Posts in Kitchen Garden
Climbing Eden Rose
Climbing Eden Rose In My Potager

Climbing Eden Rose In My Potager

It has taken me three years to cultivate a single bloom from my climbing Eden Rose. It is not easy to find Eden Rose in local nurseries. Search for this rose in pot and bareroot form for sale online. Heirloom Roses is one source for it in a pot.

I first planted my Eden Rose in too shady a spot where it struggled. Finally, this winter I transplanted it to my potager arch to co-mingle with my young Golden Dorsett apple trees. It is very happy now, and has exploded with happy blooms. Eden Rose is a versatile repeat bloomer with an unusual blend of pastel pinks, creams, and yellows. I simply love this rose, and it reminds me of Provence!

I saw and recognized Eden Rose while visiting the magnificent potager, Bastide des Saveurs, near the village of La Cadiere-D'Azur in the Bandol Region of Provence. Here is a link to my past post and visit with Chef René Bérard in May 2015.

Chef René Bérard told me this rose was called Pierre de Ronsard. In the back of my mind, I knew it had another name, and did some exploring. According to Wikipedia, Eden Rose, also known as Pierre de Ronsard was created by Marie-Louise Meilland in France by Meilland International in 1985, as part of the the Renaissance Collection.

Bastide des Saveurs is Chef René Bérard's potager and location for cooking classes. For a treat, visit his website for more information on his quaint family-owned hotel, restaurant, spa, and cookery school,  Bérard Hostellerie.


Provence Morning Light and Eden Rose in Chef Bérard's Potager

Provence Morning Light and Eden Rose in Chef Bérard's Potager

Climbing Eden Rose in My Potager

Climbing Eden Rose in My Potager

A Summer of Tomatoes
Luscious Cherry Tomatoes From the Garden

Luscious Cherry Tomatoes From the Garden

It has been a splendid tomato summer! Volunteer cherry tomatoes from last summer's plants joyfully returned without a nudge. I had the sweetest cherry tomatoes from May through July. The best recipes are the simplest. I washed the tomatoes, halved them, tossed them with fresh Basil Temecula Olive Oil, dried basil for further basil flavor layering and extra intense flavor, freshly ground Tellicherry black pepper, and kosher salt. I roasted them in the oven at 400 degrees F. for a half hour. At this point the cherry tomatoes caramelize and are ready to be tossed over my favorite pasta or zucchini-spiraled sauteed pasta. It doesn't get any better than this!

"Dressed to Thrill" Cherry Tomatoes

"Dressed to Thrill" Cherry Tomatoes

In July, the beefy big boys started making an appearance, Cherokee Purple, Lemon Boy, and Renee's Garden Crimson Carmello, a top flavor "French tomato variety renowned for exquisite flavor." I used these tomatoes for summer sandwiches and sumptuous salads.

Cherokee Purple and Renee's Garden Dark Green Raven Zucchini

Cherokee Purple and Renee's Garden Dark Green Raven Zucchini

In August, the Italian San Marzano tomatoes and Inca Jewels Container Roma tomatoes (seeds from Renee's Garden) start ripening. I want to use the roma tomatoes for rich, flavorful tomato sauces. I sliced and froze the roma tomatoes for recipes for my fall upcoming "Lunch in Provence" Cooking Classes.

Jeweled Roma Tomatoes and Italian San Marzano Tomatoes

Jeweled Roma Tomatoes and Italian San Marzano Tomatoes

To have tomatoes all summer long, plant different varieties for different uses. Always plant a few new varieties to experiment with. Although I sent away for tomato seed varieties from Renee's Seeds, Home Depot had a good selection of different tomato seedling varieties such as Cherokee Purple, Indie Rose, and Lemon Boy.

"Life is endlessly delicious," treat yourself, a friend, or loved one to a fall "Lunch in Provence" Cooking Class! For more information, please visit, Cooking Classes.


Terrific Tomato-Staking Technique
Row of Staked Tomatoes in Provence Kitchen Garden

Row of Staked Tomatoes in Provence Kitchen Garden

In Provence last May, Chef Berard gave me a tour of his magnificent kitchen garden at La Bastide des Saveurs near Bandol. Although his kitchen garden was stunning, the way he staked his tomatoes really stood out for me. Each tomato plant is planted at the base of these curved metal stakes. There were about 6 to 7 tomato plants per row. As the tomato plants grow and mature, the tomato plant is wrapped around the curved stake keeping the plant anchored and supported. Mature tomato plants, especially laden with fruit can carry some weight. Larger wooden stakes placed on each end of the tomato row lend more security for the tomato rows. Two wires interlaced from one end stake to the other, through the curved metal stakes provide additional support and strength.

