Garden, Plant, Cook!

Monday, September 30, 2019

World Vegetarian Day - October 1st -- October is Vegetarian Awareness Month

Three Sisters Stew.
Dear Folks,

You do not have to be vegetarian to appreciate vegetables.

As gardeners we treasure the bounty from our efforts.  Our vegetables, fruits and herbs are royalty for all of the work to make them available for us.

So, how come vegetables are the after thought when preparing a meal?

You do not have to BE vegetarian to treat these great garden gems like the stars they are.

I like many of the modern chefs creating "vegetable forward" meals, featuring them rather than as the side dish.  

Pictured is my "Three Sisters"  stew simmering away on the stove.  I also added some potatoes.  This hearty and tasty meal-by-itself dish is based on the principles of Three Sisters Planting of the Native Americans:  corn, beans, and squash.  A balance of foods that is nutrient and fiber dense.

I had pumpkin last year which was not fully ripe but the frost was coming so I harvest it immature (you CAN do that), diced. roasted and then froze for use.

I was in the mood to make a Three Sisters meal so I purchased frozen organic corn and edamame (I like the nutty taste of this soy bean, plus it is higher in protein).  I also had pre-cooked and frozen some diced potatoes, and bingo I had simple ingredients for a simple meal.   Traditional beans would be tepary or pinto.

My Three Sisters Stew

The ratios are very forgiving so don't fret about exact amounts.  I made this as a stew.  If you want to make as a soup, double or triple the broth amount and leave out the corn starch.

2 cups cooked squash
2 cups corn kernals
2 cups edamame (shelled)
2 cups broth of choice
2 cups diced partially cooked potato
1/2 cup of white wine
1 teaspoon thyme
Onion diced
1-2 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
1-2 tablespoons of olive, avocado or oil of choice 
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Corn Starch

Optional:  Bay leaf for cooking, remove before serving.
Optional Garnishsunflower* petals and/or sunflower seeds, roasted, raw or ground  

In a soup pot (about 2 quart minimum) heat the oil on medium and add the onions.  Stir and cook for about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic, stir and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Add the broth, half the wine, thyme and if using the bay leaf and bring to a boil  Add the corn and potatoes and cook for 2 minutes.  Add edamame and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the squash and cook for 2 minutes.  Mix the corn starch with the rest of the wine and stir in the stew to thicken - usually takes about 3-5 minutes.  You can adjust the corn starch / liquid ratio to make it thicker or thinner..  Taste for salt and adjust.

Serve with garnish of choice. 

*The sunflower is called the Fourth Sister because it was grown along the outside of the three sisters planting to attract pollinators.

Vegetables When trying something new and you don't know how to cook it -- Roast or Grill it.  Roasting or grilling vegetables brings out the natural sugars and tends to decrease any potential bitterness.   Whole or chopped, brush or toss with oil, a bit of salt, pepper and an herb of choice.  350-400 degrees, stir or flip every 5 minutes until cooked to your satisfaction.  Pictured:  Chopped carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes (purple), and onions with a sprinkle of rosemary.  Great tasting combo.

Read up on World Vegetarian Day at this site:

Think outside the "meat" - what vegetable(s) can you turn into a main dish?

Our weather is getting to that wonderful mix of cool mornings and warm afternoons.  Enjoy yourself and be kind to one another.  

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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