Category Archives: Vegetables

Work Lunch: Taco Salad

WorkLunchToday is the first in a series I’m calling Work Lunch! Each week, I’ll share something I’m making for lunch. I’m hoping it will inspire you and me to keep work lunches creative and satisfying!

photo (27)Lately, we’ve got a lot of greens to eat, so I find myself eating a lot of salad. I start with a large plastic container – mine’s just over 6 cups. I like to pack it up with greens, other raw veggies and whatever dressing I’m using. Since it’s a large container, I end up with enough room to toss things around when I’m ready to eat. I pack my dressing in a 4oz mason jar and stick it in the salad container so that if it happens to leak, it will leak onto my greens and not into my bag.

IMG_4525When I prep my salad, I put all the greens into the big container and use kitchen shears to give it a few chops. It saves me a little time and a few extra dirty dishes. Plus, it quickly reduces my greens into bite-size pieces.

IMG_4526In order to make the salad something that will sustain me until my afternoon snack, I add lots of protein and grains to my salads. For my taco salad, I pack a pint jar full of brown rice and black beans. I pack those apart from my salad greens in case I want to heat them up a bit before I add them to my salad bowl. I love this salad when the rice and beans are warmed so they wilt the greens ever so slightly.

Instead of a dressing for this one, I opt for a generous squeeze of lime, a sprinkling of salt, and some spoonfuls of homegrown roasted tomatillo salsa. To top it off, I add some slices of avocado. I learned somewhere that the pit of the avocado helps keep the avocado from turning brown, so I keep the pit in as long as I can. Either way, the skin of the avocado helps serve as natural protection when it’s making its journey to work with me. If we happen to have some tortilla chips, I bring a little bag of them along with me. I especially love to smash a handful of tortilla chips over my salad bowl. There’s something magic about the salty crunch.

 

Homegrown Carrots in 5 Easy Steps

image (3)Carrots can be tricky little buggers, but in a few easy steps, you can be growing carrots in your backyard or on your patio. Here’s what I’ve learned from my carrot-growing experience:

Step 1: Plant in Containers

IMG_3973I will never grow carrots in the ground again. Adding light and fluffy, nutrient-rich potting soil to containers creates an amazing environment for beautifully formed roots.

Step 2: Shallow Seed Sowing

Sow the seed near the surface and just sprinkle the top with potting soil to barely cover. Carrot seeds are small and you don’t want to bury them.

Step 3: Keep the Seed Bed Moist!

photo (18)This step is probably the most important! Germinating carrot seeds can be tricky so it is imperative that the seed bed stays moist. I achieve this by cutting a piece of floating row cover and placing it over the top of the container, loosely so that young carrot seeds can grow without getting smashed.

Step 4: Keep Your Eye Out!

IMG_3975Place the buckets or containers where you can keep an eye on them. Inconsistent watering is a killer for carrots – you’ll want to be able to see it and know when you need to water again. Also, after you sow your seeds, you’ll need to watch for your seedlings so you can thin them.

Step 5: Thin Those Babies!

photo (15)photo (16)photo (17)Thinning is critical for carrots. If you want beautifully round carrots, you need to give them room to grow. Carrots don’t appreciate having their roots disturbed, so thin them with a pair of sharp scissors. First, find the biggest, best-looking seedling in the stand of carrot seedlings. Then, gently cut away all the other seedlings except the one you’re saving.

I’ve been watering my beets and carrots with the Alaska brand fish emulsion fertilizer designed for blooming plants. It’s 0-10-10, high in the nutrients that promote root development and overall plant health.

That’s all there is to it – 5 steps to backyard carrots.

square_footWant to learn more tips for growing lots of food in a small space? Join me in my Space Saver Gardening class this Saturday! I’ll help you build your plant family knowledge and square foot gardening skills! Sign up here.

 

 

Mustard Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Grilled Cheese

This post is a series on how I’m using my bounty of Brussel sprouts from the new online marketplace, Farmstr. Check out the first post of the series for a recipe for Cilantro Lime Brussels Sprout Slaw. Also, just a reminder that readers of my blog get a special discount for signing up to receive Farmstr’s weekly emails. Mention my blog when you sign up and Janelle, Farmstr’s founder, will hook you up!

photo (1)If you look up recipes for Brussels sprouts, you’ll find more than a handful of recipes for roasted sprouts. This is another one to add to your repertoire. It is scrumptious. I ate almost the entire pan of these before they ever made it to a plate. What’s more, this recipe is super simple and these days, in my whirlwind of a life, an easy recipe is like gold.

