Plum Harvest – Happy 4th of July!!

Happy 4th of July! It’s a beautiful day in the Bay Area, perfect for plum picking!

My aunt has 4 terrific plum trees in her back yard that are sagging with ripe fruit right now.

She gave me a couple shopping bags and told me to load up. Load up I did, with 5 or so pounds of plums!

Needless to say, I foresee a couple plum recipes coming up this week. However, no cooking today. It’s time to get outside again and enjoy the holiday and amazing weather!

I’ll leave you with a couple enticing pictures of fruit tarts and cupcakes that I got from a bakery called Sweetlife near my aunt’s house. Yummy breakfast!

Raspberry/Blueberry Tart

Apricot/Blueberry Tart

Carrot Cake Cupcake

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Bok Choy, Chives and Garlic Never Looked so Good

Today’s post is all about my mom’s garden. She has been whipping up some beautiful seasonal dishes using homegrown and fresh ingredients. This week she harvested an abundance of young garlic, chives, and bok choy.

Young Garlic: You can look for young garlic at the farmer’s markets…..it’s kind of the latest rage and marketed as “green garlic”. My mom has it growing everywhere in the garden, and usually has to dig it out to make room for other crops. She uses young bulbs in everything. They’re kind of sweet, like onions, but have a garlicky kick. You can use a lot of young garlic without overpowering a dish with too much garlic essence.

Young Garlic

Chives: Chives provide a subtle onion flavor and you can use them to garnish all sorts of dishes like potato salad, soups, pastas, omelets, etc. Be creative! My mom uses all parts of the chive plant including the flowers, which are so aesthetically pleasing. During the summer she dries snipped chives and chive flowers for winter use. That way she can have chives anytime of the year.

Chives and Chive Flowers

Bok Choy: Bok choy is a cabbage and is seen a lot in Chinese cuisine. Bok Choy flourishes in my mom’s garden and she uses it to make simple vegetable side dishes.

Bok Choy earlier in the Spring, ready for planting. How’d that chick get in the picture?

My mom incorporated the three ingredients that we’ve mentioned from the garden into a healthy and beautiful side dish.

Ingredients being prepped on a cutting board

Bok Choy with Young Garlic, Chives, and Chive Flowers

Recipe:

Chop bok choy, young garlic, and chives (cut bok choy in 1″ pieces, slice garlic thinly, chop chives and chive flowers)

Put a saute pan on medium heat. Once pan is hot, coat the bottom with sesame oil. Add bok choy and garlic. Saute until tender. Then add chives with flowers, some red pepper flakes, and a splash of soy sauce. Serve and garnish with more chives and chives flowers.

Golden Gate Bridge and a busy weekend

Happy 75th Birthday Golden Gate Bridge! This weekend the city threw a proper celebration for our beloved bridge (which opened May 27, 1937). Thousands of people, locals and tourists alike, turned out for daytime festivities and a spectacular fireworks show Sunday night. The fog lifted and the night was perfect!

Image

It was also a great weekend because my mom was in town! We went to the Academy of Sciences to see my brother. He gives dive shows in the cool coral tank.

My mom also came bearing gifts! My favorite type of gifts, food gifts. I happily received fresh rhubarb and strawberries from the garden, a dozen eggs from the chickens, and a potted array of basils (which were just small seedlings a month ago). I can’t wait to get cooking!

Chicken eggs straight from the coop and rhubarb from the garden:

Green and Purple Basil Plants

TIP: Grow and harvest your own herbs. It’s convenient and saves money!

Sadly the weekend has come to an end. My mom left for home early this morning. Dad has been holding down the fort back home, tending to the animals and keeping an eye on everything. Instead of fireworks, he said they got May snow showers over the weekend. Luckily it burned off quickly, and there is no damage to the garden!

Peas in the Garden

I must have peas on the brain! I talked about the peas from the farmer’s market in the previous post, but left out the peas from mom’s garden. The growing season is a bit later at mom’s house, but the green peas are shooting up quickly.

Tip: Peas like to climb as they grow. Mom used some apple tree branches that she trimmed earlier as a trellis (used to support plants) for the peas. See if you have anything on hand to use before buying a trellis.

Green pea flower from the garden!

Milk cartons, coffee cups, and seedlings

It’s time to start thinking about this year’s garden. My mom’s seedlings are well on their way and looking healthy. They’ve been growing indoors the past couple months. Once the snow melts and the weather is warmer, it will be time to plant them.

My mom uses recycled cups and milk cartons to plant her seeds in each spring. As the seedlings grow, she moves them into larger vessels until they are ready to go into the ground.

Bok Choy seedlings

I do my part in the city by saving my coffee and plastic cups at work. Mom will re-use them for the upcoming planting season.

TIP: Start your seedlings off in old coffee cups, plastic cups or milk cartons. This is a great way to recycle and save money on pots and planters.