Cool Spring? Cook-up Warm Comfort in a Bowl!

In the midst of cool, wet, spring weather a hearty warm soup made with arugula, fresh from the garden - is the perfect pacifier as we wait for our garden soil to warm and to snatch plant starts at our Incredible Edibles Plant Sale, Saturday, May 6th, 2017!

Enjoy this yummy recipe from Master Gardener and Chef, Hilary Hutler.  For even more inspiration on how to utilize your harvest be sure to catch Hilary at the Incredible Edibles Plant Sale - PLANT GROW EAT workshop tent at 1pm

Want even more tasty recipes?  Visit Hilary's blog 'Tummyrumblr' which is packed with nutritious and delicious recipes 'Exclusively Worth Eating'!

Potato & Leek Soup with Arugula Cream
*makes 8 servings*

2 Tbsp butter
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, washed and small diced
2 medium carrots, small dice
2 stalks celery, small dice
5 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 C. dry white wine
8 C. broth or stock of your choice
2 sprigs fresh lemon thyme (regular thyme is fine, too)
21/2 # Yukon Gold potatoes, medium dice
4 C. firmly packed (but not crushed) arugula
2 C. best quality half and half
S & P

Melt the butter in a stockpot over medium-low heat. Add the leeks and season generously with salt and pepper. Sauté the leeks until quite soft, about 5 minutes. Add the carrot, celery, and garlic and cook a few minutes more until the garlic is fragrant. Add the white wine and increase the heat to medium high. Allow the wine to boil and cook the mixture until the wine has mostly evaporated, 3 or 4 minutes. Add the broth or stock, the potatoes, the thyme sprigs, and more salt and pepper. Cover the soup and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove the lid and reduce to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are very tender, anywhere from 20-35 minutes (less if using starchy potatoes like Russets). When the potatoes are done to your liking, turn off the heat.

In another small saucepan, warm the half and half until steaming. Place the arugula in the blender and pour over the warm half and half along with 2 cups of the still hot potato leek soup. Puree until smooth,and then add the blended mixture back in with the rest of the hot soup. Season with more salt and pepper to taste until perfectly delicious.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Hilary Hutler.

Fall Veg Gardening and Kale-palooza!

It's not too late to plant veggie starts that you can enjoy into the fall and winter. Broccoli, lettuce, spinach, carrots, endive, kale, collards, rutabaga, and arugula are all great options.  A few fast growers like lettuce and arugula can be seeded and harvested as baby greens, most likely, before the first hard frost.

Kale, collards, and mustard greens can all grow well into the colder seasons and withstand frost. The flavor actually improves with cold night time temperatures.  When you plant with a fall and winter harvest in mind be sure to select varieties that are well suited to harvesting during that time of year.

Oregon State University Extension Service offers a great publication with helpful information about Fall and Winter Vegetable Gardening.

So plant some kale and then try these tasty recipes that fellow Master Gardener and professional chef, Greg Sweeting, shared during his Kale-palooza presentation at the 2016 Incredible Edibles Plant Sale.  For more inspiration, be sure to catch Greg's Harvest to Table presentation on Tuesday, September 13th.

Kale-palooza Recipes!
Kale-Strawberry-Chevre Salad - an elegant salad, equally nice with any other seasonal fruit!
Wash, De-stem and spin dry 8-12 Kale Leaves
Roll them in a tight ball or pack and Slice them as thinly as possible. Turn the pile 90 degrees and chop through it again until the kale is very fine. Do it again, pressing the pile into a tight bunch so fewer knife passes are required. Set aside in small container.
To a large mixing bowl add the following: 1/8C Lemon Juice, 1 Tbsp. Tahini, Real Salt and fresh cracked Black Pepper to taste. Whisk to dissolve salt. Whisk in 1 Tbsp. fresh minced Garlic & 1/4C. E.V.O.O. Add 1C thin sliced Strawberries, 1/2C toasted Walnuts, 1/2C dry Cranberries, 4 ozs. crumbled Chèvre (goat cheese). Toss well. Serve slightly chilled to room temp.

