

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I picked a test bulb (each of the 12 cloves planted grows into a whole new bulb) and checked it out. Good external paper beginning to peel off:

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Pretty good internal form: individual cloves, each in a papery skin. Perhaps still a bit thin/moist? I decided to leave it another week or two.

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In mid July, I picked the rest:

IMG_20170708_203958H braided them and we hung them up outdoors to dry for a few weeks before moving them to the kitchen:IMG_20170709_205438 (1)

And at last, our first batch of basil pesto that used both basil and garlic from the garden:

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Pesto from the garden, ham and melon, caprese

22 Jul

Our first basil harvest put to good use on a summer evening.

pasta, pesto, cranberry beans, fresh ricotta

28 Aug

Here’s a quick post-bike-ride dinner I assembled in 30 minutes from getting home to sitting down to eat (I say “assembled” because I picked up major premade components from Rainbow on the ride home– go ahead, think less of me).

1. Boiled water (slowly on my sad electric stove) and also heated milk on medium high with a few pinches of salt, stirring frequently to avoid scorching.

2. Shelled some fresh cranberry beans (they caught my eye after a recent conversation and a dinner at Camino).

3. When the milk started to simmer, I added about 1/2 Tbsp white vinegar to separate the curds and whey, reduced the heat, stirred for about 30 seconds, then poured it into a strainer to drain.

4. Tossed the shelled beans into boiling water for about 10 minutes.

5. While the beans boiled, sliced a tomato and drizzled it with olive oil and black pepper, and cracked open a beer (Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils).

6. Tossed some store-bought ravioli (porcini mushroom, by the Pasta Shop) into the water with the beans, and cooked them about 5 more minutes.

7. Drained and tossed the pasta and beans with some pesto (from the bulk bin at Rainbow– sure, I could have made my own), and sat down to eat. It turns out, I really like the pasta + fresh beans combination.