Saturday in the Kitchen: Chive Pesto

 

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Ms. Jeannie’s chive plant reseeded itself from last year (good little plant!) and this summer has decided to go at growing with passion. When the stalks reached 2 feet, it was time for a hair cut.

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Not wanting to waste any bit of these little delicates Ms. Jeannie searched high and low for a recipe that would incorporate cupfuls of chives instead of just bits of sprinkles here and there.  And surprisingly, it was harder to find than you might think – until she stumbled upon the Garden for A House blog and Kevin’s unique spin on classic pesto. Instead of traditional basil as the main green, he used chives! Perfect!

Ms. Jeannie got to work grinding nuts…

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next came the garlic, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and four big cups of freshly chopped chives…

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She whirled all that together in her little food chopper until it formed a nice consistency – chunky but spreadable. And voila! Dinner was on its way to being done.  You could use this pesto lots of different ways – Kevin recommended fish, toasty baguette slices or pasta.

Ms. Jeannie went the pasta route…

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and tossed it all together in the vintage bowl that she has for sale in her etsy shop. This bowl gets lots of attention but no one has claimed it for a treasure yet. Ms. Jeannie thought it might help if she incorporated some “action” shots and indeed those little yellow flowers do look pretty against all that bright green!

After tossing, she let the pasta/pesto mixture sit for about 20 minutes to cool down to room temperature and let the pasta soak up the sauce. Needless to say this was all in all an effortless dinner –  with just under 15 minutes from prep to finish.  And Ms. Jeannie accomplished two feats in one –  substantially cutting back the onion patch and making dinner. Oh the ease of the summer lifestyle.

Chive Pesto

(makes about 1.5 cups)

4 cups freshly chopped chives

2 oz. nuts (Ms. Jeannie used peanuts. Kevin used sliced almonds. But really you can use any kind you want)

1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1 garlic clove

1/4 cup olive oil

Chop your nuts first in a food processor or blender and then add the rest of the ingredients and mix until combined. You may need to add more olive oil for a looser pesto, depending on the type of consistency you like or how you plan to serve it. And you may want to add salt or pepper at the end – although Ms. Jeannie added neither – the cheese made it savory enough and the garlic added quite a  bit of spicy flavor.

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A great BIG thank you to fellow blogger  Kevin for his ingenious recipe and for helping Ms. Jeannie not waste one little bit of her summer garden harvest. Stop by and read Kevin’s blog here.

And if that serving bowl caught your eye, you can find it here in Ms. Jeannie’s shop!

bowl

The next herb to tackle is the oregano. If anybody has any great recipes for oregano enmasse please comment below! In the meantime, happy garden cooking!

 

 

 

Crunch, Crunch, Crunch…

…crunch…crunch…crunch…

What’s that in the garden, Ms. Jeannie hears?

someone's been enjoying the garden greens...
someone’s been enjoying the garden greens…

It appears as if someone’s dived into the salad bar in the garden! The feasting is happening in the parsley plant that Ms. Jeannie just blogged about the other day. Do you remember this…

Parsley, spinach and gerbers!

That was the parsley plant just 9 days ago. And now this is what it looks like today…

it's a stem garden!
it’s a stem garden!

Oh dear! What happened you ask? Well, my darlings, it seems Ms. Jeannie’s been invaded by these little characters…

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The culprits!

The swallowtail butterflies. Or, to be more exact, the infants of  swallowtail butterflies.

Upon first spotting them, Ms. Jeannie had to make an immediate decision – save the parsley or propagate the butterflies. Apparently in nature you cannot have both! This turned out to be an easy decision for Ms. Jeannie. After all,  parsley is not nearly as exciting as a butterfly (sorry green leafy friends), even though her herb did look beautiful and bountiful next to the gerber daisies and spinach.

Once she became pro butterfly, Ms. Jeannie began to thoroughly enjoy her new dinner guests. They are quite cute in that young baby way, with their fat bellies and their energetic ways.

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This is the last stage of babyhood for these guys. They are ferociously devouring the parsley (oh the eating habits of teenagers!) so that they can build enough strength, stamina and sustenance to cocoon themselves for the nest few weeks while they grow into butterflies.

Ms. Jeannie is seriously hoping that they cocoon  in the pot, but she’s not sure what the game plan is for that stage. Research says they like long grasses or house foundations, somewhere away from the birds. Ms. Jeannie has both of those nearby but how would she ever find them in the long grasses?

Ms. Jeannie looks forward to seeing the butterflies emerge and hopefully spend a little time in her garden once they’ve winged out.

Once they are at that stage, they’ll look like this…

Swallowtail Butterfly photograph by Michelle Reynolds
Swallowtail Butterfly photograph by Michelle Reynolds. Click for info.