Banana-Kale Smoothie - A fun, yummy way to serve up kale to kids both young and old!


Put into the blender: 2 or 3 frozen very ripe bananas, some orange or mango or mandarins, 2C unsweetened organic coconut milk, 2T chia seeds, 1C plain grass fed yogurt, 4 large kale leaves, 2T honey, 1T unsweetened coconut, 1 ripe avocado. Blend on high speed until well pureed. Pour into wine glasses for an exotic healthy energy getaway.

Garlic Sauteed Kale with Fig Balsamic Vinegar & Extra Virgin Olive Oil - SOOOO delicious!!

E.V.O.O. 4Tbsp.
Fig Vinegar 2Tbsp.
10 Kale Leaves, washed and rough chopped with most large stem removed
2-3 cloves Garlic minced
Real Salt
Dried Red Pepper Flakes
3T Fig (or other balsamic version) Balsamic Vinegar

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat for a minute or 2. Add the minced garlic and the chopped kale directly on top, being careful not to brown the garlic. Some water from the washed greens helps prevent that while the greens have a chance to quickly break down, release some moisture of their own and help braise the whole concoction. Add the seasoning on top of the greens, then use the vinegar to rinse the seasoning down into the pan. Quickly cover the pan, then lower the heat to LOW and cook for 5-10 minutes, making sure there's a little moisture for steaming/braising.

Serve hot as vegetable side for many entrees or add to soup, casserole or egg dish if leftover from a meal.

-Recipes courtesy of Greg Sweeting

Get Busy...planting, growing, and eating!

This is the perfect time of year to sow some radish seeds.  "Cherry Belle" is a variety recommended by OSU.  Cherry red skin with snow white interior, Cherry Bell is a sweet, crisp radish with a high yield.  Plant some seeds now and in a mere 22 days you will be harvesting cheery Cherry Belle's!  We asked fellow Multnomah County Master Gardener and professional chef Greg Sweeting for some inspiration for a harvest of radishes.

From Greg here is a simple, ravishing recipe for your next crop of radishes. Greg says "it's like a cross between guacamole and radish salsa".  We just know it's refreshingly delicious!  Shall we say ravishing?!

Ravishing Radish Spread
2 medium ripe avocados, diced
6 medium RADISHES, sliced into 1/4" wedges
1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/3 of a roasted bell pepper, small dice
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 large lime, juiced

Extra Virgin Olive Oil to taste
sea salt to taste
cayenne pepper to taste

We have enjoyed this spread dipped with tortilla chips, spread on toast, crackers, and rolled up in a corn tortilla.  We will try mini lettuce wraps next!  Or how about in fish tacos or along side pork tenderloin? Yum!!! 

If you want more inspiration on how to utilize your harvest come to the Incredible Edibles Plant Sale, Saturday, April 30th, 10am to 4pm (1624 NE Hancock St.) there you will find chef Greg presenting at 10:30am in the Plant. Grow. Eat. tent!

OSU Extension Master Gardener, Greg Sweeting is a 'farm and forest-inspired chef.  He has trained in both the Bay area and Europe, and has been a restaurant owner/chef/operator.  Currently Greg enjoys a variety of catering and personal chef work paying special attention to growing and using culinary herbs.

Hope of Spring!

Hope of Spring!

'Hope of Spring' is dreaming of summer veggie gardens and checking out our Incredible Edible Plant Sale offerings! We are in the process of placing our 2016 plant order so until we have the official list, check out all the wonderful varieties that we offered last year! Will you try a new tomato like Blush, or stick with a classic like Willamette? Get inspired to shop!

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Winter is For Dreaming

The short days and long nights of the cold season are the perfect time to dream of all the possibilities for your garden in the upcoming season. Here are four tips and a recipe to inspire you to try something new in 2015.

