Sunday, July 18, 2010

Cooking from the Backyard Garden

It is July and the raised beds we sweated over in spring are bursting with plants and food. The boxed garden beds have helped to bring some order to my messy style of gardening. I can rarely believe when planting seeds or seedlings that they will actually grow as big as they do by mid summer. So I often plant them too closely together and end up with a tangled mess of plants fighting for light. The hardiness of nature usually wins out over my impatient plantings and we always manage to harvest some good food from the packed garden. Cucumbers, sugar snap peas and two kinds of lettuce are a daily harvest at the moment. We have limited sun in the yard, so the peas and lettuce are lasting longer than expected.
Cucumbers, snap peas and lettuce are all delicious and pretty easy to add to any meal or snack, especially in this weather when I don't feel much like cooking anything that requires heat. For a quick meal with friends I did a little more than the usual piling of the garden veggies on the table for munching. 

To make a quick pickle, mix a simple dressing of vinegar, finely chopped onion, a little salt, a pinch of sugar and a bunch of fresh herbs if you have them. (I used basil, oregano, and some celery leaves.) Pour this over a bunch of sliced vegetables like cucumbers, snap peas, corn, or slivered beets and let them marinate for 10 minutes. (I added some small cubes of tofu to the mix for some added protein as well, white beans would also be good.) Then, pile this on a big bowl of lettuce and you have a delicious flavorful meal. I hadn't realized till dinner was done that we had a totally raw meal, including the lemon verbena blueberry ice cream we had for dessert (look for a post on it soon). No need to add heat to the 90 degree weather.

A delicious meal for a hot night. 
So satisfying to grow food to feed family and friends. 

Any luck in your own garden? please share by posting a comment below.


  1. hey mama
    i'm out visiting my folks in western mass- we have a gigantic garden going here- just picked massive amounts of cukes for pickling, ate beans, last of the peas and potatoes for dinner last night! beets are coming soon, and the chard is pumping. i'll put a pic up on facebook soon. miss you lady! we've got to plan a get together soon.

  2. Excellent Tagan, you echo my own easy and spontaneous approach. Although you did not cook one of the great things about tofu is hat it is a pre-processed and cooked bean; no muss no fuss! My son when young ( now 30!), would simply cut slices of it, top them with tomato sauce and eat cold. A parent's dream come true, your child making dinner!

  3. I can't wait to see the ice cream recipe - my lemon verbena is thriving and I have a ton of blueberries just waiting to be used.

  4. ah yes, the already cooked tofu. you are right there. it was just surprising to me that with out thinking we had a (practically) raw meal for our family and guests. I often think of raw food as taking more forethought and planning. it was a nice surprise. i'll get that ice cream recipe up as soon as I can....