Sunday, May 15, 2011

First Salad from our Garden

A few weeks ago we harvested our first salad from our garden. With the warmer weather our lettuce actually did better. Since lettuce is a cold weather crop, I didn't think it'd like the 80 degree days, but it was better than days in the 60s. Since the first salad we've harvested another salad, including spinach, radishes and green onions. We have a tough, clay soil. So I think the radishes didn't grow big because the soil was dense, or maybe since our trees have leafed out it's too shady for them.

It's incredibly satisfying to pull food from the garden and enjoy it right away. My dastardly cat Buster discovered that he loves green onions, possibly more than we do. As I was carefully weighing the harvest (to keep track of yields) Buster jumped on the counter and absconded with a green onion. Since green onion leaves are like strings, he was just as excited to bat at the onion as I pulled it away as he was to chew the end. Who thought a cat would like onion?

At any rate, we did get some good radishes harvested and more are one the way. Andy ordered a mortar and pestle online and it's been in frequent use since it arrived. This delicious radish butter was his first creation and used both the leaves and the bulbs of the radishes. The leaves are a bit prickly, so they do well with a bit of smashing.

If you're looking to try some radish butter yourself. All that is involved is a bit of soften butter (1-2 tablespoons), a couple of radishes (with their leaves), and some salt. Cut up the radishes and mash with the salt, once it's a bit creamy add some leaves. Gradually add leaves until they're all used up and everything is creamy. Add the butter, mash and mix thoroughly. Enjoy on toast, eggs, pasta or ice cream! (Just kidding on the ice cream bit) Since this isn't really a recipe as a jumping off point for improvisation, you can really adjust this butter to how you want. If you're not interested in using radish leaves, you could use fresh thyme, basil or parsley. Instead of butter this could be a mayo seasoning for burgers or sandwiches. There's a lot you can do with one simple idea!

The one plant going absolutely nuts in the garden are the potato plants. Andy planted four seed potatoes, and we can see already that we've got some potatoes grown! He built potato boxes around them, so they continue to grow up. I will have pictures of that later. The potatoes have impressed me with their massive growth, and I'm pretty excited to harvest them.

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