I just made bruschetta and want to share the recipe. Before we go there, however, we need a lesson on how to pronounce, “bruschetta.” I used to say “BROO-shett-uh.”  That is incorrect. After ordering a delish rendition of bruschetta at Dolce Vita in Boston’s North End, I have learned to say it correctly. (If you get the chance to go there, GO! Franco rocks, and sings to the crowd. Much fun to be had by all!) 

Ready? Here we go…”Br(roll that ‘r’)oo-SKETT-tuh.” Now, kiss all your fingertips (and thumbtip, is that considered a finger in an example such as this? I think it is, but, whatever, all five of them) at the same time, then pull your hand away and flare your fingers out into a jazz hand. This is a terrible, stereotypical gesture I have learned from movies and television and I use it here without shame.

So, here is the DaisyPatch version of the Dolce Vita bruschetta.

1 loaf Italian bread (I bought a fresh loaf that was soft. You can buy the crusty kind (is that French? Well THAT won’t work. This is an Italian recipe) but I avoid the crusty kind because it shreds the roof of my mouth. Like Captain Crunch. Ouch. That stuff was painful. How did that get on the market in the first place, I ask you? That cereal inflicted injury. Did I digress?) Slice and then toast in the broiler until just lightly browned (too brown and we’ll get that shredded roof of the mouth thing again.)

1 clove garlic, minced

3-4 tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup fresh basil – chopped

1 tbsp fresh thyme – removed from the stem

1 shallot (or a teensy red onion), chopped

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp olive oil

coarse salt

fresh ground pepper

*Note- I don’t measure. I completely eyeballed it, but I think that looks about right.

Mix the garlic, tomatoes, shallot, basil, thyme in a bowl. Add olive oil. Let sit.

Reduce the balsamic vinegar in a pan over the stove until it starts to look thick. Cool. It will get a bit thicker as it cools. You want it thick like honey.

When you are ready to serve, put the veggie mixings on the toasted bread, salt and pepper to taste.  Drizzle with a little balsamic. Serve it up.

And say it with me. Bruschetta. (Don’t forget the hand gesture – kiss, pull, jazz). Molto bene.

(Author note: I am exceptionally proud of these. All veggies and herbs were ours. And they were delicioso.)

Talk about cukes! We’ve grown pickling cukes before, but not these regular ones. We have 6 plants growing up a vertical trellis. I’ve harvested 6 cukes so far and can count at least 15 more on the plants. My favorite recipe is pretty easy:

Make the dressing first. Put about 2 cups white vinegar, 1/2 cup white sugar and a pinch of paprika into a sauce pan. Boil (it’ll burn your nose, trust me) until the consistency is like a thin maple syrup. Cool in the fridge where it will thicken up. It will be a nice mix of sweet and tangy with a tiny lingering heat of the paprika.

Cut cucumbers into 1 inch chunks. Cut tomatoes into one inch chunks. (You know, about the same amount of each.) When the dressing is completely cool, mix some into the tomato/cukes until just dressed (don’t drown!) Serve immediately. It isn’t really that great the next day.


It has been a long time since I wrote a haiku. Here we go…ahem…

Fragrant garlic scapes

Unsure how to cook with you

Had no luck before

When we were part of the CSA (that failed experiment I’ve mentioned before), we were introduced to garlic scapes. They are the flower and stem of a garlic bulb that farmers remove so that the plant directs its energy toward the bulb and not the flower. The bulb is the goodness (but I know I don’t have to tell YOU that, gentle reader). Anyhoo, the CSA sent us home with scapes for a few weeks in a row with mentions of, “Garlic Scape Pesto, mmmmmm.” Well, I tried to make that. The scapes were sort of grainy, even, dare I say, woody. They were still green, but, well, stiff and no matter how much I boiled or sauteed them, I didn’t like the texture of the pesto. It was like eating pasta with flavored, green wood shaving sauce. (I have this texture-thing with food. Bamboo shoots, for example, have been invented by Satan to ruin my food with their grainy, crunchy grittiness. Ewww. Putting fruit chunks in ice cream is equivalent, in my book, to boiling live kittens. Wrong. Very wrong. And gross. Powdered mashed potatoes…you get my point.)