1. Make a List

Dream Big! What would really make your next gardening season special? A new raised bed? Growing herbs from seed? Or perhaps something more ambitious such as tracking down heirloom varieties of a favorite vegetable, trying your hand at espaliering a fruit tree or even building a greenhouse? Setting goals now will help you to plan for the resources that you’ll need so you are ready when those balmy days of spring arrive.

2. Gather Information

Can I  really grow a pomegranate in the Pacific Northwest? Do I have enough sun and space to grow seven kinds of basil? What is this ‘lasagna mulching’ that I’ve heard about, is it the right method to create a new bed in the parking strip? Once you’ve dreamt big and set some goals, it’s time to do some fact-checking and investigation. Luckily there are many great resources out there, but finding accurate information on the web can be a challenge.

Local extension programs offer a wealth of tested techniques and proven varieties for the vagaries of climate in your specific area. In the Pacific Northwest, that includes both Oregon and Washington State Universities. And if a veggie garden is part of your list, Growing Your Own is a great place to start.

The library is another wonderful source of information, and an easy way to try out different techniques, themes and authors before investing in a copy yourself. Multnomah County Library has a plethora of books on a variety of gardening topics, not to mention cook books for ideas on using up your edible bounty, including numerous ebooks that you can view right now.

One book that is worth investing in is Seattle Tilth’s Maritime Northwest Garden Guide. Newly revised this year, it’s been in circulation since 1998 and provides a month-by-month guide tailored to our wet winters and cool summers. Its available at most larger grocery stores in Portland, usually in the magazine section.

Don’t forget the seed and plant catalogues! They can be the bright lights in these dreary days, filing your head with possibilities you didn’t even know existed for your garden. Ever thought of growing hardy kiwi, purple-podded fava beans or pineapple sage? Did you know you could? Some local companies include Territorial Seed, One Green World, and Nichols Garden Nursery.

3. Make a plan

Now that you've got the information you need, put your plan on paper. Figure out what steps can be done now, and which will need more time, energy or money to complete them. 

If your plan includes lush organic veggie starts, mark May 2, 2015 on your calendar to visit the Incredible Edibles Plant Sale. Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer your edible gardening questions, and walk you through the over 50 varieties of veggie starts for sale! Find a your next favorite.

4. Learn what you CAN do in winter

We are blessed with mild winters in Portland, and are often unaware of how productive our gardens can be, even in January. Hardy crops such as kale and cabbage will make it through most winters without extra protection. Floating row cover or a cold frame can trap enough warmth to have radishes in February. Carrots and parsnips planted in the summer will overwinter if given a layer of insulating mulch, becoming sweeter in the process. See some other Seasonal Activities that can get you out in the garden.

5. Eat! Here is a simple Just-Picked-In-January Kale recipe to encourage you to add winter gardening to your dreams for next year.

Get out an 8 to 10 inch sauté pan with a lid (an upturned plate will do in a pinch) and place, uncovered, over medium high heat. Peel and dice one medium onion of your choice, add it along with a glug of olive oil to the pan. While that sizzles, trim the thick center rib and stem from 8-10 large kale leaves then chop them crosswise into half-inch ribbons. Peel and dice 1-2 cloves of garlic. When the onion begins to be translucent, reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic (with more oil if the pan is too dry). Sauté until fragrant, 1-2 minutes, then add the kale. Season with salt, pepper and one or more of the options below. Stir/toss to coat – tongs are useful here. Get the lid handy, turn the heat up to medium-high and add a ¼ cup of liquid (vegetable or chicken stock, or wine will add flavor, use water in a pinch & up the seasonings) and quickly cover with the lid to trap the ensuing steam. Let steam for 3 to 5 min then check for doneness and stir/toss. Kale will be collapsed and beginning to soften. Winter kale tends to be thicker than summer kale, so cover and let cook for an additional 3 to 8 minutes, depending on the kale and your preference for texture/softness. Taste & adjust the seasoning if needed, and finish with a squeeze of lemon.