Same Tomato-Staking Technique in My Kitchen Garden

Same Tomato-Staking Technique in My Kitchen Garden

At the time I thought to myself, I'm never going to find this kind of tomato stake anywhere. I was wrong, I have found it here in San Diego at many garden departments at Home Depot, Armstrong Garden, and Dixieline.

I like these stakes because the tomato plants respond to being trained up the curved stake, the curved stakes take less room than other tomato support options, the tomato plants are well-supported, when the tomatoes are mature each row will look like one large row of tomato plants, and tomatoes should be easy to harvest.



Chef Berard at La Bastide des Saveurs
Gracious Chef Réne Bérard

Gracious Chef Réne Bérard

In hot pursuit of cold rosé wines, my husband, John, and myself found ourselves in the fairytale region of southern Provence near the Bandol area. It is breathtakingly beautiful much, like the lower Rhône Valley with medieval hilltop villages and rugged rolling landscapes, with the blissful addition of the glistening Mediterranean in your sight.

We stayed in the hilltop village of La Cadiere-d'Azur, where some of the village's defense walls date back to the 13th Century still stand. By recommendation we stayed at the Hotel Bérard, a quaint family-owned and managed hotel that also boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant. In fact, father, René Bérard, and his son, Jean-François are the chefs.

In my research I noticed on their website, Bérard Hostellerie, there was a property in a garden setting, La Bastide des Saveurs, in which they offered cooking classes, sommelier food and wine pairings, and special events. I innocently asked if we could see the garden at La Bastide des Saveurs--thinking it was a grand vegetable garden. The tour was arranged and the next morning Chef Rene Berard personally met and escorted us the three kilometers to his property.

Yes, La Bastide des Saveurs was a grand vegetable garden or potager and so much more to my surprise and delight! It proved to be one of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen, mixing herbs, flowers, and vegetables together. Typical of a potager is a focal point, pathways, and divided parts of garden planted in herbs, vegetables, and flowers. Arches of happy blooming roses billowed along the pathways. I saw one of my favorite climbing roses over and over in full glory, the lovely Pierre de Ronsard, or better known in the United States, as the climbing Eden rose.

Arches of Roses in His Potager

Arches of Roses in His Potager

Chef Berard was so gracious to detail and explain how he used these herbs and vegetables in his cooking. Chef Berard speaks a bit of english, and I speak a bit of french, but we were definitely speaking the common language of "cooking from the garden." On this beautiful morning, the light and landscape added dramatic drama to this incredible garden. I thought to myself, this must be one step away from heaven.

Staked Spiral Tomatoes

Staked Spiral Tomatoes

Chef Berard showed us how he plants many different varieties of tomatoes, and how he successfully stakes them individually, and anchors them with end poles. I must try and find this tomato pole for next year's growing season.

Provence Fountain, Olive Trees and Lavender

Provence Fountain, Olive Trees and Lavender

Everything was spectacular about this property, down to the Provencal fountain holding court amongst the olive trees, lavender, and iceberg roses. I highly recommend looking into cooking classes at La Bastide des Saveurs. Chef Berard will customize cooking classes for a group of six or more. You can find more detailed information at Hotel Berard.

White Bean, Pasta and Swiss Chard Soup

DSC_0368 "China tea, the scent of hyacinths, wood fires and bowls of violets--that is my mental picture of an agreeable February afternoon." --Constance Spry I agree, Constance, and what about soup to take the chill out of you, such as one of my favorites, White Bean, Pasta, and Swiss Chard Soup. I saw this recipe in a Williams-Sonoma catalog years ago. It is adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Soup, by Diane Rossen Worthington.

It is a nice hearty soup laden with carrots, greens, and thick egg noodles. I use Swiss Chard or kale, interchangeably or combined for this recipe, straight out of my kitchen garden this time of year, carefully rinsed, and cut into julienne strips. So good for you, and tasty is this soup. Garnish it with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese, and a thick slice of toasted whole grain bread. It is so easy to make, it is a perfect winter soup to keep you going and glowing.

Please share if you have a favorite winter soup. Please comment if you are a fan of Diane Rossen Worthington and her cookbooks.

Deborah Madison's Book Signing at Chino Farm










If you love to grow and eat vegetables, you are going to love Deborah Madison's new vegetable bible called, Vegetable Literacy: Cooking and Gardening with Twelve Families from the Edible Plant Kingdom, with over 300 Deliciously Simple Recipes. On Sunday, October 6, 2013, the world famous Chino Farm right in our San Diego backyard, presented Deborah Madison as part of their ongoing Good Earth Great Chefs series. Look for Alice Waters and Kermit Lynch's event at Chino's on December 7, 2013, 11:00am to 1:00pm.

