The first organic artichokes are in the market here in Vermont--from California. I was tempted to buy a couple, but they are expensive and look a little battered. Before I grew them myself, I was at the mercy of the the stores and the shipping system. Artichokes were usually disappointing unless I ate them in Italy or California--there they taste sublime. The past few years I have grown them and here in Vermont have the pleasure of the incomparable taste of one of these flower buds just picked. But it takes a bit of work, but it's effort I feel great about for I have a hand in the food I eat.
Every morning in March I head first thing into the basement to turn on the “sun” for the flats of seedlings and newly planted seeds. As I flip on the tiers of grow lights, I say good morning (yes, I do) and ask how they are doing after the long, dark night....read full post »
I’m heading down into the basement to check on the lemongrass. A couple dozen seedlings, some started from seed, some by root divisions. And then I’ll come back up to the kitchen and make some delicious lemongrass-coconut chicken soup using broth I made and froze last fall.
I’m never without lemongrass in my kitchen. Although I’m primarily inspired by Mediterranean cuisine, I do need a Southeast Asian fix at least once a week. As an essential flavor of that region, lemongrass makes its way through many of our meals. I use the light lemony herb in soups, chicken, fish dishes; in marinades and pastes like EatingWell’s Thai lime and Lemongrass Marinade; as grilling skewers; in desserts...read full post »
You can never grow too many onions. No matter how many I grow–and I grow a lot–I always start running out of them by now. Indeed, I can mark the growing calendar by the number of onions hanging from my rafters, and now it’s telling me to plant some, a lot, many more than last year’s couple hundred!
After all, I use onions in just about every meal I make, from soup to stew to roasted vegetables and meats to the condiments (chutneys, relishes, pickles and jams)–I probably use two-three onions a day on average just for family meals, so 200 hundred onions do not last from final fall harvest to first spring picking. Eating Well’s Onions -Healthy Food Guide explains why we should be eating onions, and lots of them! I like how they play both the background, foundational note in a sauce or braise, but also how they can play a starring role. I want to try...read full post »
I just planted them in unmarked flats under the far, low grow-light, way out of the way. In another few weeks I’ll transplant the hardy, cool-loving seedlings into unobtrusive garden corners, keeping them undercover for as long as possible. It’s for their own good.
But it’s inevitable. Sooner or later the kale will be discovered.
This goes on every year. As soon as my husband spots the long, crinkled deep-green leaves, he protests–loudly–claiming he can smell them from the house. Super-healthy, and to my palate, delicious kale. I particularly love the lacinato variety in Italian dishes, many of which Eating Well shares through its treasure trove of recipes. He claims that its cabbage-y sharpness offends his very sensibilities; there’s no way he’s going to eat it even if it is among the healthiest foods on earth. Indeed, I could swear that...read full post »
Blame it on EatingWell Magazine that I just ordered seeds for five more varieties of heirloom tomatoes. That’s on top of the four I already have–and considering that only two of us live here anymore, we’re in danger of serious tomato overload.
At this point in the early-yet-but-heading-into planting season I can’t be trusted with seed catalogs or gardening magazines–my itchy planting fingers, my eyes-bigger-than-my garden appetite are easily seduced into buying more seeds than I need. Even Kate rolled her eyes yesterday when she saw my seed box. Mindful of my tendencies, I did my ordering a good month ago and then hid the catalogs. Who knew that an innocent evening curled up with a great cooking magazine would land me in this kind of trouble? Blame it on the new staff gardens and the...read full post »