Year: 2012

2012 Sweet Potato Harvest

In the gardens we’ve just finished our annual sweet potato harvest. From Upper-El, Lower-El, and Primary we harvested a whopping 250lbs of potatoes! The potatoes this year were humongous, many of them bigger than a human head, but with all sorts of interesting shapes. No matter what age you are, harvesting potatoes is simply really fun, and the students enjoyed hunting for this delicious treasure. Our potatoes will cure in the greenhouse and then we will make pies, chips, biscuits, and treats galore with them for months to come. Be sure to look for some at the garden market for months to come.

Ground Cherries: The New Fast Food

Ground Cherries are another plant in the nightshade family and a really fun snack to scavenge for in the garden. They are called ground cherries because you harvest these yummy little fruits after they ripen and fall to the ground. Primary students especially enjoyed harvesting ground cherries this fall and savoring their flavor – which is rather like a cross between a tomato and a pineapple. These plants are really easy to grow, but are hard to find in grocery stores. They make good chutneys and salsa’s, in addition to being good fresh. They grow in most soil types and will do great even in poor soil or pots. Try growing them at home for a delicious fast snack.  

Salsa Verde

Tomatillos are a wonderful and versatile vegetable. The kids enjoyed picking these little “lantern” fruits in the garden and learning about tomatillos and ground cherries this year.  tomatillos are a member of the nightshade family (the same family as tomatoes, eggplant and peppers) and they originated in Mexico. We used our abundant harvest to make a traditional green salsa or “salsa verde.” The first step was to peel the husks off our tomatillos and then wash the sticky coating off of them. We then put a tiny bit of salt, lime juice, garlic, and whole tomatillos in the food processor. Push pulse and – SALSA VERDE! Some methods involve oven roasting the tomatillos, but we opted for the fresh version of this classic.

Gypsy Soup

For our end of season gardening celebration we decided to take all of our garden produce to make a delicious soup together! We had cured sweet potatoes from our fall harvest, the last of the fresh sweet peppers, curly kale, onions, garlic, and fresh herbs. (We use this recipe often because of the abundance of sweet potatoes we have every year!) GYPSY SOUP! (Recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook) 3-4 tablespoons olive oil 2 cups chopped onion 2 cloves crushed garlic 2 cups chopped, peeled sweet potatoes or winter squash 1/2 cup chopped celery 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes 3/4 cup chopped sweet peppers 1-1/2 cups cooked chickpeas 3 cups stock or water Dash of cinnamon, dash of cayenne 1 bay leaf 1 tablespoon tamari 2 teaspoon paprika 1 teaspoon turmeric 1 teaspoon basil 1 teaspoon salt In a soup kettle sauté onions, garlic, celery, and sweet potatoes in olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add seasonings, except the tamari, and the stock or water. Simmer, covered for 15 minutes. Add remaining vegetables and cooked chickpeas. …

Spring Feast in Upper-El

Last Friday the Upper-Elementary gardening students dove into culinary action as they prepared a Spring Feast from all of the freshly harvested goodies. They prepared a soup, herbal tea, a salad, and strawberry shortbread on homemade biscuits. Carrots, leeks, turnips, lettuce, fava beans, sugar snap pea’s, collards, radishes, mint, and strawberries were all on the harvest list! It was wonderful to see the beauty and variety that the gardens offer this time of year and the kids literally reaped the fruits of their labor on this festive occasion! Hip-hip-Hoorah for gardening and for Spring!                  

Spring Feast in Lower El

  The Fava beans are ready for harvest, as are beautiful Haukeri turnips, sugar snap peas, lettuce, and the jewels of spring — strawberries! This sounded like a recipe for a spring feast, so we prepared Salad, a stir fry, and strawberry honey tea with fennel this week. Students had a lesson in knife skills and got to practice on turnips, onions, fresh garlic, radishes, and berries. They shelled beans, sang songs, steeped tea, and in the end we savored our food together!

Spanakopita ~ a Greek spinach pastry

Yields: About 8 servings         Filling: 2 cups crumbled feta cheese 2 tbsp. flour 1 cup chopped onion 2 cups (1 lb) cottage or pot cheese 3 Tbsp. butter 1 tsp. basil 5 eggs 1/2 tsp. oregano salt & pepper 2 lbs. fresh spinach (FROM THE GARDEN!) Clean stem and chop the spinach. Salt it lightly, and cook, adding no water, for five minutes. Cook the onions in butter, salting lightly. When soft, combine with remaining ingredients and spinach To Assemble: have on hand }      1 lb package defrosted filo pastry 1/2 lb. melted butter Preheat oven to 375 F. Spread butter on a 9 x 13″ baking pan. Place a srüdel leaf in the pan (it will outsize the pan. Let the edges climb the sides) and brush generously with butter. Keep layers of dough coming, one on top of another, brushing each with butter. When you have a pile of 8 leaves, spread on half of the filling. Continue with another stack of 8 or so leaves (don’t …

Cardoon Gratin

Cardoon’s are the huge pale green plants seen in the Lower and Upper Elementary Gardens.  They are a relative to the Artichoke, only you eat the stems, not the flowers. It takes quite a bit of work to prepare a meal out of the bitter stalks, but they are a fascinating Mediterranean plant, growing 7 to 10 feet tall with striking purple flowers. We harvested the leaves in the Spring to make this dish. You need a huge cardoon to feed four, as you cut away the tops of the plant and pick off the outer ring of stalks, which are always punky and bitter. Look for stalks with a white bloom on them that comes off when you rub it with your fingers. In stores, cardoons are typically pre-cut and trimmed, so you can use whatever you buy. Serves 4-6. Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 90 minutes Stalks from 1 large cardoon 2 lemons Salt 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons bacon fat or olive oil 1/2 cup coarsely grated provolone cheese or …

Roasted Garlic Lemonette

Ingredients 1 head of garlic 1/2 cup olive oil 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 tsp. fresh black pepper Juice of 1 lemon Preheat oven to 400° Cut away a bit of the top of the head of garlic to expose the cloves and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil. Wrap in foil and bake for 30 minutes. Cool to the touch and then squeeze the garlic out of the head. Whisk the garlic, lemon juice and salt and pepper together to combine. Slowly incorporate the olive oil until combined. Drizzle over salad.