Monday Recap: April Showers

It has been a rainy April this year, which isn’t that unusual here in our area. We’ve had over six inches so far, and it has rained thirteen out of the twenty days. It’s the season for many green things like spinach, kale and asparagus, and they all seem to be loving the rainy weather. It’s also the season for green garlic – those young garlic plants harvested before they start to bulb up. I planted some sprouting cloves of garlic last November, and the plants are now giving us lots of flavorful green garlic. It goes well in many dishes, wherever you might use onions, scallions or garlic cloves.

green garlic fresh from the garden

green garlic fresh from the garden

Green garlic and asparagus go quite well together, and they have been seen on more than one plate here lately. In the below photo they were stir-fried, and join a baked Beauregard sweet potato and some curried chicken salad my wife made.

asparagus stir-fry with sweet potato and chicken salad

asparagus stir-fry with sweet potato and chicken salad

The green garlic also joined a big bunch of the overwintered greenhouse parsley to make a batch of pesto. Along with the parsley and green garlic I added some Umbrian olive oil, pine nuts, salt and one clove of crushed garlic. I made this pesto to go on sandwiches I was planning for lunch yesterday. But I made the pesto on Saturday, and of course it needed to be tasted ASAP. So I spread it on a seeded Kracker where it made a great snack.

fresh parsley pesto

fresh parsley pesto

More spinach in the greenhouse is starting to bolt, this time the Amsterdam Prickly Seeded variety. I pulled the plants, blanched the leaves, and my wife used it to make a Spinach Pie. She steamed a bit of asparagus to go with it. And I did have more than the three spears in the below photo! I just didn’t want the big pile of asparagus to block the view of the spinach pie. I generally get to eat my fill of asparagus during the months of April and May when we are harvesting it daily. We’ve harvested six pounds in the first two weeks, and I for one have been enjoying it.

Spinach Pie with asparagus

Spinach Pie with asparagus

Though it was my wife’s turn to cook last week, we collaborated in the kitchen to make a three bean salad. I cooked a batch of garbanzo beans using the pressure cooker, and then fixed a pot of Runner Cannellini beans slowly simmered on the stove. These are big beans, more like a Corona or Gigante bean in size and much bigger than the usual cannellini beans. They held their shape well for the salad. The third bean was the very last bit of our 2014 Good Mother Stallard beans I had cooked up earlier and froze. The salad made for a great meal, along with some crusty whole wheat rolls I baked up. A little fresh parsley added a nice flavor, and a bit of chopped celery added some crunch.

Three Bean Salad

Three Bean Salad

It is my turn to cook for the next two weeks. I started off yesterday with some grilled sandwiches I made from a freshly baked loaf of bread (Ken Forkish’s Overnight 40% Whole Wheat). I spread some of the parsley pesto on the bread and then added Canadian bacon plus Swiss cheese for my wife’s version. I grilled the sandwiches along with a batch of my Grilled Asparagus.

grilled asparagus with sandwhich

grilled asparagus with sandwhich

In other news, the carrots I sowed back on 4/9 started coming up in about nine days, and I removed the row cover material on Saturday. They’re still coming up, and it looks like I got a good stand of them. I sowed a few radishes at the same time and they came up in about five days and now need thinning. I’ll wait a week or so to thin the carrots.

spring carrots sprouting

spring carrots sprouting

And in the greenhouse, Speedy arugula is certainly living up to its name. This is my second planting of it in a salad box, and I have more young plants waiting in the wings. Though it looks like a wild strain of arugula, the flavor is mild and sweet – unusual for arugula! This one is a keeper for sure. The seeds are available from a number of sources.

Speedy arugula

Speedy arugula

Today the weather forecast is for cool and rainy, at least for most of the day. So it sounds like a good day to bake pita bread and replenish our supply in the freezer. I plan on making a green garlic dal soup using some split yellow Pigeon peas (aka Toor Dal). The fresh baked pita bread will go well with the soup (though some naan would too), and it should make for a warming meal on cool spring day. To see what others are harvesting and cooking up, visit Daphne’s Dandelions where Daphne hosts Harvest Mondays. I’ll be back soon with more happenings from HA.

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