Sunday, September 19, 2010

From my Garden to my Kitchen to my Belly

After only 5 weeks of tending my garden several of the plants began to ripen and offer their abundance. First off, most of the herbs became full enough to allow me to harvest small handfuls. Helpful Tip: Many of the herbs actually do better when you use them regularly and keep them pruned. Allowing an herb grow overly full, or letting it flower, causes the plant to expend too much of its energy nourishing the flowers while the flavorful parts - such as the leaves - suffer and wither. Several times I've had to prune the flowers off the cilantro, basil, Thai basil, chives and thyme. Now by late summer my garden is at its peak, overflowing with vegetables and herbs. Here comes the fun part: Eating!

I've made an array of dishes this summer: fresh mojitos with the mint; tomato-basil and mozzarella salads with the basil and tomatoes; flavorful omelets with the chives and spring onions; soup with the eggplant, onions, garlic, and chilies; and a tasty white wine and butter sauce for scallops using the chives, spring onions and tarragon. (See below for some of these recipes).

Fresh Mojitios
- 10 fresh mint leaves
- Crushed ice
- Rum
- Freshly squeezed lime juice
- Sugar
1. Rinse and wash the mint leaves
2. In a glass mix the crushed ice and mint leaves. Muddle until the leaves are partly broken up (in order to disperse the minty flavor).
3. Over the mint and ice, pour the rum and lime juice. Half rum, half lime juice - or adjusted depending on how strong you desire your drink.
4. Mix in the sugar to taste. Stir until all ingredients are mixed well. Enjoy cold!

Tomato-Basil Mozzarella salad
- 3 tomatoes
- About 3/4 cup of fresh mozzarella
- 5-10 basil leaves
- Olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Salt, pepper
1. Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella into small bite-sized pieces. Mingle together in a serving bowl.
2. Rinse and wash the basil leaves. Cut or tear the leaves into thirds and mix into the salad.
3. Sprinkle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the salt. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve fresh.

Eggplant Soup

- 1 eggplant, sliced in thin discs
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- 1 chili pepper, finely diced (optional, if you like spice)
- Olive oil
- 1 28-oz. can of crushed tomatoes
- 2-3 chicken bouillon cubes (or vegetable bouillon cubes)1 1/2 cups water
- 1 small yellow squash, cubed
- 1 8-oz. can of corn
- 1 14-oz. can of black beans

1. Saute the eggplant discs with the onions, garlic and chili pepper until slightly browned. Add generous amounts of olive oil while frying.
2. In large saucepan combine the can of crushed tomatoes with the sauteed eggplant, onions and garlic. Add the bouillon cubes, water and squash and bring to a boil. Sprinkle additional olive oil in soup, if desired.
3. Add the black beans (include the liquid in the can) and the corn. Continue simmering for about 20-30 minutes, or until the vegetables reach desired consistency for soup.
4. Remove from heat, add salt and pepper as desired.

White Wine and Butter Scallops
- 12-15 fresh medium sized sea scallops
- 1/4 cup white wine (I used a Sauvignon Blanc)
- 1 stick butter
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- Handful of chives
- 2 spring onions
- 4 tarragon leaves
- 3 garlic cloves
- 3/4 cup of baby Portabella mushrooms, sliced
- Olive oil
1. Chop the chives, spring onions, garlic and tear tarragon leaves.
2. In a saucepan mix the white wine, butter, lemon juice, chives, spring onions, garlic and tarragon leaves. Cook on medium heat on the stove top, stirring occasionally, until the butter melts completely. Remove from heat.
3. In a fry pan, sauté the sliced mushrooms, with olive oil and a few sprinkles of the wine-butter mixture, for taste. Bring to a light golden brown. Remove from heat.
4. Lightly sauté the scallops, for about 40 seconds on each side, or just until each side turns slightly brown.
5. Add the wine-butter sauce and the mushrooms to the scallops, and continue cooking on stove top for about 3 more minutes, paying attention to the scallops to ensure that they do not get overdone. Remove from heat.
6. Serve over rice with a side of greens such a bok choi, kale or broccoli.

For information on seafood, such as scallops, see the Enviornmental Defense Fund ( or the Marine Stewardship Council ( Or see chapter 3 of Mindy Pennybacker’s book Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth through Simple, Everyday Choices for more information on fish.

If your garden is lacking a few key ingredients you can still source sustainable, locally grown produce. Visit or to find farms stands and farmers markets near you. See chapter 2 of Mindy Pennybacker’s book Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth through Simple, Everyday Choices for more information on finding local and organic produce.

For BPA-free canned goods, try Eden Organic products (

See chapter 5 of Mindy Pennybacker’s book Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth through Simple, Everyday Choices for food storage and cookware that is healthy for you and the planet.

For information on how and why to eat organic and live green in all areas of daily life for your health and the planet, see GreenerPenny editor Mindy Pennybacker’s book Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth through Simple, Everyday Choices. Visit, to get more green news and tips, sign up for our free monthly e-newsletter, or ask any green living questions that pop into your head!

--by Lindsay Kurz, GreenerPenny web and graphic designer

1 comment:

skin whitening said...

You are growing vegetable.
That's great!
It looks delicious...I like cheese and tomatoes.