Você está na página 1de 12
Purchaseacopyof THEARTOFSIMPLE FOODII atoneoftheseretailers:



Part I: Flavor as Inspiration

Varieties in the Garden—Recipes for the Kitchen

My Kitchen Garden


Growing What I Love to Eat

Fragrant and Beautiful


Herbs and Herb Flowers

Tender Leaves


Lettuce and Salad Greens

Hidden Flavor


Garlic, Onions, Leeks, and Shallots

Growing Underground


Roots and Tubers

Crisp Stalks


Fennel, Celery, Asparagus, Cardoons, and Rhubarb

Fresh and Dried


Peas, Fava Beans, Green Beans, Shell Beans, and Peanuts

Meandering Vines


Cucumbers, Melons, Summer Squash, and Winter Squash

The Height of Summer


Tomatoes, Eggplant, Peppers, Corn, and Okra


Colorful Chicories


Frisée, Escarole, Radicchio, Belgian Endive, and Puntarelle

Essential Greens


Kale, Collard Greens, Broccoli Rabe, Chard, Spinach, Amaranth, and Asian Greens

Heading into Winter


Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Kohlrabi, and Brussels Sprouts

Ripe Summer Fruit


Cherries, Apricots, Plums, Peaches, and Nectarines

Just-Picked Berries


Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Blueberries, Huckleberries, Mulberries, and Red Currants

Autumn Fruits and Nuts


Figs, Grapes, Apples, Pears, Quince, Persimmons, Pomegranates, Walnuts, Hazelnuts, and Almonds

Sweet and Savory Citrus


Lemons, Limes, Oranges, Grapefruit, Kumquats, Mandarin Oranges, and Citron

Preserving Vegetables and Fruits


Home Canning, Pickles, Jams and Jellies, Candied Fruit, Liqueurs, and Dried Fruit


Part II: Seed to Seed

Growing the New Kitchen Garden

Plant Wherever You Are


It’s All About the Soil


Soil, Compost, Minerals, Cover Crops, Potting Soil

Preparing the Beds


Garden Planning, Soil Beds, Extending the Seasons, Containers

Seeds, Seedlings, and Healthy Plants


Sowing Seeds, Seedlings, Planting, Water, Plant Foods, Cultivation

Harvesting Flavor


Peak Harvest, Curing and Storing, Saving Seeds

Fruit in the Garden


Selecting Varieties, Planting, Pruning and Shaping, Harvest

Tools and Resources









(Ficus carica)

Figs are the most sensual of fruits when completely ripe: sweet, soft, and seductive. They can be served quartered and baked on a galette crust, cut in half and roasted with a little sweet wine and sugar, or cooked down with sugar and lemon zest to make jam. They pair especially well with candied citrus peel or fresh berries. Their leaves lend a wonderful coconut-like aroma when heated. Wrap a piece of goat cheese or a fillet of fish in a fig leaf before baking or grilling it—for protection from the heat and a deli- cious infusion of flavor. Black Mission is a very dependable vari- ety with purple-black skin and sweet pink flesh that has long been a standard in Cali- fornia. The fruit of Adriatic figs has bright green skin and strawberry red flesh. Genoa, with greenish yellow skin and reddish flesh, and Celeste, with bronzy skin and rosy flesh, are popular varieties for the more humid East and Southeast. Figs are ready to pick when they feel very soft; the skin may be cracked, and they will hang from the branch with a pliant stem. They should come off with an easy snap when grasped where they attach to the branch. Ripe figs can be stored in the refrig- erator for a day or two in a single layer in a shallow pan with good air circulation. They need little preparation for cooking or eating fresh. Just snip off the little tough part of the stem and give the fruits a rinse in cold water. Only those with the thickest skin need to be peeled. To preserve backyard figs, let the ripe fruits hang on the tree until wrinkled and

partially dried, then finish drying on trays set in the sun or in a dehydrator. Fruit that falls from the tree is okay to dry if picked up soon after it falls. Fig trees’ whimsical growth pattern and small size add charm to any space. Large deeply lobed leaves cast dense shade in the summer, and silvery gray branches make an interesting silhouette in winter. Most fig varieties have a small summer crop, borne on growth from the previous season. The main crop forms on the current sea- son’s twigs in late summer and fall. In cold regions, grow figs in containers or trained against a south-facing wall.

Adriatic Figs with Honey, Mint, and Ricotta

Ripe plump Adriatic figs are a gorgeous lime green with brilliant ruby red flesh. They are delicious on their own and a decadent lux- ury drizzled with a bit of honey and mint. Creamy fresh ricotta completes the dish. Allow two figs for each person. Wipe them clean with a damp cloth, cut off the stem ends, and cut in half lengthwise. Arrange the halves prettily on a plate, leav- ing a hole in the center of the design. Fill the hole with a spoonful of ricotta per person. Drizzle with honey and scatter a fine chif- fonade of fresh mint over the dish. Finish with a grind of black pepper, and if you desire, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Serve with grilled toasts or butter cookies depending on whether they are served at the beginning or the end of the meal.