Butterflies in mythology have long symbolized renewal. Perhaps Ms. Jeannie is cultivating some new changes in her life, or perhaps it’s just nature taking its course. Every summer it seems like there is some magical event that occurs over and over again in Ms. Jeannie’s life, a theme if you will, or a special situation that heralds that specific year with a specific reference. Last year it was the summer of the cows, the year before that, it was the summer of the fireworks. Ms. Jeannie would be thrilled if this was the summer of the butterflies:)

If all goes well with her brood, she’ll have just under a dozen butterflies, floating on the mid-summer breeze. Keep your fingers crossed! Adult butterflies impact the environment most actively by pollinating plants and flowers which is why they are beneficial to have in your garden. Even though they have short life spans, most just a few weeks, they can bring endless joy to a garden for seasons and spirits long after they are gone.

Ms. Jeannie never fails to be amazed and surprised by the sight of a butterfly. For such a fragile creature to last for weeks, let alone minutes in our environment astounds her. Perhaps that’s why they are so magical. They start out camouflaged en masse, creeping and crawling, but one by one they turn inward, wrapping themselves in their own comforter, stewing in their own protection, before emerging a changed creature, light and independent.  They are the best case scenarios, the happy endings, the freedoms of ability that is at the root of all human yearnings.

Ms. Jeannie is glad to have a little part in the continuation of such symbolism and hope in her little corner of the world.

The Lamb and the Butterfly via pinterest
The Lamb and the Butterfly via pinterest

More on the butterflies  (hopefully) coming soon!

If You Build It…They Will Grow

Well, Ms. Jeannie has done it. She has finally planted all the garden seeds that she  had ordered from Botanical Interests three weeks ago.

The just completed final garden patch.

She has been working on this goal bit by bit every few days, but Monday’s gorgeous weather really got her motivated to finish up.

At market last weekend, she bought some pre-started herbs for her garden (dill, rosemary, basil and mint) and wouldn’t you know, a few extra plantlings just happened to jump into her basket during that shopping trip too. So 4  jalapenos, 1 red bell pepper  and two tomato plants  round out the garden complete.

So in addition to her six containers full of sunflowers,  a 4′ x 5′ sunflower patch and her newly finished 10″x 12″ vegetable, flowers and herb garden, Ms. Jeannie is well on her way to being a farmer!

In the 10′ x12′ patch, she mounded the herbs in the center of the patch to give the garden a little interest as everything starts growing out. She lined the base of the herb mound with rocks and lined her pathway in old bricks that she had lying about in the garage.

Mound of herbs!
Brick pathway

Until she gets a fence up she has blocked off the sections in her garden with fallen sticks from woods behind her house.

Garden sections. Jalapeno plants down front. Tomato plant in back.

Ms. Jeannie likes to halfhazardly organize her garden thoughts on paper before she plants, so she can keep her seed plans organized while she’s planting. On paper the garden plan looks like this:

Rough sketch of garden plan

As Ms. Jeannie was planting, she started thinking about the garden of her dreams and what all that would/could include. Years ago, she read a beautiful garden coffee table book called Venzano: A Scented Garden in Tuscany about a couple who bought a 12th century monastery in Italy and turned part of it into a nursery.

Venzano: A Scented Garden in Tuscany by Stephanie Donaldson

It is a gorgeous book and a gorgeous story.

View from Venzano
Courtyard at Venzano

Ms Jeannie is in love with the rustic pergola above. She has spent many a daydream trying to incorporate something similar into her own garden plan. At Venzano, it is used to shelter the herb garden.

Sadly, due to financial issues, the couple had to sell Venzano. It was bought by someone but the nursery is no longer in operation and the residence is private.

But thanks to the book, Ms. Jeannie can recreate the look of Venzano in her own garden. In addition to the splendid pergola above, Ms. Jeannie would also incorporate these dreamy elements that are available through Etsy.com

Wrought Iron Garden Trellis from VanMadroneMetalworks
Pea Gravel from BluffCreekNaturals
Antique Iron Wire Garden Gate by beep3
100 Succulents from SanPedroCactus
Stepping Stone Paver Moulds from KapCreations
French Style Garden Bench from SusanVaillant
Wood Garden Markers from AndrewsReclaimed
Solar Powered Mason Jar Lights from BootsNGus
Antique Large Copper Wash Tub from RustedandWrought
White Cotton Ball String Lights by CottonLight
Garden Bench Made from Reclaimed Wood by SauteeWoodWorks
Birdhouse Gourds by MizzTizzysWeedSeeds

Ms. Jeannie is also in love with the twig style  fences. In almost all the how-to guides on building a twig fence you can find the follwing verbage: challenging, impractical, un-sturdy, purely decorative, non-functional.  Perfect!  Ms. Jeannie’s  on a mission to change all these negatives into positives and makes the world’s first easy, durable, functional twig fence!

She just loves the look of them, so maybe her passion alone will navigate her the tough parts. This is the kind of look she aspires to:

Twig Fencing

Wish her luck! Projects updates to follow soon!