Gardening doesn't come easily to me, but we've managed to harvest some edibles already. I'm excited to share our favorite Recipes from the Garden this year!
Honestly, I want to love gardening, and I do love it in my head, but the reality of gardening is so challenging for me. Every year at about this time, as the weather gets hotter and the weeds and pests threaten to undo all of my hard work, I question why it is I go to all the trouble every year. It's only mid June and already I've suffered a lot of garden casualties. I think it was cutworms that took out all the chives and onions, and I never figured out what got to the beets but the beet greens were so riddled with holes, that I finally called it quits and pulled them all out. Out of 35 green bean plants, only 4 remain. And I have a feeling that all the cauliflower plants I started from seeds and loved so tenderly are going the way of flea beetles now.
Yes, by the end of June, I really do wonder why I even bother with a garden.
But then, as I was sorting pictures and looking through my recipe notes, I realized that while gardening doesn't come easily to me, I may also be suffering from a perspective problem. Perhaps I cannot figure out why only half of the row of chard that I planted is growing (the other half remains stunted and stubby for reasons that allude me), but the chard that is growing is delicious. My 30 potato plants are, as far as I can tell, thriving. We ate loads and loads of fresh spinach and lettuce from the garden before the weather heated up, and I have high hopes to see those leafy greens again in the fall when the temperature drops. I've got a few red cabbage plants that are hanging in there and a whole row of carrots that appear to be doing well too. And though I lost a few, I still have 7 or 8 cucumber plants and I'm holding out for pickles.
Two ways to look at the garden I guess. When I'm looking for what's right, I can see that we've been eating a lot from the garden and can reasonably expect to harvest more edibles before the season is over. Just a matter of perspective, I suppose. And really, after shoveling and wheelbarrowing (new word?) 3 cubic yards of composted dirt all by myself in April, not to mention all the weeds I've pulled, I really ought to try harder to find the silver lining.
So, let's talk recipes!
Recipes from the Garden
It's still early in the gardening season, but we've been enjoying fresh food from the garden already. Here are a few of our favorite Recipes from the Garden so far.
Spinach is probably my favorite thing to grow. This was my second year growing spinach and it's been easy and productive both times. It is the most satisfying thing to head out to the garden for a bowl of fresh spinach three times a day! Here's how we've been enjoying our spinach from the garden:
Strawberry Bacon Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing - probably one of my all time favorite salads!
Warm Spinach and Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese - a restaurant copycat that we love.
Citrus Energy Boost Smoothie and the kid's favorite Green Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie and I shared my current favorite smoothie recipe over on instagram. We ate at least a smoothie a day with all those fresh garden greens - so good!
Sun Dried Tomato Pasta with Shrimp - the easiest pasta recipe.
Spinach Quiche - this one from Smitten Kitchen is a winner every time.
Spaghetti with Spinach Avocado Sauce - this one is so quick and easy.
This is my first time growing chard and so far so good. We've been eating the greens and the stalks and enjoying them so much. Here's how we've been enjoying our chard from the garden:
Rosemary White Bean Soup with Chard - so much flavor in this one, plus I get to use some of the Rosemary I've been growing too.
Tuscan Bean and Vegetable Soup - I've found that soup is one of the easiest ways to get my kids to eat vegetables. go figure.
Sausage and Swiss Chard Strata - This recipe from Martha Stewart has probably been everyone's favorite way to eat chard around here. We've eaten this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So good.
Sausage, Chard, and Lemon Lasagna - Another favorite from Martha. Maybe it's that sweet Italian sausage.
Sauteed Chard Agrodolce - I didn't think the kids were going to love this, but the sweet cherries won them over.
Mixed Lettuce Greens:
Really, if you don't grow anything else in a garden, you should give lettuce a try. So easy, but so rewarding. And the flavor and texture of freshly picked lettuce greens can't be beat. My favorite is the Allstar Gourmet Lettuce Seed Mix from Johnny's.
Garlic Shrimp Caesar Salad - fresh lettuce really makes every salad taste better.
Middle Eastern Taco Salad - one of my all time favorite recipes (from Simple Bites).
Mixed Greens with Balsamic Vinaigrette - this is an old favorite from Betty Crocker.
Salad Pizza - it sounds weird, but it's so good!
And most of the time we're just tossing whatever we have in the fridge and pantry onto a bed of greens and turning it into a salad with these 3 Simple Salad Dressing Recipes I shared over on Good Life Eats. A salad a day!
Tell me about your garden! Have you had any success this year?