Fresh From the Garden
This summer is passing by so quickly, I’ve hardly had time to stop and smell the roses – or in my case – the dill! I am a flower killer, sad to say, but it’s something I’ve come to terms with. Even with my uncanny ability to kill anything that has a beautiful flower on it, I have somehow gained the knowledge and luck to be able to grow edibles magnificently. Which, if you ask me, is much more practical anyway. I digress…
This year I tried some new things in my vegetable garden and I’ve had a lot of success (with only one fail – my poor spinach didn’t make it through the deluge we had a month or so ago). Nothing beats being able to make an entire salad with items from your own garden. Even though salads are my jam, I need to mix things up every once in a while, so I’ve been trying some new prep methods with some of the spoils from the garden and I wanted to share them here with you. Below you’ll find some ideas and recipes for using some common garden veggies.
Radishes were a first for me this year, and even though I generally don’t completely adore the peppery flavor of them, I wanted to give it a shot. I forgot to thin them out – they grew so fast! – so some of them grew straight down instead of out, but I ended up with a bunch of beautifully round and full radishes anyway! Aside from slicing them paper thin for salads, I also pickled them.
To pickle radishes – or anything really – follow this method (for about 1 lbs of veggies):
Bring 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 tbsp kosher salt to a boil. Stir until all of the salt and sugar are incorporated. Remove from heat. Fill a tall glass jar (with a tight lid) with the radishes and any spices/add-ins you’d like (I used dried dill, dried chives, and peppercorns). Fill the remaining space in the jar with the brine. Let it cool completely, screw the lid on tight, and let sit in the fridge for about a week. These will stay awesome for a long time in the fridge.
Collards are the new love of my life. The ones I grow in my garden are much more tender than the kind I’d been buying at the store, so these need very little prep to go in a salad or smoothie. I’ve been using the big leaves to wrap up taco filling, hummus, and anything else I can findaround the house. I am working on some fun appetizers involving collards, too – I’ll be sure to post them here!
I’ve been drying dill like a machine lately! My dill transplanted itself all over my yard, so I’ve had more to do with it than I’ll ever know. Dried dill is awesome for sauces and dips and is a great addition to potato salad. I like to use the fresh dill as an add-on to my salads as well as a mix-in for my kale chips.
These have been a tough one to figure out what to use them for. While I adore mint (that’s why I grew it), there’s only so many ways I’ve found to use the fresh stuff. So, I started by drying it to use for my holiday treats, and now I’m using the fresh stuff for tea. I simply put one or two leaves of mint along with a half-leaf of stevia in a cup and pour over some hot water – voila!- instant, delicious tea! It’s also very good in smoothies and adult beverages.
This one is similar to the mint, as I’ve had a hard time figuring out what to do with it. Tea is one of my favorite ways to enjoy it, but I’ve also been drying it to use in treats this winter. Stevia is quite powerful – one leaf is even too sweet for a cup of tea for me – so I like using it as a sweetener in smoothies.
Chives and Green Onions
The husband just adores dried chives, so I’ve been cutting and drying like a mad woman. My chives were seriously out of control at the beginning of the season (such a resilient plant!), but I’ve since dug up some plants for family members and I’m very obsessive about giving my remaining plants haircuts on a regular basis. Dried chives are delicious in dips and sauces and sprinkled on top of just about anything – including popcorn! Also, they are quite tasty on top of my zucchini skins.
Peppers are perfect for just about anything. From making homemade hot sauce to including them in my chana masala, they make a flavorful addition to your favorite dishes. I also enjoy making homemade salsa, as long as the peppers aren’t too hot (for my family members, of course) and putting peppers in my black bean burgers.
Well, if you are like me, your tomatoes probably don’t make it into the house – I eat them like apples! However, when some are lucky enough to make it a couple of days past the vine, I love putting them into homemade salsa, on top of black bean burgers, and into my collard wraps. Also, you can diced up the tomatoes and add them to chana masala or just as a lovely topping for a salad. You could also put them into my tomato breakfast tarts, which are one of my all-time favorite recipes on the blog.
I hope the summer has been going well for you all and hopefully I’ll be able to share with you some baby news next time I post 🙂 Also, if you are a vegan blogger and haven’t thought about VeganMoFo 2014 yet, be sure to start putting together your plan – it’s coming up in September already!