Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Baby Beet Greens, Peas, Garlic, Parmesan Farfalle

The Calm One was out shopping for pasta he uses in his three pasta/three cheeses mac 'n cheese: penne, corkscrews, and pipes. Reaching for a box, he saw that it was already opened. So he reached for another, and that one also was unsealed. So he wriggled his long arms even higher, so high that when he grappled with a hopefully sealed package, he heard a crash on the other side of the aisle. Chastened, he hastily put it in the cart and after noting that the closure was intact, made a speedy getaway. And that is how we get to try new things. As the pasta was farfalle.

Rise, O steam!

Harvesting peas is a Goldilocks endeavour. The pod needs to be plump, but not so much that every molecule of air is replaced with pea. In other words, the pod should not be completely rigid but still a bit pliant.


Peas over a certain size will not be as sweet. The perfect pea placement is when they are just touching each other.


Beet seed naturally forms clusters so no matter how carefully it is sowed, there will be an opportunity to harvest baby beet greens by thinning, leaving about 10 cm (four inches) between beets so the rest can develop into ruby beauties.

I prefer young and even older beet greens to spinach in terms of taste and texture

Ingredients are in bold. For one serving, put a couple of fistfuls of farfalle in boiling water. Contrary to traditional advice, use just the amount of water to cover as giving the pasta the room to swim does not do anything necessary and takes more time to bring to a boil, plus a more flavoured water makes a better sauce. Cook for ten minutes. Toss in a handful of shelled fresh peas. Simmer for a few minutes or until the peas and pasta are mostly done as their cooking will continue in the sauce. Keep a few tablespoons of cooking water aside. Drain and reserve. In the same pot, saute a minced garlic clove over low heat in a tablespoon of olive oil for about a minute or until fragrant. No browning please! Toss in a handful of chopped baby beet greens. Stir until tender, just a few minutes. Add the pasta water or in my case a combo of pasta water and chicken stock. Stir in the pasta and peas, coating them with the sauce. Simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated. If the peas and pasta are getting overcooked, pour out any remaining liquid and give the dish a final stir over the heat. Salt to taste and serve with freshly grated Parmesan and freshly milled black pepper. I thoroughly enjoyed scoffing it down as it tasted FRESH! Thank goodness for the potager.

You are looking for a glazing effect not a soupy one

Lavender out in the front garden fills the air with its fragrance.


A pollinator busy at work.


Though expansive garden vistas are lovely, I tend to gravitate towards a peekaboo perspective giving a layered view: Queen Elizabeth rose, a veggie bed, and lavender.


There are not many strawberries left to harvest, but luscious raspberries make up for the slack. Most days there are enough for a morning feast with cereal or for dessert or for a late night snack.


The first daylily opened a bud the other day. Each day there will be new flowers hence their name.

One of our five plants

À la prochaine!