Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Using Greens & Enjoying It

I've heard there are people out there who love greens (as in chard, spinach, kale...the heartier, more bitter ones) just raw, or steamed with a bit of this or that.

I am NOT one of them.  Neither are the kids.  Slathered in gravy is about the only way steamed greens get eaten in large portions usually.


A month or so ago I bought Alice Waters' "The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution".  There is a ton of good info in it for both the budding and the experienced home cook.

Lots of amazing, fairly simple recipes too!

So.  Chard and spinach are coming on strong around here.  I harvest the chard when it's smaller than my hand (now, since I've learned that those big ol' leaves aren't that tasty) and the spinach small also.  They just taste better that way - those little baby leaves.  Muahhahaha.

Sorry.  Anyways, I had a whole colander of greens and upon reading the recipe for a Chard Fritatta I went back out and pulled 3 young, volunteer onions that needed to be culled anyways (they don't get along with peas that climb - I read this about companion planting, and cannot remember why they aren't compatible, sorry, no science quote).

Here is the recipe (at AARP of all places): Chard Fritatta

 Please ignore my stack of clean (!) dishes and pretend you're just here for the food part.

 Eggs from my mom's hens.

Voila!  Fritatta.  

Some day I'm going to have a saute pan that these babies can just sliiiiide out of...but then there may be much less laughter involved!

We grated a little cheddar on top, and everyone ate as much as they could!  No bitter green taste, just a clean, delicious, nutrient-dense dish.  Perfect.

All of these photos were taken with my cell phone - sorry!!  My mom went on vacation...with my camera.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Coming up!

Wow, my early seed planting has paid off.  I am now watching seeds (sown earlier this spring) come up just like they're supposed to - right when they're ready!  They've waited for the perfect time and temperatures for themselves, and here they are:

Bush peas
Bush beans
Blue Jade Corn
Nasturtiums (trailing and climbing - they're Richard's favorite, therefore I planted a ton)
ALL 5 (!!) kinds of potatoes here (2 varieties at my mom's)
Sweet Peas
Miner's Lettuce
Chard (ready to harvest)
Spinach (almost ready to harvest)
Snap Dragons
5 kinds of onions

I moved these out of the cold frame last weekend - before the rains:

Velvet Queen Sunflowers
Winningstadt Cabbage (18 of them!)
Bachelors Buttons
Black Beauty Zucchini (only one, hail and snow are common this month and are not easy on broadleaved plants)

Somehow, planting early (seeds) makes me have an easier spring as well as a more neurotic one.  I am constantly wondering where the seedlings are, did the seeds rot, what's taking them so long...*sigh* it is hard work fretting over plants.  So I've stopped a bit, but it's still very exciting to see them come up!

We have new beds in the back of our lot, on the ground - not raised - and they are composed of some very crummy soil.  So, we've underseeded it in crimson clover (nitrogen-depositing legume and great for creating root paths because they have a vast, deep root system) and have spread soil with a very low pH over it to help stabilize the acidity since it's sky high.  When planting seeds, we dig a hole, plant the seed, and cover it with this better soil then mulch with grass clippings.  We'll see how they act through the season, but it seems to be helping.  The soil we are adding is from underneath a conifer (pine, spruce, cedar, redwood etc) and it is a simple, free (labor excluded obviously), organic way to help lower the pH in your soil.  Results should show within two weeks on existing plants.