Sister Noella Marcellino aka The Cheese Nun will be featured at The Farmstead Festival in Bethlehem, Saturday, May 30.

Sister Noella Marcellino aka The Cheese Nun will be featured at The Farmstead Festival in Bethlehem, Connecticut, Saturday, May 30.

On this week’s Stir Crazy, Patty Gay got tips from Tara Tanzer, a master gardener from Weston, about successful home gardening.

Weston Middle School students Abby Tanzer and Midori Tobin, members of the Cooking For A Cure Team, said they are cooking up a storm for the Weston-Westport Relay for Life this weekend.

Patty also spoke with Tom and Sally Camm, organizers of the Farmstead Festival, “a window into the world of artisan made foods,” which is happening Saturday, May 30, in Bethlehem, Conn.

The festival is being held on the grounds of the Abbey of Regina Laudis, which is overseen by Rev. Mother Dolores Hart, a former actress who appeared in two films with Elvis Presley. She will be on hand at the festival to sign copies of her autobiography, The Ear of the Heart.

The festival will also feature Sister Noella Marcellino, known for her innovative work with raw milk cheese. Sister Marcellino was the subject of the PBS documentary The Cheese Nun.

With winter weather behind us, these recipes will get everyone in the mood to enjoy fresh vegetables fresh from the garden.


Tomato Jam
This tomato jam has a little kick, making it perfect to dollop inside a grilled cheese sandwich, on top of a bagel, or use as a glaze for chicken.

1 and 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes, washed, cored and chopped (use all the skins, seeds and all the juice)
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh, grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.
2. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture has consistency of thick jam, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, then cool and refrigerate until ready to use. It keeps several weeks in the fridge. This recipe can be doubled and tripled, and also canned and processed in a water bath.

Grilled Parmesan Zucchini
Make your veggies on the grill in the summer so you don’t heat up the stove or oven.

3 zucchini
3 tablespoons butter, softened
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat, and lightly oil the grate.
2. Cut the zucchini in half crosswise, then slice each half into 3 slices lengthwise, making 6 slices per zucchini.
3. Mix the butter, garlic, and parsley in a bowl, and spread the mixture on both sides of each zucchini slice. Sprinkle one side of each slice with Parmesan cheese, and place the slices, cheese sides up, crosswise on the preheated grill to keep them from falling through.
4. Grill the zucchini until the cheese has melted and the slices are cooked through and show grill marks, about 8 minutes.

New England Garden Ratatouille
I keep it simple, and make this delicious veggie dish all in one pot. Two key things — Use FRESH ripe veggies for best results rather than out of season one from the store. And take your time. Don’t hurry the cooking process. The veggies need to release their goodness and meld with each other.

1 onion, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 tablespoons olive oil
one medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 small zucchini, scrubbed, quartered lengthwise, and cut into thin slices
1 yellow summer squash cut into chunks
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 and 1/4 pounds small ripe tomatoes, chopped coarse (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
one teaspoon salt
pinch black pepper or to taste
1/2 cup shredded fresh basil leaves

1. In a large skillet cook the onion and the garlic in 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened.
2. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil and add the eggplant and cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, or until the eggplant is softened.
3. Stir in the zucchini, summer squash, and the bell pepper and cook the mixture over the moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes.
4. Stir in the tomatoes and cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the oregano, the thyme, fennel seeds, salt, and pepper and cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the basil and combine the mixture well. Ratatouille may be made 1 day in advance, kept covered and chilled, and reheated before serving.

Stir Crazy guests Abby Tanzer, Tara Tanzer, and Midori Tobin. —Patricia Gay photo

Stir Crazy guests Abby Tanzer, Tara Tanzer, and Midori Tobin. —Patricia Gay photo