Archive for the ‘The Garden’ Category


It is blazing hot here in D.C. and a cold bowl of gazpacho soup is the perfect thing to eat. Especially when you have a new Cuisinart Food Processor!  This recipe is my mother-in-law’s and it is the best gazpacho recipe- ever. It’s flavorful, chunky and so thick that you can stand a piece of bread up in it. Just the way I like it! As soon as I got the food processor home and unpacked, this is one of the first things I wanted to make! MUCH easier than chopping all the ingredients by hand and less messy than making it in a blender.  

6 tomatoes
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 medium red onion
1 medium green pepper
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp vinegar (red wine or sherry)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
pinch of sugar
2 slices day old bread (country white or Italian chopped in cubes) (optional)
1 cup water or 1 1/2 cups tomato juice
Hot sauce (to taste) 
Plunge tomatoes into a big pot of boiling water for 30 seconds (this makes it easier to peel). Remove from water, peel and chop. Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Serve with fresh basil leaves.  Simple as that! This soup tastes even better the next day, after being refrigerated for awhile. It may become too thick, and if so, you can add more water or the tomato juice to reach your desired consistency (we like ours pretty chunky).

And a picture of Tony in our Garden for good measure!


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It’s that time of year again when our garden produces more basil than we know what to do with!









I also got one of these from my parents for my birthday!









Enter PESTO. versatile, freezeable, and an easy way to break in a new food processor!

Here are two easy recipes:

Classic Basil Pesto










  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper (or to taste)
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


In blender or food processor, pulse basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt, and pepper. Gradually add oil to form a smooth, thick consistency. Stir in cheese at the end and give the mixer another spin or two to achieve desired consistency. Add more salt and pepper (or oil, or cheese) to taste.









Pea Pesto

I have to admit, I made this recipe after reading that it was one of the dishes Giada de Laurentiis was serving to William and Kate (sorry, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) during their recent trip to California. It was really easy and a good alternative to traditional basil pesto (especially as a base layer for paninis!).










  • 1 10-ounce package of frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil


In a food processor or blender, pulse together the peas, garlic, parmesan cheese and salt. With the machine running, slowly add in the olive oil until it is well combined, which takes about one to two minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread on thick slices of baguette or ciabatta and top with sliced tomatoes.

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Our garden is in full bloom!

We planted earlier this year (late April, early May) and we added some fun, new fruits and vegetables. As a result, we are already harvesting! Here is what we are growing this summer:

Tomato Plants






Yellow Squash and Zucchini

Not pictured are Cucumbers, Eggplant, Rosemary, Oregano and Basil

What surprised me the most were the strawberries! We already picked about 3-4 pints worth of fruit and they tasted delicious. Apparently, we’ll get one more harvest in July. Also the lettuce! While you do have to wash it very well, I am shocked by how much has grown and how good it tastes.

We also harvested our first yellow squash and zucchini the other night:

We cut them up and made a simple and tasty pasta dish. We sautéed two cloves of garlic and half an onion in olive oil for a few minutes. Then added squash and zucchini along with one can of diced tomatoes, one tablespoon of tomato paste, chopped fresh rosemary, salt and pepper. Simmer until veggies are soft (about 10 minutes). Meanwhile bring water to boil and cook pasta until al dente (we used pappardelle). Seve with fresh basil and a generous amount of parmesan cheese!     


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Garden Update

The garden is finally taking shape! We planted tomatoes, squash, yellow and red pepper, eggplant and of course, lots of herbs! now they just need to GROW so we can hopefully enjoy some out bounty by the end of the summer!

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The Garden

Here it is! Our community garden!


Tony and I decided to share a garden with two of our neighbors in our community garden this year (there are over 200 plots). We tackled it for the first time this past weekend. It was definitely neglected by its previous owner and needs a lot of work. We basically spend the morning weeding and creating borders with pieces of scrap wood. This is actually the “after” picture, if you can believe it. I wish I had my camera when we first started- it was literally a mound of dirt. But we have big dreams of enjoying organic tomatoes, herbs, green beans, and many other tasty veggies this summer!


Unfortunately, we’ve had very hard rain the past few days and the plot is now under 4 inches of water! Oh well, maybe one day we will be able to plant something! For now, we are just praying for the sun to dry out the soil (don’t we already sound like gardeners!?!). We cannot plant until the soil is dry enough. Once it is dry, we need to turn the soil and add compost to build up the beds. We will also add wood chips to create a path around the beds. There will be five- one on each side and then one in the middle. Although we may not plant anything on the left bed and instead leave it to serve as a “drain” which will hopefully help the other four!


To Be Continued!….

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