I told Brad I feel bad sometimes about our lack of communal meals. Most of the time he fixes what he wants and I fix what I want, simply because he’s just not into the veggie thing as much as I am. He says he doesn’t mind, though, and I believe him. It’s not as if we have anybody else to answer to, after all. We might as well do what makes us both happy…
…which brings me to something that makes me happy: growing my own food, then eating it.
Last year, in our ambitious-as-all-getout garden, I planted some bush beans and some pole beans. The bush beans were prolific, the pole beans, not so much, but the kitty loved to hide in them. The prolific beans were black and white and I can’t remember the name of the variety. I’d have to find my garden journal, which is in the same place I keep everything else: “around here somewhere.” I got both varieties from Seed Savers Exchange, which is a cool organization. Anyway, I say “prolific,” but with the small plot I planted, I still only ended up with about a small soup-pot’s worth of beans to eat, which I promptly dried and stored in an air-tight container.
Well, last weekend I finally cooked those cute little black-and-white beans, and today I finally got around to eating some for lunch. I don’t know if it was the homegrown heirloom bean variety or my rockin’ cooking talent (probably both, I choose to believe), but they were deeeeelishus. All I did was soak them overnight like you usually soak beans (well, OK, more like 36-48 hours because it took me that long to get around to cooking), and then cook them in vegetable broth with some chopped-up onion, carrot, and garlic and a little bit of dried thyme, salt, and pepper. I enjoyed a bowl today with croutons–a small bowl, which is the beauty of foods like beans. The fact that you and those around you will suffer if you go overboard goes a long way in helping with portion control.
Here we go–found ’em! The variety is Calypso. After cooking the color is not so pristine, but this is the original product. Cute, eh?
Anyway, while I’m talking about stuff I made, I should tell you about my latest exploits with kale, which, if I may repeat myself, I cannot believe I had never eaten until the past few months. The latest issue of Real Simple magazine contains a bunch of kale recipes, and so far I’ve tried one of them: Kale and Lentils with Tahini Sauce. Since I didn’t have any lentils, though, I just threw in a can of garbanzos (chickpeas) instead. It was great! The recipe is worth it for the tahini sauce alone, which is totally easy and seems pretty versatile. I can imagine it drizzled on all kinds of veggies, and it might work on chicken as well.
My favorite thing about both dishes–the beans and the greens–is that I now have a few days’ worth of healthy options sitting in my fridge, which are lifesavers when I emerge ravenous from my office this close to running out for some greasy fast food or a burrito the size of one of my dogs.
This past summer we didn’t have a garden at all–not even a couple of tomato plants. Things were hectic, I was feeling discouraged about our home and yard in general, and it just didn’t happen, but now I’m ready to get back into growing food. I’m gathering ideas on what to include, what to forget about, and so far I know I’m going to have tons of greens–lettuce varieties, kale, and collard greens for sure. In fact, I might plant a little lettuce and/or kale this weekend, since they do better in cool weather. Beans I’m not sure about. As yummy as it turned out, it sure took a lot of work for one little pot of soup.
Do you grow your own food? What in your garden has proven most and least worth the effort?