Wednesday, 30 May 2018

White Bean & Asparagus Salad

I thought this was going to be a fancier salad, but as I was making it I kept thinking, "But it doesn't really need that", and I left it out, and lo, it didn't really need it.  Simple is good especially when it is the freshest and best-tasting simple things.

I used some nice big fat Deseronto Potato beans for this but any large white bean will do. You will need about 2/3 cup dry beans to cook up to about 2 cups cooked beans, or I promise not to tell on you if you use a tin. Go easy with the salt if you do, though.

2 to 4 servings
20 minutes prep time, not including cooking the beans

Make the Dressing:
1/4 cup finely minced fresh chives
1/4 cup olive or sunflower oil
the juice of 1/2 large lemon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Wash, trim and finely mince the fresh chives.

Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl, or shake together in a jam jar. Set aside.

Make the Salad:
500 grams (1 pound) asparagus
2 to 3 cups torn lettuce, spinach, OR mixed salad greens
2 cups cooked large white beans

Wash and trim the asparagus, and cut it into bite-sized pieces. Put a pot of water on to boil. Add the asparagus and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until done to your liking. Drain and rinse in cold water  until cool.

Wash and tear up or chop the lettuce, spinach, or mixed greens. Arrange them in your salad bowl. Toss the beans and asparagus with the dressing, and spread them over the greens.

Last year at this time I made Sorrel, Chive, & Mustard Salad Dressing

Monday, 28 May 2018

Haskap - Rhubarb Nectar

Haskaps aren't quite ripe yet - I made this last year. Given that they have about a two-week season though, you should be ready for them when they are ready. 

Given the proportion of rhubarb to haskap that I used, I expected this to taste much more rhubarby. It's there in the background but that mysterious unidentifiable haskap flavour predominates. Quite delicious, in fact.

I like this best mixed with club soda and drunk cold, but I mixed some with some hot tea and that was surprisingly good.

This was made with drinks in mind; it's a little thin for pouring over ice cream, yogurt, etc. but if you don't mind it being thin that would certainly be tasty.

6 x 250 ml
30 minutes initial prep
overnight to strain
about 2 hours to can

Haskap - Rhubarb Nectar with Club Soda

8 cups diced rhubarb stems
2 to 3 cups haskap berries
4 cups water
1 cup sugar

Wash and trim the rhubarb, and cut it into dice. Wash and pick over the haskap berries. Put both into a pot with the water, and bring to a boil. Simmer steadily for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Put the mixture in a jelly bag or clean old pillowcase (now in use solely as a jelly bag) and suspend it over a pot - it can sit in a strainer as long as the strainer will not touch the liquid in the pot. Strain overnight. You can squeeze the bag to get as much liquid out as possible.

Put the jars to be filled into a canner and cover with water to an inch above their tops. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. As the water approaches the boil, put the fruit liquid into a kettle and add the sugar. Bring it up to a boil and boil for about 5 minutes. You should also have the lids and rims in a pan of water, and boil them for 1 minute.

Remove the jars to a clean board, tipping half the water in them back into the canner of boiling water. Fill the jars with the hot syrup. Wipe the rims carefully with a piece of paper towel dipped in the boiling water, then put the rims and lids on and finger tighten. Place the jars back in the canner and boil for 10 minutes.

Either let the jars cool in the canner, or remove them 5 or 10 minutes after being removed from the heat and let them cool on the clean board. Check the seals. Store in a cool, dark spot. Keep refrigerated once open.

To use, mix with cold or boiling water, club soda, or tea in the proportion of 1/3 to 1/2 syrup to other liquid. Should keep, unopened and properly stored, for 1 year.

Last year at this time I made Rhubarb-Almond Crisp.

Friday, 25 May 2018

Crustless Fiddlehead or Asparagus Quiche

I had a more traditional quiche in mind, but when push came to shove there were yogurt, sour cream, and cream cheese in the fridge all clamoring to be used up.  It didn't seem right to go out and buy more dairy products. Actually, the light  tartness of the yogurt, sour cream, and cream cheese went really well with the vegetables, which are delicate spring greens after all. I used a mixture of fiddleheads and asparagus, but it could be all one or the other. I'd throw in a good handful of finely chopped spinach if I had it too.

