Simple Tomato Compote on Pasta

Hi friends–  A couple Saturday’s ago, a bunch of us carpooled down to Roger’s Gardens for a morning cooking class.  We sat in a little amphitheater, surrounded by aisles of luscious plants and flowers.  The chef cooked up a few tomato/pepper dishes and passed around samples.  It was a whole lot of fun!

I picked up a new thyme plant for the side yard and sweet pea seeds to plant just ahead.  And then we all headed over to Lemonade for noisy talkative lunch together.  Thanks Lynn for organizing us all– it was a grand day out!

Here’s one of the things that came out of the cooking class.  The chef served it to us on toast as bruschetta, but here at home, we just poured it over pasta.  So quick and easy!!

16 oz. of your favorite pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
1 red onion, cut fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 points cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig thyme
salt & freshly ground pepper

Cook your favorite pasta according to the directions on the box.

This is fast, so you can do most of it while the pasta is cooking!  Heat 2 tab. of the olive oil in a skillet.  Drop in the red onion and cook just until it is translucent.  Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.

Then add in the cut tomatoes, rosemary and thyme and cook it on medium for about 8 minutes until the tomatoes “wilt” and release their juices.

Finish it off in the skillet with the rest of the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Remove the rosemary and thyme.

Drain the pasta and spread it on a pretty platter.  Then scrape all the tomatoes, onion and oil onto the pasta.  Garnish with another sprig of rosemary if you have it on hand.  Enjoy!

And the flowers at Roger’s Gardens were a photo-takers paradise–  They just made yu want to go home and muck about in the garden.  Here’s a few:


And we wound our way down to lunch at Lemonade, a new style cafeteria of little plates– every kind of veggie, grainy, fruity salad you can think of.  Plus sandwiches and hot dishes and several flavors of lemonade!


IMG_2829     IMG_2835
Lunch at Lemonade– a few of the friends set to lunch away and  my fig topped flatbread & berry iced tea.




Hi all– Every year we have a full on crop of freesias that bloom under our back window.  I can take no credit for those things.  The family who lived in this house before us, planted them 20 years ago and they’ve been popping up every February since!  They’re bright and fragrant and ever cheerful.  So nice to have around the house.

IMG_9407If you’d like to harvest your own crop, plant the bulbs in the fall in warm places like California, and in the spring in places where it snows.  Put them just 2″ into the ground with the pointy end up.  When the blooming season is over let the leaves alone as long as they are green– They are feeding the bulbs for next year.  When the leaves are browned and withered, pull them right off the bulb.  And then you just have to wait for next year’s flowers to bloom!

Zinnias again

Hi all– It’s Zinnia time and I really do love those pretty things, for so many reasons.  I love their friendly, bright faces.  They bloom and bloom after all the summer bloomers around here are done.  They’re easy–just drop seeds under an inch of soil, wait about a month and you have flowers.  And they like the hot weather here just as fall starts up.  Plus they are prolific– Every 4 or 5 days I can go out and cut a big fistful to set in water on our table.

P.S.– And if you love sweet peas too– Now is a good time to plant them (here in CA) so you’ll have buckets of flowers all through the spring!

Sweet peas

Hi friends– Here they are–sweet peas.  I love these things.  Their genus name is Lathyrus odorous.  And that makes sense.  Their smell is just luscious.  Besides being the prettiest thing you can grow.

My grandmother always had a crop each spring.  I loved to help her cut them.  And I grew them too the first few years we were married.  But when we moved to Spain, in spite of valiant efforts to nurture them in patio pots or 7th floor window boxes, we never had more than a few sad blossoms.  So later when we came to live at 314, I got those seeds in the ground that first year and waited.  When those abundant blossoms appeared week after week, I really felt we had come “home.”

So here’s to fistfuls of sweet peas, fragrant, delicate, delicious!!