Thursday, July 30, 2015

In-Season Recipes: When Gardening and Cooking Become the Same


(Golden beets, Galapagos tomatoes, Fern Tomatoes, Lillie House Landrace carrots, red potatoes, thyme, and basil)

The true beauty of a productive home Permaculture garden is found on the table. The act of "gardening" becomes so casual that it's no more than wandering around the yard finding inspiration. In between picking carrots, you pull a few "weeds" to nibble on and use the rest to mulch a basil plant. You stop to watch a butterfly on the way to the tomatoes and "harvest" some "mulch" (pull weeds) there, too. 


It's the most natural thing in the world to clean up some beautiful vegetables and herbs like these and throw them together in a searing-hot pan with some pumpkin seed oil and a little lemon juice. That's hardly even cooking. With such fresh vegetables, picked just moments before cooking, there's no need for fancy sauces, heavy oils or special preparation. 


But the garden grants meals that you could hardly find at a restaurant, in this case, roasted vegetables, fresh caprese salad and blackberries. All but the lemon, salt and fresh mozzarella picked within an hour of eating. There's no point in even giving a recipe for meals like this... 

Go to the garden. 
Pick the best. 
Process minimally. 
Cook, barely. 

Bon Appetite, a universal recipe fit for the kings of our romantic literature, worthy of Tom Bombadil's table, the last suppers of our most exalted saints, or the campfires of our most ancient ancestors. 

----------------

Like native plants? 

I think they're delicious! 


Recognize these milkweed pods? They're one of the first "wild edibles" that set us on our passionate foraging journey, around a decade ago. When picked under 2" long, the "pre-silk" inside makes an interesting "cheese" substitute. Both the texture and flavor make a very good vegetable. 


The shoots of milkweed make a very good "asparagus" and the flower buds make a nice "broccoli" but the pods--why, they're like Jalapeño poppers. We like to dredge them in a little flour and fry them up in a shallow pool of hot canola or peanut oil, just before it starts smoking. Then we sprinkle them with sea salt and cayenne pepper, and voila, the outside becomes crunchy and the inside like melted cheese: Milkweed Jalapeño poppers!


But on this occasion, we tried them with salt and curry powder instead, and fried them up in coconut oil, and found our Milkweed "curry puffs" especially tasty! 


The trick is to do a small test batch first. Often, the variability of moisture means that some pods will get soggy if only dredged with flour. The best poppers will be perfect with a mere dredging, but if your test poppers are soggy, coat the rest in a light "tempura" batter instead, by mixing the flour with a pinch of baking soda and a bit of light beer (Pilsner is especially nice,) carbonated water or plain water. I like a milky batter that will only just coat the pods, though a thick batter would probably be delicious, too, if a little heavy.

The end result is a "gateway wild food," one of the first we often feed to the "wild-curious." We rarely have any that go to waste.... 








No comments:

Post a Comment