4 to 6 servings
1 hour 20 minutes - 20 minutes prep time - plus cooling time

Crustless Fiddlehead or Asparagus Quiche

2 cups fiddleheads OR chopped asparagus OR combo
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions OR shallot greens
1 cup yogurt
1/2 cup sour cream
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon rubbed basil, savory OR thyme
250 grams (1/2 pound) cream cheese
1 teaspoon butter

If using fiddleheads, wash them well and trim off any brown bits (the stem ends will need trimming). Put a pot of water on to boil; drop them in and boil for 4 or 5 minutes. Rinse in cold water and drain well.

If using asparagus, wash and trim, then cut into half-inch pieces. Boil them as above but for only 2 minutes. If you are using a mixture of the two, drop them in when the fiddleheads have 2 minutes to go. Rinse to cool and drain well.

Preheat the oven to 375°F

Wash, trim, and finely chop the green onions or shallot greens. 

In a mixing bowl, mix the yogurt, sour cream, and green onions. Beat in the eggs. Mix in the salt, pepper, and other seasoning. Crumble or glop in by spoonfuls (depending on the texture) the cream cheese, and mix it in but leave it fairly lumpy.

Use the butter to grease a 10" pie plate. Put most to all of the prepared vegetables in and spread them about - any you don't put in are for use in garnishing the top of the quiche. Pour the yogurt mixture over the vegetables and stir very gently to mix. Arrange the reserved vegetables over the top, pressing them gently down to be level with the surface.

Bake at 375°F for 1 hour. Let cool some before serving; it can be served warm or at room temperature. If made in advance, take it from the fridge 20 minutes before eating to take the chill off.

Last year at this time I made Asparagus with Onions & Mushrooms.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Spinach & Apple Salad with Balsamic Dressing

You want the very best spinach for a salad this sweet and simple. Other than washing that spinach, this goes together very quickly. This is a side salad, not a meal salad, and I think it would go with just about anything. Apples are the last of the season; look for Red Prince or other long storage apples. I think mine were Empires, that have been sitting in the produce drawer for 2 months. Still just fine!

This is the last of the spinach from our garden. The price of getting it early is that it is finished early.  I was amused - and exasperated - to find a tiny rabbit nest in it as I pulled it out. It wasn't clear to me if the rabbits had raised their babies and moved on, or if they had started the nest and abandoned it when it became clear that this was a busier neighbourhood than they had supposed. It didn't seem all that used to me, so that might have been it. On the other hand we have a wild turkey sitting on a nest with 14 eggs just on the other side of our deer fence. She's been strutting around the yard like she owns it which she just might. Not sure how hard on a garden wild turkeys can be but I guess we are about to find out.

4 servings
30 minutes prep time

Spinach & Apple Salad with Balsamic Dressing

Make the Dressing:
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon apple butter
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoon walnut, hazelnut, or other nut oil

Whisk it all together in a small bowl or jam jar. Transfer to a serving container.

Make the Salad:
4 cups washed and picked-over fresh spinach
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, hazelnuts, or other nuts or seeds
2 medium apples

Wash and pick over the spinach, and wash it again. Drain well. Chop or tear it lightly if some of the leaves are too large. Arrange it in a salad bowl, and sprinkle the cranberries and nuts over it.

Wash, core, and chop the apples and scatter them over the spinach. Pass the salad with the dressing to be drizzled over it as it is served.

Last year at this time I made Spring Cilantro Soup, which confirms my thought that things are on the late side this year, because it is barely up at this point. Not surprising, given what April was like! 

Monday, 21 May 2018

Mint & Barley Soup

Apart from cooking the barley - which is a 5 minute chore to set up the evening before, providing you use a rice cooker - this is a quick and easy soup to make. The barley and carrots give it just enough substance, the green onions and mint give it a lively flavour of spring greens. Yogurt and lemon juice give it a bit of zing.

This will serve 2 as a meal, or 4 if it is used as a starter. Use the 3 cups of stock for 2 large servings, or 4 cups stock if you are serving 4 portions.

2 to 4 servings
30 minutes prep - not including cooking the barley

Mint & Barley Soup

Cook the Barley:
1/2 cup raw pot barley
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt

Put it all in your rice cooker; turn on; cook.

