Friday, June 21, 2013

Onions and Strawberries

Well, I went out to the garden for onions and found strawberries! Oh how wonderful...they are starting to ripen. Late winter, when blog friend Marguerite was visiting, we both bought some chocolate balsamic vinegar from Liquid Gold in Halifax, Nova Scotia. My first thought was UGH...cannot imagine it. Taste test...divine. We were shocked! The card attached said it would go well with strawberries so we, she and I, bought a small ..very small vial to try. Well tonight's desert made the Captain blink with surprise and then the yum factor kicked in. Think next time a small micro shave of white chocolate would just up the presentation and when I do that, will post a photo * Posted below the 24th:
Strawberries, shaving of white chocolate and chocolate balsamic vinegar
 but easily substituted with chocolate sauce ;-)
So it is full steam ahead here and I bet it is in your garden as well. The greens are so....much. Compliments of Niki who has the Year Round VeggieGardener Blog, I got to try a few new varieties this year, two of which are Thai Oak Leaf and Bronze Arrow. What I liked about both of these..they were a good sub for Romaine (Ceasar salad) at this time of year, not easily bruised, crunchy, very very tasty and beautiful. Ta DAH:

That's green wave mustard to the right of the above photo and good ole Lollo Rossa in the back ground. That red lettuce by the way, is a champion and if you haven't grown it, do try.  Rossa means red in Italian and Lollo is not an Italian word so it is likely a family name. Think Gina Lollobrigida ;-) (Grazie Carla)

The fact that garlic scapes and baby garlic are ready now at the same time these three robust lettuce are in season...seems a perfect pairing. The Apache red Onion adds that bit of mild heat to the salad plate as well. Can you taste it? Dragon breath for sure )))) Love it!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Garden Catch Up

Even with absence and neglect, encouraged by days and days of rain with a few of sunshine here and there, the garden leapt ahead taking care of herself. Weeds have leapt as well, but that's another story ;-) So to tell you about a lovely little lettuce we grew this year, new to me. It's an English heirloom butterhead, uniquely small for single servings (for foodies, this would make a great presentation). Why I bought the seeds...well the packet from Burpees said these would form medium tight central heads, even in hot weather and would ignore the heat when fully mature and resist bolting. So far, this little lettuce has been a star. It isn't just the bright lime greeny color, the taste is perfect, your usual butterhead with a creamy but crisp texture. The seeds were planted out mid March under hoops and plastic row cover, with great germination results.

One precious lettuce makes a single serving but why stop at one when you can fill a basket?
I am sure you will agree, this lettuce looks great in a garden, and so, I hope you give this a try or if you grow another variety that is a star in your garden, would love to hear about it.
Other greens have been shining as well. The Mizuna in the foreground was going to flower on one of my foraging days but it still tastes fine. Sutton Seeds Rubi Pak Choi was also a star this year, and we have finished the lot of it, so have seeded more. Guess it depends on the season whether it will thrive this late  but the package says it will. We might have a cold summer yet! Bulls Blood Beet leaves are also thriving and the Scarlet Kale is doing particularly well.
However, not to let you think neglect is always a good thing. My peas were all stolen; some rotted no doubt. Oh yes, they sprouted, but then, snip. The sprout left to wilt, the pea gone from the ground. Then there were the beans. The only ones to grow well have been Fava's (Windsor/Broad). I tried Garbanzo this year, so hopefully the second planting will survive. The pole beans have not done especially well either, but will write further on those. Have tried red noodle again, and they seem to be hardy so far, but it's earwig time and the slugs, I don't even want to talk about them!!!

But, am grateful for what is growing and we aren't tired of salads yet. Here is a link to take you to the simplest and most lovely dressing ever made especially perfect because of the Maple Syrup. Early greens are seasonal to the tapping of maple trees here in Canada.

Enjoy the crunch. Happy Gardening.