The Good Life

I’m growing strawberries this year.  Here’s the entire crop thus far. 

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BAM!   I used one for a pie and made jam out of the other.  Don’t be jealous.

What it lacks in fruit, the garden has been making up for in terms of greens:  kale, spinach, chard, beet tops, lettuce and arugula.  I’ve been picking them and making this stunningly simple dish a few times a week:  saute your greens in olive oil and/or butter, then use the corner of your spatula to make two or three “nests”.  Crack an egg into each nest and cook until set.  Salt and pepper, some toasted bread.  Ten minutes to awesomeness. It’s my new favorite lunch, which I have given the temporary name of “Daffodils Peeking Through Winter’s Melting Snows.”  I am open to other suggestions.

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So that was the spring lineup.  Now we’re cruising into summer and I can tell it’s going to be a unique year because I got TWO crops of peas.  AND I was here to eat both of them!  Usually I have massive garden-depression because the peapods are at their peak right around the week when we are down at the Jersey Shore, and my neighbors end up eating them for me.  But this year’s sullen, late spring and her persistent chilliness paid off in my favor.  The evening of the day we got back, I was out in the garden with a colander, pulling pods hand over fist.  Jeeps and I shelled them over the sink (eating every third or fourth one) until we each had a green thumbnail.  Blanched and served up as part of a Cobb Salad, it was the perfect summer kickoff meal.  The next night I picked another colander full of pods, which I blanched and served with some candy-striped pasta that Panda had picked out at the store, along with a mongrel pesto I made from basil, argula and parsley.  I didn’t have a good amount of spinach, otherwise I would have made Amy’s Pesto Pea Salad.

Then I made a blueberry pie, because I felt like it.

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I was particularly proud of the Cobb salad because everything was local.  The lettuce and peas were mine; the tomatoes, eggs, chicken and bacon all came from Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard in North Salem.  I joined their CSA this year, both to support local business and to take the edge off my crops being not always reliable.  Plus the program goes into October; my garden tends to die a sudden death in August and my late-sown crops never seem to take off.

Anyway, our first CSA pickup is tomorrow and we’ve already gotten advanced notice of what’ll be in the bushel basket:

  • Red beets
  • Baby carrots
  • Kale
  • 2 heads of lettuce
  • Fresh garlic
  • Spring onions
  • Swiss Chard
  • EGGS!  (Their emphasis because eggs are not usually included in the CSA shares, but apparently this year their hens are out of control.  Goody for us!)

I’m so excited and I’ve already devised mental menus through the weekend using all this booty and supplemented by my own garden beds.

Naturally with the eggs, kale and chard one can make Daffodils Peeking Through Winter’s Melting Snows.  One can also pick up the supplemental ingredients and repeat the Cobb salad with lettuce and spring onions.

I confess I’ve never made a frittata, but I bet you anything a very nice one could be made from eggs, garlic and chard.  Or with eggs, kale and onions.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

mybeetsCarrots and beets:  endless possibilities.  You can grate them both raw, and toss with parsley and vinaigrette for a crunchy and colorful slaw.  Or if raw isn’t your thing, you can toss them with lemon thyme sprigs, olive oil, salt and pepper, then slow-roast them – together or separately – in the oven, wrapped in foil.  Serve as a side dish or in greens as a roasted beet salad.

Of course there’s roasted beets and fava beans, but I’m a little anxious about my favas – they all set flowers, but I don’t see any pods developing yet.  Of course, this is my first time growing them so maybe I just don’t know what I’m looking for.

Needless to say, knowing that all this produce is going to be available on a weekly basis makes food shopping a lot easier.  It was nice to walk out of the grocery store for once with just four bags, and those containing just dry goods and pantry items.  And I like the idea of letting vegetables dictate what’s going to be for dinner.  It shall be the summer of eating seasonally!

(Ish)

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