Kale Salad with Quinoa, and Black Kabuli Garbanzo Beans.

It seems we’ve moved into that time of year when a good selection of food from the garden becomes a bit scarce, what in olden times was called The Hungry Gap. Making a salad becomes a mix of what is in the house and garden. kale salad with garbanzosYesterday’s salad was based around the ever reliable kale. It’s getting a little tough but stripping it off the stem, tearing it into small pieces and then massaging with a small amount of olive oil renders it rather succulent.

We’re offering a new garbanzo this year, Organic Black Kabuli Beans. The skin is very dark, almost black. black Kabuli GarbonzosDecided to simmer it three minutes like we often do with any bean. Set it aside and tasted a bean that was nearly cooked, gave it another round of three minutes at a steady simmer and repeated. So all in all pretty impressed and it has a fine flavor.

So back to the salad, add some quinoa to the kale, some chopped apple and an orange. Add a bit of olive oil, lightly salt, sprinkle on a little chipotle pepper, some rice vinegar, You see it’s turning into a delicious melange that can’t ever be totally repeated but that’s what is nice about salads…we just make them. Take this mix and lay on a plate covered with arugula or lettuce leaves top with a good handful of Black kabuli chickpeas/garbanzos and crumble some feta over the top. Little of this and a little of that makes a good salad this time of year. Hope you are enjoying your garden as days grow just a little longer.

 

 

 

 

 

Sow Peas On Valentines Day

HEARTS4PeasPeas, flat, round, long and short, crisp or tender, these are one of the first vegetables to plant in spring. In many parts of the country Valentine’s Day is traditional for pea planting. I look around and it’s a pretty day this year with soil temperatures up to 40 degrees, suitable for pea planting. When I head home today the peas are going in the ground. Here are my favorites and why…what do you do with peas, eat them of course and toss polyspun row cover over the young sprouts if birds in your neighborhood think the young shoots are nesting material. The row cover also gives a temperature boost for faster growth. Plant seeds no deeper than 1”. I make a little furrow and cover with ½” of soil and once they’re up add more, so roots are protected from heat later in the season. I also use legume inoculant so there’s no need to need to add nitrogen since this organically approved product helps legume plants utilize atmospheric nitrogen for growth. All four varieties I’ve listed can be planted for spring and again in mid-July for a fall crop. These are all results of the Oregon State University Horticulture Dept. vegetable breeding program. Multiple disease resistant including enation virus and powdery mildew.

Cascadia Snap Pea: A tall bush type, more productive and sweeter than other bush snaps we’ve grown. Let tender pods fatten up for maximum flavor.

Oregon Sugar Pod II: The most widely grown Sugar Pod in the world. Perfect for Asian stir-fries and you’ve undoubtedly eaten this delicacy in many a Chinese restaurant.

Oregon Giant Sugar Pod: Pease are about 50% larger than OS Pod II and a touch sweeter. It’s a great home garden variety because it takes fewer for a meal and most home cooks like the larger size but little used commercially.

Oregon Trail Pea: This all-purpose shelling pea is twin podded and there’s nothing homier than shelling a mess of peas with a class of iced tea beside you.

We’ll share some pea recipes later in the season…but planting as early as possible is the essential first step. And, these all grow well in containers as Maggie and I discussed in McGee & Stuckey’s Bountiful Container.

Indigo Rose Tomato Salad

This is our favorite salad using Indigo Rose OP Tomato, our new introduction for 2012. We had it nearly every day last summer and eagerly look forward to enjoying it again. Other small salad tomatoes can also be used but to my mind none are as beautiful as Indigo Rose in this delicious combination of taste and color. The deep purple exterior is rich in anti-oxidant anthocyanins and the interior of these 2” fruits is a rich bright red. The flavor is bright, tart and pleasant.

It is important to mention, Indigo Rose, the world’s first high anthocyanin tomato is a result of traditional breeding and selection over many years and not a result of genetic engineering. Bred at Oregon State University by Dr. Jim Myers, it is the result of growing out the best selections over more than a decade selecting for performance, coloration, and flavor. it is open-pollinated.
We are pleased to introduce this fine and unusual selection in 2012. We start our tomatoes from April 1 to April 15th and transplant around Memorial Day weekend.

