When the Azure Blue Sage starts to flower I know it really is spring. It is sometimes difficult to capture the incredible blue of this lovely little flower, but this is close. Not the tastiest of the sage, but the flower is so worth having in the garden.
Harvesting asparagus from the garden. For some gardeners the Holly Grail is tomatoes and I can agree most of the time. However for the 6 or so weeks in the early spring when we can cut and use our asparagus straight from the garden, they are sure a close second. At this point I am pulling about a half a dozen spears from the garden each day. And finally roasted a bunch and froze for later use. I've shared my soup recipe before and it is also below in this post. I'm thinking when I harvest my potatoes later I will enjoy making the soup with not only my other veggies, like my I'itoi onions and asparagus but also my own potatoes - Yum!
One of my caper plants is in full flower bud production mode - about a month ahead of schedule as I did not prune back this year. It is really tempting to run out and start collecting the buds at this stage (isn't the flower just drop-dead gorgeous) but I am holding out for the berries which follow. A lot more fruit for the effort, literally as the berries are way bigger than the unopened flower bud and just as tasty - maybe more so.
My Pineapple Guava flowers are the "candy" of the garden. The gorgeous flowers are edible and the white petals are like eating a piece of candy, really. The fruit that follows in late fall is good (like an astringent kiwi) but we think the flowers are just so delicious, it is hard not to eat them all which would seriously impact having fruit later on.
I shucked the last of the sugar peas for use in a pasta dish. They only need to be added to the boiling pasta in the last 1-2 minutes and they are perfect that way, although we have enjoyed the raw shucked peas in salads too. I don't want to rush the seasons because we have so much I'm looking forward to from the garden this spring - early fall, but in truth I can't wait to harvest sugar peas again next winter.
I mentioned in prior posts on roasting my asparagus and other vegetables and it is now my current passion as each veggie is ready to harvest. So far I have roasted our asparagus, carrots and sweet peppers and I can't wait for the next ripe veggie to add to the list.
In the picture I have roasted the tender tips on the left - you know how you bend the asparagus to find the tender vs. tough stem, but I just could not bring myself to waste all that delicious taste of the harder stems. So, I par-boiled the diced tough end for 5 minutes, then roasted along with the tender parts and they both turned out tender, delicious and ready to use in the recipes below.
I made the recipes over a 2 or so week period, using the roasted vegetables and other ingredients for each meal.
Just flat out great tasting and good for us too!
So first the roasting. This step is repeated in the soup recipe. Use the roasted vegetables in the pasta primavera or salad as desired.
Roasting Garden Vegetables
Prepare a pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.
Rinse and dice the vegetables. Spread out on the prepared pan and sprinkle with a bit of oil of your choice.* Toss to coat. Season with cracked black pepper and salt.
Roast for 5 minutes. Stir once, then roast for 5 more minutes. Very firm vegetables, like carrots may take an additional 2-6 minutes. You can check for tenderness with the tip of a knife.
And, they are ready to use right away - my Deane loves them just like that as a side vegetable at a meal - or incorporate into any of the recipes below.
*If you are going to be using a pot or bowl when using the roasted vegetable immediately after cooking, I like to save a step, add a bit of oil to that pot or bowl, toss the raw vegetable to coat, THEN, spread out on the cookie sheet, S&P and roast as directed.
This is an easy recipe to make all in one pot but it requires keeping an eye on the pasta as it cooks. The idea is to have used up ALL of the water by the end of cooking.
Pasta of choice (for this kind of recipe I like to use Orzo, but any favorite pasta will work nicely)
Water - equal to twice the amount of the pasta - EX 3/4 cup of orzo will use 1 1/2 cups of water
Roasted vegetables - I had red sweet pepper, carrots and asparagus - ratio is your choice
Shucked sugar peas
Bring water to a boil, add salt, and pasta and set the timer for the recommended time. Watch and stir as needed - it is possible you may need to add some additional hot water. Add sugar peas the last 1-2 minutes of cooking. Just before the pasta is done stir in all the rest of the vegetables. Serve, and add shredded cheese to melt on top and enjoy.
Roasted Vegetable and More Salad
The same roasted vegetables - asparagus, carrots and sweet pepper made a great salad.
I added chopped up marinated artichoke hearts
Snipped I'itoi onion tops
Juice from a couple of my limequats
Cracked black pepper and a bit of salt (the marinated artichokes have some salt in them)
The ratios are your choice.
Chop the artichoke hearts into small pieces reserving the marinade.
Add all the veggies to a bowl. To the reserved marinade (add more if you need it), mix in the lime juice. Taste for balance of acid to oil, and add pepper and soil to taste.
Dress the salad, don't add to much, just enough to coat all the ingredients.
Serve and enjoy.
And finally - soup!!
I am so in love with this soup, I can't wait to make it again.
I posted two versions before: A broccoli, potato, cheese soup and an asparagus, potato, cheese soup.
Roasted Vegetable, Potato, Cheese Soup
|Asparagus Soup With Cilantro & Dill|
Makes two servings
2 tablespoons of avocado or olive oil (Or substitute melted uncured bacon fat for oil or a combination)
2 cups of chopped vegetable of choice
4 ounces white American or cheddar cheese or cheese of choice (cheese is optional)
handful of I'iotoi Onion tops (or scallion tops or onion of choice)
2 cups of water
salt and cracked black pepper
|Broccoli Soup with Stock Flowers & SugarPeas|
Garnish of edible flowers, raw sugar pea pods chopped or snipped herbs
An immersion blender works best for this, or you can use a counter blender working in batches and return to the pot to continue cooking.
Heat oven to 450, prepare a pan with aluminum foil.
Cut vegetable. Large dice OR cut small bunches of veggie like broccoli
Clean and cut potato into about 1 inch chunks - I leave peels on, I put them in the 2 cups of water and do not rinse as I want the extra starch
Snip onion tops
Shred or cube cheese and set aside
Snip herbs for garnish or prepare any garnish of choice and/or edible flowers. Set aside
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium size pot.
Spread vegetable in pan, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of oil over, season with some salt and cracked black pepper, stir and roast for 5 minutes.
TIP save time -- put 1 tablespoon of the oil in the pot you will use, add the vegetable, toss to coat then spread in the prepared pan and proceed. Does a better job of coating the veggie. Then add the final tablespoon of oil to the same pot and proceed.
While the vegetable is roasting, heat oil, add onion to hot oil in pot, stir and reduce heat and set timer for 5 minutes. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring as needed.
When timer goes off, add water and potatoes to pot, bring to a boil, add a bit of salt, cover and cook at a low boil.
Stir the vegetable and roast for 5 minutes more. When the vegetable is finished add to pot, keep at a low boil, cover and cook until all are tender - about 7 minutes.
Using the emersion blender puree. I like to leave some chunks in the soup.
Add cheese to melt, stirring into the soup to combine.
Serve with garnish. Squeeze a bit of lime juice over each bowl.
I hope you try these recipes with your own garden goodies!
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Have a wonderful time in the garden and kitchen!
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-- Catherine, The Herb Lady
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