The first gatherings of the garden in May of salads, radishes and herbs made me feel like a mother about her baby – how could anything so beautiful be mine. And this emotion of wonder filled me for each vegetable as it was gathered every year. There is nothing that is comparable to it, as satisfactory or as thrilling, as gathering the vegetables one has grown.
Alice B. Toklas
We are smack in the middle of garden season with oppressive heat and the occasional stray thunder storm. And while I hate the heat and humidity, I tolerate it because my warm season vegetables absolutely love this weather. My latest harvest has slowed as the peas (flower in picture above) are dwindling, the last radishes are harvested and the lettuces are just about done. But the next wave is about to burst with beans (flowering right), more carrots, Hatch chile peppers, eggplant, squash and tomatoes….oh the tomatoes I have been dreaming of.
And while I love to have a big harvest, I also love to find new recipes. My latest book review is a great way to enjoy both. A friend showed me the book a couple of years ago, and I instantly bought it. Like many books, I shelved it until I had time to give it a good perusal. Well thanks to Holley@Roses and Other Gardening Joys and her monthly Garden Book Review meme that takes place on the 20th of every month (I know I am a bit early), I have dusted it off to share with you.
by Jean Ann Van Krevelen
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Cool Springs Press (February 1, 2010)
List Price: $ 19.95
Amazon Price: $14.08 (Paperback)
In a Few Words
This is a most unusual book in that it combines gardening and cooking; a most wonderful combination if I do say so. And it was written by a wonderful group of authors headed by, Jean Ann Van Krevelen. Other authors include: Amanda Thomsen, Robin Ripley, and Teresa O’Connor.
The book is arranged with information first about gardening, then growing and using edibles in recipes and finally the harvest:
* Gardening 101
* Organic disease and pest management
* Purchasing quality produce
* Preserving your harvest
The edible section alone could be one book, maybe even 2. There is so much information crammed into the well laid out edible sections: garden planning, varieties, planting, pests/diseases, harvesting, preparing, preserving and nutritional information. There are dozens of “Did You Know” and other tips throughout these sections. If you didn’t know how to grow and use these edibles, you will after reading this book.
The preserving section gets into tips for freezing, drying, canning and preserving. This section also has a few recipes.
What I Liked
First, I love the way the book is laid out with easy to follow tabs, insets of special charts, lists and tips. The photography in the book is superb. It makes my mouth water to look at the edibles and the food cooked using the recipes.
The next thing I like is that this book will appeal to all levels of gardeners. It is a wonderful resource especially for growing edibles. The book is also fun to read. It has wonderful humor and each author brings their own personality to the book. You can contact the authors through their blogs, Facebook and Twitter so you can stay in touch and see more wonderful growing/cooking information.
But oh the recipes…they are maybe the best part of the book, and they not just the tried and true ones you would typically find. For instance in the Apple section there is a wonderful applesauce recipe, but there is also an Applejack Chicken recipe and a twist on baked apples, Blue Cheese Baked Apples. I want to work myself through each section and try every recipe.
Not So Much
I would love to see another book with additional edibles and different ways to grow them such as containers and grow bags. And of course many more recipes.
The concept of Grocery Gardening is a wonderful idea. After all we grow fruits, veggies and herbs to eat, but we can all use some inspiration with how to use/eat them. And the authors help us realize we can grow different vegetables throughout the season, and plan our meals with what is seasonal. If you decide not to grow all these wonderful foods (and I don’t), you can still learn to find local harvests to use in the recipes while contributing to eating locally.
I hope to be inspired to cook more of these wonderful recipes, to create my own recipes and share them with you.
Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good.
– Alice May Brock
One of my very favorite things to grow are Hatch green chiles found primarily in New Mexico and in New Mexican cooking. If you visit NM, you will find these roasted and used on pizza, burgers, eggs and in many Mexican restaurant recipes. Last year was the first year I grew these, and I am growing about a dozen plants again this year. They are just getting flowers so in about a month I should start harvesting the peppers for roasting (see them pictured in the black grow bag above).
I was introduced, by Girl Sprout NM, to a new weekly meme, Garden To Table Challenge 2012 (GTTC)@Greenish Thumb every Saturday. So as part of joining this new meme, I thought I would share how to roast green chiles. They are easy to grow from seed once started indoors. I only buy my seeds from a NM grower. There are so many seeds in the packet you can’t grow them all, and they germinated the second year I used them (this year) too.
Roasting Green Chiles
I pick them once they are about 8 inches long. We heat up our gas grill, but you can use an oven, open gas flame or other grill.
You put them right on the grill or in the flame or on a cookie sheet in the oven. Keep turning them until they blister and burn.
But I don’t let them get too black or they taste a bit bitter to me. Once they are done roasting, remove them and place them in a plastic baggie. Seal the baggie and let them cool.
Once cooled they will peel easily. Then store in a baggie or container and use or freeze until you want to use. Try them in scrambled eggs, salsa, dips, on burgers and in guacamole. I make a Southwestern chicken soup using these chiles…I’ll share it with you once I start making soup again.
Next up on the blog: Monday will be another Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post. So much blooming in the garden to share.
I will be linking in with Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme. It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Wednesday.
I’ll also be joining Tootsie Time’s Fertilizer Friday.
I hope you will join me for my posts, every other Tuesday, at Beautiful Wildlife Garden. My next post will feature a beautiful, unusual critter with eight legs.
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