I love a good resource and have MANY publications related to gardening and cooking. I re-visit them from time to time and just picked this up for a refresher. It is such a great reference that I thought I’d share! The sub-title says it all: “Growing and Using the Best-Tasting Vegetable Varieties.” @thecooksgarden @organicgardening
The heat of summer has finally arrived. My herbs are happy and growing like crazy. The lettuce would prefer things a bit cooler, and needs to be harvested daily to keep it from bolting. My eldest son, keeps chickens and they are still at full-throttle production (they typically lay lots in the spring & early summer). So I've got tons of eggs, greens and herbs.
I have embraced these bounties and came up with this
healthy version of a classic:
Healthy Egg Salad
12 hard-boiled eggs, peeled & chopped
5 oz. lemon or plain greek yogurt
3 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
1 large stalk of celery, chopped (including leafy tops)
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
1 tablespoon minced onion or shallots (dried is ok, too)
kosher salt & pepper, to taste
Arugula and/or Romaine, torn into pieces
To your boiled eggs, add remaining ingredients (except greens) and combine.
Cover and chill for at least an hour to give the flavors a chance to develop.
You can choose to pile fresh greens on a chilled plate and spoon a portion of salad over the top. Another great way to serve this salad is with a nice slice of whole-grain toast, topped with lettuce (I LOVE arugula here) and egg salad.
A great use of your summer garden surplus, this salad is packed with flavor, protein and is LOW in saturated fat.
Pro Tip: To lighten the salad a bit more, ditch two of the yolks so that there's a larger proportion of whites. You likely won't even miss them.
Another Pro Tip: For a pretty lunch table, serve 1970's style in hollowed-out tomatoes, with greens riding shot-gun.
I've been asked several times lately about container gardening. I thought it'd be great to share some ways to have a garden with limited space, or if aesthetically you prefer a collection of pretty pots. Planting in containers, both large and small, is an amazing way to have fresh produce.
This year, I am using a variety of vessels within my formal garden. I've planted several varieties of potatoes, carrots, squash and herbs in pots and "grow bags" (Amazon.com has some inexpensive options in a variety of colors). Bags are a great choice for apartments or those short on storage as they can be washed and folded up at the end of patio season. I likely will end up with a few tomatoes in pots as well. I'm out of room in my traditional beds and it's always likely I will see another plant or two at the farmer's market that I'm dying to try.
(Above: Rear left, Acorn Squash "Table Ace" in a trellised pot)
So here are my suggestions for things to try in your container garden: lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, radishes & any herbs can be potted. Potatoes, carrots and beets need deep containers but do well. I'll also say that big, vining plants like acorn squash, zucchini or small melons can be grown in large pots that allow you to add compost throughout the season. Plan on providing a little lattice or support for the vines to grow vertically and you'll be surprised at your yields. A great water melon to try is "Sugar Pot".
Some things to remember when planting in pots is that you will need to place them in full sun (except for lettuce which can tolerate some shade) and water them often. You will also need to feed them periodically since they can't pull nutrients from the ground. No big deal, there are plenty of options ranging from home-made compost to purchased fertilizers (I like "Kellogg Organic Plus Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer"). Just follow the directions if you go with a commercial fertilizer and you'll be amazed at what you can do!
I'm starting mornings with a cup of coffee in my garden. I take the dogs outside to run, let the chickens out and take a look around at my plantings. This morning was my first official harvest, the asparagus is up. I've got a bed of "Mary Washington" which is about 5 years old and pretty average, green stalks like you'd see at the grocery. Last year I added a new varietal, "Purple Passion" which boasts slender, eggplant-colored stalks. Anyway, I snapped off those that were ready, grabbed some green onions (tons of those in my herb bed, always) and stopped in the coop for some eggs.
My son is a 4-h kid and has raised poultry for many years. His birds always do a good job at the county fair and they are beauties. All are tame, named and produce gorgeous, large eggs for us. I'm a huge fan of chickens. They take any kitchen and garden scraps and turn them into yummy, nutritious eggs. They are the ultimate recyclers. They also keep down our mosquito population and provide free fertilizer. If you are able to keep a few, I highly recommend it!
So much fun and sort of empowering to be able to grab the ingredients for a delicious meal from your own backyard. Just 1/2 an acre is what I have it really produces quite a bit of food for my family. Best of all, I know exactly how that food has been treated. No weird chemicals here, I love it.
Dinner tonight will be this protein-packed frittata.
A cinch to prepare and really delicious.
SPRING ONION & ASPARAGUS FRITTATA
About 30 minutes total to prepare. Makes 4 servings.
Elizabeth Morse cooks professionally, is an Advanced Master Gardener and lover of all things local.