Tuesday, December 11, 2012
It's official: beets are the DIRTIEST thing I have ever grown and then brought into my house to eat. Ever. Their dirtiness only slightly tarnishes my love for them, though. There is nothing better than a handful of previously-roasted-then-chilled beets tossed into, well, anything. I usually put them in my salad. And you can eat the tops, too! This is new to me, actually, since I have never grown beets and only ever bought them at the store where their dirty tops were already lopped off.
So far I've put beet greens (as you can see, these are actually purple rather than green, but some of the tops of my yellow beets are green) in stuffed pumpkin and quiche. Tonight I have some sort of sweet potato scenario planned for the remaining greens in my fridge. And there are plenty more out in the garden. Talk about an easy crop - these were literally a plant-it-and-leave-it experience, which rarely happens for me in the garden. No pests, lots of big shiny leaves... I will definitely be growing beets again.
And, on a quick side note, does anybody know what these are? I planted "Mixed Chinese Greens" in my Cursed Garden Bed, and these are the only things that came up. I harvested them and dumped a bunch of horse manure and compost in the bed, in hopes that I can grow peas there this February. But now I have these pretty green things that I don't know what to do with. Should I cook them or eat them raw? If it looks familiar to you let me know!
Monday, December 10, 2012
This year I grew 8 pumpkins, saved 4 from the gophers, and ended up with 2 to eat after the other two mysteriously went soft and mushy. I have been hoarding my little pumpkins in the pantry trying to decide what to do with them for months. Normally I turn pumpkins into desserts - pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin spice cookies... But this year I can not eat sugar, and I wasn't about to sacrifice my precious gourds for the sugary enjoyment of my family. I decided to make something savory, but what? I assumed they would make their way into some sort of pureed soup, until my sister-in-law told me about this recipe for stuffed pumpkin.
The recipe looks amazing and my sis-in-law said they loved it, but when I read it through there were a few problems. Bread. Cheese. Bacon. Heavy cream. None of which I can eat. Also: "cook for 2 hours." I had one. So I ditched the probably-amazingly-delicious recipe and decided to wing it with what I had lying around. The result: a grain-free, dairy-free, anti-candida-diet friendly stuffed pumpkin recipe that was TO-DIE-FOR and pretty quick to make. I don't often brag about things I throw together last-minute like that, but this was different. My youngest son, who literally begs me to not feed him vegetables every day, CRIED when I told him I wasn't going to share the left-overs with him. Yes, he cried. And no, I was not kidding. I didn't share the left-overs; I ate them all myself. Even if you don't have pumpkins of your own lying around I'm sure you can find some - make sure they are sugar pie pumpkins or a similar small-sized pumpkin. This would probably work well with acorn squash or any other winter squash. Let me know if you end up making it!
SAVORY STUFFED PUMPKINS WITH LAMB
2 small Sugar Pie Pumpkins, about 6-7 inches in diameter
salt & pepper
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/2 large onion, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
2 tsp. Herbs de Provence
1/2 tsp. thyme
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lb. ground lamb
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
2 cups chopped beet greens (or any other greens you have on hand)
2 Tbsp. finely diced fresh parsley
grated parmesan cheese (optional)
1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pop the stem off both pumpkins and cut each in half, top to bottom. Scoop out the guts, saving the seeds (some for next year's garden, the rest to roast). Sprinkle the inside of each pumpkin half lightly with salt and pepper, then place face down on a greased cookie sheet. Put in the oven and bake about 40 minutes, or until the pumpkin flesh is starting to get soft.
2.) Meanwhile, warm olive oil in a large pan on the stovetop. Add onion and celery, cooking till onion becomes translucent. Add bell pepper and continue cooking 5 minutes more. Stir in Herbs de Provence and thyme; cook and stir 30 seconds. Add 2 cloves of garlic and continue to stir, cooking until the garlic becomes fragrant.
3.) Stir in lamb, 1 t. salt and 1/2 t. pepper. Brown the meat, stirring frequently. Stir in the beet greens and cook till they are wilted. Remove stuffing mixture from heat and stir in the parsley.
4.) Remove the pumpkins from the oven and CAREFULLY turn them right-side-up. They will be very hot and probably release steam when you flip them so be careful!!! Fill each half with stuffing mixture, topping with grated cheese if desired. Return to the oven and bake an additional 8-10 minutes, or till cheese is melted and the pumpkin flesh is soft and beginning to caramelize around the edges.
5.) Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
NOTE: This recipe fed my husband, two young children, and myself with the afore-mentioned small amount of coveted left-overs. If you are making this for more than 2 adults you might want to double the recipe!
Another Note: To roast your pumpkin seeds (don't you dare chuck those gems in the garbage can!!!) rinse them well to remove the pumpkin goo, pat dry with a kitchen towel, and spread on a cookie sheet. Spray lightly with olive oil and season with salt, cumin, and granulated garlic. Roast in a 375 degree oven until they start to pop - you'll hear them. Remove from oven and leave on the hot tray until cool. Yum!
Monday, December 3, 2012
Here's another little benefit to growing your own food. He has been steamed and lightly seasoned with olive oil and salt, along with the broccoli he rode inside on. I noticed him in my salad bowl when there were only a few bites left, so odds are I ate a few of his friends. Hm. This probably means I have a caterpillar problem in the broccoli patch. And possibly in my stomach.