Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. And let me say Merry Christmas to all who are celebrating! First let me announce a change for Harvest Monday. To give me a little break, Michelle (From Seed To Table) has again graciously agreed to take over hosting next month (January, 2018). So to linkup next week, please visit From Seed To Table instead of coming here to find Mr Linky. I really appreciate Michelle giving me a break this time of year, especially when my harvests are generally pretty sparse. I’ll be back as host on February 5, 2018. I did have several harvests though last week, including some Wild Garden Kale Mix that I braised for a side dish. The smooth leaves are tender and sweet, and this is the parent stock for other varieties like White Russian, Red Ursa and Wild Red. The plants all look slightly different, but are generally tasty and pretty tolerant of the cold, if not the snow.
I also pulled about a pound of Scarlet Queen Red Stems turnips. I sowed these pretty thick back in early September and didn’t thin them, as I was more interested in the green than the roots. They did make some baby turnips though and I cut them up and braised them along with the greens.
I made a small cutting of lettuce from the greenhouse. This was from plants I have growing in window boxes, plus I have more in salad boxes that will be ready soon. It’s Salad Bowl in this cutting, or at least that’s what the seed packet said. It looks more like a green oakleaf to me, but it was tender and mild regardless. You can see in the below photo we were getting a ‘wintry mix’ on Saturday, which thankfully did not stick on the roads. Just the day before, my wife were out walking in shirtsleeve weather (near 60°F)!
And I cut a few leaves of Apollo arugula and Koji tatsoi to go in a frittata yesterday. I have both these greens growing in containers in the greenhouse. It is so nice to have fresh greens this time of year, and I can usually get some sort of hardy greens from the greenhouse all winter.
I roasted a mix of kohlrabi and Bora King radishes one night, which have been hanging out in the refrigerator from a previous harvest. The radishes keep their color quite well when prepared this way, and I think the mild and slightly spicy flavor works well. We love kohlrabi pretty much any way you prepare it, which is a good thing because I harvested 82 pounds of it this year!
I continue to experiment with the Instant Pot, and this week I cooked up a batch of chili con carne. First I cooked the beans, using a small red bean from Rancho Gordo called Domingo Rojo. The unsoaked beans were cooked perfectly after 25 minutes at high pressure. Then I removed the beans and cooked the meat, and for this batch I used bison stew meat. 30 minutes at high pressure had the super lean meat tender but not falling apart. Next I combined the meat and beans along with homemade tomato sauce and frozen red bell peppers and fresh onions from the garden, plus some of my own guajillo chile powder. I pressured that mix for 20 minutes, which had the meat starting to fall apart but the beans still intact. At that point I went to slow cooker mode and let it cook for another couple of hours to develop the flavors. I like that fact it was a one pot meal, and the Instant Pot worked well for both modes of cooking. The chili was pretty tasty too!
Yesterday I got an early Christmas present. I’ve been seeing bluebirds here occasionally the last couple of weeks. It’s usually been either a pair, or a small group of 4 or 5 birds which is probably the pair plus their offspring. Yesterday they were at the suet feeder, which they were sharing with the other birds. In the below photo the male bluebird is waiting in line while the Red-bellied Woodpecker is feeding. I’ve been putting up nest boxes and hosting bluebirds for over 30 years now, and I have to say I never fail to stop what I am doing and enjoy their presence whenever I see or hear one. Bluebirds need to nest in a cavity and have a hard time finding a suitable site without human help. They also sometimes roost in the nest boxes so I leave them up year round.
Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!