Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. The asparagus is still our #1 harvest, though the cold and rainy weather last week slowed it down a bit. We have harvested about 14 pounds so far this year, and it has showed up in a lot of meals. Last week I steamed a batch to go with a Rio Zape Bean and Sweet Potato Salad. I used one of our Purple sweet potatoes from storage for the salad, cut into chunks and roasted in the oven in a cast iron skillet until they were browned and crispy. Fried fresh sage leaves from the garden (Holt’s Mammoth) and toasted pine nuts top the salad, which is tossed with a vinaigrette dressing. The first time I made this it seemed like an unlikely combination of ingredients, but they go together amazingly well.
We also got our first taste of the fermented asparagus. For this first batch I added three cloves of smashed garlic, two dried mildly hot Aji Angelo peppers, and a bay leaf to the jar. I let it ferment for 5 days on our kitchen counter, and at that point decided it was ready for eating. The asparagus turned sort of an olive drab color, almost like it had been cooked. Amazingly though it stayed crunchy, with a tangy and tart flavor I find reminiscent of a cucumber pickle. It was tasty enough I started a second jar on Saturday, this time seasoned with the same amount of garlic and a few sprigs of fresh dill weed. I think it’s a good use for the small to medium size spears we get from the asparagus patch. Like many fermented veggies it is supposed to keep for a year in the refrigerator, but I predict this first jar will be lucky to last a week!
Some of the asparagus also wound up in a frittata I cooked for lunch yesterday. The asparagus was joined by some of our dried tomatoes and sweet peppers (rehydrated), and a few leaves of arugula and mizspoona from the greenhouse. I sprinkled a little homemade mild paprika on top before baking to give it a little extra color and flavor. I love how versatile frittatas are in the kitchen, and such a good way to use so many different garden veggies.
I cut a bit of lettuce from a salad box in the greenhouse for salads. I believe this is mostly Tall Oaks, an oakleaf mix from Wild Garden Seeds, plus a few leaves of Jester. There’s plenty more lettuce coming on, though the recent cold spell had me wanting soup and not salad.
Of course for me soup always calls for bread. I had some rolls in the freezer, but I also baked up a loaf of my Rye and Whole Wheat Bread last week for sandwiches. I recently ordered some grains from Bluebird Farms in Washington state, and I was anxious to try them out. They specialize in growing certified organic ancient grains like emmer, spelt and einkorn, as well as some heirloom varieties of wheat and rye. I made this loaf using their Pasayten Hard White Spring Wheat and their Heritage Dark Northern Rye, fresh ground in our Nutrimill, along with King Arthur bread flour. It had a wonderful flavor, and I will be looking forward to baking more bread with these grains in the future.
And yesterday I made a batch of sourdough pita bread using their emmer wheat. I followed my recipe for Whole Wheat Sourdough Pita Bread, substituting emmer flour for the whole wheat and making a separate emmer levain from my six-year-old mother starter. I mixed the dough up and retarded it overnight in the refrigerator to accommodate my schedule, which worked out nicely. The dough was a bit tricky to work with, fragile and prone to tearing, and the lower gluten content was pretty obvious. But they puffed up nicely when they hit the hot pizza stone, and had a sweet, nutty flavor. I also want to try the Whole Emmer Sourdough Bread recipe at Breadtopia. The emmer should also work well in quick breads.
The weather is supposed to be dry and warm early this week, so I hope to get back out in the garden and do some planting. I want to get a small spot of bush beans planted, and I have the bush squash plants pretty much ready to go in the ground. I am so glad I got the garlic and brassica beds mulched before the rains came. I put down sheets of newspaper and then covered with wheat straw. We’ve had over five inches of rain the last two weeks, and the mulch surely kept the soil from washing out. The plants are loving the rain, and have grown quite a bit since the below photo was taken earlier last week. Hopefully I can get more plants out there this week to join in the garden party.
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!