Or, put it all in a medium-sized pot on the stove. Bring to a boil then reduce to low, keep covered, and cook until tender, about 45 minutes. Check it regularly.

This can be done a day in advance.

Make the Soup:
1 medium-large carrot
4 green onions
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 to 4 cups unsalted chicken or vegetable stock
the juice of 1/4 lemon
1/2 cup thick yogurt

Peel and grate the carrot. Wash, trim, and finely chop the green onions. Strip the mint leaves from any tough stems, discarding the tough stems and any damaged leaves. Wash the leaves, drain well, and chop them finely.

Heat the butter in a heavy-bottomed soup pot. When it is foamy, add the carrots and stir well. Cook for about 5 minutes,  until they lighten in colour, stirring regularly. Crumble the cooked barley with a wet hand to be sure it is not clumped together. Add the barley, the chopped green onions, flour, salt, and pepper to the pot. Add about two-thirds of the chopped mint. Mix well and cook for another couple of minutes.

Stir in the stock, a cup at a time. Let the soup simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring regularly.

Mix in the lemon juice. Mix in the yogurt and the remaining mint. Bring the soup back up to steaming hot but do not let it simmer or boil. Serve at once. 

Last year at this time I made Salmon or Trout & Spinach Pie.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Stir-Fried Lamb with Asparagus

Asparagus! Asparagus! It's spring, it's spring!

Asparagus and lamb are a delicious combination; I don't know why I haven't done it more often. I couldn't quite decide if this was Chinese inspired or Mediterranean inspired so I guess it's a bit of both. It works well anyway. I served it with rice, but cous-cous would be a good choice too. 

4 servings
30 minutes prep time, plus time to marinate

Stir-Fried Lamb with Asparagus

2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
4 cloves of garlic
3 pods green cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
12 black peppercorns
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
500 grams (1 pound) boneless stewing lamb
2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
4 to 6 green onions or shallot greens
700 grams (1 1/2 pounds) asparagus

Peel and finely grate the ginger. Peel and finely mince the garlic. Put them in a bowl large enough to hold the meat.

Crush the green cardamom pods and remove the papery husks. Grind the remaining seeds with the cumin and pepper. Add the spices to the ginger and garlic. Mix in the soy sauce and vinegar.

Trim the meat of excess fat - if there is much, you should be a bit generous with the quantity of meat - and use a large sharp knife or cleaver to chop it fairly finely. Mix it into the marinade, cover, and refrigerate until about 15 minutes before you are ready to cook. The meat can marinate from 30 minutes to overnight.

Wash, trim, and finely chop the green onions. Set them aside by themselves. Wash, trim, and cut the asparagus into inch-long pieces. Put a pot of water on to boil to blanch them.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat, with the marinade, and cook, stirring regularly, until the marinade is absorbed and the meat is dry and showing some signs of browning. This should be about 7 to 10 minutes.

Just as the meat becomes dry, add the prepared asparagus to the pot of boiling water. Boil them for 2 minutes, then lift them out, draining well, and add them to the meat. Add the chopped green onions. Continue cooking, stirring and turning nearly constantly, until the asparagus is tender and showing some browned spots; about another 3 minutes or so.

Last year at this time I made Oatty Apple or Jam Turnovers.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Fiddlehead & Potato Salad

I think I have missed the wild leek season. I went into our back forest to check on our transplants, and they are doing well but not expanding. Give them another couple of decades, I guess.

We don't have any fiddleheads growing in our woods but I did find some in a local shop. They make a good addition to a potato salad.

4 to 6 servings
30 minutes prep time

Fiddlehead & Potato Salad

Make the Dressing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise (light is fine)
1/3 cup thick yogurt OR sour cream
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar OR dill pickle brine
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup finely chopped chives
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Start the potatoes just before you start the dressing.

Mix the mayonnaise, yogurt, vinegar or brine in a mixing bowl. Wash and pick over the chives, and chop them finely. Add them, with salt and pepper to taste. Stir well. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to add the salad. 

