I have been on a mission lately to find new and exciting recipes using the mint out of my garden. There is only so much tea you can drink 🙂 For my opinion on growing mint in your garden, check out My Love Hate Relationship with Mint!
I wanted to make pesto chicken this week and my basil supply is getting a little low. I have been using it so much lately, I am actually running out of leaves. So I started looking in the gardens for some pesto inspiration and stopped in my tracks when I came to the mint!
I was a little worried it would taste strange. I mean when you think pesto, you don’t usually think mint, but I was so pleasantly surprised by how good it was, I had to rush right to my laptop to tell you all about it!
GARLIC MINT PESTO
makes 1 small jar of pesto
3 cups fresh mint
1/4 cup parmesan
1/4 cup walnuts
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 garlic cloves
Wash your mint leaves and put in food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Add walnuts, parmesan , garlic, salt and pepper. Blend away until chopped up into very small pieces. Add lemon juice and enough olive oil until you get the desired consistency. I like mine thick, but if you like it thin, just keep adding olive oil.
I hope you have a chance to try this recipe. It is so refreshing, I cannot wait to try it out with my pesto chicken!
BBQ Season + Garden Season = Stuffed Mushroom Season!
There is no finer thing than a warm and tasty stuffed mushroom right off the BBQ on a hot summers night! Pair it with a garden salad and a nice glass of wine, sit on the patio and watch the fireflies dance!
Ok, I could probably come up with another perfect scenario for a cold winters evening too…..I just loved stuffed mushrooms anytime of the year.
Summer time does produce the best ingredients for this recipe though, and I personally like to eat what is in season.
This recipe is always a hit at parties and BBQs. The woody flavour combined with the garlic pesto and cream cheese is to die for! It starts a flavour party in your mouth (wow, that was cheesy…..HA that’s punny!)
Ok, I am done now!
GARLIC PESTO STUFFED MUSHROOMS
6 medium mushrooms (or 12 small ones). I have tried different kinds of mushrooms and they are all good, so just grab what is fresh and available!
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
Garlic pesto. I make garlic scape pesto that is amazing and uses the curly tops of the garlic plant. This is what gives mine a nice green colour. Again, any garlic pesto would work, but I highly recommend you try this recipe if you have garlic scapes available. Get my Garlic Scape Pesto recipe here!
3 oz cream cheese ( half a brick)
1/2 small onion
The nice thing about this recipe is you don’t need to mess around with the flavours. Let the pesto and cream cheese create their magic!
Scrub mushrooms really well and remove the stalks. Chop stalks into small pieces. Add 1 tbsp to frying pan and sauté mushroom stalks and onion for about 3-4 minutes or until soft and fragrant. Turn off heat. Add pesto and cream cheese and stir until combined.
Use remaining oil to brush mushroom tops and bottoms. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stuff pesto cheese mixture into mushrooms and pop on the BBQ or in the oven for 20-25 minutes until mushrooms are soft and there is a nice crunchy layer on the top.
You can top with cheese at this point if you would like. I prefer them without because I feel it takes away from the cheese that is already in the mushrooms. You can also use a layer of bread crumbs for more crunch!!
I know what you are thinking and yes, they do taste as good as they look!
Do you grow your own garlic? Did you know that the entire plant is not only edible, but super delicious!!
We have a good amount of wild garlic in our gardens, and other then looking pretty, I was never sure what to do with it. After some research, I learned that the options are endless!
Not only are the scapes (the curly tops that sprout up a month or so before you can harvest the bulbs) edible, they have such a fresh garlicky taste, you can eat them raw or fry them up with some salt and pepper. I enjoy adding them to stir frys too. Yum, yum, yum!!!
I have been craving pesto BBQ chicken for a while, and thought “scape pesto??” Turns out it is actually a thing!! There are lots of recipes out there that are very different, and I am sure very delicious! My recipe was purely based on what I already had in the house and let me tell you….I wouldn’t change a thing!
Garlic Scape Pesto (per cup of chopped scapes)
1 cup garlic scapes
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup walnuts
1/3 cups olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash and roughly chop the stalks (separating the flowery tops) I cut mine at the point where the stalks started to feel tough. It is a little late in the season and they got tough about 4-6 inches down.
Cut off the tops above the flowery bulbs. They have a spicy garlicky taste the added great flavour to the Pesto!
Save the flowery bulbs to plant more garlic!
Place scapes, cheese, walnuts, salt and pepper to food processor and pulse. Slowly add oil until you have a desired consistency.
Yesterday I went out into the garden and was delighted to see I could pick my first harvest! Whoa Hoo!!!!!
Although I only got a handful of raspberries and enough lettuce to make an awesome salad for lunch, I did get a bunch of cucumbers, fresh dill and garlic! What was a girl to do? Make refrigerator dill pickles of course!!!
I will never can pickles. I just don’t see the point to cooking them and turning them soggy. Refrigerator pickles are super fresh, crunchy and only take a couple days to become delishous! They last up to 12 weeks in the fridge (if you don’t eat them by then) and you can play around with flavours since they are so easy to make! This jar only took me 15 minutes!!
Quick Garlic Dill Pickles (makes 1 quart)
3-5 small pickling cucumbers (enough to pack them in there good)
2 chopped cloves of garlic
Fresh dill, or dill seed
1 tsp peppercorns
1 tsp crushed peppers
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup cider vinegar
Just put everything into a jar, top up with water to the rim and let sit in the fridge for 2 or 3 days and enjoy!!
This is a starter recipe for me. Depending on your taste, play around with mustard seed, regular vinegar, other spices, etc. It is so easy to make these, you can make a jar in less than 15 minutes, so get creative!!
In my opinion, if you plant something in your garden, ideally, you should be able to eat it. Gardening takes water, valuable time and money to grow, so you minus well reap the rewards!
There are so many beautiful herbs and vegetables that have flowers and look just like other perennials you can spend hundreds of dollars on (but can’t eat). If you plant the right ones together, they can come into bloom in a timely manner, ensuring your gardens are always bright and colourful!
In the past couple of years, I have been slowly replacing greenery that offers no nutritional value with delicious AND pretty plants in my gardens!
I love planting herbs! They are probably the prettiest and tastiest plants. In addition to my chives, mint, dill, parsley, sage and basil, I have added lavender, oregano and thyme this year. It just adds so much beauty and it is amazing to add to a salad.
As part of building a sustainable lifestyle, we want to grow as much food as we can for ourselves! Having roses, daisies and gardenias are nice, but at the end of season, all they were good for was to look at and then chop down. I would much rather eat the plants that I spend so much time watering, pruning and weeding!!
We love to use the BBQ as often as possible in the summer. We cannot always afford the best steaks though, and if you don’t prep them right, they can come out tough and chewy!
We have played around with various marinades to get the tastiest steak that just melt in your mouth and I we have finally found a winner….and it is super easy!
Steak Marinade (measurements to taste)
That is all. Let marinade for at least 8 hours. 24 hours is much better though. Take it out every couple hours and shake the marinade around for best results. You will be able to cut it with a butter knife. It doesn’t seem to matter what cut of steak it is, it always turns out amazing on the BBQ!
Sorry, I don’t have any after pictures, once these steaks came off the BBQ last night, I didn’t have the patience to take pictures, I just grabbed my fork and knife and dug in!!