The bed is waning now, I picked less than 3/4 of a pound this afternoon, and there’s not much more coming in. I hope it at least holds out until the new bed is productive. I suppose I can live without asparagus for a year if necessary. Spring peas will have to do.
Archive for the ‘Harvesting’ Category
My last cauliflower – this is a Purple Cape. Pretty, isn’t it? It tastes more like broccoli than cauliflower – but a bit milder. And of course it loses its purple color when cooked. I’ve decided I don’t really like purple vegetables – they turn the water they’re cooked in blue, and if you serve them on a white plate they leave ugly blue stains behind.
Sometimes the purple vegetables turn a muddy color, but this cauliflower turned a pleasant, pale shade of bluish-green.
I’ve found the Purple Sprouting broccoli holds more of its color than other purple vegetables, though the aftermath is still ugly. I’ll put up with it for this vegetable though, because it is very productive and has a sweet, mild taste.
Half of the cauliflower found its way into a creamy cauliflower-potato soup, flavored with sage and mustard. I blanched the cauliflower first though, so it wouldn’t make the soup blue. I don’t know, maybe it would have been interesting.
I dug out the last of the winter leeks this week to make room for peas. Made the confit I’d been wanting to try. Although it came out quite delicious, in truth it didn’t taste much different from the braised leeks I made a couple of weeks before.
It’s very simple to make. I just sliced the leeks fairly thin, and put them in a sauté pan with a generous amount of butter and olive oil. Let them cook on medium heat until they begin to soften, then turn the heat down to low, cover and let cook for about an hour, stirring from time to time. They should be very soft. I added some summer savory (I would have preferred thyme, but I didn’t have any, and I had a lot of dried savory), coriander and white pepper – you can season it any way you like, or not at all.
After they’re meltingly soft, uncover and turn the heat back to medium to evaporate any liquid. Deglaze the pan with some dry white wine (optional) – Riesling would probably be good, but I used a Pinot Grigio because that was what I had on hand – let liquid evaporate. Best served warm or at room temperature.
I really didn’t have any particular use in mind, so I just put it in a jar in the refrigerator. So far it’s been used as a burger topper and on bruschetta. I know it would be good in scrambled eggs, and I’m sure it would be wonderful, although sinfully rich , in a tart with Gruyère cheese.
I finally got around to digging some winter leeks.I should have taken a photo of the uncut leeks to show you. I grew “Lincoln” in the spring, these are “Musselman”, they’re short and squat, but very tender and mild it turns out.
I decided to make a tart – actually a galette, with some left-over dough that had been sitting in my freezer. I picked some overgrown arugula and not-quite mature radicchio while I was at it, to add to the tart.
Since the leeks have been holding in the garden for months, I assumed they would take a while to cook. I was wrong! I braised them in a little bit of butter for maybe 10 minutes, and they were completely softened and mellowed.
In fact too mellow. The tart was a bit disappointing, to tell the truth. Not that it was bad, we ate three-fourths of it for dinner, and finished it off this morning with some eggs.
But the greens overpowered the leeks, rather than balancing their sweetness, despite being tamed by sauteing first. It might have worked had I just briefly sauteed the leeks before putting them on the tart, or if I had left greens out.
I’m thinking of making a potato-leek tortilla or leek frittata next. I also want to try making a confit, but I think it will need more than just leeks and butter to have much taste.
I’m also using up what is in the freezer, so another dish I made this week was sauteed cauliflower with garlic, rosemary and hazelnuts. Not very original, I’m sure, but it was fast, easy and very good.
I just steamed the cauliflower until it was just barely tender, then when dinner was almost ready, I sauteed the garlic and rosemary briefly, then tossed in the vegetables and nuts, and let them brown up a bit.
On another note, not food related but nice, the bluebirds are back. Don’t know if they’ll end up nesting in one of our houses or not. The surprising thing was that this day there were SIX of them, all checking out one house. I’ve never seen more than one pair here! It was very unusual.
My fall broccoli turned out to be a bit of a “late bloomer”. I had given up on seeing any heads, so was actually surprised to see that the plants had finally sprouted. I harvested two of the heads, the others are still pretty small, hopefully they are still growing.
The variety is called “Veronica”. Where I bought the seeds it is listed as a broccoli, other sources call it a cauliflower. I’ve also seen it referred to as a Romanesco type of either, and as broccoflower. Its growth habit is more like a cauliflower, in that it doesn’t really have a stalk.
There was a bit of slug damage, which marred its appearance somewhat, but still, I think it is pretty cool looking. So, the question was – how to cook it to best show it off?
One of the heads I cut up and steamed for use on our pizza. I ended up eating half of it straight from the pot. It was delicious – mild, sweet and tender. I had only steamed it for a few minutes, expecting it to remain somewhat firm, but it was completely cooked through.
I decided to steam the other one whole the next day, and serve it surrounded by rice. I thought about roasting it, but wasn’t sure if it would cook evenly. I think I’ll try it with the next one, though.
Ended up overcooking it again. It seems easy to do with this variety. Maybe because it was still young, maybe it’s the type. It probably would have been fine if I had turned it off at 20 minutes or sooner, but it didn’t feel done when I pierced, so I gave it another 5 minutes or so. So be forewarned if you grow Veronica – watch your cooking time!
I tried a couple of different sauces with it, too, but the flavor was just too mild to hold up against either addition. So I ended up just pouring some melted herb butter over the top, and squeezing on a bit of lemon juice. She really doesn’t need any more than that.