Category Archives: Harvesting & Eating
I have two weeks of leafy greens harvests to report today. The Grocery Garden has green and red butterhead lettuces that are at the baby leaf stage, a mesclun that is slightly larger than baby sized, and a lettuce mix that is at baby leaf stage.
Not a beautiful picture, I know. This is the “after” harvest shot of the Wildfire Lettuce Mix. We harvest the leaves down to almost nothing so that the plants stay smaller and the leaves more tender.
Harvest report from May 9th and May 16th:
- 3.4 lbs baby lettuces @ $5.99 per lb = $20.62
- 0.86 lbs baby mesclun @ $5.99 per lb = $5.16
Total for past two weeks: $25.78
Year to Date Total = $33.98
Salad greens total up quickly, but the catch is you have to want to eat $10 worth of salad each week. That’s a lot of salad for some people!
The point of the Grocery Garden is to grow things that are more expensive or difficult to find in the grocery store. As we progress through the season, we are going to track our harvests and assign values to them using grocery store or farmers market prices.
This past week we harvested some baby lettuces and mesclun.
We harvested a total of 1.4 pounds of salad greens.
1.4 lbs baby salad greens @ $5.99 per lb = $8.34
Year to Date Total = $8.34
I finally had time to try a few recipes using some of our less common peppers in the Demo Garden. I still have a few other recipes I want to try as well.
I may have to plant hot paprika peppers myself, just so I can make this recipe every week. I adapted a straight red pepper cream sauce to the paprika sauce. A lot of sauces call for powdered paprika, but I wanted to try using the peppers fresh.
This was pretty much the easiest recipe that I never knew I was missing out on. You put two cups of cream and the chopped peppers in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the cream is reduced by half and the peppers are soft (about 30 minutes). If you want something that is lower fat, you can use fat free half and half. (I checked with our foods agent. She also said you could use cream and just use it sparingly to accent your food, rather than drowning your food in the cream sauce.)
Then I took a stick blender and blended it until smooth. Then I added a little salt and pepper. I served it with pasta and chicken. The hot paprikas added just the right hint of flavor and spiciness. I also tried this recipe at home with plain colored, sweet peppers. It was also tasty, but not with the same depth of flavor.
I had been looking for some good recipes to try with the Aji Limon (Lemon Drop) hot pepper all summer. A Peruvian friend said that for a true Peruvian experience, I needed to use these peppers to make ceviche. While I like fish, I’m not confident in my ability to purchase good enough quality fish in a landlocked state to make fresh ceviche. So I settled for this salsa recipe. (I also have a hot sauce recipe to try out another time.)
This recipe called for 8 oz. of the fresh Aji Limon peppers, 8 oz. of yellow bell pepper, 2 mangoes, brown sugar, and a bunch of vinegar and lime juice. I’ll be honest…I was afraid of how hot it might be.
At that point, I brought back the stick blender to smooth out the lumps.
After tasting, I would characterize this as a “hot” salsa. In other words, comparable to the heat level you might find if you buy a salsa labeled “hot.” If you regularly eat or enjoy spicy foods, this will be a nice salsa for you. If you are not into spicy foods, you will probably want to steer clear. That said, as with any salsa that contains a lot of brown sugar and mango, it is very tasty.
To use some of the Tabasco peppers, I was tempted to try making homemade tabasco sauce, but I decided to be kinder than that to my office mates. I settled for making a southern-style vinegar sauce.
Then all I did was heat a cup and a half of white wine vinegar and pour it over the peppers in a jar. You could add garlic or peppercorns, but I decided to stay simple. I’ll give it a couple weeks to “steep” before trying the flavored vinegar.
Still to come in another post: the Espelette peppers, the Fushimi peppers, and dehydrating peppers.
When we have some less common veggies in the garden, I always try to cook something with a few of them to show how they might be used and to give them a fair taste test. Many of you know that I’m not a huge fan of eggplant, but I decided that I should give an eggplant dish a try anyway. I also made stewed okra and tomatoes, because I’ve never really cooked with okra before and wanted to try it in a form other than breaded and fried.
First up: Thai Fried Eggplant with Basil
I like Thai food, and we had all the recipe and sauce ingredients on hand, so it worked out well. I used the green Oriental eggplant, the yellow ‘Escamillo’ sweet peppers and one of the purple sweet peppers, one of the Round Purple Asian eggplants, a red onion from my home garden, and a couple ‘Gong Bao’ peppers from my home garden in place of the serranos. I also used Thai basil rather than regular sweet basil.
I found the sauce to be a little heavy, flavor-wise. It probably needed a bit more acid, maybe some lime juice. Overall, it wasn’t bad (for eggplant). The texture still isn’t my favorite, but it wasn’t completely distasteful.
Next up: Stewed Okra and Tomatoes
I used the okra and tomatoes from the garden, including some of the big okra that is larger than would typically be ideal. The ‘Ladyfinger’ okra that we are growing is supposed to be tender and usable even at larger sizes, so I wanted to test that out. I would say that it was nice and tender after the stewing, up to about 10″ long. After that, the pieces were still a bit fibrous and woody. I doubt a longer cook time would have solved the problem.
Both recipes were fairly easy, did a nice job featuring the vegetables, and were tasty. If you are looking for a recipe to use for eggplant or okra, give these a try!
It has been quite some time since I’ve gotten around to posting some recipes on the blog. I wanted to share both some recipes I’ve tried as well as our Saturday Sampler recipes from this year.
It wouldn’t be summer without some sort of tomato salad! This simple salad didn’t even have a recipe. I just sliced up cherry tomatoes, cubed up some lemon-basil bread from the store, added mozzarella cheese, basil, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Then I gave it all a mix! Yum!
A while back I tried this recipe. Skillet Gnocchi with Chard, White Beans, and Tomatoes. It was a delicious and filling vegetarian meal. I used some frozen roma tomatoes I had from last year, fresh chard, and canned beans. Yum!
This is another recipe that I just kind of threw together this spring with what I had on hand. There’s some leftover ham and brats, boiled potatoes (turned fried potatoes), sugar snap peas, asparagus, and some herbs all sauteed in a little bit of oil.
Have you tried any delicious recipes with your home grown produce this year?