So, the garlic scape pesto was inedible. Here we are and it is garlic scape season. They’re patiently sitting in the fridge, waiting to be transformed from deliciously garlicky flavor-sticks (they smell fantastic, like a combination of pea pods and super mild garlic) into something edible.

First, here’s the process of procuring a garlic scape.

Step 1. Notice the garlic scape.

Step 2. Cut and save the garlic scape.



Step 3. Use the garlic scape. This is where I’m lost. I need to do some hunting for recipes. If you have one. Please share. If I find any that work, I will post them.

My February doldrums haiku…ahem…

Have the stomach flu

I’ve been knitting and **ting

For the last 2 days

Yup. I thought I’d bring you, my gentle readers, into my hell.  The 6 foot high snow bank (no lie) is a bit shorter and there are actually patches of ground for DaisyMae to use as her “spot.” The wind today is pretty gusty and although it looked a bit nice out earlier, I, alas, have been stuck inside. This stomach bug is just not fun. Rice, ginger ale, water and saltines have been my chosen menu for about 46 hours while I stayed home from work yesterday (sparing my co-workers in my day job from my condition) and alternated between sleeping (having snoozed only 2 hours the night before) and knitting a new hat for myself and, well, just plain bitching about how crappy I feel.

I looked outside at our garden, still buried under about 3 feet of snow and wondered how soon it will be before I’m digging again. We had our sundried tomatoes in a neat little vegetarian dish last week. What will we be eating at this time next year (can you tell I have food on the brain? The bland diet is just so, what’s the word? Boring?) We plan to have the greenhouse completed, so will I finally be able to trudge out and pick greens even though it’s Winter? Will we have canned or frozen enough veggies to eat throughout the year? Gosh, I hope so. I like that we still have some things left in the pantry and freezer: 1/2 bottle of maple syrup; herbs; ketchup; tomato sauce; sundried tomatoes; garlic; green beans; carrots; shallots. I was hoping we’d be able to use our veggies in at least every home-cooked meal throughout the non-growing season. We’re not quite there (sometimes, you just crave spaghetti with parm and butter and nothing else), but we’re pretty close. To take my mind off my misery, I thought I’d share…here’s that neat little vegetarian dish (a bit modified from the original which was something we ate once and tried our best to copy).

(Without measurements. Use the force, Luke.) (There! She did it again. She stuck in a Star Wars reference in her gardening blog. HOW DOES SHE DO IT?)

Pie Crust for 2 pies

About a cup of sundried tomatoes, boiled until soft, then drained and pureed.

1 can of artichoke hearts (unmarinated). Drain and chop.

Roasted red peppers, chopped

Shredded mozzarella

1 container ricotta

Grated Parmesan

2 eggs

Heat oven to 350

Put 1 crust in pie plate for pie bottom.

Spread sundried tomato paste on bottom of crust

Mix ricotta with 1 egg, some ground pepper and some grated parm (you know, like lasagne) (We are low sodium here in the DaisyPatch household, so feel free to add a pinch of salt if your taste desires, but try it without, there’s enough flavor in here, you migh be able to skip it.)

Spread ricotta mixture on top of tomato paste.

Sprinkle (ok, pour) shredded mozzarella over ricotta.

Layer on chopped artichokes.

Layer on chopped red peppers (scarce, or you’ll be dying of heartburn 2 hours later, TRUST ME!)

More mozzarella (can you ever have too much?)

Put the other pie crust on top and, using the other egg that you’ve beaten with a fork (and called a few names because it doesn’t know its place and didn’t listen to you like good eggs should), brush the egg over the crust.

Bake in the oven until top is golden brown.

