Monday, August 2, 2010

Garden-Centric Cooking

The little storm we weathered put a bit of a hold on this post, but not on the perpetual cooking based on what our garden produces. No, we continue to be grateful for what our garden produces while also feeling a bit subservient to the constant demand of veggies that need to be eaten--a perfectly acceptable set of conditions under which to exist. Of course, we have to listen to The Captain note (with a certain edge in his voice) that this is yet another meal with "only vegetables"!

Here is a brief inventory of what we have been eating over the last month (or you can just skip to the pictures and salivate over the bounty).
  • Lettuce: It is actually a sad week here because we are eating the last of our lettuce--we haven't bought a leafy green since April and have been grateful for each and every bowl. We will see some this fall for the early picking as the cold melts away next spring.
  • Chard and spinach: not only have we had lettuces, but also chard (although we need to rethink our planting scheme as we didn't get as much as we should have) and spinach. Let us take a minute on the spinach because this isn't your ordinary spinach. We planted red malabar spinach from Seed Savers which is a heat-loving climbing vine spinach (are you listening Utah peeps?). It is beautiful and tastes wonderful with small tender leaves at the tops of the vine as they climb and big tasty chard-like leaves as it matures. We will arrange differently next year, but as you can see in the pics below--it is quite beautiful. It was particularly good the night we had no power and I threw a sauté pan on the grill, fried up some bacon and shallots, added some peppers from the garden and then wilted the spinach in the mix--a nice side to the black olive past pork loin we grilled! Equally good is to just sauté it up with garlic and olive oil topped with a blanched yellow zucchini with fresh herbs. All kinds of body and taste here.
  • Cucumbers: Did I mention that "powerless" grill meal? Key was the cucumber salad. See we have more Japanese cucumbers than you know what to do with. Neats made a chilled cucumber soup that was great (although a bit salty thanks to some intervention by the boys), but we kept adding cukes, different herbs and yogurt to it and it was a side that just kept on giving and giving.
  • Eggplant: For instance, that cucumber mix was a wonderful side to the eggplant and chard curry--so yummy. I apologize for no pictures of that beautiful dish. Then there was the lasagna with eggplant layered into the middle of it.
  • Peppers: those peppers I added to the grill menu--ours, thank you very much. And recently we picked a whole slew and stuffed them with a wonderful Mediterranean couscous that had black olives, pine nuts, garlic and herbs in it. More to come with the peppers.
  • Beets: also a bit of a sad day as we are now out of our wonderful golden beets. We sliced them in salads, put the greens in home-made goat-cheese ravioli, roasted them and served them warm with the beet greens on the side with feta. Earlier next year for these guys.
  • Carrots: We also have a good crop of carrots this year that are tasty as all get out--even if I think of them as a winter veggie. And as you can see, they are beautiful!
  • Squash: Okay, we have been eating green and golden zucchini almost as much as cucumbers. There is the usual sauté, the cheesecake I noted earlier, bread and let us not forget the chocolate zucchini cake! The real hit has been zucchini fritters and recently I made panko/Parmesan crusted zucchini which is a healthier version of its fried cousins. All wonderful because of course the squash is just out of the garden.
  • And lastly, but so not leastly, Tomatoes! Yes they are on and we have been slicing them left and right--they are so new we haven't even dare put herbs or cheese with them. We just keep eating them plain--maybe with a little salt. Oh glorious day.
Okay enough--here is a sampling of the veggies/dishes to give you an idea. I am off to slice me a tomato!

1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous. I am very interested in that vine spinach--what a gorgeous plant and how delicious does it sound? You all are very talented gardeners--sometime I will have to discuss your techniques with you.