Backyard vegetable gardens are gaining lots of attention lately. It’s no surprise, with all the talk about locally sourced foods, not to mention rising food prices. The rewards of growing your own vegetables are numerous. Chief among them is a readily available source of fresh, delicious produce.
Here at 9000 feet elevation, our crop choices are limited. The best success comes with cold tolerant crops such as kale, lettuce, and spinach. Herbs like cilantro, mint, and parsley can be grown fairly easily too. Many gardeners experiment with peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini with varying degrees of success. These warmth loving crops can do OK in greenhouse environment. Often it depends on their specific location inside the greenhouse.
In our plot we have radishes, lettuce, mustard spinach, kale, collards, rapini, arugala, spinach, and cilantro. It has been so amazing to witness the process from start to finish.
Placing seeds in the dirt, seeing them sprout, harvesting the new growth, and finally tasting that incredible flavor of homegrown food. Mostly the kale and collards get cooked. The other varieties end up in salads or on sandwiches.
Recently, I have begun to use the tender greens I have been harvesting in a new way. I like my greens lightly cooked. Stirring them into a hot pot of freshly cooked grains does the job quite well. In this case, I cooked a pot of Quinoa flavored with curry powder and some shredded zucchini. As to pot came off the stove, I stirred in a variety of chopped greens. My recent harvest included arugala, mustard spinach, and rapini.
All of these have a bright, peppery flavor that compliments the quinoa beautifully.
To finish the dish, I sprinkled on garam masala, a spice blend, and a bit of flax oil. A topping of fresh cilantro and diced radish, also grown in the greenhouse, added an extra kick of greens and some crunch. This is quite a change of pace from a bowl of oatmeal. I find the savory combination of greens and seasonings gets me going much more than the typical sweet flavorings of oatmeal.
I highly recommend the experience of growing edible crops. Even if you are limited to a flower pot in a window sill, the rewards are worth the effort.
More recipes are available in my new eBook for Kindle, Mediterranean Diet Recipes
Posted: July 17th, 2012 under Healthy Eating Habits.