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Waiting out the Blizzard

With all the winter weather that we’ve had (and are still having for at least another day), thoughts of the garden for this summer are a little bit on hold. Later this week, I should have a couple posts and pictures from the 2nd Outdoor Living and Landscape Show (Mar. 1-3 at Century II). So what to do while waiting out the storm? Think about what to cook with all the vegetables we haven’t even planted yet, of course!

I’ll be partnering with our Foods & Nutrition Agent, Denise, to have some new classes, called “Saturday Samplers” one Saturday each month this spring through fall. These will be short classes out in the Demonstration Garden, somewhat similar to the Friday Lunch in the Garden events I did a few years ago. More information on those will be coming later. For now, I’m amusing myself by looking for interesting recipes featuring things we’ll have in the garden this year.

If you’ve been following the blog long (or attended any of my gardening classes), you’ve probably heard me joke about how I don’t consider eggplant edible. I’ve really only ever found a couple recipes that make it palatable. So I’m definitely looking for some good eggplant recipes. (Yes, I know all about eggplant parmesan.)

Here are some other veggies and herbs we might feature at some point:

  • Thyme (regional herb of the year!)
  • Basil
  • Garlic
  • Shallots
  • Tomatoes (of course!)
  • Root Vegetables (radishes, fall radishes, carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips)
  • Brassicas (cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage)

Do you have any interesting recipes that feature any of these vegetables or herbs? Healthy is always good, but we aren’t specifically locked into recipes that are “low-everything.” (At least I’m not! You have to like a vegetable first, in my opinion. Then we’ll talk about how you are cooking it. Except battered and fried. I drawn the line there. Sorry.)

You get extra points if you can fit multiple of the things listed above into one recipe! I found this one: Cold Tomato-Thyme Soup with Garlic Croutons.

Easy Roasted Vegetables

Use your oven to bring out the sweetness of vegetables with this simple recipe.  It may even get “Mike-y” to eat all his vegetables!

Per Serving: $.34

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups assorted vegetable pieces cut in chunks (potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, turnips, carrots, onions, mushrooms)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 425 F.
  2. Line a 9×13 pan with aluminum foil.
  3. Spread vegetables in pan. Sprinkle oil on vegetables. Stir. Sprinkle with seasoning, pepper, and salt. Stir.
  4. Bake uncovered 45 minutes. Turn every 15 minutes.
  5. Serve while hot.

Cooking Tips:

  • Roasting brings out the sweetness of vegetables.
  • Use thyme, basil, or rosemary in place of dried Italian seasoning.
  • Save energy. Roast veggies in oven with other food or right after other food is done.
  • Use veggies that your family likes.  Leftovers are great.

Old Seeds for 2013…?

I was looking through my Richters Herbs catalog this morning, getting some ideas for the Herb sub-committee meeting, and noticed information about something called “Seed Zoo“. Basically they are working with ethnobotanists to preserve traditional varieties of vegetables found in different parts of the world. This isn’t a new concept, certainly. I’ve been a fan of Native Seed SEARCH for quite a while. They preserve traditional plants and seeds from the desert Southwest.

If you visit the Seed Zoo website, they have interesting stories to go with each seed about where they came from. While many of them probably wouldn’t grow well here, I always find it extremely interesting to see the differences in fruits and vegetables grown in different parts of the world.

One thing I find interesting is that in the descriptions, a couple of times they say that the particular melon was growing in a very hot humid location, therefore that variety might have some good disease tolerance. I suppose that is possible. It is also possible that some of the diseases we find problematic do not exist in those locations. Like plants, not all diseases naturally exist everywhere. They have to be spread to a new location in one way or another. That’s one reason that there are restrictions on importing plant material into the U.S.

Anyway, check out those links to see some very unique vegetables! (And if you’ve never looked at the selection of herbs from Richters, you should do that too!)

 

First Look at our Garden Plans for 2012

It’s a little bit funny that we’re talking about our planting plans when we aren’t remotely close to having beds to plant in. However, we’re eternal optimists and are forging ahead with our planting plans, regardless of whether or not we ever actually get to implement them! I think we’ll have some very exciting things in the garden this year, assuming the construction goes well this spring.

Video Wednesday

Since time is getting shorter to plant vegetables for the fall garden (and since the weather seems to be getting slightly more moderate), here’s a quick video about some colorful options for the fall vegetable garden. If you’ve been hanging around this blog for very long, no doubt you have seen most of these veggies before!