Enjoy while I go make myself some rice. (OH! and Keith just poured himself some of our favorite wine! This is torture.)

~By the way, you can subscribe to this blog if you like. I won’t mind. This way, when I update, it will get emailed to you. I don’t sell the email addresses or anything.

1 3-lb roaster chicken


Fresh Thyme and Rosemary


Butternut Squash



*Preheat oven to 375.  You know the drill – remove giblets, wash and salt the cavity. Pat the chicken dry.  Cut 4 slices of butter and rub between skin and breast. (I leave butter chunks under there). Salt and pepper the outside. Take a bunch of thyme and a sprig of rosemary and stuff in the cavity (remember, you have to get it out after, so “place it” versus “stuff it” might be better way of wording it.)

Put in the meat thermometer and roast. Don’t cover it, well, maybe some foil on the ends of the drumsticks.

While it’s in there, chop the veggies to unif0rm size. Throw in a casserole dish. More pats of butter on top and sprinkle brown sugar-(not a ton, maybe 3 tbsp) on top. Put in next to the bird. Cook until chicken is internal temp of 180. Veggies should be not squishy soft, but soft (like, no knife soft). During cooking time, give the veggies a stir every once in a while.

Make gravy with pan drippings. Enjoy that warm satisfaction deep in the belly that you grew a lot of this meal yourself, being thankful that someone else knows how to kill chickens for you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ps…sorry no pictures, it went in my belly too fast!

My Homemade Pizza Haiku…ahem…

A kick-ass pizza

Made with veggies from the Patch

And some artichokes


Pizza dough

Can of artichoke hearts

2 heads of garlic


goat cheese

balsamic vinegar

Roast the garlic bulbs (cut the tops off, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes until fork-tender). Put one aside to nibble from while you’re making the rest of the pizza. Squish out the garlic from the other once once it’s cooled and mash with a fork.

Take the pizza dough out of the package (I know, I know, we could discuss the merits of making your own pizza dough right here, but c’mon, get real. We don’t grow wheat. I mean, we could mix some flour and water together, stick it on the window sill to ferment, thus creating our own yeast base but by the time we’ve harvested and ground the wheat and grew some yeast, I would have killed a litter of small puppies and eaten them raw out of hunger, so let’s just go with the convenience of store-bought dough, m’kay?) Oil the pizza pan and stretch the dough out on the pan.

Slice up the tomatoes, drain and slice the artichokes.  Scatter on top of the pizza dough. Crumble up the goat cheese and sprinkle it on top. Eat some goat cheese, you know, to make sure it’s ok.

Put it in the oven and bake that baby for 8-10 minutes…

(He made the pizza, so I’ve been checking on the steps he took…here’s what happened next…)

Me: Wait – Keith, honey, how hot was the oven.

Him: Hot.

Me: Yeah, but how hot? I’m putting in a recipe.

Him: Oh, 500

Him: Wait! Make it 485. Be different.

Boil down the balsamic vinegar until it is a syrup while the pizza is baking. Cool it. (The syrup. You’re fine.)

When it is done, take it out, drizzle on the vinegar, cut it and, then you can do what I did and make it pose for photos.

Ooh, artsy!


Ok, time to be honest here. In order to do what I did, you could read the text on your phone requesting you pick up artichokes, stop at the store and pick up a can of artichokes, arrive home with said artichokes, then wait patiently while someone else makes this delicious dish. Once the pie has been removed from the oven, you then make the garlicky-breath-owning chef wait while you pose the pizza in several different ways and take pictures, first without a flash, then with a flash, then try to get artsy by just pulling out once slice ever so carefully and taking more photos, first without a flash, then with a flash until you are finally reminded that the pizza is getting cool and that you’ve probably taken enough photos of said pizza and it was time to eat.


