First you sow, then you reap. And then what? Summer is not only hectic because you are a Fort York Gardener and doing all that involves (weeding, watering, nurturing, filling the rain barrels, fending, stretching chicken wire around you precious crops), but also you harvest and after the harvest, then what? Eat, of course, but unlike the rabbits and groundhogs who seem to like it as is, we all want to pursue the ultimate in tastes. Combining flavors, adding our favorite dressings. In the spirit of sharing, and inspiring, here are some favorites from the gardeners using ingredients grown in the garden plots of Fort York Community Garden.
Gardener: Hasse Chacon
From the plot: Arugula, strawberries, fresh herbs
A few straberries
Chèvre cheese (crumbled)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Fresh herbs finely chopped
Pine nuts or crushed walnuts
Salt & pepper to taste
A few slices of red onion (optional)
1 Make The Dressing:
Place olive oil, lemon juice, herbs, salt and pepper in a glass jar and cover tightly with a lid. Shake well, until the dressing is emulsified
Place the washed and dried arugula leaves in a salad bowl, along with the slices of onion
Drizzle with the dressing and toss. Top with: chèvre, nuts and sliced strawberries
Garlic Scape Pesto with Linguini and Cherry Tomatoes
Gardener: Mark D’Aguilar
From the plot: fresh basil, garlic scapes, tomatoes.
6 Garlic Scapes, heads removed and roughly chopped (or substitute, or add, arugula)
1/3 Cup Fresh Basil leaves
1/4 Cup Chopped, toasted Walnuts
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Lemon, juice and zest
1/4 Cup Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese, grated
12 Cherry Tomatoes, halved
Sea Salt yo taste
1 Ib Linguini, or other Pasta
1. Combine the garlic scapes, basil, walnuts, 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a food processor or blender. (You can also toss in some Arugula leaves for a nice bite)
2. Process until the leaves and garlic scapes are finely chopped.
3. Then add the nuts and remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil and lemon juice and jest.
4. Scrape mixture into a bowl and stir in the cheese. Add a drizzle more olive oil if necessary and season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt and pasta to directions for al dente.
6. Drain the pasta reserving 1 Cup of the pasta water.
7. Toss the pasta with the pesto and add in the tomatoes.
8. Only if necessary, add some of the reserved pasta water to bring it to a creamy consistency.
9. Serve with a grating of more cheese and a few torn fresh basil leaves.
Gardener: Patrisha Robertson
From the plot: Fresh French Lavender, Rhubarb.
Apricot & Lavender Jam
Ingredients: a basket of apricots, sugar, lemon juice, water, fresh lavender blossom.
Split the apricots, removing stones.
Pit the stones and reserve the “almonds” inside.
Wash, then split the apricots and then layer them in a pot with sugar (I use the least amount I can, so I start with less and may add more) and a 6 – 10 of the “almonds” (these will help provide the pectin). If you have lavender sugar you can add a dash here also.
Let sit for a few hours.
Add a little water, a squeeze of lemon juice, and bring slowly to a boil.
The mixture will thicken to a lovely jam like consistency.
Remove the “almonds”. Add fresh lavender at the end.
Decant into sterilized jars using traditional canning methods.
Rhubarb and Ginger Jam or Rhubarberry (rhubarb + blueberry) and Ginger jam.
Ingredients: rhubarb – 10 – 12 stalks,chopped, fresh ginger, sugar. Blueberries optional.
Same as above (without the peach “almonds”)
Rhubarb + Sugar + some nice chunks of fresh ginger.
Don’t use much water as rhubarb has a lot on its own.
If necessary, use some liquid or powdered pectin.
Before decanting into clean, sterilized jars remove the lumps of ginger!
OTHER THINGS THAT YOU CAN DO AT THE GARDEN!
Bird spotting! There have been beautiful red and gold finches at the sunflowers. Thrushes are admiring the strawberries! Bring your paints and make a watercolour of your crops! There are some beautiful forms to be seen – from sweet pea and bean blossoms, to exploding garlic pods! Hope to see you – remember Wednesday day is our communal gardening night! 5 pm – 8 pm!