Black Mission Figs Roasted with Wild Fennel

4 servings

Roasted figs are delicious and can be served either sweet or savory. Try them on a grilled

piece of bread with a slice of prosciutto and a dollop of mascarpone, next to roasted duck or pork, or nestled into a salad of rocket and garden lettuce. For dessert, spoon vanilla ice cream over them (or ice cream scented with

a few roasted fig leaves) or line them up in

a baked sweet tart shell filled with whipped

cream. Roast extra figs and have them in the morning with Yogurt (page 183).

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Remove the stems and cut in half lengthwise:

8 Black Mission figs

Lay the figs, cut side up, in a single layer in

a baking dish that just holds them comfort- ably. Tuck in among the figs:

4 to 6 wild fennel fronds

Measure into a small bowl:

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons red wine

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon honey (optional)

Fresh-ground black pepper A large pinch of salt

2 wild fennel flower heads, yellow flower tops only Mix well and spoon over the figs. Bake for 15 minutes or until soft and puffed. Serve warm or at room temperature.

variations Add a few drops of Pernod to the red wine mixture.

Use purple basil in place of the fennel fronds and omit the fennel tops. Roast small clusters of grapes instead of figs.

Grapes (Vitis sp.)

Late summer and fall bring grapes to the market. Many stores are limited to only those green and red table grapes that ship easily. But local farmers’ markets offer the tender tasty varieties I love, whether eaten right out of hand, tossed into fall salads, made into smooth sweet sorbets, or roasted and served over ice cream or next to a grilled duck breast. I get very excited when Bronx grapes arrive on the scene. They are a cross between Concord and Thompson Seedless. They are mindblowingly delicious: sweet, tender, and juicy, with a touch of the unique flavor of Concord grapes. Muscat grapes have a fantastic aromatic and spiced flavor. Try purple Muscat Hamburg, small green Early Muscat, and early ripening golden Queen of the Vineyard. Some other tried and true varieties are Concord, Swenson Red, Flame, and Crimson Seedless. Wine grapes, though usually not good for eating out of hand, are good for cooking, though they are harder to find at the market. When young, grape leaves can be cut into a number of salsas, and I like to toss warm olives with them for a tart marinade. Goat cheese, and sardines and other little fish, are delicious wrapped in a grape leaf and grilled. The leaves help keep pickles crisp. And if you grow your own grapes you can pick some while still green and make your




(Prunus dulcis)

At Chez Panisse, a little plate of almonds toasted to a rich golden brown and tossed with herbs is frequently the first thing peo- ple see when they sit down for dinner. This dish is a delight. Almonds are a close cousin of the stone fruits, and they add flavor and depth to desserts made with peaches, nec- tarines, apricots, cherries, and plums. I like to make a filling for baked peaches with chopped almonds, butter, and sugar. A few slivered almonds transform plum ice cream. We also add almonds to the topping for peach and nectarine crisps. Mission has small nuts with plenty of fruity noyau flavor. Ne Plus Ultra has large pointy nuts with good flavor. All-in-One is a garden favorite, with very tasty nuts on small self-pollinating trees. Garden Prince, another self-pollinating variety, has tasty, soft-shelled nuts. Almonds on the tree look like small pale green peaches. If you grow your own almonds, pick some in spring when the fruits have formed, but the inner shell has not hardened. Carefully cut around the soft pit and release the tender, crisp immature kernel or nut. If it is still soft and jellylike, wait a week and try again. When they are ready, take out the kernel, peel off the thin skin, and use them right away. They are deli- cious in a spring salad or slivered and served over vanilla ice cream with fresh berries or a stone fruit compote. Almond trees burst into bloom in late spring with showy pink-white flowers. Although they need some winter chill, they also need a mild climate that will support

their early bloom. The nuts ripen best in dry, hot summer weather. If you garden in

a marginal area, choose late-blooming vari-

eties. Most varieties require another variety planted nearby for cross-pollination. When the nuts ripen in the late sum-

mer their green hulls crack open and reveal

the nut inside. Spread a tarp under the tree and use a pole to shake the nuts from the branches. Remove the hulls and spread out the nuts to cure in an airy location out of the sun. They should be ready to store after

a week or so. Check by shaking the nuts;

the kernels should rattle in the shell. Store in a cool place, where they will keep for six months. Shelled almonds should be refrig- erated or frozen.

months. Shelled almonds should be refrig- erated or frozen. Almond Milk Panna Cotta 8 servings Making

Almond Milk Panna Cotta

8 servings

Making your own almond milk is very simple and is what makes this dessert fresh, light, and utterly compelling. Add a few slices of peach, nectarine, or other stone fruits for a perfect finish, and a spoonful of raspberry or chocolate sauce will make this dessert quite elegant indeed.



Measure into a bowl:

2/3 cup almonds

21/3 cups water Cover the bowl and soak the almonds over- night. The next day, strain the almonds and save the liquid. Peel off the skins and discard.

