Last Garden Meal of the Year

November 06, 2009

By Mark Bishop, Deputy Director

Now that fall is upon
us and winter is coming up fast, I thought my garden harvest was in the
past. But last weekend I found a few more gems and realized I could
pull together one more final hurrah of a garden meal.

I
was pulling up my tomato plants and found two small green bell peppers,
two nice-sized cucumbers, and the score of the day: a big bunch of
leeks that I forgot we even planted. So here was my plan:

Cucumber salad. Simple. Clean. Actually, I was thinking about Cooking
up Change
because one of the student teams had a nice cucumber salad
that was really good — and Henry chowed it that evening. So I seeded
and sliced a cuke and tossed it with a splash of rice wine vinegar, a
half teaspoon of sugar, and a dash of sea salt. I don't remember my
cucumbers being so crunchy. Henry ate nearly the entire thing. Delicious.

Bell peppers. I only had two small ones and when I cut them, they were
so firm and crisp that I decided I couldn't do anything other than slice them and toss them with salt, oil and balsamic vinegar. Simple. Super
fresh.

Leeks. I love leeks. And for me,
this was the star of the evening. I caramelized a bunch of leeks in a
pan with olive oil, added a dash of sea salt, then added 1/4 cup of
balsamic vinegar and let the vinegar reduce until the leeks were
covered with a syrupy coating. I took out the leeks, then cubed and cooked two small
zucchini the same way and combined them with the leeks. It was so
delicious with the sweetness from the vinegar and the nuttiness from
the browned leeks. So good. I could have eaten that all day.

Spinach. I had a bag of spinach that I needed to use so I wilted a
bunch with feta cheese. Tasty. And Henry took a good liking to it. See
the video below for proof. This was not from my garden.

Protein. I had a leftover frozen salmon fillet that I defrosted and pan
fried with some garlic and herbed breadcrumbs. Simple. And again, Henry
went nuts eating the salmon. Really. Again, see the video.

Sometimes cooking is simple. Try not to use too many ingredients and keep fresh food tasting fresh. This was a (mostly) garden meal fit for a king. And sadly, it seems to have been my last one for a couple of months.