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Showing posts with label homegrown. Show all posts
Showing posts with label homegrown. Show all posts

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Screams and Sprouts; Ginger Scallops/ Pea, Carrot, Dill Sprouts/Sage Flowers/Mulberry Gastrique


Illustration of Scallops and Sprouts Salad w/Mulberry Gastrique


I wanted to discover the delicate side of my growing garden and I had a wonderful learning experience in sprouts.  I am at the thinning phase for some, so I thought it would be fruitful to see what I could develop with some of the freshest springtime ingredients available, literally in my own yard.  The birds hadn't eaten all of the Mulberries from our tree just yet and I was able to procure a full cup, from which I made the Gastrique.
 I reduced the berries and honey with a little water down to about 3 tablespoons, then added the aged balsamic, reducing again to about 2 tablespoons.  I used a good aged balsamic and wildflower honey.  Fresh ginger, lemon, organic extra virgin olive oil and Irish butter also make an appearance.  I used slices of ginger to scent the olive oil before searing the scallops.  I added the Irish butter after flipping the scallops and getting the caramelization on the tops.  I made a simple vinaigrette using the organic olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon, sage flowers, cracked pepper and Fleur de Sel. I garnished with microgreens from my homegrown Brassicas.
 The recipe turned out wonderfully, though the stencil of the pea shoots could have been better.  I wanted to share the above photo of how my mind sees recipe ideas and ingredients before becoming a finished product. Grab some sprouts from your garden and have at it, it's a most rewarding experience.  Micorgreens can have upwards of 40 times the nutrients of regularly grown greens, bigger isn't always better!






 

Monday, May 3, 2021

Hanging Strawberry Moss Baskets- Vertical Gardening Technique


Vertical Strawberry Moss Basket
I came up with this idea as I embark on my first season of growing strawberries at home.  I wanted to test out more vertical growing techniques and so, I in turn wanted to have a successful harvest.  Moisture is a big part of that equation and moss is a perfect candidate to help retain a good balance.  I gathered moss in sizable clumps and used it to line the shelves of a shower caddy I purchased specifically for this project, because I wanted it to hang flush against any wall space outside and hang downward, not sprawl across the ground, using vital grow space.  I also wanted to protect it from the animals, so suspending it  seemed like the best method to implement my idea.  
The moss adds a beautiful and organic touch to my hanging basket, which I secure with twine on the backside, enclosing the moss to serve as containers to house the strawberry plants.  The end result is a very cute and functional work of edible art, worthy of sharing and a focal point for a small grow space.  I am excited to see how it progresses and I will certainly keep you posted.  I chose three different types of strawberries, two of which are touted as best for growing when using a hanging basket, Allstar and Quinault, I also use Ozark Beautys.  These are June bearing plants, but do not make a surplus of viney connections, which is not ideal for this type of vertical gardening.  If you have more tips for growing strawberries vertically, myself and other readers would certainly appreciate your feedback.  You may leave comments in the space below and I will also take questions, if you have any about assembling your very own moss 'growing' basket.  Happy Gardening, the sky's the limit, literally!


 


Thursday, June 11, 2020

Mulberry Molten Cakes w/Lemon Curd and Blueberries


Summer has a flavor and it's bright, tangy, fresh, creamy and AH-mazing.This recipe is inspired by a delicious classic, Lemon Meringue Pie and anything with a molten center, hot or cold.  I used a combination of homemade and store bought ingredients, along with some fresh picked and homegrown  delights like the Mulberries, scratch made Lemon Curd and mint from my herb garden.  The cakes are a simple store bought boxed variety of French Vanilla, with the freshly picked mulberries nestled in the bottom of each one.  
The mulberries have a fleeting existence, subject to the elements of wind and nature, the birds, who quickly make light work of the sweet ripened berries, that will fall at the slightest touch when ready to enjoy.  My youngest Bronwyn assisted in gathering the berries from our backyard, which are a part of the breadfruit and fig family and grown in China for its leaves, which are the only variety of leaf a Silkworm will eat! Mulberries provide an array of noteworthy vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These gems contain  Vitamin C and K, iron, potassium, fiber, polyphenols and anthocyanins giving their brilliant dark red color, plus rutin and myracetin, which are both excellent compounds for reducing cancer risks. 
The sweet tang of the curd is a first time for me, inspired by a Lemon Curd recipe from a popular site.  The icing is of the whipped variety, a specialty item from the grocer, favored for its icing consistency, but without the sickly sweet taste of some traditional icings.  The whipped icing helps to keep this recipe 'light', in taste and mouthfeel.   
The family received the recipe well, as did I.  They are easy enough to make for a special dinner dessert or as a great bring-along to your next cookout, when the opportunity permits.  




Monday, March 9, 2020

Saying "I Do" To What Matters Most

I love the invite of Spring just around the corner.  As a sufferer from SAD, the warmer, sunnier, brighter days induce a feeling of hope and positivity, that I can get nowhere else.  The little buds are forming on the trees, as they have been for weeks, mind you, while various flowers and bulbous plants are peeking their little heads above their cozy leaf covered beds.  Mother nature's growth hormones are in full effect.
It is now time to start tiny seedlings indoors, row by row, prepping them for the transition to our outdoor gardens and beds.  Soon, we will be digging, hauling, hoeing and making raised rows and anthills, to foster the best possible outcome for our magnificent homegrown produce. The pruning and gardening gloves, shears and clippers, will be our decided gear.  Aprons will have smears of the fertile and viable soil, especially along the tops of the pockets, and our shoes will show telltale signs of earthen activities.  We will have salad greens abound; tomatoes and cucumbers as well as violet and crimson berries; aromatic herbs and fresh accoutrements to a menu bursting with vitality and life.
The majority has embraced a more organic and virginal form of growing, using minimal additives if any at all.  Awareness is taking hold and this year, there will likely be more gardens or newly ordained 'farmers' than ever.  From the roof tops of cityscapes, to the marginal plots newly designated, the revolution will ensue.  We will assert ourselves as conscious consumers and bolster our confidence with our hands, turning sweet nothings into delicious somethings.  We will compost. We will engage in sensual congress with our progenys, our grow spaces.
These growing stations will not only provide sustenance and foster our most primal instincts, but also exercise our minds and bodies and quench our souls.  Some will be learning canning and dehydrating techniques for the first time, while others are hardened veterans and already have their preservation plans mapped out, like clockwork.
Fermentation will yield such ethnic delicacies as sauerkraut, Kimchi, pickles and Kombucha, full of viable prebiotics, probiotics and flavor. Jams, jellies and preserves, oh my.  Sweet, savory, tart and briny all have a place at the table. Feelings of accomplishment and confidence will spring forth proverbial sunshine, to reflect onto all we do.  We will get to know our foodstory more than ever.  We will share, we'll feast, we'll preserve, we will fellowship.  We will be Betterthaneverians. Do you like the way that sounds? I know I DO!

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Smokinhotchef
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