In a blender, purée the almonds with all the soaking water. Line a strainer with cheese- cloth and strain the blended mixture. Once most of the liquid has drained through, gather up the corners of the cheesecloth and squeeze the almond pulp to extract the remaining liquid. Measure 1¾ cups of the almond milk and set aside. Lightly brush eight 4-ounce ramekins or custard cups with:

Almond oil or a flavorless vegetable oil Measure into a small heat-proof bowl:

2 tablespoons water Sprinkle over the surface of the water to “bloom”:

One 1/4-ounce packet unflavored gelatin

If there are any dry spots on the gelatin, sprinkle them with a few of drops of water to saturate. Set the bowl aside. Measure into a heavy-bottomed pot:

1¾ cups heavy cream 4½ tablespoons sugar

A small pinch of salt

Heat the mixture over medium heat to 170°F, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool.

of shallow hot water. Stir gently, and when the gelatin is completely liquefied add it to the warm cream mixture. Stir in the almond milk and:

2 to 3 drops of almond extract, if desired Strain the mixture and pour into the pre- pared ramekins or custard cups and put them in the refrigerator to chill until set, about 4 to 5 hours, or overnight. To serve, run a small knife around the inside of each ramekin. Turn each ramekin over onto a small serving plate, shake gently, and lift off the ramekin.

variation Use the extra almond milk to make a fan- tastic smoothie with a handful of berries, a few slices of peaches, and a couple dates.

Soft Almond Meringues

makes 2 dozen meringues

Crunchy on the outside and chewy in the center, these meringues are absolutely deli- cious, either eaten on their own or served with a scoop of ice cream or sorbet.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spread out on a baking sheet:

11/3 cups sliced almonds Toast lightly (about 5 minutes) and set aside to cool. Put a small pot of water on the stove to boil. Whisk together in a heat-proof nonreactive metal bowl:

Once the cream mixture has cooled to


ounces powdered sugar, sifted

130°F, gently dissolve the bloomed gelatin


large egg whites

by placing your heat-proof bowl into a pan

Set the bowl over the pot of boiling water.



Whisk until the mixture is warm, remove from the heat, and continue whisking until the egg whites form stiff peaks. (This can easily be done by hand or in the bowl of a stand mixer if you have one.) Gently fold in the cooled sliced almonds and:

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

A pinch of salt

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pipe out or drop spoonfuls of meringue onto the pan leaving at least 1½ inches of space between them. Bake in the oven until the meringues look dry and you can lift them slightly off the parchment, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before putting them away. These will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

variations Substitute chopped toasted hazelnuts, pe- cans, walnuts, or pistachios for the almonds. Along with the toasted nuts, add to the meringue mixture the same amount of toasted coconut or bits of chopped bitter- sweet chocolate.

Chocolate Candies with Dried Fruits and Nuts

makes about 25 candies

These candies are made with a drop of melted chocolate and topped with dried fruits and nuts. In France, they are called mendiants, “beggars,” because these choco- lates are carrying their belongings (dried fruits and nuts) on their backs!

Gather together:


dried sour cherries


toasted almonds (cut into halves)

1/4 cup Candied Orange Peel (page 349), cut into 25 small pieces Coarsely chop into same-size pieces:

½ pound bittersweet chocolate Put into a small heat-proof mixing bowl. Set the bowl over a pot of boiling water to melt the chocolate. Stir constantly and once the chocolate is melted, remove the bowl from the pot and let the chocolate cool and thicken, stirring occasionally. It should feel just cool to the lips. Trans- fer to a piping bag with a small piping tip and pipe coin-size drops (about the size of a quarter) onto a parchment-paper- lined sheet tray. (You can also use a small spoon to make the drops.) Quickly place 1 cherry, 1 almond half, and 1 piece of can- died orange peel onto each chocolate coin. Refrigerate the candies before serving.

note You can temper the chocolate and keep the mendiants at room temperature for up to 1 week. Tempering chocolate is a tedious and finicky process. It usually takes a few tries to get the technique down. For com- plete instructions, refer to a good chocolate cookbook such as Alice Medrich’s Seriously Bitter Sweet, David Lebovitz’s The Great Book of Chocolate, or Dorie Greenspan’s Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé.

variations Substitute any dried fruit and toasted nuts for the dried cherries and almonds. Use Candied Mint Leaves (page 30) or rose petals in place of the nut or one of the fruits.

Cox’s Orange Pippin Sierra Beauty Shinseiki apple pear Smyrna quince Wonderful pomegranate Comice Bosc Anjou
Cox’s Orange Pippin Sierra Beauty Shinseiki apple pear Smyrna quince Wonderful pomegranate Comice Bosc Anjou

Cox’s Orange Pippin

Sierra Beauty
Sierra Beauty
Shinseiki apple pear Smyrna quince Wonderful pomegranate Comice Bosc Anjou
Shinseiki apple pear
Smyrna quince
Wonderful pomegranate



Purchaseacopyof THEARTOFSIMPLE FOODII atoneoftheseretailers: