A PHeaSt to Remember: Watch the Highlight Video and Download the Recipes

What a night it was! The first PHeaSt was a great success, and we couldn’t be more thankful to our chefs, growers, sponsors, and guests who all joined together to benefit PHS City Harvest. If you want to relive some of the evening (or wish you could have been there), take a look at the wrap-up video.

We’re lucky enough to have procured the recipes for many of the dishes served at PHeaSt including…

  • Roast Pork Loin, Autumn Panzanella Salad with Orange Agrodolce
  • Stinging Nettle Crostini topped with Lomo, Pickled Roasted Peppers, and Ricotta
  • Heirloom Cauliflower Kabobs with Sage and Anchovy Goddess Dressing
  • Braised Short Ribs with Spiced Pumpkin and Wild Mushroom Goat Cheese Cheesecake

Click here to download the recipes. Check in on the PHS Facebook page and let us know what you recreated!

Tree Talk: Peachy Symbolism and a Tree Sale Reminder

Our featured tree this week is the peach, Prunus persica. There’s nothing better than eating fresh fruit picked right off the tree. Recently I bought a basket of peaches from a commercial grocery-store in South Philly. Biting into the fruit, my cheeks pursed inward from the sour taste of the dry and rubbery fruit. Blech!

Spring peach blossom

If only I could grow my own peaches. Oh wait, I can! PHS is offering several fruit trees during this year’s fall sale, including peaches, apricots, and pawpaws.  A number of ornamental flowering trees and canopy trees are also available.Visit www.phsonline.org for detailed information about each tree. The deadline to order is this Friday, September 7. Pick up takes place at the PHS Fall Garden Festival on Sept. 22.

The trees you plant this fall could start fruiting as early as next summer, or the following. Fresh cobbler, jam, and ice cream are just a few ways to incorporate peaches into cooking. Even its pink flowers can add a pretty edible garnish to cuisine.

A Haven of Peace and Happiness

Cultivated since pre-biblical times, the peach has a rich history. The scientific name, Prunus persica, is partially a misnomer; although Europeans first found peaches in Persia, they were brought into the Middle East even earlier by way of the old Silk Road from China.The symbolism associated with the fruit varies across cultures; in China it is associated with life, death, fertility, and youth.  The Chinese tale, The Peach Blossom Spring, depicts a fisherman’s chance discovery upon a utopia, hidden at the end of a peach blossom forest, where people lived happily in peace and perfect harmony with nature.

In the western world peaches are linked to sincerity. The fruit of the peach represents the heart in Renaissance art, and its leaf, the tongue. Images of a peach with an attached leaf symbolize speaking directly from the heart. On that note, thank you Janet Evans, our McLean librarian, for helping to direct me to all this information.

Peach and blueberry pie

This wonderful fruit tree could make a symbolic gesture in the landscape, and a perfect gift for a loved-one. In the literal world, it is simply delicious.  Try growing your own peaches by purchasing one through the PHS Tree Sale.

Stop by the Fall Garden Festival to pick up your tree and say hi to me and the rest of the tree team!

Eat In with Home-Grown Ingredients

In addition to offering gardening resources, this post highlights a valued Green Scene advertiser.

Interested in edible gardening? Check out this excerpt from The Kitchen Garden, a blog about gardens that feed the soul as well as the stomach.

By Jennifer Bartley

“I love to eat out. Who doesn’t? But really, what I can gather from my own garden is easier, better and cheaper. It’s probably faster, too.

So in some kind of weird self-imposed contest – Iron Chef meets my frugal grandmother living on the farm – I challenged myself to serve lunch with only the ingredients on hand. Impromptu – no running out to Kroger allowed. I had to use whatever I had in my sparse cupboards and garden, today, this minute. The garden would dictate this lunch where guests would be sitting at my table in less than two hours.

Based on a walk out to the garden, I decided to make Tabbouleh, green beans with lime and whole wheat pizza with basil, tomatoes, garlic and cheese. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any bulgur wheat on hand for the Tabbouleh, but I did have some pearled barley, which I substituted for the wheat. I cooked it up then chilled it along with fresh chopped onions, peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, flat leafed parsley and cutting celery leaves tossed with lime juice and olive oil….”

