The way we see it, a garden is a celebration. You work hard, but then you get to eat like kings. Grocery store food? Pah!
On this page, we share what we’re doing with our produce so far this year.
June 21, 2011
Now that summer is here and the weather has been fairly reasonable, gardens are really beginning to produce. Whether you have your own patch or subscribe to a CSA service that gives you a bag of whatever’s fresh each week, it’s time to figure out what to do with some of that stuff.
From here through the end of the season, we’ll try to post a few ideas about meals that come mostly from things growing in our garden right now. First up is a creation I made last night. It’s a take on my grandmother’s favorite early garden dish–peas and new potatoes. She usually made it plain with a little butter and maybe some dill. I decided to add some purslane we let grow in the patch where the snow peas had finished. I also added a little pancetta, which is Italian bacon, but it would be fine without it too.
Newer Peas and Potatoes
3 small to medium garden potatoes, scrubbed–a little less than 1 lb.
5 thin slices pancetta
1 1/2 cups fresh peas, shelled
a good handful of fresh dill, cut up a bit
about 1 cup purslane leaves (this is a weed that pops up in our garden. I used only the leaves for this dish)
1 tablespoon butter and some white wine for deglazing
crumbled feta cheese to taste
Cover the potatoes with water and boil until a fork slides in easily. Remove, let cool and then cut into bite-sized pieces. In the same water, dump the peas and simmer until tender but not mushy, less than 15 minutes.
Pan-fry the pancetta (a non-stick skillet works well) until crispy. Drain on paper towels and set aside, but keep the pan out.
Reheat the pancetta pan, if needed, then drop in the butter. When it’s melted, pour in a medium glug of wine–about a 1/4 cup or so–and bring to a boil, stirring up the bits from the bottom just until it is very slightly reduced from its full amount. Remove from heat and stir in the dill. (Confession: After I cooked the pancetta, I ran my finger around the cooled pan to taste the salty grease. Yours will be better if you don’t do this.)
Now put the cooked and cut potatoes, peas, purslane and crumbled pancetta into the serving bowl and add as feta to taste. Scrape the pan juices and reduced wine with dill over and toss to coat.
3 large servings or 4 small ones.
We finished out this meal with some leftover salad which included the last of my red leaf lettuce (which had miraculously survived the heat wave) and some spinach I had forgotten in a green bag but which was still good.
Posted by: Roxie
Strawberries. Right now we’re picking strawberries. But when I went down to the basement to check our jam supply…uh, no. We’ve still got lots of jam. Definitely don’t make any more jam.
I suppose I could put them on a baking sheet and freeze them. But there aren’t too many things I can think of that use frozen strawberries that I like except maybe smoothies.
So, besides putting them on salads and in cornflakes, what else can I do?
Oh yeah. Toaster pastries.
Still eating Pop Tarts? Seriously? You should make your own version some time. It’s a relevation. I routinely make a batch of toaster pies whenever I have some good fruit and shove it in the deep freeze. Right now I have mango, pumpkin and blueberry on hand. I’ve also done apple, cherry and even fig.
This batch will be strawberry-rhubarb.
I took a couple of stalks of rhubarb, washed and sliced them and put them in a saucepan with just a tiny bit of water. Then I dumped in some sugar. Oh, I don’t know, about a half or three quarters of a cup. (What, you wanted measurments? This is the garden. We just cook up what we have.)
I let that simmer for a while, until the rhubarb is soft. Meantime, I wash and stem the strawberries (probably 2 and 1/2 cups or so) cutting the bigger ones, and add them to the rhubarb. Add sugar to taste and cook, stirring gently so the bigger pieces of berry don’t disintegrate. When it gets to simmering, add a cornstarch slurry (1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons cold water) and bring quickly to boiling until thickened. When thick, put it in a covered container in the refrigerator until ready to make the pastry.
I could put the pastry instructions here, but I’m too tired tonight. So I’ll just link to the source, which is Alton Brown of the Food Network. Follow the recipe for toaster pastries.
Now isn’t that better than a Pop Tart?