Monday, May 16, 2011

Update: Food & more

I have now harvested Tah Tsai from my garden three times, and every time I go back there's more than there was before the last time I harvested! I've also picked a little bit of baby spinach, and I know there will be more of that soon, because everything is growing like crazy lately.

The Tah Tsai (plus a bit of spinach) I used in a pasta salad on Saturday, and again for lunch today! My lunch today was awesome. It didn't make a pretty picture, so you'll have to settle for a description: I covered the bottom of my medium glass pyrex with tah tsai leaves, spread a few big spoonfulls of Paul's homemade hummus on top of that, spread half of the remaining broccosprouts on top of that, followed by a layer of half a sliced avocado, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, a tiny drizzle of EVOO and red wine vinegar (because the hummus is a few days old and getting a bit dry), and topped with a few more tah tsai leaves to keep my container lid from getting stuck to everything. When I opened it up for lunch, I took a knife to everything to make it easier to eat, which also mixed everything all up and made it look really ugly. But it was SO DELICIOUS. It was rich and filling, and I didn't even add any bread! Granted, it had plenty of fat, but it was all GOOD fat from plants! And protein, and lots of other plant-y goodness from dark green tah tsai leaves and sprouts! I feel really super about that meal, and I'm going to have it again tomorrow with the rest of the sprouts, other half of the avocado, and additionally freshly-harvested tah tsai.

The best part: I picked the tah tsai THIS MORNING while I had Juno out. Talk about fresh! Makes me happy.

It also makes me happy that I have now used my harvest to feed a houseguest, share a dish with a bunch of friends at a party, and feed myself lunch! All by mid-May, before the planting is even finished!

Speaking of planting: Tomorrow evening, Tuesday, we will be making our (probably final) trip to Noggle's to get tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, zucchini, butternut squash, herbs, and maybe one or two other veggies, all of which I will plant on Wednesday (my day off! I love saying that), at which point we will be finished with planting things for the season. Yay! Actually I will sprinkle some more lettuce seeds once the current batch is all harvested, but that hardly counts, since sprinkling them is really all there is to it. Tomatoes will go by the house under the bedroom window, all other veggies will go in the garden, and herbs will go in the window basket we got at Frey's in Lebanon with our Groupon. Then I will be able to harvest the herbs by opening up my dining room window! How awesome is that? And they will be totally safe from rabbits. So this year, my cilantro should survive the seedling stage.

One more progress update: I baked bread! Paul talked me through it, but I did all the work. I've made bread before, but never such a nice simple, basic recipe, and with the right materials, i.e. real bread flour. It makes such a difference. Bringing the dough together only takes a few minutes, and then kneading it by hand for about 10 minutes seems like a lot of work, but really? Spread over two days, the entire actual labor put into it is probably no more than 30-45 minutes. And there is a magical moment as you're kneading the dough when it changes from kind of lumpy to smooth and elastic, and you know it's ready to rise. It is really cool.

Next up in the bread department: add-ins, different flour, and having another go at maintaining a sourdough starter in the fridge.

I'll take some more garden pics tonight or tomorrow, and then again on Wednesday after all the remaining plants are in! Like I said, everything has been growing at really unbelievable rates, and I'll definitely have more tah tsai to harvest for lunch tomorrow, plus maybe even some baby lettuces and mustard greens (both of which probably need to be thinned out). The cabbages are all getting huge, except for one that for some reason is still kind of dinky by comparison, but hopefully that just means that the cabbage harvest will be nice and staggared. I don't know what I'd do with 4 heads all at once! Make a lot of asian slaw and fish tacos, I suppose. That's probably what I'll be doing regardless.

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