Seasoning Options

  • 1 t or more of red chili flakes
  • 1 t Montreal steak spice (omit salt if using)
  • 1 t smoked paprika
  • 1 t lemon pepper (omit or reduce regular pepper)
  • 1 T grainy mustard

Celebrating Home Grown Goodness

Did you read our December 30th post and wonder why we are saying ‘Tis the season for the proliferation of zucchini.’?  The peak of winter is definitely not zucchini season but we were so excited to be kicking off this Plant. Grow. Eat. page.  We wanted to give you a sneak preview of what you can expect to find on this page…where we will focus on the art of growing your own!  We will be posting a host of planting, growing, and harvesting tips, along with inspirational recipes to utilize your harvest.  So be sure to check back here as we celebrate home-grown goodness!



Zucchini Madness!

Tis the season for the proliferation of zucchini. At a loss for what to do with your zucchini bounty beyond a ‘drop and run’ on your neighbors porch? Try the following recipe for Zucchata Frittini from fellow Master Gardener, Jeff Kidder.

Jeff’s Zucchata Frittini

The frittini is from Jeff’s blog – where you can find other great recipes:
http://chezvorax.blogspot.com/2012/08/zucchata-frittini.html

The Master Gardeners had zucchini themed snacks at a recent tour of Zenger Farms and I decided to make a zucchini frittata. I followed my basic formula for a greens frittata but without the leafy greens. I also thought they would make better finger food if I made them in a rectangular pyrex pan rather than the round pie pan I usually use. I liked how that worked out.

Recipe:
• sauté some onions in olive oil and butter
• once they start to soften add four chopped zucchini
• cover with a lid to steam for a while until zucchini softens, then remove lid and continue to sauté
• add a couple tablespoons of BBQ sauce (secret ingredient -- shh! don't tell)
• Meanwhile, butter pan well (I used a good tablespoon of butter)
• Sprinkle a goodly amount of hazlenut meal in the pan and shake about until the butter is nicely coated. I think I used about 1/3 cup, but I don't measure such things.
• Pour in the zucchini/onion/BBQ mix
• Sprinkle with a little crumbled cheese (I used smoked cheddar)
• Cover with some blanched broccoli
• Cover with some julienned, roasted beets
• Cover with grated hard cheese, I used parmesan
• Meanwhile, mix 8 eggs, 1/4 cup half-and-half, 1 Tbs flour (I used potato flour to keep it gluten free), and some spice (I used Powder Forte)
• Pour egg mixture over vegetable mixture
• Cover with almond meal (I used about 1/4 cup run through a sifter to keep it from being clumpy)

Bake at 350.

I check at 25 minute and pull it out when the internal temperature reaches 180. (Though in this case I got distracted and didn't get it out until it had reached 205 but that still seemed to be this side of disaster!) If it doesn't heat through it won't set up or will take a very long time to do so. One way or another, it was all eaten.

I have really been enjoying the trifecta of zucchini, onions, and BBQ sauce. The onions give the zucchini some flavor, the zucchini helps make sure the onions don't burn. The long sauté helps cook some of the moisture out of the zucchini, and the BBQ sauce just seems to add a nice savory note.

Harvest Day Salad
As you begin to pick your first bushel of beans and cherry tomatoes here is a wonderful salad to celebrate the start of the summer harvest season.

GREEN BEAN, YELLOW BEAN AND CHERRY TOMATO SALAD

Colorful, refreshing and delicious.
3/4 pound green beans, trimmed
3/4 pound yellow wax beans, trimmed
3 cups cherry tomatoes (about 14 ounces), halved
1 medium-size red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sugar

Cook all beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain; rinse with cold water and drain well. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Pat dry, then wrap in paper towels. Enclose in plastic bag and refrigerate.) Combine beans, tomatoes, onion and basil in serving bowl. Whisk oil, vinegar and sugar in small bowl to blend. Season dressing with salt and pepper. Add dressing to vegetables; toss to coat. Cover; chill at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours, tossing occasionally. Serve salad cold or at room temperature. Makes 6 servings.

Bon Appétit, June 2000