Make the Salad:
750 grams (1 1/2 pounds) potatoes
1 large carrot
1 1/2 cups fiddleheads
1/2 cup diced peeled celeriac OR 1 stalk celery

Wash and trim or peel the potatoes. Cut them into small bite-sized chunks. Wash and peel the carrots, and cut them just slightly smaller. Put both in a pot with water to cover, and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 to 15 minutes until the potatoes are just tender. Drain, and rinse under cold water until cooled. Drain again well.

Wash the fiddlehead by rubbing them gently between your hands in cold water then rinsing them well. Trim off any browned spot. Bring a pot of water to a boil and drop them in. Boil for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a small kettle of water to a boil. Drain the fiddleheads then return them to the heat and immediately pour over enough boiling water from the kettle to cover them. Boil another 4 to 5 minutes until tender. Rinse in cold water to cool and drain well.

Wash, trim, and chop the celery fairly finely.

Mix the potatoes and carrots, most of the fiddleheads - reserve a few for garnish - and the celery into the bowl of dressing and toss well. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the extra fiddleheads.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Sorrel & Goat Cheese Soufflé

Not too much happening in the garden yet, but I was able to scrounge a little sorrel and a big bunch of green shallots. I've been getting excellent local eggs from a farm down the highway a bit, and I got some goat cheese on sale. So, here we are.

We do have a certain amount of asparagus coming up, but so far it's all in the "new" bed, which we will not pick until next spring. No signs of life yet in the "old" bed even though it is much more established. We knew the new site was better, but it's amazing to see it in action.

4 servings
1 hour - 20 minutes prep time

Sorrel & Goat Cheese Soufflé

4 cups finely shredded raw sorrel leaves
1 cup finely chopped green onions or shallot greens
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons soft unbleached flour
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2/3 cup light cream or whole milk
150 grams soft goat cheese
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
3 extra large eggs

Wash and pick over the sorrel, and shred it finely. Wash and trim the green onions, and chop them finely. Drain them both well.

Heat the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the sorrel and green onions, and cook, stirring regularly, for 3 or 4 minutes, until well wilted. Add the flour, salt, and pepper. Continue cooking and stirring until the flour is cooked, another couple of minutes. Slowly stir in the cream or milk to form a smooth sauce. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes. Mix in the goat cheese and Parmesan.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly butter an 8" x 8" baking pan, or similar.

Separate the eggs, putting the whites into a mixing bowl and the yolks into the sorrel sauce. Mix in well. Beat the eggs until stiff then fold them into the sorrel sauce gently. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until firm, puffed, and lightly browned on top. Serve at once.

Last year at this time I made Potato, Onion, & Cheese Casserole

Friday, 11 May 2018

Turnips with Bacon & Onion

I've done a fancier version of this before; Rutabaga with Bacon, Mushrooms & Onions, but it bears repeating, and turnips are bit different from their cousins the rutabagas. For one thing they cook much more quickly.

I was delighted to find some Ontario turnips at the grocery store last week, but then I got them home and realized neither of us are really crazy about turnips. However with bacon and onion they are very enjoyable and they were quickly dispatched.

Still waiting anxiously for some more greener things to appear! 

2 to 4 servings
40 minutes - 30 minutes prep time

Turnips with Bacon & Onion

350 to 400 grams (3/4 pound; 2 medium-large) white turnips
1 medium yellow onion
OR 1 bunch green onions
4 to 6 slices of bacon
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Peel the turnips and cut them into largish dice. Put them in a pot with water to cover and bring them to a boil; boil for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel and chop the onion. Cut the bacon into squares.

When the turnips have cooked for 10 minutes, set the timer to cook them for another 10 minutes. Put the bacon into a large skillet and cook until half crisp. If it is particularly fatty, drain off any excess fat, but you should have enough to coat the bottom of the pan nicely. Add the onions and cook until softened and translucent to lightly browned. Stir regularly. If you are lucky enough to have green onions, add them later, with the turnips.

When the turnips are cooked, drain them and mash them coarsely. Add them to the bacon and onions and mix them in well. Season with salt and pepper, as always taking into consideration the nature of your bacon. Continue cooking for another 5 or 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until everything is well amalgamated and lightly browned. Serve at once.

Last year at this time I made Asparagus in the Style of Peas.  No asparagus yet this year!

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Spinach & Mushroom Soup

I can't believe I haven't made Spinach & Mushroom Soup before! So delicious!