This event was more than a book signing. Deborah had personally selected a recipe from her book, "Corn Simmered in Coconut Milk with Basil, served with Coconut Basmati Rice," for lucky attendees to sample. An additional unexpected surprise was lightly grilled shishito peppers and sweet potato leaf as garnish. San Marcos Stumblefoot Brewing Company provided the perfect beverage accompaniment.

Madison's book is as beautiful as it is massive. Instead of presenting her vegetables by season, she has grouped them by families. She shows us how vegetables by family have remarkable similarities, and can be interchanged in recipes. She also explains how the pairing of similar family vegetables, also share the same culinary characteristics, too. I love how she explains vegetables, first hand from her own gardening experience.


Madison is the author of eleven cookbooks, and is considered an authority on vegetables. In the few minutes I shared with Deborah Maidson, I sensed a peaceful spirituality about her, yet strong-mindedness to pursue issues of biodiversity and sustainable agriculture. It was a pleasure to meet her in person.

Please don't forget about my own upcoming book signing, Gardening with Free-Range Chickens for Dummies. RSVP and more details at  San Diego Botanic Garden, 230 Quail Drive, Encinitas, this Saturday, October 12, at 10:00am- 11:30am.

Beet & Goat Cheese Arugula Salad

According to Carlsbad seed pioneer, Charles B. Ledgerwood, in Southern California we can grow beets, carrots, radish, and Swiss chard throughout the year. Ever since I learned that, I've been growing all kinds of beets. Pictured here is Bull's Blood Beet, just pulled from my potager. There are many wonderful beets to grow like the Italian heirloom, Chioggia, with its pretty red and white ring, and another favorite of mine, Golden Beets.

I don't know why, but the beets that I grow in my garden do not bleed as much on my hands and cutting board, as those bought from the store. I recommend growing beets in your garden, and using them in this fabulous recipe of Giada de Laurentiiis. This is a perfect recipe for the holidays with the red beets, dried cherries, and green avocado. Enjoy!

Beet and Goat Cheese Arugula Salad

Recipe from Giada De Laurentiis, slightly adapted. This salad can be made with any type of beet. Red beets, avocado, and dried cherries make for a festive salad for the holidays. A nice spring adaptation is golden beets, avocado, and golden raisins. Warning, red beets are extremely messy and will bleed. Golden and Chioggia beets tend to be less messy.

Makes 4 servings.


¼ cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons shallots, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon honey
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 medium beets, peeled and quartered
6 cups fresh arugula
½ cup walnuts, toasted, coarsely chopped
¼ cup dried cranberries or dried cherries
½ avocado, peeled, pitted, and cubed
3 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbed


Line a baking sheet with foil. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Whisk the vinegar, shallots, and honey in a medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in the oil. Season the vinaigrette, to taste, with salt and pepper. Toss the beets in a small bowl with enough dressing to coat. Place the beets on the prepared baking sheet and roast about 40-45 minutes until the beets are just tender and slightly caramelized, stirring occasionally. Set aside and cool.

Toss the arugula, walnuts, and dried cherries in a large bowl with enough vinaigrette to coat. Season the salad, to taste with salt and pepper. Mound the salad atop 4 plates. Arrange the beets around the salad. Sprinkle with the avocado and goat cheese, and serve.

Classic Basil Pesto

Classic Basil Pesto With an abundance of ripe heirloom tomatoes and Italian basil this month, the two flavors are naturals to be enjoyed together. Doesn't this pesto look like green gold? I started my basil from planted rows of basil seed tape. This was a new method, which looking back worked out well. It took a while for the seedlings to rev up, but with our recent heat, all the basil took off.

I had an abundance of vine-ripened Sun Gold and Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes from the garden. The vibrant color alone is so beautiful.  These tomatoes are  ripe, sweet and ready to eat. I halved the cherry tomatoes, and added a little coarse sea salt and pepper. I then set the tomatoes aside, until the pasta was cooked.

I made the Classic Basil Pesto recipe out of the new The Sunset Edible Garden Cookbook: Fresh, Healthy Cooking from the GardenSunset mentions that they originally published this recipe in 1959, and back them suggested serving it over sliced fresh mozzarella slices. When I made this recipe, I doubled it. I would not suggest doubling the garlic amount, when doubling the recipe.

I have really enjoyed this new edible cookbook, and would highly recommend it. It is a great natural step for the gardener, and how to best use one's harvest. I like the recipes, the format, and the photos. There are many more tempting pesto recipes to try, too. Parsley-Mint Pistachio Pesto, Swiss Chard Pesto Pasta, Arugula Pesto Farfalle anyone?

Please share  your favorite pesto recipe from the garden.