Category Archives: Vegetables

Compost Veggie Stock

compost_stock_bagSeveral months ago, I started a veggie stock “compost” bag in the freezer. Instead of throwing the ends of an onion or carrot into the compost bin, I put them into the bag in the freezer. This weekend, I made the most delicious stock from the bits and ends that might have otherwise gone to waste. It was super simple to throw together and is the most delicious way to put veggie waste to use.

stock1You can add a lot of veggie bits to your freezer compost bag – just know that strong-tasting vegetables like those in the brassica family (broccoli, kale, cauliflower, etc.) may end up being an overpowering flavor in your stock. So, you may want to leave those out.

Compost Vegetable Stock

A gallon-size ziplock bag of frozen vegetable bits
1-2 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled and slightly smashed
a sprig or two of thyme
½ teaspoon salt
~ 8 cups of water

Combine all the ingredients into a large stockpot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat. Simmer for at least an hour. Remove from the heat and cool completely before straining and transferring to clean jars or containers for storage in the freezer.

Makes about 2 quarts of stock (with head room for expansion when they freeze – about 7 cups)

Coincidentally, I discovered that King County recently launched a campaign to educate people on ways to reduce their food waste. They teamed up with PCC and made a couple of videos with simple food waste reduction tips and tricks. I am totally making an “Eat Now” box for my fridge!

Indian-style Marinated Radishes

Radish_CollageI can always count on my Madhur Jaffrey cookbook to give me an interesting way to cook some vegetables. She totally came through for me again last week when I harvested the radishes.

It should be noted that I’ve never been super successful growing radishes. It’s not like the potatoes, but I’ve just never harvested enough to write home about. Until now. My fall sowing resulted in an incredible harvest of big, beautiful magenta bulbs – hardly a split one in the bunch! Major success!

Radish_Collage_2The satisfaction that came with pulling those beauties out of the ground and delight that I got from eating the marinated gems made me want to add radishes to my planting list from now on. Radishes might start showing up around here as much as kale does and that’s saying something.

Radhish Seed Variety I Planted This Fall: ‘Radish National 2’ from Baker Creek

Indian-style Marinated Radishes

Adapted from At Home with Madhur Jaffrey

About 1 dozen medium to large radishes, washed and trimmed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon red or white wine vinegar
a pinch of cayenne pepper

Cut the radishes in half and then slice them thinly. Put them in a small mixing bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. Let them marinate for at least 3 hours; then drain off the extra liquid that will collect in the bottom of the bowl.

I think they get even better after a day or two, once the flavors have really had a chance to meld. Enjoy within a week.

Super Simple Perfect Protein Salad

ImageIf you’ve been wondering why there’s been hardly anything happening here but radio silence lately, it’s because school life has swallowed me up. I’m barely keeping my head above water at school these days, so you can imagine what’s happening here at home. My students are riding shotgun and my personal life has taken a backseat. I know I’ll find my equilibrium soon, but I haven’t found it yet. I consider it a major accomplishment that I’ve been able to keep myself so well fed with all the unprocessed, homemade food that I’ve been cooking. I’m pulling out all my time-saving strategies and am taking things one meal at a time.

riceDuring the first week of school, I eat lunch with my kids in the cafeteria in order to get to know them a little better, so I needed a meal that I didn’t need to heat up and that would get me through the rest of the day. I needed some protein to give me stamina. I decided to make my own version of one of the deli salads at PCC that I love so much, the “Perfect Protein Salad.” What I came up with is quickly becoming one of my favorite go-to meals.

carrotsOddly enough, I didn’t realize that PCC had the recipe for their salads online until I started writing this post. I thought I had to recreate it myself. What I ended up with is a majorly simplified vegan version of the salad that inspired me in the first place. And since I was able to create a nut-based dressing to go with it, I added even more protein to the mix! Score!

protein_dressing

Time-saving Strategies:

Bean-soaking: In order to skip the can and make my beans from scratch, I get the beans soaking before I leave for work in the morning. Then, when I get home, I get them simmering while I take care of other business. Soaking beans overnight and then cooking them all day in the slow cooker with lots of extra water is also a technique I’ve used in the past to save time.

Cashews: Cashews have become my best friend. They make things creamy, in a non-dairy kind of way, while also adding a little extra protein to whatever I’m making. In order to get the most creaminess from them, it’s best to soak them for at least a few hours. Unfortunately, I’m not always thinking so far ahead. In a pinch, when I haven’t had time to pre-soak, I just put the cashews in a bowl and cover them with boiling water to speed up the process. I find that even letting them soak in that super hot water for 15 minutes breaks them down pretty quickly and yields a creamy finished product.

saladPerfect Protein Salad

Inspired by this salad

Makes about 3 generous lunches.

Salad Makings:

1 cup dried garbanzos, soaked overnight and cooked until tender (yielding about 3 cups cooked)
1 cup cooked farro, wheat berries, spelt berries or brown rice (some hearty grain)
1 cucumber, diced
2 or 3 carrots, diced

Dressing:

a generous 1/4 cup cashews, soaked for at least a couple hours
1 clove of garlic, peeled and slightly smashed
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
a dash of olive oil and a splash of water
1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground coriander (optional)

Put all of the salad makings in a medium-sized mixing bowl.

Place all of the dressing ingredients into a high-speed blender and blend until smooth, adding enough olive oil and water to get it to blend, but not make it runny. The dressing should be slightly thick – a mayo-like consistency.

Mix the dressing into the salad until all the salad ingredients are coated with the dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy!

Urban Farm and Garden Resources You Need to Know About

heartI found myself emailing this information to a reader the other day. I wanted to make sure you knew about these awesome resources in our area that I love.

Seattle Seed Library

It’s happening! A group of Seattle gardeners and seed savers have organized a seed library in Seattle! What’s a seed library?

A seed library offers a simple means of preserving, diversifying and sharing seeds. When you’re ready to plant something new in your garden, borrow seeds from the library – FOR FREE! It doesn’t cost anything to be a member or to borrow seeds. Member donations keep the library stocked for the next season.

Saving seeds has become an important part of my garden and I can’t wait to contribute to this community seed library! I’ve been reading about them lately (check out this article) and wished we had one around here. Now we do! Click here to learn more.

Übr Local

Übr Local is a cool urban food network where you can create a profile and then buy, sell or swap your homestead goods with others in the area. Their mission:

We are building a collaborative food economy that values human energy, under-utilized space, and the power of neighbors helping neighbors. Together we can rebuild an uber local food economy!. We define uber local as anything produced and consumed within roughly 10 miles of each other or within city limits.

It’s like a super specific, urban farm version of Craig’s List that allows you to connect with other gardeners and urban farmers in your neighborhood and in other communities. I recently created a profile and am excited to post some of my harvests to swap or sell! It’s like a virtual egg stand! Click here to create your own profile.

Backyard Barter

Similarly, Backyard Barter is a network of gardeners connecting with each other around Seattle in order to barter or trade their homegrown food and related food and materials. They host monthly bartering fairs, which I have yet (emphasis on yet) to attend, but definitely will one of these days.

Seattle Farm Co-op

Surely, you know the co-op already, but I had to include them in case you don’t. I have learned more from their Yahoo group and skills share classes than I have learned from anywhere else. When I started raising chickens, it was like having friends I could trust if I had a question. Even now, with years of experience under my belt, I still learn and benefit from this amazing co-op and community of urban farmers. If you have not visited their physical warehouse or home on the web, you should. They are an incredibly valuable resource in this community.