Still, while this is easy enough, it can't be said to be quick. Picky vegetable prep is picky, and slow.  Any time you use fresh spinach that is inevitable. I have to say this is worth the effort though. If you wanted to use good frozen spinach it should work quite well although I always find commercially frozen spinach hasn't been picked over carefully enough.

I poured the leftovers onto noodles, with a little grated cheese. Also really good, if not the neatest dish to eat.

6 servings
45 minutes prep time, not including the spinach
which will likely require 30 minutes all by itself

Spinach & Mushroom Soup

Prepare the Spinach:
2 litres (quarts) fresh spinach leaves, loosely packed

Wash and pick over the spinach, removing and discarding any large, tough stems and yellowing leaves.

Put a large pot of water on to boil. Drop in the spinach, one-quarter at a time, and blanch for 1 minute. Remove it to a basin of cold water and let cool. When it is all done, take it by handfuls and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

You should end up with about 300 grams (10 ounces) of cooked spinach.

Make the Soup:
6 medium shallots OR 1 bunch green onions
500 grams (1 pound) mixed mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon rubbed mint
1/2 teaspoon ground rosemary
6 tablespoons soft unbleached flour
1/4 cup unsalted butter
4 cups unsalted chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups whole or 2% milk
sour cream to serve, OPTIONAL

Peel and mince the shallots, or wash, trim, and chop the green onions.

Clean and slice the mushrooms. Ideally, use a mixture of types - button, shiitake, and oyster will be easiest to get. Don't forget shiitake stems are too tough to eat, so leave them out. I used some dried puffball, which makes giving quantities a bit hard, but I would say you should have about 3 cups of prepared mushrooms over all.

Mix the salt, pepper, mint, rosemary, and flour in a small bowl.

Heat the butter in a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, and cook for a few minutes, until starting to soften and reduce in volume. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until softened and slightly browned. If using green onions, start with the mushrooms and add the green onions when they have cooked for a few minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium. Sprinkle the seasoned flour over the mushrooms, etc, and mix it in well. Cook for another minute or two, then begin mixing in the stock a little at a time until it is all in and the mixture is smooth.

Shred the spinach very finely and mix it in. Let the soup simmer for 10 minutes or so, stirring frequently, until it thickens slightly. Stir in the milk and bring it back up to steaming hot. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.

Last year at this time I made Poached Chicken Breast in Fines Herbes Sauce.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Cucumbers with Chervil

Oh, here's a difficult recipe. Actually, given that you probably have to grow chervil yourself in order to have it, it's more difficult than it looks at first glance. But if you can get that part down, the rest of it is a doddle.

Cucumbers and chervil go together most amazingly well. This is an extremely refreshing little spring salad - it's worth growing chervil just for this (although there are lots of other things to do with it too!)

And hurray - I think this is the first really spring-like dish of the year. The cucumbers will come out of a greenhouse, but the chervil is from the garden.

4 servings
10 minutes prep time

2 cups sliced small cucumbers (4 to 8)
1/4 cup finely minced fresh chervil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

The little middle-eastern greenhouse cucumbers are ideal for this. Wash and slice them thinly - you could peel them, but they're such delicate little things it hardly seems necessary - and put them in a bowl. Wash, dry, and chop the chervil and add it.

Sprinkle the sugar and salt over the cucumbers and chervil. Drizzle over the vinegar, and mix gently.

Last year at this time I made Spinach with Chervil.

Friday, 4 May 2018

The Garden Season Has Begun

This has been a very late spring (18" of ice pellets in the middle of April; what the hell), but at long last winter is gone and things are moving. Our haskap shrubs are putting out leaf and flower buds, and fruit should be on schedule at the end of May.

The garden generally is still looking pretty sparse. Mr. Ferdzy is taking down the wood that sheltered the spinach over the winter. All the beds look very clean but in fact as I look around I can see the weeds starting to sprout between the warmer weather and the rain we have been having.

You can also just see the cauliflower planted in the bed in front of the spinach. We grew them very early, in their own pots rather than in cells and we have the best looking cauliflower starts we have ever had. We are hoping to coax them to bolt and produce seeds, but this is very much an experiment and more than a bit of a gamble. There are about 9 different types of cauliflower in there so we shall see.