After tasting this recipe, I asked, no, begged for it. And got it (insert evil laugh here, you know the one, the heroine is tied up to the train tracks and the guy in the cape is walking away, laughing? That laugh.) The thing of it is, this recipe doesn’t have anything to do with the Daisy Patch. Well, at least not our gardens. It is just a really good recipe and worth sharing.

When Keith and I first started living together, I had never been to a bed and breakfast and thought it would be nice if he and I got away. It was foliage season in New England and, well, I heard that’s what you’re supposed to do. So, I found a B&B online.

This B&B was nice. I would recommend it, if you like Bed and Breakfasts (Beds and Breakfasts? Bedss and Breakfastsss?) however, we soon discovered that the B&B scene wasn’t for us. Walking past grandma’s picture to our room which was very next to someone else’s room (let your mind wander…squeaky bed…right, now you’re sharing our cringe factor) then, the next morning, sitting in the living room with strangers while we waited for breakfast just wasn’t for us. We like our privacy. We also liked breakfast. A lot. The Inn owner served these golden brown baked blobs of goodness in a basket along with the meal. I ate two. They were so good, I almost swooned (What is a swoon? Do I put the back of my hand to my forehead and fall backwards? Do I just roll my eyes with a sigh? Trust me on this, go with it. Meanwhile, I’ll look into swooning and get back to you.)

I finally asked what they were – Scones. (Never heard of a scone.) “What’s in them?” I asked. “Dates and walnuts.” I’d never had a date (the edible kind, er, I mean the delicious kind…oh gosh, I mean..uh…) (Ok, that’s funny if you get it… At least I’m laughing.) before. I asked for the recipe. She was a bit hesitant, but I started gushing over how good they were. She went away and came back with a copy of the recipe. (Hooray! Evil laugh.)

I swear, I have made that recipe at least 100 times since then. They are so good. They are also fattening (so be forewarned). I don’t feel comfortable sharing the name of the Inn in case they don’t want their recipe shared. Yet, I feel I should give them credit, right? Ooh, conundrum. Ok, how about this, why don’t I just show you pictures of how yummy they are and, if you want the recipe, you can write me and I’ll send it?

mmm with mascarpone on top

If you have gotten this far, I have to tell you, I am struggling with the title of this post. Why am I struggling? Because it is kind of on the dumb side, but, I’ve had a really long day at the DJ and it is just making me laugh. I erased it, came up with a few others, read it to Keith who, God love his honesty, told me it wasn’t my best, and still decided to put it there. And it made me laugh. Again. So, it stays. So there.  I’m going to have a scone and go to bed.

I had a small problem yesterday. I let Keith know that I was going outside to harvest some of the veggies. He said, “Bring a big basket.” You know how you hear something, but don’t really HEAR it? I sort of heard him say that, but it didn’t register. (If you ask him, he will say that is a constant problem of mine. I say it is because I am so intelligent that I’m constantly thinking…all the time, thinking, and sometimes, something new just doesn’t have room to enter at that exact moment. I think he would say it is because I’m not paying attention.)

Outside I go with our little basket. Green beans, peas, husk cherries, tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers, red onions, shallots, scallions…It took me three trips inside with the small basket to harvest what was ready.

If this is one day of harvest, we’ve got our hands full. I haven’t picked the basil yet, but it looks like I have about 12 cups. Dreams of pesto fill my brain. (Did I mention that I have 5 freezer bags full of pesto in the freezer from last season? Um, yeah…)

The good neighbor, his daughter and some of her friends were walking by as I was picking. They sampled some husk cherries, green beans and sugar snap peas, fresh from the basket. Doesn’t that just warm the heart? Neighbors, standing by the garden fence, chatting about the weather, taste-testing crispy, fresh-picked sweet peas. An idyllic picture of countryside life. (We had to stop mid-sentence as a motorcycle hit the bottom of the hill and revved it’s engine to pick up speed for the straightaway. Jerk! C’mon, it’s a residential neighborhood. Did you do that on purpose when you saw the 5 of us standing there? I hope you get crotch-rot in your leather chaps on a humid 90-degree day!) I smile as I look back on yesterday – a lovely Summer day on the homestead.

