Monday Recap: December Doldrums

The short days of December have slowed the garden down considerably here, and I have slowed along with it. We hit a spell of cold, gray days last week, which didn’t exactly help me to get going. It’s been my turn to cook, and I’ve relied on a lot of things from the freezer and storage. One night I baked a large Gold Nugget squash for a side dish. It was the biggest of the harvest this year, and after being in storage for several month it still weighed 40 ounces. I cut it in half before baking, then sprinkled with a little cinnamon. After baking I cut the pieces in half again to make four nice sized servings. That’s one half piece sitting on a full sized plate in the below photo.

baked Gold Nugget squash

baked Gold Nugget squash

Out in the garden, I’ve still got quite a few carrots I haven’t dug yet. I pulled some of the Cordoba last week to replenish our stores in the refrigerator. These wedge shaped carrots do quite well for me here. A four foot short row has yielded over four pounds already, and there are still a few small carrots left. I’m always happy if I get a pound of carrots per foot of row. This is my first time growing Cordoba, as it was a recommended substitute for Hercules which was unavailable this year. The fall planting of carrots I left in the ground seems to be doing well so I won’t dig them yet unless a deep freeze is forecast.

Cordoba carrots

Cordoba carrots

I cut up some of the smaller carrots and roasted them, along with potatoes from storage. The potatoes were a mix of blue and red ones, so we ate quite a few colors in this combo. When the veggies were almost tender I tossed them with some minced garlic, pepper and a little sea salt then roasted a few minutes more. For me that was all the seasoning they needed.

roasted carrots and potatoes

roasted carrots and potatoes

The roasted veggies went with some salmon cakes I cooked for dinner one night. I made a batch of cilantro pesto to go with the salmon, using some of the abundant greenhouse cilantro supply along with walnut oil, garlic and pine nuts.

cilantro for pesto

cilantro for pesto

The pesto went well with the salmon cakes, and I can see me making this dish again, as long as I have some good cilantro.

salmon cakes with cilantro pesto and roasted vegetables

salmon cakes with cilantro pesto and roasted vegetables

I harvested some of the last Red Sails lettuce from the cold frames. There’s a little bit left out there, but not much. It’s a little ragged from the freezing and thawing, but still nice enough to eat.

Red Sails lettuce

Red Sails lettuce

The lettuce went on some bean tostadas I made last week. I’ve been craving beans lately. I sprinkle the tortillas with a little homemade chile powder and ground cumin then oven bake them. This satisfied my cravings nicely!

bean tostada

bean tostada

To go with the tostadas I made a jicama and carrot salad, using the Purple Haze carrots from an earlier harvest. I love these carrots in raw dishes, where the colors can be appreciated. I shredded the jicama and carrots, added some chopped cilantro and tossed with some lime juice. After it sat for a bit, the purple from the carrots turned the jicama reddish purple. This would also be good made with kohlrabi or daikon radish instead of jicama. It was so simple and yet so tasty.

jicama and carrot salad

jicama and carrot salad

The cold, dreary weather has also made me crave comfort food. I made some turkey noodle soup one night, and a batch of Minestra Maritata (aka Italian Wedding Soup) on Saturday. Since the ‘wedding’ part of the name calls for a marriage of meat and greens, I harvested some lacinato kale for the greens and made meatballs with ground turkey breast. The kale was in great shape for mid-December, other than a few holes from early caterpillar damage.

lacinato kale

lacinato kale

The soup is a light, but filling favorite here, and in addition to the kale this batch had cabbage, cranberry beans, onions, celery and some of those Cordoba carrots.

Minestra Maritata

Minestra Maritata

That’s a look at what’s happening here in mid-December. To see what others are harvesting and cooking up, visit Daphne’s Dandelions where Daphne hosts Harvest Mondays.

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7 Responses to Monday Recap: December Doldrums

  1. Daphne says:

    Yum. I’m going to have to try that carrot salad. It sounds like something I’d love.
    Daphne recently posted…Harvest Monday, 15 November 2014My Profile

  2. Margaret says:

    That tostada looks delicious!

    So now I know that my gold nugget squash was VERY tiny compared to what they could be – my largest (out of only 2 I harvested) was just over 12 ounces & barely enough for a side dish for one. One of these days I’ll be able to grow squash…I think I can…I think I can… 😉
    Margaret recently posted…End of Season Review – Brassicas – Part 1My Profile

    • Dave says:

      The size of the Gold Nugget squash seems to be highly variable in my garden. Most were in the 16-24 ounce range, though I had one that was 9 ounces and then the big one I cooked last week. It was a good year for them here. I lost one plant, but the two remaining plants made almost 15 pounds of squash.

  3. Susie says:

    I was planning on a different carrot dish tonight, but those roasted veggies look so good, I think I’ve changed plans! In fact, everything looks good!
    Susie recently posted…2014: My Year in the Vegetable GardenMy Profile

  4. That is some healthy eating. It is so nice that you are able to eat from your garden in December! Amazing.
    Lou Murray’s Green World recently posted…We bought a steer!My Profile

  5. Michelle says:

    It doesn’t look like you are in the dining doldrums! Everything looks delicious. We are finally getting some real winter rain here, it’s dark and gray and cold, but I’m thrilled for the moment.
    Michelle recently posted…Harvest Monday – December 15, 2014My Profile

  6. Mark Willis says:

    You have been eating some very colourful meals, Dave! That mix of carrots and potatoes is particularly attractive. I don’t have any of the Cavolo Nero / Lacinato Kale this year, for the first time in many years, because my wife suddenly decided she didn’t like it any more. I have devoted the space to something we both like – Brussels Sprouts.
    Mark Willis recently posted…Harvest Monday – 15th December 2014My Profile

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