Find out how the meal turned out and learn more about how you can start a kitchen garden at PlantersPlace.com, and remember that a great edible garden starts with the right nourishment. Give your plants and vegetables what they need with Osmoscote® Flower & Vegetable Plant Food. Osmocote adjusts to changing soil temperature and feeds plants continuously for up to four full months. It’s guaranteed not to burn or wash away, and that’s why passionate gardeners have trusted Osmocote for more than 40 years.

Lobster Gazpacho Recipe from the PHS Pops Up Garden

Arguably more refreshing than a large lemon water-ice, this lobster gazpacho from Sampan is a perfect summer treat. Thanks to PHS’s new partnership with area restaurants, you can try making it at home. Big thanks to chef Khamla Vongsakoun for sharing this delish dish with us. If your culinary efforts end up more “whoops” than “wow,” dine at Sampan and enjoy the great food and awesome ambiance.

Lobster Gazpacho

1 ea., Cucumbers
1 ea. , Red Bell Peppers
6 ea., Tomato 6×6
2 tbsp., Ginger
1 ea., Finger Chili
1 tsp., Rice Wine Vinegar
1 tsp., Sherry Vinegar
6 leaves, Thai Basil
1 tbsp., Togarashi
Kosher Salt to taste
3 oz., Lobster Meat, cooked

Place all ingredients, except lobster, in a blender and puree at high speed until a smooth consistency is achieved. Add lobster. Season accordingly to have a well-balanced flavor with the sweetness of lobster, acid and spice.

Veggie Lasagna Recipe from the Pops Up Garden

Fresh and fierce are two of many words that come to mind when gazing at this mouthwatering vegetable lasagna. And thanks to PHS’s new partnership with area restaurants, you can try making it at home. This recipe comes from Chef Guillermo Tellez, the culinary wizard at Square 1682 restaurant.

Square 1682 is one of six restaurants involved with the Pops Up Garden. As the garden grows, these chefs will incorporate its veggies and herbs in special dishes, and a portion of the proceeds will support PHS’s greening efforts. Also supporting this effort are Center City District and GPTMC Philly Homegrown, both of which understand the importance of local, fresh food.

If you attempt this recipe, let us know. Email your experience to editpgnews@pennhort.org.

Vegetable Lasagna

Yield; one 9×9 baking dish


  • 6 portobello mushrooms, gills and steams removed, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 12 roasted red bell peppers, skins and seeds remove
  • 12 roasted yellow bell peppers, skins and seeds removed
  • 10 zucchini sliced ¼ in thick lengthwise, roasted
  • 10 yellow squash sliced ¼ in thick lengthwise, roasted
  • 1 quart Indian tomato chutney (recipe follows)
  • 1 cup brown butter
  • 1/4-cup aged balsamic
  • 1 head of frizze lettuce, clean green removed
  • 1 cup toasted hazelnuts, crushed
  • 2 cups olive oil, to roast the vegetables
  • 2 cups balsamic, to roast the vegetables
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup mixed chopped herbs


To roast the vegetables:

  1. Brush the vegetables with olive oil and balsamic. Salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Place vegetables on parchment lined sheet pan, roast at 350°F for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and let cool.
  3. Line a 9×9 baking dish, brush soft butter on the inside of the dish. Starting with the red peppers, place the bottom layer, season with salt and pepper, sprinkle chopped herbs. Place the zucchini on top of the red bell peppers, season, continue to layer all the vegetables placing the portabella mushroom as the middle layer until all vegetables are used. It will be an inch higher than the rim, which is OK as it will go down as it bakes.
  4. Place in the oven and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes, transfer to the refrigerator and press with another pan on top, cool overnight.

For the brown butter balsamic:

  1. In a small pot, place 1 pound of butter. Cook until turns brown and smells like hazelnuts; you’ll notice black specks on top.
  2. Let sit for a few minutes, add the ¼-cup of balsamic and season to taste. Keep warm.

