This Week’s Inspiration

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Yesterday I posed the question, What is inspiring your edible garden this year? I think it is only fair that I join in and divulge my current inspirations for the 2010 growing season.

I saw this book, Terrine by Stéphane Reynaud the other day but couldn’t justify the purchase. The next day I treated myself to a visit to a used bookstore I like for cookbooks and bam, there it was at a fraction of the cost. How’s that for timing?

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Let’s pause for a moment to enjoy the endpaper. Very nice.

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

This recipe for Basil Coulis is what has me thinking about my garden for 2010. Basil. Lots and lots of fresh basil. Several different varieties of basil in all sorts of colours, shapes, and flavours. I can never have enough of it and even though we freeze it and dry it, nothing compares to the real deal fresh off the plant. Let’s hope for a summer that is dryer and hotter than last year’s, which was a total disaster for basil lover’s across Eastern North America.

Basil Coulis is really just basil in oil with lemon, but let’s call it coulis and be fancy.

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

This recipe seems like a lot of work for what is essentially cooked veggies in a jar, but sure, let’s pretend I’m gonna make this. It does look awfully pretty in that jar. Bonus points if all of the ingredients come from my garden. My broccoli kicked ass last year, although I can’t really claim all of the credit. What sucked for basil was great for cool weather-loving brassicas.

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

I also bought this book yesterday, Cook + Book: Memories and Recipes by Alain Coumont.


First I’m going to make my own sourdough starter using the recipe in this book, and then I am gonna make my own bread and use it to make this tartine. The key ingredient: fresh herbs. Again with the fresh herbs. Growing herbs isn’t anything different from any other year. I always grow enough to feed an army. And still it’s not enough. However, I didn’t grow herbs indoors this winter because we went away for a month and now I’m craving the smell, sight, and taste of them.

I’m ready. Unfortunately the weather isn’t. There’s still snow on the ground and while I could probably head over to the community plot and find a leaf or two of parsley underneath the snow or start some small basil plants on the windowsill, the fact is that we’re not going to be enjoying those big fragrant bushes just yet. Patience.

p.s. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for my new book, “Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces.”

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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18 thoughts on “This Week’s Inspiration

  1. What a nice site. I’m a newcomer. I’m only growing flowers this year, unless I get inspired by this site to grow my own veggies which very well may happen. Keep up the good work! And thank you!

  2. I’ve been looking for a good sour dough starter, because I’m stubborn and do NOT just want to get some off of the people I know who are much better bakers then me. So let me know how this one is, because I’m getting desperate.

  3. I’m going to learn to bake bread this year. I’ve mastered many soup recipes but they require a good crusty, herb bread to make them a meal so that is where I will focus in the kitchen as I understand it may take some trial and error to master. For Christmas I received a number of seeds from the Seed Savers’ Exchange so they will be the basis for my veggie garden this year. Looking forward to it!

  4. I too have decided this is the summer of basil!

    As a child, my mom and I used to grow bushels of basil (I remember one summer in the midwest, we had basil plants up to my waist, and we harvested it by armloads several times).

    I live in the desert (Arizona) which makes growing a little different. Planting season starts here in only 2 weeks – so I already have seedlings growing in my bedroom for the tomatoes/peppers/zucchini/beans.

    I am a balcony gardener – and in the fall growing season I managed about 30 cups of pressed basil to turn into pesto (minus all the basil I eat fresh all the time). This spring I want to out do myself…and have to fight to get to my front door for all the basil!

  5. I’m going to be big on basil this year too! I’m a basil beginner, though, so I’m only likely to have 3 varities. Sweet green basil, red ruben and cinnamon basil. But the year is still young :D

  6. Cinnamon makes REALLY good jelly. ‘Mammoth’ is another personal favourite that I’d recommend if you like basil on a sandwich. Each leaf is about as big as your hand and beautifully ruffled.

  7. I have seen his book pork & sons. (Really fun to look at, but probably not much by way of edible garden inspiration as the name might suggest). I’ve been trying to start a sourdough for some time now without much success (though not to scare you–it just seems to be me who has the trouble with it). Good luck!

  8. Sara: Honestly, I can’t imagine making 90% of this book either. There are a lot of unfortunate meats. Although I am also an advocate of using everything if you’re gonna eat it.

    Anyways, It’s still inspiring.

    Sourdough starter: It does seem like there are lots of factors that could ruin it… temperature is a big one. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. At the very least it should give me a new level of respect for bread bakers.

  9. As far as bread goes, I just discovered “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” this week:

    It’s not sour dough mind you, but I made a wicked pizza dough (based on the book) last night, and I’m about to have cinnamon rolls from it for breakfast.

    Yes, I’m reading your blog before breakfast, obviously I have some sort of addiction.

  10. I, too, am newbie and am super excited to have stumbled across this site. We just moved to a new place and I have my FIRST EVER garden to play with! Making lots of lists in my mind, trying to figure out when to get the ball rolling, and putting together my dream list. Herbs definitely…

  11. Artisan Bread is a great book, also try “Kneadlessly Simple” great instructions, wonderful bread. it looks complecated, but is truly simple. give yourself plenty of time-not for the process, but for the yeast action.
    love your site, I’m new here.

  12. There is a wonderful new Australian bakery cookbook called “Bourke Street Bakery”, will have all the carb addicts salivating all the way to the bookshop! They are famous for their sourdough!

  13. I can never get enough mint! Just picked you your new book and LOVE it, going to start some toilet paper seedlings tonight :)

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