ZOOMING in on Serving Up the Harvest by Andrea Chesman

My fall ZOOM cooking classes will be to choose one cookbook to review and cook one or two recipes from the book itself or my own recipe(s) inspired by the book. For my first class I chose Serving Up the Harvest: Celebrating the Goodness of Fresh Vegetables by Andrea Chesman, an avid gardener who loves to cook what she grows.

Here is the ZOOM link to the class, sponsored by New Horizons Senior Center (www.newhorizonsseniorcenter.org) in Narberth, PA
on Friday, Sept.
24th @ 10:30-11:45 am EST. Please join us!


Meeting ID: 894 0728 0194

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This wonderful cookbook, while not vegetarian, is filled with many,many veggies as the cover picture and subtitle indicate, is divided into seasons rather than chapters. These are the categories:

1. Spring into Summer
2. Early to Mid-Summer
3. Mid- to Late Summer
4. Fall into Winter

Since summer is ending (the Fall Solstice is on Wednesday), I chose #3, Mid-to Late Summer. The author writes about and provides several recipes for each vegetable: artichokes, celery & celery root, chiles & peppers, corn, eggplant, fennel, okra, shell beans, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. The author notes that some summer veggies are still available in early fall, such as zucchini, so for a few weeks into the fall, you may also be reaping summer veggies.

Additionally, Chesman gives us interesting information about each vegetable as well as Kitchen Notes that help in the preparation of each vegetable. For example, artichokes are first on the list in  the mid-to late summer category and we learn how many minutes to cook them, depending on whether they are steamed, braised, grilled, or roasted. Very handy! There is also a page called: “Artichoke Facts & Fiction,” which gives a bit of history and interesting facts, such as the fact that Marilyn Monroe was named the first Artichoke Queen in 1948.

There are four recipes for artichokes and I made the first one last week and enjoyed the flavor. I plan to make it for class, so here is the recipe for braised artichokes that serves 4. (I will just make one large unless I can find small ones.)

3- 6 large, 8 medium, or 12 small artichokes
3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced, or 1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs (tarragon, chervil, basil, thyme, summer savory, alone or in any combination)
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth (page 8 or 9)*
1/2 cup dry white wine
salt and freshly ground black pepper

* I make my own vegetable broth

1. If you are using large or medium-sized artichokes, trim away the tough outer leaves, peel the stems, cut into quarters, and remove the choke. IF you are using small artichokes, simply peel off the tough outer leaves and cut into halves.

2. Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and until the garlic turns pale gold, about 3 minutes. Add the artichokes and sauté, turning the artichokes until they are well coated with the butter, for 5 minutes. Add the herbs, if using, broth, and wine. Being to a boil, cover, reduce the heat, and simmer until tender, stirring occasionally, 15 to 30 minutes.

3. Transfer the artichokes to a serving dish with a slotted spoon. Raise the heat under the remaining braising liquid and cook until the sauce is slightly thickened and syrupy, 1 to 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, pour over the artichokes, and serve.

My Note: I will start the class recipe before class so the artichokes will be almost cooked, since they take 15-30 minutes. I also hope to make roasted veggies using as many as the above mentioned veggies as I can find organically grown or on the Clean 15 from the Environmental Working Group’s list.


Serving Up the Harvest is published by Storey Publishing in Massachusetts. Their mission is to publish “practical information that encourages personal independence in harmony with the environment.”  (I applaud their mission! es)






D.I.Y. Cinco de Mayo

Today is May 5th, Cinco de Mayo in Spanish.  If you go to the SEARCH box on my Home Page and type in Cinco de Mayo, you will come up with several postings, which I don’t wish to repeat, so I thought I would do a little Cooking with the Strings of Your Apron idea and give you options to make your own tortilla/taco/ wrap.

First, choose an organic grain free or corn wrap. I like the SIETA brand of grain free wraps, either almond (supposedly no bee-killing pesticides from their supplier, which I will double check) or Cassava (pictures) or an organic corn flour. If you choose (whole) wheat, make sure it is organic.

Next, choose your ingredients. They do not need to be what I chose, but I am posting the photo and list for you to consider and then add or subtract items of your choosing. For example, traditional tortillas and tacos are made with rice but I decided to use organic, sprouted quinoa because I forgot to put up the rice before I started assembling my ingredients, and quinoa takes only about 15 minutes. The tri-colors also makes the dish visually attractive. I also used a fresh, chopped organic salsa with multiple ingredients from Mom’s Organic, rather than a jar of salsa that is mostly tomatoes.

Below are my choice of ingredients:


On the cutting board are scallions, (non-dairy) cheese slivers, wraps and Castle-Vetrano ripe green olives. (My favorite!)

Next from left to right: yellow bowl of sprouts, orange bowl of artichoke hearts, organic salsa (middle bowl), black beans* and quinoa (Organic and Sprouted) in the two bowls below the olives. *I have tried to sprout black beans with little success, so I do use organic canned beans or organic boxed beans.

The last two larger bowls are mashed organic avocado (with a little lemon juice to prevent oxidation) and organic lettuce.  I assembled the ingredients onto the warmed tortilla wrap like this:

1. First, I spread some mashed avocado on the wrap.

2. Then I placed a leaf of lettuce.

3. Next I added some cooked black beans and quinoa, topping the tortilla with sprouts and scallions. (I placed the olives and artichoke hearts on the side.

4. Then I folded my concoction and enjoyed eating it, with some beans and quinoa falling out of the tortilla because I piled on too much!

(Feel free to add salt, pepper and/or cayenne to your taste. I decided not to use the non-dairy cheese slices and just munched on these.)

Here’s a photo of my lunch, with the (unwrapped) tortilla on the upper left.






I also cooked an artichoke (upper right), pulling off the leaves and dipping them in the leftover, mashed avocado, and I combined the quinoa with the black beans (lower right hand foto) for another dose of Cinco de Mayo tomorrow.

Happy, healthy eating for this May holiday!

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