I tried planting Purple Sprouting broccoli and Purple Peacock broccoli-kale in mid August at one end of the spinach bed, hoping for very early spring broccoli. I got exactly one plant performing as hoped. There are a bunch of others but they still look like mere seedlings. I hope they will suddenly spring up and produce but it seems unlikely. I blame the very cool weather of last August and September for this, but who knows.

The spinach and broccoli were not the only things being sheltered under the plastic over winter. The weeds are flourishing and as soon as the wood is taken down I will have to weed.

In spite of the lingering cold, we have three beds of peas planted. A couple of hot days got the ground thawed down deep enough to work it. They still went in 2 weeks later than we had been hoping, but at least they are in. We are planning to follow them with spinach (and maybe broccoli again; I keep trying) and not with dry beans as we did for a good few years (and will no doubt do again, as soon as we eat some more beans) so I am fairly philosophical about it.

Garlic is UP, including the Tibetan at the end of the bed. It is always the latest to come up by a significant period. The other 3 types are pretty much in sync.

There is nothing much in this bed besides some shallots. Hard to see, but there are 4 clumps in there. These are all grown from seed as part of my shallot breeding projects, and were rejects as they did not die down into neat bulbs to store over the winter. However, the one in particular has been so very, very good at splitting into multiple bulbs, AND it turns out that having shallot greens by early May is highly desirable, so now I have 2 shallot projects in mind - one for the ones that die down nicely in the late summer and can be stored, and a strain left to overwinter for spring greens. You always have to keep an open mind when breeding plants. Shallot greens are really delicious too; they taste more like wild leeks (ramps) than like green onions.

Inside is still where most of the action is. Tomatoes and peppers are doing well. Half the eggplants are doing well, but half are missing as the seed did not germinate. Too old, I guess. Leeks, onions, and shallots germinated very poorly; we don't know why although we used some seed starting mix from last year which it turns out the mice had gotten into. It was far from sterile, and turned out to be full of peas and squash seeds, both of which germinated beautifully; much better than the things we planted. However we have enough to totter on.

We needed some more plant lights. Our newest batch are LED and they give the plants a strange magenta glow. That's the celery tray shown in the photo, and the celery is flourishing - much better than it is most years. Who knows the ins and outs; we do the same things every year and yet things vary noticeably in how they do.

In spite of the strange colour, the LED lights seem to work very well. We still drag things outside every nice day as nothing works like real sunlight, and we are looking forward to getting everything into the ground so we can stop mucking about with the trays of plants. They are very time consuming, between the going in and out and the amount of water they get to require as the plants get larger. One way or another, the upcoming month is the busiest of the garden year and we will be working steadily.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Parsnip Hash Browns

Not sure this quite constitutes a recipe, but it is what is happening around here at the moment. A few days ago we dug up a bushel of parsnips to make way for peas.

Parsnips are available all winter for purchase and well into the spring, but it turns out that now we are growing them we mostly eat them in the spring. It is very nice to be able to go out and dig something new to eat as soon as the ground is sufficiently thawed. 

I was hoping these would form into nice little patties like proper potato hash browns and it isn't impossible, but they aren't really into it and so I just left them in a loose pile. Just as good!

I served these with eggs, and that was okay, but eggs are a little delicate in flavour next to the parsnips. I have to admit that what I really see these going with is pork; bacon, peameal, sausage, chops; whatever. Maybe next time. There is still three-quarters of a bushel to go.

2 servings
30 minutes prep time

Parsnip Hash Browns

500 grams (1 pound) parsnips
2 tablespoons bacon fat OR vegetable oil
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Peel and grate the parsnips coarsely.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat until melted and sizzling in a medium-sized skillet. Add the grated parsnips, stir well to toss the parsnips in the fat, and reduce the heat at once to medium-low. Dot the remaining bacon fat over the parsnips, and mix in. Season with the salt and pepper. Do be mindful of how salty your bacon fat may be.

Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The parsnips should brown fairly evenly, and not too quickly. If they are browning too quickly, reduce the heat. If they are scorching, you may need to add a little more bacon fat.

When the parsnips are done to your liking, serve them up. Don't be dismayed by what a big pile of parsnips first go into the pan - they reduce considerably in cooking.