For the record, the grilled cheese part of this equation is an added bonus. I made the roasted b. sprouts to go with an aged white cheddar grilled cheese, but ended up stuffing them inside the sandwich instead. Magic.

photoMustard Roasted Brussels Sprouts

~ 1 pound of Brussels sprouts
1 1/2 Tablespoons stone ground or Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil

Preheat the over to 400 degrees.

Remove the outermost leaves of the Brussels sprouts and trim off their ends. Cut them in half and spread them out evenly on an ungreased cookie sheet.

In a small saute pan on the stove, melt the butter and then remove from the heat. Mix in the olive oil and the mustard until well incorporated.

Pour the mustard mixture over the sprouts and mix it in to coat the sprouts. I just got in there with my hands and made sure the mustard mixture thoroughly coated the Brussels sprouts. Sprinkle some salt over the sprouts and pop the cookie sheet in the oven.

Roast for 10 – 20 minutes, checking periodically to avoid over browning. Turn with a spatula at least once, about half way through, to promote even cooking. Watch these carefully as they go from chartreuse, to golden to charred in a matter of minutes. Honestly, I loved the crispy, blackened bits.

Taste and sprinkle with a bit more salt, if needed. Enjoy as a side dish or stuffed into a grilled cheese or grilled ham and cheese sandwich. Enjoy!

 

Cilantro Lime Brussels Sprout Slaw

IMG_2621When your friend is willing to share a bounty of local, organic Brussels sprouts, you take her up on it. The abundance of Brussels sprouts I ended up with, a five stalk bundle, inspired all kinds of delicious meals and I can’t wait to share them with you. It’s local food “Iron Chef” and this is what I’ve done with my featured ingredient, the first of several Brussels sprout posts to come.

My bounty of Brussels sprouts came from my friend, Janelle, the founder of the awesome new farm food site called Farmstr. It’s a super cool online marketplace that connects local farms with local consumers. Janelle says,

Farmstr is passionate about supporting farmers, and enabling their success by bringing them new customers and better margins. Farmstr is excited about making it possible for anyone, people like you and me, to easily find and access nearby farms, choose farmers, ranchers, and fishermen to support and to be able to buy farm fresh food for less than you would pay at the store.

If Farmstr is new to you, I’d encourage you to check it out!  It’s an amazing resource for Seattleites who want to connect with local farmers for seasonal, organic food. Seattle Seedling readers that sign up to get the weekly e-update about new food offered in the marketplace will get $6.50 off their first Farmstr purchase! That’s a free dozen eggs or a nice little discount off of your own bundle of Brussels sprouts or other local goodness! Score!

To get your first timer bonus, follow these simple steps:

1. Go to Farmstr.com

2. Sign up to get the weekly hot sheet delivered to your inbox (the dialogue box on the site, front and center). I love this because then I know exactly what new goodies are being offered without having to check back on the site all the time.

3. When you sign up, let Janelle know that you heard about Farmstr on my blog and you’ll get your bonus! Neat!

IMG_2636Brussel Sprout Recipe No.1

Cilantro Lime Brussels Sprout Slaw

A light bulb went off in my head when it occurred to me that I could use Brussels sprouts the way I like to use cabbage. They’re like mini-cabbages! My boyfriend, a steadfast Brussels sprout hater, would beg to differ, but if you gave me the Pepsi challenge, especially in this recipe, I couldn’t tell the difference. I loved every single bite of this slaw – my tacos never tasted better!

The measurements for this slaw are not precise and that’s on purpose. This salad is meant to be simple, easy and delicious. Chop up the Brussels sprouts you have available and adjust the amounts of lime, salt and dressing to taste. It’s really hard to mess this up.

Ingredients:

Fresh, raw Brussels sprouts (about one stalk worth)
1 lime
A handful of cilantro
Salt
One batch of this creamy cilantro dressing

Method:

Rinse the Brussels sprouts, trim the ends and peel off the outside leaves of the sprouts.

Halve and then thinly slice the Brussels sprouts; put them into a medium-size mixing bowl.

Squeeze the juice of a lime over the Brussels sprout shreds and sprinkle with salt. Mix to incorporate thoroughly. Let the Brussels sprouts marinate a bit while you put together the cilantro dressing. Click here for a link to that recipe.

Add the dressing to the slaw and mix well.

IMG_2637Serving ideas:

I love to serve this slaw with homemade carnitas (Have you made these yet? They are killer!). When I made my Brussels sprout slaw this week, I added it to some rotisserie chicken tacos in corn tortillas with fresh avocado.  I imagine it’d be amazing with some homemade fish tacos as well. I have a feeling I’m going to be making this Brussels sprout slaw again very soon.