Ingredients:

10-12 Indigo Rose Tomatoes (weight about 1.5 to 2 lbs.
3 tablespoons diced sweet onion
1 tablespoon white balsamic or red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped parsley
6 ounces feta cheese (not non fat)

Directions: Cut each tomato into quarters. Gently combine tomatoes, onion, vinegar, oil, salt and parsley. Place in bowl and sprinkle with coarsely crumbled feta cheese. This salad is also very good with one or two tablespoons of chopped basil. Serve, this can be easily doubled and serves 3 to 8 depending on whether this is a dinner salad, with bread, or simply salad.

Cilantro Dip or Green Sauce

We’ve been enjoying this all week and it is one of those recipe that varies not in a bad way but cilantro doesn’t always taste quite the same. Nevertheless, this began as a dip for carrots. Since then it’s been part of a salsa omelet, a dip for chips and added to burritos.

Ingredients:

1 large bunch fresh cilantro
2-3 cloves peeled garlic
5 green onions
1-3 jalapeno peppers, deseeded
1/4 cup lime juice (2-3 limes)
1/4 cup water
6 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste

Directions: all these ingredients will be chopped and placed in blender or food processor. Rinse cilantro and trim off stems, coarsely chop garlic, trim onions leaving 3-4″ green tips, cut peppers in half and remove seeds and pithy cavity lining. Place all ingredients in blender and puree until smooth. You may wish to add peppers one by one since they vary in heat. Add a little less salt than you think necessary and allow mixture to sit in blender for 30 minutes. Add more jalapeno, salt as needed and even additional lime or lemon juice if you want additional tartness. Puree again and serve or store until needed. Our Purple Haze Hybrid carrots are shown on the plate with the Cilantro Dip. Cut the carrots on a sharp diagonal and they make great chips for dipping. These carrots are easy to grow with stunning delicious results. Cilantro can be sown every three weeks for a steady supply. Papaloquelite is a good summer substitute for cilantro which bolts in hot weather. Slices of Yacon should be delicious with this dip.

Bitter Greens

When garden greens are overly mature, on the verge of bolting, aging and consequently becoming bitter and less than tender and succulent use this classic Mediterranean technique. In Italy and Greece where people treasure their cooked greens and enjoy a slight bitterness they commonly parboil the greens in lightly salted water and then saute’ these greens in olive oil and a little garlic.

I use this method with mixed and aging greens of, endives, chicory, mustard, pac choi, chard etc. Into the pot of boiling water go chunky stems and leaves washed, but barely trimmed. If stems seem truly tough I either discard or toss those in a minute ahead of the leaves. Boil for three minutes and drain in a colander while heating a skillet with olive oil and a generous amount of chopped garlic that is  allowed to soften but not  brown. Dump in the greens and stir around for another three to four minutes. On occasion, I’ve  added seed free sliceed Kalamata olives, dried currants, raisins or a sprinkle of pepper sauce. Serve on a platter hot or at room temperature, sometimes surrounded by fresh lemon wedges. The volume of these greens is dramatically reduced. This double cooking method results in very tender delicious greens. There is absolutely no reason to do anything more than a slight chopping of these greens. While I’m sure leftovers would be good we’ve yet to have any.

I’d say use any of your garden greens except large amounts of carrot leaves which don’t taste good and in spite of a recent article to the contrary, the jury is still out on whether these are healthful to eat. You’ll lose a few vitamins by boiling but you will be be preparing a dish with a high nutrient profile yet low in calories.

Turnips Pickled Pink

5 medium turnips, peeled
1 small beet
2 cups water
2 cups white vinegar
1 to 1.25 cups sugar
1.5 tablespoons salt

Peel and cut turnips into ½” x 2” sticks (approx). Does not need to be precise. Try to maintain a ratio of one beet to five turnips. Peel the beet and cut into sticks as well. Place turnips and beets into a large glass jar, layering as you work. In a non-reactive pot combine water, vinegar, sugar and salt and bring to a boil. Carefully pour the slightly cooled liquid over turnips & beets, covering completely. Cover with a loosely fitted lid.
Turnips will absorb color and show some shrinkage. Set on kitchen counter, should be ready in four to five days and store under refrigeration. This recipe has many versions, some without any sweetening. Do be careful to use tender non-woody turnips.

