Tag Archives: Whole Foods

green monster

The garden has morphed  into this huge mass of vines and leaves. It’s almost impossible to distinguish between the lemon cucumbers and the Roma tomatoes …or are those pear tomatoes?

While we were in Chicago at the end of June we had friends  – Elliott and Tom – water and harvest the garden to prevent it from dying under our blistering Texas sun. They did a marvelous job keeping the garden going as you can see. When we returned home I was able to harvest 3-1/2 cups of tomatoes, enough to make  the tomato sauce I posted under Rome wasn’t built in a day. The Roma’s were a bit small so I had to cheat a little and use a few pear tomatoes to achieve the 3-1/2 cups I needed. The pear tomatoes worked very well and added a tiny bit of sweetness to the sauce.

I harvested two Ananas heritage melons before we left for Chicago, and when we left it appeared the melon vine had produced all it could this year. On our return home we were pleasantly surprised to see not only a new melon growing, but the largest one to date!

2 days before harvest

day of harvest


I am not growing basil this season – In my past garden endeavors – in Eugene, Oregon and Seattle, Washington – I never had luck with herbs, and these are the places where everything grows lush and full. So I didn’t even consider growing herbs here in Austin. My guess is that it would take planting a big crop of any herb, cover them with shade cloth  and water them more than I water the veggies to be able to grow enough herbs to harvest. I could be wrong about the watering, but I definitely think shade cloth is necessary.  I did buy some beautiful basil at Whole Foods in order to make the tomato sauce, and used the remainder to make a big batch my famous walnut basil pesto – which can be frozen if we don’t eat it all first.

Walnut Basil Pesto

  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 1/2-3/4 cup olive oil (I start with 1/2 and add more if necessary)
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

In a food processor add all the ingredients except the oil. Process for 2-3 minutes or until completely chopped. While processing add drizzle in oil until well mixed and moist enough to mix well with pasta.

Use the pesto with pasta or as a spread.

San Antonio ~ food and friends

The last weekend in January I traveled down to San Antonio to spend some time with my girlfriend Sarita who moved there with her husband three years ago. I met up with Sarita Saturday morning at the Pearl Brewery District – an urban revitalization project that is sublime foodie heaven.

One of the new kids on the block in the district is the CIA, San Antonio (Culinary Institute of America), and is one of only four in the country. It is a great anchor for this burgeoning urban center.

On Saturdays a crowd comes in for the Farmers Market. The market is filled with some of the most beautiful produce I’ve seen anywhere, and I am pretty spoiled by the produce at Austin’s Whole Foods and Central Market stores. I’ve heard from friends that several San Antonio chefs are exclusively buying produce for their restaurants from this market and I can see why.

The district is also home to some very nice retail and businesses including an Aveda School Salon, clothing boutiques, restaurants, The San Antonio Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and a beautiful culinary store Tienda De Cocina owned by cookbook author Melissa Guerra.

I love this little bug netting from Tienda de Cocina that you place over the top of a pitcher ~ brilliant idea for outdoor dinning ~ it has decorative little weights on the edges that keep it from flying away in the wind. I absolutely loved this etched glassware. It’s pricey, but completely worth it for entertaining. I know I’ll be back for this.

And Sarita had her eye on this table runner we saw in a women’s clothing store around the corner.

After a couple hours of shopping and strolling the riverwalk, we headed back to Sarita’s for lunch, made from the beautiful foods we collected at the market, before I headed home to Austin. I took a bunch of photos…I hope you enjoy them.


blood orange, filbert, and beet salad

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2 large beets 2 blood oranges 3 cups spring salad mix 1/4 cup white wine vinegar 1/2 cup hazelnut oil 1/2 cup olive oil with organic blood orange 1/2 cup hazelnuts (filberts), roasted and chopped Pecorino cheese, grated salt and … Continue reading


football celebration

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This past week the Oregon Ducks played to win the National College Football Title. As a Duck fan, I saw this as a good excuse to get together with friends on a cold winter night, and share good food. Most … Continue reading


kabocha squash ~ october 24, 2010

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For the inaugural dinner around the table (d.a.t.t.) meal we invited our good friends and neighbors Jay and Stephany.  Jay and Stephany are the kind of neighbors that your grandparents talked about having. We swap tools and cooking ingredients back … Continue reading



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I recently discovered Kombu as a cooking supplement, and am so glad to now be in the know of this nutrient-packed sea vegetable.  Kombu is a kelp, and used in traditional Japanese cooking in many ways, but is a staple … Continue reading