To plate:

  1. Cut the lasagna to a desired size, place in the oven at 350°F to heat, about 8 minutes.
  2. Spoon warm tomato chutney on plate, place the lasagna on the sauce, garnish with a small bunch of freeze.
  3. Drizzle with brown butter balsamic, sprinkle some hazelnuts to finish.

For the Indian tomato chutney recipe, follow the jump. Continue reading

City Harvest Recipe: Apple & Raisin Slaw

Don‘t know what to bring to the Saturday picnic or Sunday cook-out? Try this City Harvest recipe perfect for outdoor entertaining.

Bon Appetit, July 1997

5 cups chopped red cabbage (about ½ a medium-sized head)
5 cups chopped green cabbage (about ½ a medium-sized head)
1 cup coarsely grated carrots (about 2 carrots)
1 large tart green apple, cored and coarsely chopped
½-cup raisins
½-cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds, toasted
1½-cups plain nonfat yogurt
½-cup chopped fresh dill or 3 tbsps. dried dillweed
2 tbsps. vegetable oil
2 tbsps. apple cider vinegar

1) Combine cabbages, carrots, apple, raisins, and sunflower seeds in very large bowl.
2) Whisk yogurt, dill, vegetable oil, and vinegar in medium bowl to blend.
3) Add dressing to cabbage mixture and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4) Cover and refrigerate. Serves 12.

City Harvest Recipe: Savory Squash Medley


1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
1 cup zucchini, sliced thin
1 cup yellow summer squash, sliced thin
¼-cup each green and red pepper, sliced thin
½ onion chopped
2 tablespoons water
½-cup grated jack or cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper (optional)

1) Heat olive oil to medium heat. Add and mix onions, peppers, yellow squash, and zucchini.
2) When sizzling stops (3-4 minutes), add water. Stir again and cook another two minutes.
3) Turn off heat and add cheese to top. Serve when cheese is melted.

City Harvest Recipe: Zucchini Sticks

Having friends over to watch the Eagles game? Why not wow them with one of City Harvest’s healthy, tasty recipes? These zucchini sticks are a definite crowd-pleaser. To learn more about the inspiring work of the City Harvest program (and to find other great recipes), click here


Cooking spray
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
2 tbsps. freshly grated or canned parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
3 medium zucchini
1/2 cup water or milk
1 cup spaghetti sauce or low-fat ranch dressingzucchini

1) Preheat the oven to 450°F. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.

2) Place bread crumbs, cheese, and garlic powder in a zip-lock bag. Shake well to combine and set aside.

3) Cut each zucchini lengthwise into 8 pieces. Cut each piece in half horizontally.

4) Fill a saucer with water or milk. Dip a zucchini stick. After dipping, drop the zucchini into the bag containing the crumb mixture. Shake the bag until the mixture coats the zucchini on all sides and place the zucchini on the coated cookie sheet. Repeat with all sticks.

5) Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until brown and tender. Serve with warm spaghetti sauce or ranch dressing.

Image courtesy of shutterstock.com.   

City Harvest Recipe: Tomato Sauce

Have more tomatoes than you know what to do with? Philly Green and its renowned City Harvest program are here to help! Try this tasty, savory recipe and be sure to invite over a few friends.


3 lbs. ripe tomatoes
2 tbsps. vegetable or olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp. dried or fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp. dried or fresh oregano leaves
1/2 tsp. each of salt (optional) and black pepper1115338_tomato

1) Bring a pot of water to boil. With a small knife, cut an “x” in the top and bottom of each tomato. Carefully drop the tomatoes in boiling water and cook for 1 minute.

2) When the tomatoes’ skin begins to peel away, remove the tomatoes from the water with a slotted spoon. Let cool and carefully peel. Next, chop tomatoes into small chunks.

3) Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add onion and garlic, and cook until softened. Add the chopped tomatoes and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil then lower heat to medium-low. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring often.

4) Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve with pride.

Photo Courtesy of Paul Bodea