Thursday, May 15, 2008

How does your garden grow?

Dear reader, I know this post is late as we were with our veggie planting (our bad). But, better late than never!

Mary , Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

Ah...the rituals of spring; warmer days, birds nesting, trees awakening, and playing in the dirt again! Our family (mostly my husband) has been working diligently on our vegetable garden for the past few weekends. It's hard work, but so very rewarding. If you haven't tended a garden before, you have no idea what you're missing; you're in for a wonderful treat. I guarantee, it's labor intensive, but it's all good!

So why do we tend a vegetable garden? For starters, it subsidizes or grocery bill, reduces our family's intake of pesticides when we eat what we grow, teaches our children the wonders and benefits of eating local and organic produce, provides a way for us to share our organic bounty (I hope) at the local Farmer's Market, encourages biodiversity while reducing our impact towards global warming into our already choked environment....I can feel a turn of the tide. For me, one of the best parts of tending a vegetable garden is communication! Yes, it's wonderful to communicate with other gardeners about the trials and errors of gardening. Our top advisor happens to be my mother-in-law who resides in Atlanta (she's got a fantastic green thumb) and shares a wealth of information with us here in Austin. We exchange photos, plans, ideas, planting tips, what's for dinner? I wish she was here, but the telephone is just as good for now.

And how does our garden grow? Certainly not silver bells or cockleshells or pretty maids all in a row! We started with different varieties of tomatoes, squash, and peppers, cucumber, edamame beans, cantaloupe, watermelon, kale, salad greens ( we had some in a salad yesterday evening...yum!) I can't forget you, precious herbs... basil, mint, thyme, oregano, rosemary, dill, cilantro, heavens; we have a plethora of edible, tasty greens. Actually, we've already been enjoying our vast varieties of basil; sweet, thai, and purple leaf mainly in pesto. We languish for spring to have fresh basil readily available especially for spread on tomatoes or polenta pizza, tossed in squash pasta, mixed in dips and salad dressings...mmm! Meanwhile, we wait patiently for those tomatoes (they are still green), squash (loads of blossoms), peppers (some green; some blossoms), and of course, all the other veggies that have started to poke their leafy heads from under the earth to embrace the warmth of the sun. Ah, spring has sprung and so has our vegetable garden.

I'd like to share our family's favorite pesto recipe; it's versatile and delicious! We haven't come up with a cute, catchy name for it, but I promise that it's delicious...did I mention that already?

The Vegan Kitchen's Perfect Pesto
Adapted from "Vegan With a Vengeance"
Yields about 1 1/2 cups

1/4 cup pine nuts
3 cups packed basil leaves
3-4 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 tsp coarse salt (I use Celtic salt)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tsp fresh lemon juice (trust me on this!)

Start by toasting the pine nuts in a small pan on the burner for about 5 minutes until fragrant. Watch them carefully as they can get brown and burn quickly.
Place the basil, toasted pine nuts, garlic, and salt into a food processor and process the mixture while adding the olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Add the nutritional yeast and lemon juice and process until you have a somewhat thick mixture.

Note: This pesto is not like your average oily pesto that is more of a puree. It can be quite addictive, and I think it's absolutely wonderful!

I'd like for you to share your favorite pesto or basil recipe. I think it's grand to try new recipes even if you tweak them a bit. That's the creative adventure of cooking; at least for my older son who loves to experiment in the kitchen. I think he'll be tickled pink. But, please be considerate; after all, this is a vegan blog. One more thing, now that spring is in the air, we'd love to does your garden grow?

1 comment:

I Am Gluten Free said...

This is one of my favorite pesto recipes, not to mention all the other recipes in VWAV. Love that cookbook!!!