I should probably start out with “Now Growing” but I am just in a “Foodie” state of mind today. It is such a treat to eat fresh tender greens every night. I have been fixing summer salads for our dinner and it feels great to eat fresh and backyard local! I even have a recipe to share for those of you craving or harvesting your own Spring greens.
But first, some exciting news in the world of legumes…Last week I harvested pea shoots for the first time. Did you know snow, sugar snap and shelling pea plants are entirely edible? We usually just eat the peas or peas and pod BUT the entire plant is edible…
I learned about the deliciousness of pea shoots from a great gardener, Willi Galloway at Digginfood.com. Willi grows many peas in her garden and eats the pea shoots as a Spring delicacy. She even plants small pots of peas just to enjoy the pea shoots as a snack in the outdoor eating area.
Inspired, I planted my peas (‘Oregon Sugar Snap’ and ‘Golden India’) very close together with the idea that I would harvest some of the shoots as a way of thinning the plants.
Last week, when the plants reached about 8-10 inches tall (before they get too big and tough) I simply pulled shoots until my plants were spaced appropriately – about 2 -3 inches a part. Then I cut up and washed the pea shoots and enjoyed a summer salad of homegrown butter crunch lettuce with a bit of extra crunch and sweetness with it. Not Foodie material but still good!
If you grow peas and haven’t tried this yet, make a note of it. It’s really fun and easy and the pea shoots are absolutely delicious. Sort of like a fresh pea but more tender and sweet.
This week, I’m harvesting:
Also cilantro from my cilantro/calendula bowl.
Now for my humble attempt at being a Foodie! Here is a recipe that incorporates all of these Spring greens and this herb plus a few other things to create a very tasty dinner. The fun part is most ingredients can be gathered from a Spring garden.
This is my adaptation of ‘Gourmet Chinese Chicken Salad’ originally published in ‘Portland’s Palate’ cookbook. Since I’ve simplified it quite a bit I’ve decided to name my version, ‘Gardener’s Chinese Chicken Salad.’
Gardener’s Chinese Chicken Salad:
For the salad:
Good sized bowl of Spring greens (arrugula, beet foliage, mix of lettuces, etc…)
1/2 cup of sliced radishes
1/2 cup diced scallions
1/2 cup chopped almonds
3-4 tablespoons sesame seeds (if desired)
1 – 1.5 lbs grilled chicken
1/2 package of Maifun rice stick noodles
To prepare rice stick noodles, heat 2 cups of oil (we used coconut because it is supposed to be very stable under high temps as well as offer many health benefits. Google it if you want to learn more) in a pan or wok on high to 400 degrees. Put in one rice stick to see if it puffs up immediately. If so, put in small handful and turn rice sticks over to allow all sticks to puff. Remove immediately and set aside to cool. Continue until all rice sticks are cooked.
For the Dressing:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce or Tamari sauce
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/3 cup rice vinegar
In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, garlic, soy sauce, pepper, sesame oil and vinegar. Set aside.
In a large bowl combine washed greens, scallions, radishes, cilantro, almonds and sesame seeds. Add grilled chicken and rice stick noodles. Toss entire mixture with dressing or drizzle dressing. Enjoy immediately! Serves 4.
How about you? Do you have some favorite summer salads where you can get most of the ingredients from your garden? Do you grow a lot of greens in your garden? Do you grow more cool season crops or warm season crops?