My personal philosophy around food, gardening, raising chickens, cooking and eating is captured in one simple motto: Food should be sustainably grown, lovingly prepared, and joyfully eaten. By now I’ve shared with you my five reasons to grow your own food and five reasons to raise chickens, and most of those reasons relate back directly to my motto. There is nothing more satisfying to the soul, I think, than preparing good food with excellent ingredients raised on my own little piece of the Earth and then sharing that food with the people I love.
So, for today’s Photo Friday feature, I am sharing photos of some of the food I have made primarily with ingredients from my garden – fresh produce and eggs. Sure, I have to supplement the food I raise myself with other food that I buy (e.g., meat and dairy), but I try my best to buy local, seasonal, sustainably-produced and minimally-processed ingredients. My hope in sharing these photos is that you will be inspired to put a little more love and joy in your own diets.
Here’s one of those meals where pretty much everything came out of the garden, except for the olive bread (purchased from a local bakery) and wine. On the menu: corn cakes with roasted red pepper sauce, potato galette, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, and a salad of kohlrabi, cherry tomatoes and basil.
One of my favorite summertime lunches is what I call chopped salad. I simply grab whatever vegetables are ready in the garden, chop them up, add a little crumbled feta cheese, drizzle on some extra virgin olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. This version includes tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, basil and green beans (which I blanched for a couple of minutes until crisp tender).
We eat a lot of eggs here at the old suburban homestead and still never manage to keep up with the chickens (much to the delight, I’m sure, of my neighbors and friends who benefit from the extra eggs I’m always giving away). Eggs aren’t just for breakfast, either. We often eat them for lunch and dinner, especially when we are looking for a really quick meal. Here’s one meal that takes minimal prep time: a really tasty open-faced egg sandwich with radish butter (combine minced radish with softened butter) and arugula topped with a Parmesan crisp.
This is another favorite way to eat eggs: over a bowl of pasta so the runny yolk combines with contents of the bowl. This was dinner last night. I sauteed some onion and garlic in olive oil, tossed in cooked whole wheat rotini and blanched broccoli (to save time, I threw in the raw broccoli with the pasta during the last 4 minutes of cooking time) and topped the whole thing with a fried egg. Yum.
Here’s a really easy appetizer to serve at a casual summer party: a platter of bruschetta with fresh tomato, basil and garlic from the garden. I got the recipe from a real Italian chef at a cooking class in Tuscany. (Get the recipe and other authentic Tuscan recipes here.)
At my house, we keep eating from the garden long after the growing season has ended. Potatoes, carrots and onions all store well. Here, the roasted vegetables are supplemented with fresh parsley grown in a pot on the kitchen windowsill. It’s a big bowl of comfort food to warm your belly and feed your soul in winter.
Do you have a garden? What are some of the things you make with the food you grow? Please share in the comments section below.