Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. The fresh harvests continue to trickle in here. I pretty much harvest what we have on an as-needed basis. This week I cut the last of the Mei Qinq pac choi from the greenhouse and stir fried it for a side dish, along with a few mushrooms. It had quite a few aphids on it, but after rinsing several times it cleaned up nicely. The warm winter weather has made for more aphids than usual in the greenhouse, and I will need to do some work before I can start moving seedlings out there or they will all be quickly covered too! I think more harvesting and cleanup is in order, plus some spraying with insecticidal soap.
I also cut some arugula I have growing in a salad box on the greenhouse bench, a mix of Speedy and Adagio. It too had a lot of aphids on it. After cleaning it went on a pizza I cooked up Saturday night.
The pizza featured a lot of homegrown goodies, starting with the pizza sauce I used for the base that was spread over the homemade whole wheat crust. The pizza sauce has one ingredient, tomatoes, and I cook it down thicker than a sauce but not as thick as I do for tomato paste. The pizza was also topped with slow-roasted tomatoes, pickled baccatum peppers (Malawi, Kaleidoscope and Aji Golden), and the fresh arugula. I sprinkled my half of the pizza with some fermented Aji Angelo pepper flakes to give it a little extra zip. It was zippy enough for my wife without them! I do like the pepper flakes, and fermenting the peppers first gives them extra flavor as well as a little salt from the brine.
I got a nice cutting of sunflower shoots one day from the basement light garden. These went in some wraps we had for lunch, along with grilled chicken and some homemade hummus. The sunflower shoots are so easy to grow, and we have really been enjoying the truly fresh ones.
Last week I cooked up a mess of chickpeas in the pressure cooker that I used for the hummus and for some quinoa falafels I made for dinner one night. Chickpeas are easy to cook that way, about 35 minutes at high pressure for unsoaked ones, and I think they taste a lot better than canned ones.The falafels also featured some of the cilantro sprouts I have growing under lights. I sort of made up the recipe as I went along, taking my usual falafel patty recipe and adding a cup of cooked quinoa to it. In addition to the chickpeas, quinoa and cilantro, I also add ground cumin, minced garlic and salt along with egg and a bit of flour to help bind it together. Then I dip the patties in bread crumbs before I cook them in a little olive oil in a skillet. This gives me and my wife our falafel fix without having the deep fried version you usually get in a restaurant. The quinoa made a nice addition I think and I will be making these again for sure.
I’ll close with a photo of something that isn’t exactly from the garden, but that will surely impact my gardening plans this year. We have daffodils blooming already, in February! This is at least a couple of weeks earlier than usual, and on par with when they bloomed in 2012. That year saw the asparagus popping up in early March, so I think it is safe to say we are likely going to have an early spring here this year. I will try and push up my seed starting times by a week or so. We’ve had reports of mosquito sightings here too, so it’s probably going to be a bad year for bugs of all kinds. On the brighter side, early asparagus will be a welcome sight indeed. And I can’t say I’ve minded the milder winter temps.
Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!