Eat Your Yard

Helen and I went to the Natural Gardener this weekend! I love, love that place.  I was hoping to pick up some artichoke plants, but they had already sold out.  Instead I picked up a packet of kabocha squash (Japanese pumpkin) seeds and a couple of hatch chile plants.  We’ll be back in a week or two to buy tomatoes/basil/etc. Anyway, to make room for the pumpkins I had to unearth my row of carrots that had been in the ground since October (!).  Helen and I also realized that many of my radishes, which had just been planted a few weeks ago, were ready to come up too (their pretty little tops had poked through the soil).  And hey! we could also eat the broccoli leaves like Joanna, and the stalk too! And we could top it off with a salad with my homegrown lettuces! This was all very exciting.

Here’s what we harvested:

(Joanna- I’m gonna give you your green towel back at some point!)

A list of harvested items: easter egg radishes, carrots, broccoli stalk and leaves, lettuces, parsley, green onions, green garlic.

And here’s what we made for dinner with our plunder:

Honey Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Puree and Parmigiano Reggiano

For this dish, I made the carrot top puree Kevin made on Top Chef last season (minus the tarragon + green garlic). For the carrots, I cut them into equal-sized pieces and put them into a cast iron skillet where I had melted/combined a tablespoon of butter, a tablespoon of honey, a tablespoon of lemon juice, and a bit of fresh thyme.  This went into a 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes, until the carrots were caramelized.  Served with the carrot top puree and a thick shaving of parmigiano, this was Andy’s and my favorite.

Butter-Glazed Braised Radishes

If you (like me) planted 4000 radishes in your yard, you must, must try this recipe.  Radishes are great cooked! More mellow, tender, and mildly peppery.  This was Helen’s favorite. This recipe comes from the cookbook All About Braising.

  • 2 bunches small radishes (about 1 pound)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock, homemade
  • large pinch of sugar
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Trim the radishes of their roots and trim the green tops, leaving about 1/4 inch (we added some of the peppery tops to our salad greens).
  2. Place the radishes in a medium skillet that will hold them in a single layer. Add the butter, stock, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, cover, reduce the heat, and braise at a low simmer until the radishes are easily pierced with a metal skewer, 20-25 minutes.
  3. Remove the lid, shake the pan to roll the radishes around, and continue simmering until the liquid reduces to a glaze and coats the radishes, another 5 minutes or so.  Serve warm.

Lemony Braised Broccoli Leaves and Stalk

This was based off a kale recipe I found on Food52 by talented cook ‘Loves Food Loves to Eat’.  We thought this was delicious! If you don’t have access to broccoli leaves, try this recipe with kale.

  • 1 thinly sliced shallot
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 cup chicken broth
  • Juice from 1/2 large lemon
  • 1 bunch of broccoli leaves, chopped
  • 1 broccoli stalk, peeled (to remove the tough outer layers), sliced into 1/4 inch discs

Sauté shallot and sliced broccoli stalk in olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. When the shallots are golden and the stalk slices are becoming tender, add a pinch of salt, a pinch of red pepper flakes, lemon juice, and broth. Slowly add chopped leaves. Allow the leaves to wilt and soften, and continue cooking until most of the cooking liquid has evaporated. Serve hot.

 Salad with Cara Cara Oranges and Pistachios

I was just going to serve lettuce dressed simply in my go-to lemon/dijon mustard vinaigrette, but then Helen recommended adding the cara cara orange in my fruit bowl and the pistachios in my pantry.  It was delicious! I added a bit of the orange juice to the vinaigrette, and it was a perfectly lovely salad.

This was such a fun dinner! I love that living-off-the-land feeling, like the one you get when you read the first Boxcar Children book (i.e. they use the stream in the woods as a method of refrigeration and cook the eggs they find in a bird’s nest).  I want that.

Roasted Broccoli

                                                                              Photo by Sarah Shatz
My Roasted Broccoli with Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette and Marcona Almonds is a finalist for the broccoli contest on Food52.  Please stop by and vote for me if you have a minute!
If you haven’t roasted broccoli before, hold onto your hat.  It is wild and delicious fun.  Honestly, I really wasn’t that into broccoli until trying the roasted broccoli recipe in Ina Garten’s newest cookbook. The roasting makes the broccoli intensely flavorful and yet much lighter, because it’s not water-logged from boiling or steaming.  So fun!
My recipe roasts the broccoli according to Ina’s method, and then douses it in a Spanish vinaigrette.  If you’re in Central Texas, you can buy smoked paprika (get the sweet kind, not the hot kind!) in bulk at Central Market for about 20 cents.  Also, you really must try Marcona almonds if you haven’t before.  They are fattier, and therefore more delicious versions of the almonds you know and love. This dish would be wonderful served as a small bite along with a few other tapas.
Roasted Broccoli with Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette and Marcona Almonds
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • kosher salt, for sprinkling
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup marcona almonds
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss the broccoli florets on a baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil and a hefty sprinkling of kosher salt. Roast for 20 minutes.
  2. While the broccoli is roasting, prepare the vinaigrette. Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat until quite warm (about 2 minutes). Stir in the minced garlic and the smoked paprika and remove the pan from the heat. Let stand 10 minutes.
  3. Put the sherry vinegar and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the paprika oil. Try to leave most of the solids (paprika and garlic) in the skillet, if possible.
  4. After 20 minutes, remove the broccoli from the oven and toss the marcona almonds on top. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette, toss, and serve immediately.