Dill, Lemon and Goat Cheese Pesto at the Green Fair

Dsc00644The first annual Green Fair held at Plants Unlimited in Rockport, Maine was a huge success.  It was warm and sunny enough that every Mainer was out buying geraniums and basil even when they know we still have until the end of May before we can be certain there won’t be another frost to kill off our new tender beauties.

There were two displays there, other than all of the green plants (heaven for Mainers who’ve only just stopped thinking they’ll see white snow when looking out the window) that just fascinated me.  The first were two owls, a Barred and a Barn Owl.  They were so beautiful and still that they almost didn’t look real. 

The second was a woman who makes all sorts of clothing out of Salvation Army rejects.  Sweater sleeves became pant legs for kids pants, jeans with holes in the knees were cut off at the hip and turned into skirts with fabric taken from a dress and a myriad of fabrics became bags of all sorts and sizes.

My talk was on how to use fresh herbs in cooking.  Chloe and I made fresh pasta, savory pie crusts and pestos.  Some of the recipes are in this week’s column in the Portland Press Herald.

This pesto is one that my daughter, Chloe, especially liked.  Serve it with pasta, spread on focaccia or over a toasted baguette. 

Dill, Lemon and Goat Cheese Pesto

1/2 cup lightly packed parsley leaves
1/2 cup lightly packed dill leaves
1/4 cup pinenuts
2 tablespoons goat cheese
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small clove garlic
several grinds of fresh black pepper
pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a small food processor or with a mortar and pestle.

Makes 1/2 cup

Headed out to the garden now

Hay House – What Could be so Hard?

Hayhouse My research for a simply constructed hen house lead me to straw bale houses.  They seemed simple to build, required little carpentry skills and they were cheap.  Most all other options involved about $500 of lumber and materials to build AND I worried about the time it would take for me to do it by myself.  I needed these chickens OUT of my house. 

I can now share that the material for a hay house is cheap. 

But they aren’t easy to build. 

We had the hardest time figuring out how to stabilize the walls.  Rebar, stakes and poly twine – all of the materials suggested by the books I was reading on how great these straw bale houses are – just weren’t working.  We finally got the roof and walls up after two days of work by four people.  I thought perhaps the structure just might last one year. Two of those people were paid, by me, making the labor costs close to $500.  Perfect.  We now have the most expensive free-range, organic eggs a person could buy.

What the folks who recommend the straw bale houses fail to let you know is the hens peck at the straw to the point of making huge holes in the walls and the bales fall over once they get wet no matter how you stabilize them.   Unless of course you start to nail up boards to keep the bales up, in which case, why not just sheath the thing in wood to begin with!

This picture was taken right after we finished construction.


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