Dive Into This New Read: Garden Grown By Julia Dzafic

We are beyond excited to share today’s Q&A with our friend, Julia Dzafic. As the creative force behind the beloved Lemon Stripes blog, we’ve been such fans of her aesthetic and beautiful content for years. We're thrilled to finally celebrate her latest endeavor—her new cookbook, "Garden Grown." Shall we dive in?
(Photo Credit: Julia Dzafic)
CC: We are thrilled about your new cookbook, Garden Grown, which is out now! How did this cookbook come about?
JD: My husband Anel, @botanicalbosnian on Instagram, is an avid vegetable gardener. Over the years he brings in more and more produce with each harvest, so I quickly realized that I had to get creative in the kitchen so that our beautiful bounty wouldn’t go to waste. I started coming up with new ideas for what to do with all of our tomatoes, herbs, cucumbers, etc and then people started coming to me asking what to do with theirs. I had a lightbulb moment and realized this could be a book!
(Photo Credit: Julia Dzafic)
CC: What was the most challenging part of writing and compiling the recipes for "Garden Grown”
JD: I loved the cooking and recipe testing portion of this book. It was definitely VERY time consuming for a good part of a year but it brought me joy every single day. The hardest part was trying to figure out exactly how to write out each ingredient list and set of directions. I cook pretty intuitively so to measure out salt and olive oil was new to me.
(Photo Credit: Julia Dzafic)
CC: Can you tell us about a few standout recipes from the cookbook that you think everyone should try first?
JD:  I always tell people to try the Caponata. My host mother in Florence in college opened my eyes to this bright, beautiful, tangy, umami-packed dish and I make it for every dinner party. Even non-eggplant lovers love it!
(Photo Credit: Julia Dzafic)
CC: How do you balance your busy lifestyle with maintaining a garden?
JD: I have a husband who gardens :) Highly recommend!
CC: Do you have any tips for readers who want to start their own garden but don’t know where to begin? 
JD: A few great gardening accounts to follow, in addition to @botanicalbosnian, are @gardenaryco and @savvygardening. And the one book we always recommend is a classic: The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible. It goes through every step of gardening, every mistake, pest, and plant variety. Keep it on hand and reference it often. 
(Photo Credit: Julia Dzafic)
CC: What are some unexpected ingredients from your garden that have become favorites in your cooking?
JD: I’ve really fallen in love with eggplant throughout this process. As an Italian-American, I obviously already had a deep love for tomatoes and herbs, onions, and garlic.
(Photo Credit: Julia Dzafic)
CC: For someone new to gardening, what are some easy-to-grow plants that they can start with and use in their cooking?
JD: For your first season if you’re brand new to gardening, start with leafy greens and herbs which are easier to grow. They grow faster and are easier to maintain If you’re feeling a little bolder, add in cucumbers and tomatoes too, but remember that they are more of a marathon!

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