Our next Saturday Sampler will be tomorrow, June 21st from 9-10 a.m. Our theme this month is “Cucumbers Around the World.” Our cucumbers are just barely getting started in the Demo Garden, but I know that we will all have more cucumbers than we know what to do with in a few weeks! We have some really interesting Italian and Indian cucumbers to learn about.
Since this is the fourth week that we have been harvesting the endive/escarole mesclun, I thought it was high time that I shared a couple of recipes and a little more information about this vegetable.
Endive and escarole are both in the chicory family (think radicchio, etc). You may have seen the little heads of blanched Belgian endive at the grocery store. Both endive and escarole have the ability to form heads, although depending on the variety the heads may be more like you would expect of a leaf lettuce or a Bibb lettuce than a cabbage or radicchio.
The mesclun mix is designed to be harvested as small leaf salad greens rather than grown for full-sized heads. The catch is that the leaves are a little more on the bitter side than lettuce, which most of us prefer to be on the sweeter side. While there is a bitter tinge to the leaves, I don’t find it to be the same unpleasant bitterness that lettuce can develop as it gets older.
One thing I found as I was looking for recipes is that it is a little tricky to find recipes that use the leaves rather than the Belgian endive heads or another head-type chicory. I did find a really simple Endive & Apple salad that I liked and a couple other recipes that looked tempting.
I know, I said apples, but I made it with strawberries & walnuts the first time because that’s what I had. The dressing was just a very simple oil, vinegar, mustard, and seasonings for a viniagrette. It was good! The flavor of the greens did make it a little more robust than just a lettuce salad.
Other recipes I found that I thought sounded good:
I also wanted to try a recipe with cooked greens. This was a very simple Escarole & Beans recipe. It was very simple – cook the escarole in oil and seasonings, simmer the beans, the mix together and simmer. It was okay, but I didn’t love it. There are some more complex recipes that would probably be better, but as a quick, simple dish, this is a good place to start.
It certainly looks exotic, doesn’t it? Again, a very simple recipe if you have the spices. Unfortunately, the recipe called for a LOT of spices to the point where it was gritty with spices. It was inedible. Really really inedible.
I wished that I had decided to tweak this recipe for Chickpeas with Yogurt and Fresh Mustard Greens instead. It calls for some exotic ingredients, so I wanted to avoid it, but I guess I should have tried it anyway. One of the exotics is Curry Leaves, which we are growing in the garden this year! I’m excited! But it’s not big enough to harvest yet. It also calls for asafetida – another common spice in India, but rarely seen here. It would probably be safe to just leave it out.
There will probably be plenty of opportunity to try the recipe yet this year, because the mustard greens are growing like crazy.
If you couldn’t attend the workshop or if you missed out on one of the sessions, here are the presentations:
1. Getting Started with a New Garden Beginning Gardening
2. Choosing What to Plant Choosing What to Plant Handout
3. Common Pests & Problems Common Vegetable Pests & Problems
4. Growing Heirlooms & Saving Seed Growing Heirloom Vegetables & Saving Seed
5. Raised Bed Gardening (not available yet)
6. Success with Squash & Other Vines Success with Squash & Other Vines
7. Food Preservation 101 Preserving the Harvest Basics
8. Vegetables for Picky Eaters (not available yet)
9. Equipment & Gadgets for Food Preservation (not available yet)
Both beginning and advanced home food gardeners will find something to interest them at the 4th annual Grow Good Food Workshop. The workshop will be held on Saturday, March 22, 2014, from 9 am to 4 pm at the Sedgwick County Extension Education Center, 4-H Hall at 21st and Ridge Rd. in Wichita.
Cost of the class is $5 for all day. Register online at http://growgoodfood.eventbrite.com or call 316-660-0100.
The morning session of the workshop includes three classes on basic gardening topics. During the afternoon, attendees will have the choice between more advanced gardening topics and classes on preserving and cooking garden produce.
9 a.m. – Getting Started with a New Garden
10 a.m. – Choosing What to Plant
11 a.m. – Common Pests & Problems
1 p.m. – Growing Heirlooms & Saving Seed
2 p.m. – Raised Bed Gardening
3 p.m. – Success with Squash & Vines
Cooking & Preserving
1 p.m. – Food Preservation 101
2 p.m. – Vegetables for Picky Eaters
3 p.m. – Equipment & Gadgets for Food Preservation
Register online at http://growgoodfood.eventbrite.com or call 316-660-0100.
4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
3 Tablespoons of apples cider
2 Tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
Fresh cracked black pepper
Kosher salt to taste
1 pound of assorted radishes
1 small bunch of cilantro chopped
1/2 sweet onion diced
Mix dressing in the bottom of a large bowl, add radishes, onion and cilantro, mix well. Refrigerate and toss before serving.