I don’t really have many new players in the harvest basket just yet, but the April regulars are showing up in abundance now at the end of the month. Asparagus and spinach are both spring garden rock stars in my book. After a couple of months of eating mostly from veggies in the freezer and cellar, they are a welcome sight when they arrive. I picked a tubtrug full of spinach from the cold frame bed and sauteed it in olive oil for a side dish one night.
The first arugula I planted back in early March in the greenhouse is bolting. That didn’t stop me from harvesting some for a pizza that also featured grilled asparagus along with pickled peppers and bacon. I’ve got more arugula planted in a cold frame bed, and some Rustic Arugula (aka Sylvetica or ‘wild’ arugula) that is almost ready to plant. I’m doing my best to extend the arugula season as much as possible, and this one is a bit slower to bolt.
Some of the asparagus also went into a dish I call Shrimp Pesto Pasta. I made some Pesto Amalfitana with overwintered parsley, then stirred it in with some stir fried shrimp, asparagus and green garlic. I added a few Slow Roasted Tomatoes (frozen from 2012) right before serving too. I love the combination of shrimp with asparagus. It’s colorful and delicious. I will likely feature the two together in more stir-fried creations before the end of asparagus season.
I got parsley from a curly leaf variety and a flat leaf Italian one. They are both starting to flower now, and I will replace them soon with new plants. I don’t use a lot of parsley in the kitchen, but I use a little bit of it quite often. And I do love it in a pesto, maybe even more than I do basil.
Red Ursa is a new kale here for us. It overwintered in one of the cold frame beds. The ruffled leaves are very tender and mild tasting. I haven’t decided if I will save seed from this one or eat the flowers when they appear. I guess I could do both! Until it flowers we will enjoy the leaves for sure.
The Kweik butterhead lettuce in the below photo also overwintered in one of the cold frame beds. It was late planted (December) and took off growing this spring. This is an old Dutch variety that is well suited for winter growing. Next time I just need to get it planted a bit earlier so it heads up sooner. It had a little slug damage on some of the outer leaves, but overall it made a nice, buttery head of lettuce.
Though it’s not a 2013 harvest, I had two neck pumpkins from last year stored in the cellar. They are still looking good after 6 months of storage. I cooked one of them up for a pumpkin, carrot and sweet potato soup creation we had for dinner one night. The carrots and sweet potatoes were actually leftovers from a December dinner that we stuck in the freezer just for soup. I also had a few bits of frozen butternut squash I added in. We managed to get a nice assortment of orange veggies all in one soup bowl!
My wife used the rest of the pureed pumpkin and made a pumpkin custard with it. She took her pumpkin pie recipe and made the filling without a crust and baked it off that way. It made a lovely dessert.
I baked a batch of whole grain bread to go with the orange soup. Bread is definitely not a harvest, but it went well with the soup, and as soon as I work out a few more details I will share the recipe. My wife says I am like a dog with a bone on these things, and I can’t disagree. I will keep on baking it until I am satisfied with all the variables! In the meantime, we have enjoyed eating all of my experiments. The loaf in the below photo was proofed in a round brotform, then I slashed it in a scallop shell pattern before baking. It was made with whole wheat flour, oats and millet in it, along with a few other ingredients.
To see more harvests, visit Daphne’s Dandelions, where Daphne hosts the Harvest Monday series.