A little reading music…
This is the tale of a city boy who bought a house complete with a vegetable garden and greenhouse. He bought the house not because it came with these extras but rather he loved the home and they were a pleasant bonus. Never having grown vegetables prior but thinking he should so as not to waste these homey gifts, many seeds and seedlings were planted. Everything is moving along; plenty of colour, wonderfully fresh produce and all in all, a very impressive picture. But the reality turns out to be that the rookie farmer has grown more food than all the people on his street could consume. One mustn’t be wasteful, so he gives away his efforts to friends, local restaurants, goes on to experiment with pickling, freezing, dehydrating all in an attempt to keep up with his bionic garden. Obviously this person in the third party is myself annnd this is now the 2nd year in a row I’ve made these mistakes. “Heh, you’ve got ‘X’ amount of space to work so you plant this many seeds or starters. I’ll grow this heirloom tomato and that cool, obscure miniature cucumber/ melon…” Well I can still only eat just so much lettuce, kale, sorrel, chard, arugula, etc before doing harm to my insides. Still several weeks before all those tomatoes I’m growing start to produce and with the same predicament ahead of me. I will say however that the slugs are extremely well fed.
I’m not a farmer by any stretch of the imagination nor will I be. I wouldn’t wish to insult the people making their livelihoods at it by turning up at one of the local markets with my booty. Instead I’ll approach a solution by cooking my way through as much as possible and using it as a “lesson to self” about thinking in the bigger picture for future sowing.
This will be the first in a series of recipes Coast Culinary Collective will be testing on everything grown in our garden as it comes along and possibly a few other items we acquire from other local growers.
There’s that much growing (5 varieties) in the planter boxes that creativity was a must. Seems an unusual choice of veg for soup but maybe not… This was found on Epicurious.
- 1 cup chopped onions, scallions, and/or shallots
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 cup diced (1/3 inch) peeled potato
- 8 cups coarsely chopped lettuce leaves including ribs (3/4 lb)
- 3 cups water
- Cook onion mixture and garlic in 2 tablespoons butter in a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add coriander, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in potato, lettuce, and water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until potato is very tender, about 10 minutes.
- Purée soup in batches in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids) and transfer to a 2- to 3-quart saucepan. Bring soup to a simmer, then whisk in remaining tablespoon butter and salt and pepper to taste.
Sauteed Swiss Chard
This comes from AllRecipes. I’ve made it and similar versions several times. Several because it’s delicious and very easy. You can sub or add kale and it’s equally as good.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ½ small red onion, diced
- 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems and center ribs cut out and chopped together, leaves coarsely chopped separately
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 pinch salt to taste
Melt butter and olive oil together in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the garlic and onion, and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the chard stems and the white wine. Simmer until the stems begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chard leaves, and cook until wilted. Finally, stir in lemon juice and Parmesan cheese; season to taste with salt if needed.
Spicy Pickled Radishes
The slugs are wreaking havoc with these. They don’t look pretty as a result but they taste just dandy. Great with tacos & salads. I used honey rather than maple syrup. Courtesy of Cookie and Kate. Favourite version I’ve had.
- 1 bunch radishes
- ¾ cup white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- ¾ cup water
- 3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (this yields very spicy pickles, so use ½ teaspoon for medium spicy pickles or none at all)
- ½ teaspoon whole mustard seeds (optional)
- Optional add-ins: garlic cloves, black peppercorns, fennel seeds, coriander seeds
- To prepare the radishes: Slice off the tops and bottoms of the radishes, then use a sharp chef’s knife or mandoline to slice the radishes into very thin rounds. Pack the rounds into a pint-sized canning jar. Top the rounds with red pepper flakes and mustard seeds.
- To prepare the brine: In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, honey or maple syrup and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, then pour the mixture over the radishes.
- Let the mixture cool to room temperature. You can serve the pickles immediately or cover and refrigerate for later consumption. The pickles will keep well in the refrigerator for several weeks, although they are in their most fresh and crisp state for about 5 days after pickling.