Posts tagged ‘arugula’

The daily harvest

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I’ve written before about how something as simple as tending to a row of peas can calm frenzied days, and how flowers from the garden can lighten even the saddest days. My faith in garden therapy continues to grow. It’s been a spring and summer of gardening in five or ten minute stints throughout the day as I navigate the joys and challenges of being a new mommy.

Our little guy has his own chair outside on the deck and many mornings we enjoy our breakfast or lunch outside and I do the watering in between bites, or pick a strawberry or two for us to eat. Once in a while a weed gets pulled, but only in the food growing areas. The rest of them have free reign of the yard, I’m afraid (motherhood is doing wonders for curing my perfectionist tendencies).

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Best of all is going out, usually late afternoon, to harvest something good for dinner. We’ve had a steady crop of greens that I’ve been using in salad and pasta – rainbow chard, spinach, arugula, bok choy and more – since late spring. Cucumbers have been a success as well – from one little plant I’ve harvested at least a dozen full-sized cukes. Tomatoes are also collecting in a basket I keep on the windowsill. I’ve been picking them a bit green to encourage others on the vine to ripen up. The tomatoes I grew this year shot up sky-high, so it is a race to get the fruit before the plants topple over from the weight.

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We have plums, plums, and more plums. I have made six beautiful plum cakes over the past couple of weeks, and I might still make one or two more. The plums are wonderful for eating fresh as well. No one is enjoying them more than our 7-month old. Good luck eating one if he is in arms-length of you: he’ll reach over, grab it away and hoover it down with the most intense passion and focus. All that is left a minute later is a sticky, drippy, gooey mess of plum juice and slobber all over everyone and everything. Motherhood also cures you of caring about whether your house or shirt or arm is clean: I am in love with this kind of mess.

Apples, sadly are a bust this year, for reasons unknown. Last year’s harvest was incredible, so I will have to figure out what we did wrong so the pie-making can recommence next season. Tent caterpillars might be to blame. We found a pile of them nesting in the tree in the late spring, so I wonder if they ate all the blossoms. Last year’s apple sauce is still here, though, and almost as popular as the plums with our little guy.

Fresh herbs – chives, dill, sage, basil, thyme, and oregano – are all thriving in pots and in the garden. The ambitious me wants to dry mint leaves, lemon balm, lavender, and rose petals for tea. We’ll see if that happens this year, but for now I am reminding myself to brew up a pot of what’s growing fresh in the garden.

There will be time enough for tea bags all winter, and for weeding maybe some day. For now I will enjoy my five minutes here and there in the garden by picking something good to eat.

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August 7, 2015 at 11:18 am Leave a comment

Arugula pesto pasta

springtime pasta

I made this for lunch last Friday. A day off from work thanks to the holiday weekend – there is nothing better than making a proper lunch at home. This dish was easy, as well, since I already had the pesto on hand, so it was just a matter of boiling the spaghetti and stirring things together.

It’s a perfect time of year for arugula and spinach – either for growing or for buying at the market. Both are so much better in their “real” state – a different food altogether from the plastic-packaged variety that we eat during the winter.

Thanks to Laurie for her delicious arugula pesto recipe, which you can find in the comments on this post.

Arugula pesto pasta
Serves 2-3 people
1/2 pound spaghetti (use brown rice pasta for gluten-free)
Save 1 cup of the pasta water when you are draining it
1/2 cup arugula pesto (see above link for recipe)
3-4 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
Fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts
Truffle oil and parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until just about al dente. Drain, but save about 1 cup of the pasta water to use in the sauce. Toss pesto, spinach and chili flakes with pasta and gradually add in reserved pasta water a small amount at a time as the spinach cooks down until the sauce is a good texture. Top with pine nuts and freshly ground pepper, and add truffle oil and/or parmesan as a garnish if you wish.

April 21, 2014 at 7:21 pm Leave a comment

Winter gardening

arugula seedlingsNew year, new plants! A batch of seedlings sprouted on my windowsill last week and with that I am on my way to my 2013 goal of growing more of my own food.

Arugula and Asian greens like pac choi and mizuna  stand up to slugs better than most of the leafy greens I’ve tried growing in the past. I am trying kale again as I’d love to be able to grow my own since I eat it almost every day. I’ve never had much luck with kale as the garden critters like it as much as I do, but here’s hoping the new year will bring fresh success.

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January 23, 2013 at 8:25 pm 2 comments

Mmm…fake bacon (and how I came to be a vegetarian)

Is fake bacon sufficiently inspiring as a blog topic? I don’t know, except to say look at this beautiful veggie BLT. Actually it’s a FBLAATC sandwich – fake bacon, lettuce, arugula (still growing in my garden even in January), avocado, tomato and cheese sandwich. Not quite as catchy as BLT, but every bit as good if not better.

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January 15, 2012 at 10:42 pm Leave a comment

First food: Arugula

Way back in January I showed you the first flower blooming in my little garden: a humble snowdrop. Now, several months later, we are finally enjoying the first food from the patio garden. Arugula is thriving in this wooden wine crate. I am a more complete person when I can walk outside to my own garden and gather a small plate of greens to eat. Really. It makes that much difference.

But why? Taste, yes, of course. And I am infinitely satisfied when seeds I plant start growing from the ground, especially if they become food. Healthy, leafy greens, organically grown zero-miles away, and available when I want them in whatever quantity I need, whether a few leaves for a sandwich or a bowlful for a salad. The ease and simplicity is such a relief compared to the steep challenge of so many other aspects of my life.

Other edibles are coming along nicely as well. Baby salad greens and spinach are ready to pick along with chives, mint, oregano and thyme. Peas and swiss chard are showing progress and I’ve finally moved my tomato plants outside, which put an end to the jungle-like grow operation inside our house. It’s so nice to be foraging and cultivating food outdoors again.

May 25, 2011 at 10:57 pm 2 comments

Growing salad greens

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Lettuce, spinach and other salad greens are probably the most satisfying vegetables to grow in the garden. I planted seeds for butter lettuce, an heirloom red leaf variety, spinach and beet greens, and after about a month of growing time they’re ready to eat. And they all taste so good! I’m especially fond of the earthy, tangy flavour of tiny beet greens mixed into a salad with the lettuce and spinach. All the blogs / magazine articles recommend seeding salad greens every few weeks to ensure a continuous supply of fresh, young leaves to harvest all summer long. I plan to seed some shady areas near our house with these varieties as the deck is far too hot for greens during the summertime.

After being spoiled from the pleasure of eating fresh lettuce from our garden last spring and summer, I avoided lettuce all winter long. As a vegetarian I don’t usually have the problem of fresh veggies going to waste, but lettuce bought from the store is an exception and quickly makes its way to compost-bin heaven after becoming a forgotten mushy mess in the fridge. But now we have lettuce growing in the planter boxes on our deck again! I love being able to wander out to the yard at dinner time and gather a few leaves of everything into a bowl for salad and know that it tastes 100 times better than store-bought lettuce, with none wasted by my carelessness and strange aversion to making salad from lettuce that comes out of a fridge.

I’ve been eating fresh greens almost every night – as salad, in wraps, on (portabello) burgers and sandwiches. This weekend I’ll buy some arugula seeds so we can add that to the mix – I’ve been dreaming of the way it tastes heaped on top of a thin crust pizza, especially one made with gorgonzola cheese. Yum!

June 9, 2009 at 9:15 pm 2 comments


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