It’s no secret that great ingredients make great food. Or that simple dishes quickly become amazing when paired well. What’s less known is it only takes a handful of provisions from the garden to transform staples into mile markers.
This is where the obsession begins. To think it’s as simple as growing arugula or basil or a scattering of onion sets tucked in between other plantings and that’s it?! I’ve just changed my life? (How is it that homegrown flavors are life changing?)
Right now my personal grow, eat, repeat crush is with basil, tomatoes and spring onions. How can I make the most of them? The seasons are changing but not without a last hurrah. Then it’s on to the next obsession — snap peas, dark leafy greens, radishes and more onions (at least for now).
The timing is perfect. It’s salmon season here in Northern California and my husband came home Sunday with a decent catch. So guess what’s for dinner?
I found fresh corn at the market along with some butter greens and dry farmed early girl tomatoes. Dry farmed early girls are AMAZING with a capital “A” (just like cucamelons) and hard to find. And I can’t truly dry farm them, not in containers at least and my garden is all containers at the moment.
What’s for Dinner: The latest obsession
The combination seems obvious considering what I have growing. Ina Garten’s corn salad made with basil and onions from the garden along with tomatoes, rice and greens — because dinner in our house isn’t the same without a green salad — and salmon.
The salmon is cooked using a method my aunt taught me and one she learned while on a Sonoma chef walk. It’s simple. Prepare it with olive oil, fresh squeezed lemon, crushed pepper, salt and herbs. You can also use a pre-made lemon pepper combination in a cinch. Sear the fish on the non-skin side in a cast iron skillet for about 3 minutes, flip it and then bake it for 10 minutes and broil for an additional 2 minutes or so minutes for a flaky finish. It’s the best.
My green salads are always simple, I like to let the ingredients speak for themselves. Greens combined with seeds and whatever else looks good. Tonight it’s freshly picked Sun Gold tomatoes tossed with my standby dressing: 2/3 olive oil to 1/3 white wine vinegar with salt, pepper and sometimes fresh squeezed lemon.
The tomato salad recipe can be found here: http://passthepistil.com/easy-tomato-salad/.
What to Grow in a Small Space Garden:
Honest truth, I’ve just left managing a large garden which I miss, but you don’t need an acre to grow a garden. It’s possible to grow fabulous food and transform your menu in a small space. As I mentioned, my garden at the moment consists of containers. An array of wine boxes, other containers and 2 large troughs (livestock troughs).
Onion sets, a couple tomato plants, basil, radishes and greens are perfect for the small space container garden. Here are a few more plants to try and once you do you won’t turn back — you’ll soon be kitchen garden obsessed.
- Cucumber (lemons, Persian, and gherkins – including cucamelons – are my faves)
- Runner Bean, Pole Beans
- Snap Peas