Keith is making blueberry pancakes for breakfast with local blueberries (if you see a farmstand, stop and get blueberries and corn – it’ll be worth it!), King Arthur flour (I love that brand) and our maple syrup. Doesn’t it sound so delish? I can’t wait. I asked him to save 5 blueberries from the container to decoratively arrange on top of the pancakes when he serves them. Martha taught me right, it’s all about the presentation! (That’s true love, he just puts up with little requests like that.)

While he works at the griddle (we love our Jenn-Air – hey look, two N’s! It’s one of the reasons we bought this house – not the N’s – the grille) I look up recipes for using green beans. You can only steam them and serve with butter for so many meals before it gets a bit boring. I bought 2 varieties. One is called Tavara. They are slim and skinny – ones I would call French. The other are Burpee Provider. They’re fat and almost fuzzy. I like the Tavara better, but the Burpee Provider is really that – they are prolific!

*****Small aside*****

Dear Future Jenn:

While you are having fun ordering seeds, please remember that more is not always better. Unless you became a vegetarian again or plan on supplying local restaurants with your harvest, might I suggest you cut back on the number of each variety you put in the ground in 2011 and try more varieties in general? While 24 green bean plants sounded good in 2010, please remember that harvesting a gallon bag of green beans each day did cause you to spend the entire July weekend in front of a pot of boiling water blanching green beans for the freezer instead of floating in the pool. Just sayin’.

*****End of letter*****

Something about the idea of that Green Bean Casserole from our childhoods makes me skeevy. Canned soup, french fried onions from a can and greenbeans, slimed up and cooked. I am making a “that sounds yucky” face. So, here I am with Rachael Ray’s 30-Minute Meals GetTogethers trying to get inspired. Page 167 – Green Beans with lemon and toasted almonds. This sounds good. We’ll have it tonight with the buttermilk fried chicken K has been soaking in batter since last night.

2 oz sliced almonds

1 pound green beans, trimmed

1 tbsp butter

juice of 1/2 lemon

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

In a medium pan, toast almonds over medium heat. Remove from pan and add 1/2 inch water to the pan. Bring water to a boil, add the beans and cover the pan. Reduce heat. Cook beans 4-5 minutes until just tender, yet still green. Drain beans and set aside. Return pan to stovetop and melt butter over moderate heat. Add lemon juice to butter (juice lemon half right-side up to keep seeds in lemon rather than in your beans). Add beans to lemon butter and coat evenly. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer green beans to dinner plates or serving plate and top with almonds.

Thanks, Rachael. I’ll let you know how it is.

Another recipe is mine. This one rocks. It takes an entire day to prepare, but I’ll tell you where you can take a shortcut.

Smoky chicken pesto salad

Smoke a whole chicken in your smoker (shorcut: Don’t smoke the chicken) Cool and cut meat (white and dark) into chunks.

Boil a box of pasta (I like the bowties, use whatever you like). Rinse with cool water and drain, making sure all the water has dripped out.

Make pesto. I eyeball it – but be sure to toast the pine nuts before you put them in the food processer. I will take you it makes a TON of difference. Save some of the pine nuts aside (again, all about presentation!)

Mix the pesto into the cool pasta in a big bowl. Add grape tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes. Add fresh mozzarella, cut in chunks – you know the stuff that is soft and spongy and is found by the olives in the grocery store floating in a liquid? (Or better yet, make your own! Making cheese isn’t difficult! More on that in a later post!) That stuff.

Pour into your serving dish, sprinkle with some baby basil leaves (keep them whole, they bruise when they’re cut), a few more tomato chunks and then the toasted pine nuts. Dust lightly with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Nummy!

WHILE i STRUGGLE with Caps-Lock thanks to Peber, I will say this post is finished just in time for blueberry pancakes. It’s a good life.