Quiche and a Community Garden - Life with a Cinnamon Girl

julie wrote me last may to say "i read through your blog a few days ago and i've decided you need to be my friend! and i mean that in the least creepy way. :)". i thought it was pretty funny, especially given all the things we had in common; backyard chickens, doula-ing, love of pitbulls, she and her husband spent a chunk of time on the island where i grew up, they used to buy veggies from a farm that we would end up working on .....the list literally does go on. but i never actually thought that this would translate into us truly becoming friends in real life. she lived in tennessee when she wrote this, i lived in north carolina. i was moving to boston. and her family was trying to move back to boston but wasn't sure when

and then after many many emails back and forth she and i found ourselves both living in boston at the same time. and so, we met for scones and tea. that was this past january. and in just those three months since julie and her husband craig and their beautiful son and their charming pit bulls have become some of our dearest friends. they are some of the people i miss the most since leaving and they are a family that i would very much like, selfishly, to have living right across a hill from me. because they are the most phenomenal cooks. because julie has the World's Best Pound Cake recipe. and its a secret. because their son is a lovebug. because their pit bull always tries to sit in your lap. because every time we see them we spend more time laughing and eating and smiling than we do anywhere else. 

julie and craig! move to vermont already!

and they are thinking about it. but in the meantime, they have gotten themselves a little plot of community garden in cambridge. and i asked julie to share about it and something delicious they have cooked lately. 

so here you are, my friend, julie and her blog life with a cinnamon girl. 
Every year we've gardened has been an experience all unto itself. A small patch of earth under a break in the wooded canopy of Martha's Vineyard, a mess of unintentionally re-homed plants after Nashville's record breaking flood of 2010, and then a relatively-simple-out-in-the-open-natural-disaster-free-plot in the back of our first home. Now we live in the city and all my past growing seasons seem to have more in common than I originally thought. At least I always found myself with a little piece of dirt I could call my own! This year it's rooftop grow ops, windowfarming, and community gardens. I am completely lost.

I've given up dreams of a rooftop garden recently as neither my husband nor myself have ever been able to get ourselves all the way onto said roof. Paralyzing fear does not a good gardener make! And up until just a few days ago I hadn't heard of windowfarming so our plans have mainly been focused on the community garden we were so lucky to get a plot in. Out came the bag of seeds. Out came the stack of books that trick us into thinking we have even the slightest idea what we're doing. Out came the questions. What have we successfully grown before? What have we failed miserably at? What can we grow at home? 

Slowly a picture of what our gifted little bed is to be emerged. Familiar with the tomatoes, a little adventurous with purple tomatillos, trying again with the kohlrabi, and fool proof with the radishes. In all, in our tiny 8 x 10 space, we've managed to lay out a plan that comfortably includes 18 plant varieties. Eighteen! Who knew you could get your hands that dirty in the big ol' city? Our seeds are started and our hands are itching for April 22 when the gardening gates open. We are pretty excited considering our prospects for this coming season, with community garden and windowsills combined. Did I mention the bees we're begging the garden committee to let us bring in?? Just in case we have it all wrong though we've pledged our pennies to a nearby CSA. Come hell or high water, as both have come in seasons past, we are reveling in this summer's bounty!

And one last thing..
In the last weeks of Kate and Nick living in Massachusetts we just weren't able to find the right pocket of time for a farewell dinner. So in wishing those two and their brood a safe journey north my husband and I put together a little meal perfect for an egg farmer straddling the fence between winter's tubers and citrus, and spring's first green arrivals. Whether the craving hits on a lazy Sunday morning or a blustery Tuesday night, breakfast is always the right choice. Without further ado- we raise our Vermont brewed Long Trail Pollenator and wish our new friends the best. May your nesting boxes be full, your earth's bounty endless, and your hearts wholly content. Massachusetts will be happy to have you back any time you see fit! (So, like, if you want to come back right now.. that's totally okay.)

Spring Quiche
preheat oven to 425

8 eggs
2 tablespoons heavy cream
oil for cooking
1 bunch spring onions, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 c mushrooms*, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, finely chopped
3 stalks asparagus, cut into 1 inch segments
2 oz goat cheese, of course from Vermont Creamery because this is after all a recipe for newly minted Vermonters
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

*You can use whatever mushroom your prefer. Whole Foods sells a 12 oz variety pack of "gourmet" mushrooms that is affordable and really great. Always a favorite around here.

In a medium bowl whisk together your eggs and cream. Set aside.

In a medium skillet, saute onions until soft, almost translucent. Salt and pepper to taste while cooking. Add minced garlic and cook for another minute. In a bowl set onions and garlic.

Saute mushrooms and tarragon until mushrooms are tender. Salt and pepper to taste while cooking. Stir into the onions and garlic.

Saute asparagus until vibrantly green, 1-2 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste while cooking. Remove from heat. Add butter and stir until melted. Stir in previously cooked vegetables to the asparagus in the skillet.

Pour egg and heavy cream mix over the vegetables. Break goat cheese over top. Bake in the oven until down and browned on the top, about 30-40 minutes.

Rosemary Smashed Potatoes
preheat oven to 425

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
3 cups mixed baby potatoes

Bring large pot of water to boil. Boil potatoes until easily pierced with a knife. Strain potatoes.

Toss potatoes in oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Spread evenly in large baking dish. Flatten potatoes with the backside of a pan or skillet.

Roast potatoes until crispy, about 25 minutes.

Blood Orange Butter Asparagus

one bunch of asparagus, minus the 3 stalks for your quiche
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 blood oranges, or other citrus

In a small saucepan juice three oranges. On a high heat reduce the juice by half. Add butter and remove from heat. Stir until fully melted. Set aside.

In a medium skillet saute asparagus until a vibrant green, 1-2 minutes. Salt and pepper while cooking.

Place cooked asparagus on a plate and pour blood orange butter over top. 

It's totally okay if you sop up the extra blood orange butter with bread. Or just your tongue.

thank you Julie! thank you Craig! Miss you guys.


  1. Yummy! Thank you so much for the recipe Julie. The pictures makes me long for summer to be here...


    Have a great day!

  2. How lovely is that quiche.

    I love the book Backyard Homestead. It's actually sitting right next to me as we speak.

    (We're also making sure we get plenty of summer's glory, too--CSA, huge backyard garden)

  3. Drooling over my keyboard as we speak! Wonderful post and simply beautiful pictures. Cannot wait to try your recipes!

  4. I'm intrigued by your eggshell seed starts! Do you put the whole egg in the ground when you're ready to transplant? Break the shell? Do tell!

  5. Thanks for your guest post (and sharing a new blog for me to follow!). I love your photos.


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