Walla Walla Onion Sandwiches

Sweet, juicy and mild, Walla Walla Sweet onions came from Corsica to this Eastern Washington valley in 1905. Today this large, delicately flavored heirloom is considered by many to be the world’s sweetest onion. We sow these seeds in August and use the thinnings all through spring. We spring plant onion starts. In June, bulbs mature and we enjoy them through the summer. Gardeners grow this celebrated onion from Southern Missouri to British Columbia, though only those grown in The Walla Walla Valley may be sold as the true onion. Our Nichols Garden Nursery seeds and onion starts come from a Walla Walla Family that has been growing these onions for many generations.
James Beard, a native Oregonian, pioneered the movement to use and celebrate local foods. He created this simple sophisticated canape’, ideal with summer drinks.
This sandwich has only five ingredients and is a snap to put together. The key is locating the right bread. It needs to be thinly sliced and firm. If you can find Pepperidge Farm thin white sandwich bread that works well. A loaf of brioche and some baguettes will be quite satisfactory. Avoid a standard slice of white sandwich bread, these are delicate tidbits.

Ingredients:
Thin sliced white bread cut into rounds with crusts removed. Rounds may range in size from 1″ to 3″. You will need two slices for each sandwich.
Unsalted butter at room temperature
Thinly sliced Walla Walla or other sweet mild onion. If you can successfully cut and remove a slice the diameter of your bread that works. If not, cut into quarters and make a small dainty pile on the bread.
Salt, sea or kosher
Mayonnaise…the real stuff is best
A pile of minced curly parsley,previously washed and removed from stems.
Preparation:
Lightly butter bread rounds, cover with onion, sprinkle with a touch of salt. Gently press on sandwich so pieces adhere. Cover the edges with a light coat of mayonnaise. Now roll the edges in parsley. You want a generous coating of parsley to get that herbal flavor balanced against the onion.
When I made these for our staff, Helen and I added a few nasturtiums for the photo. I came by a few minutes later to see only a few wilting nasturtiums remaining on the plate. Nasturtiums, I find are a good addition to these sandwiches when layered in with the onion but I wanted to give you the true James Beard onion sandwich.

Oregon Coast Gardening Expo

Newport Garden Show June 26th, 2010
We’ve been exhibiting and occasionally speaking at this annual Newport show for several years. I always come home loaded with great plants, garden art, and pleasant memories. We’ll bring plants, seeds, Yacon plants, tools and are there to answer your questions
This is a benefit for Samaritan House Family Homeless Shelter in Newport where they serve an array of families and children in need, help them get on their feet and resituated. Here are the details.
The last big plant sale and show of the season happens at Oregon’s premiere coastal resort of Newport from 9:00a.m. to 5:00p.m. On Saturday, June 26th The third annual Oregon Coast Gardening & Landscaping Expo features over fifty Northwest plant sellers offering a wide variety of great plants, trees and shrubs including the unusual and rare. Plus the extremely popular gardening and landscaping seminars return with top guest speakers including the legendary Ed Hume, Kym Pokorny of The Oregonian, famed landscape designer Lucy Hardiman, Frances Hopkins, founder & owner of Stepables ground covers and many more! The Lincoln County Master Gardeners again be operating their Master Gardener Help Center featuring soil testing and readily available to answer your questions. Lunch is available and will again feature Mo’s Famous Clam Chowder. The Garden Expo will again be held at Newport Intermediate School, 825 NE 7th Street in Newport. Admission is only $5.00 and includes the seminars! This will be an terrific time to visit the ocean beach and attend one of the top Northwest gardening shows of the season. Special Garden Expo hotel rates of $79.95 for traditional room and $89.95 for deluxe room are available at the Newport Shilo Inn Oceanfront. Call 541-265-7701 and ask for the Oregon Coast Garden Expo rate. For updated information visit our website at http://www.oregoncoastgardeningexpo.com.

Easy Gardening Tips

Today, I’m starting a series of simple gardening tips that have not been published everywhere. Random topics to be sure, the sort of tips we share back and forth with friends, your comments are welcome.

James Cassidy, soil scientist, began the Organic Gardening Club at Oregon State University. At a recent Master Gardener meeting he recommended sowing onion seeds in four inch pots filled with moist seed starting mix. Let these grow two to three inches, just large enough for transplanting. I started onions, shallot seeds and leeks this past weekend. I’m growing the Nichols Tri-Color Onion Blend, Ishikura Improved single stalk scallion, Prisma Shallots and Kilima Leek. We’ll have some more varieties growing at the nursery trials but this is for our home garden. These are sown fairly thickly and will be transplanted into garden beds in about three weeks.