Monday, June 25, 2012

Garden Harvest and Roasted Asparagus and Peppers with Goat Cheese

We picked our first head of cauliflower yesterday afternoon while walking in the garden with friends and in between rain drops. As was noted in my garden journal, this was about three weeks later than last year's cauliflower harvest.

Brassica oleracea 'Purple of Sicily' is an Italian heirloom that was a new addition to our vegetable garden this year. A lovely purple that turns to bright green upon cooking, she weighed less than a pound as opposed to an expected 2-3 pounds, but with the cold and rainy season we have had so far, we will gratefully accept what we are given. She was beginning to open up, and I wasn't about to let that happen. Of course I did a taste test as I brought it back to the house, and the report is sweet, tender, tasty, and I suspect we may find it again in the fall garden. Imagine the lovely splash of color on your veggie tray.

Our first tomato, Solanum lycopersicum 'Stupice', an heirloom from Czechoslovakia, is one I always start each year since it is the first one to ripen and the last to produce in the fall garden, a tasty 5-7 ounce beauty. We put this one in a pot in the hoop house in order to speed it along in this year's cold and rainy June. That seems to have paid off.

The broccoli we planted last fall has continued to outperform but is now beginning to go to seed; yesterday I picked what may be the final few of B. oleracea 'Purple Sprouting'. This English heirloom is quite stunning in the garden and tasty right off the vine.

While this goes seed, B. oleracea 'Calabrese' should continue to yield its compact green side shoots throughout the summer. We gathered one pound yesterday.

A few young Walla Walla sweet onions, our first pound of fresh strawberries, and the last of the Spinacia oleracea 'Bloomsdale', made for a great salad with toasted pecans and a vinaigrette dressing.

What is likely the final picking of our asparagus, I could think of no better way to serve them than as an appetizer with roasted peppers and goat cheese during our friend's visit yesterday to the garden.

Roasted Asparagus and Peppers with Goat Cheese
from Diana's kitchen

8 small sweet peppers, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed
16 asparagus tips
extra virgin olive oil
5 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon finely minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to broil. Place the peppers and asparagus in a bowl; drizzle with olive oil, toss to coat and place on a baking sheet. Broil in the top third of the oven for 5-6 minutes, turning them over several times during the process until slightly brown.

To the goat cheese, add the garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper and combine well. Place a teaspoon of the mixture on each pepper half, top with the asparagus, and spritz with a little extra virgin olive oil.

Served with a chilled Italian sparkling wine, Presecco, and enjoyed in our little tea room in the garden.