Lemon Balm Tea

You can make herb tea from fresh herbs and edible flowers growing in your garden, you don’t have to dry them. Today I gathered some lemon balm, spearmint leaves and calendula flowers and stuffed them into my French press, poured boiling water over the lot and let it steep for about 10 minutes. The fragrant tea was so luscious that I decided to drink it hot with some leftover banana oatmeal muffins and gooseberry jam. You could also chill and serve later for ice tea. Right... Read More

Flowering Basils

As a rule, I always keep my sweet Genovese basil from flowering. Any summer day, you’ll find me strolling through the kitchen garden pinching and clipping to keep the plants squat and full. You might say, obsessively pinching and cultivating the precious pesto basils so I can use them well into the late summer before they stretch out, get lanky and finally flower in spite of my best intentions. There are other culinary basils that I let flower, in fact, I grow them... Read More

Too Hot to Cook

Just after my garlic scapes were clipped my leeks attempted to grow flowers. We clipped those too and threw them into the chicken salad. It’s too hot to cook so here is a cool lunch. Curry Chicken Salad with Leek Scapes 3 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped 1/2 cup total of equal parts greek yogurt, sour cream and Hellman’s Mayonnaise 3-4 Leek scapes, chopped Small handful fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped 1/4 cup toasted almonds, coarsely chopped 2 tsp. curry powder Coarse... Read More

Pasta with Garlic Scapes and Toasted Walnuts

We had the family over for dinner recently, vegetarians et al. To my delight my adult children each packed up leftovers to take home. They raved about the pasta with garlic scapes and walnuts. Sometimes I can’t even get them to take extra cake. The magic ingredient? (Besides Kalamata olive oil from Greece). Garlic scapes. Scapes are the stems and emerging flower buds from garlic. Clipping is necessary to allow the growing plant to use it’s energy to grow a fat bulb... Read More

Cold Elder Flower Cordial

A few weeks ago, at the beginning of the summer- before this heat and humidity, I made some elder flower syrup. The recipe is in my book, The Kitchen Gardener’s Handbook and it’s simple to make. Fresh picked elderberry flowers are steeped in lemons, lemon juice, sugar and water for a few days then strained through muslin and poured into mason jars. The frozen syrup has been sitting in my freezer waiting for a special occasion. The first special occasion is today.... Read More