Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Garden Inspired Meal

We try to base our meals and grocery shopping around what vegetables are in season. In the summer that is made easier by an abundant garden at our disposal. So what should we make with this late evening harvest?

As mentioned in the earlier post, this year's tomatoes are slowly progressing, but nothing significant. We are keeping our fingers crossed, but we did find these beautiful heirloom tomatoes at the farmer's market. The black cherry tomato plant is still covered in green unripe tomatoes, but we still managed to hunt and peck several handfuls.

We still had a beautiful selection of garlic and shallots harvested back in June.

And we had bags and bags of swiss chard and beet greens.

We decided all these vegetables were begging to be stewed. Stewed greens is one of our go-to items when deciding on what other vegetable dish to make. Stewed greens is not only extremely nutritious, it's versatile, tasty and easy to make.

However, our stewed greens includes one item that needs to be prepared in advance - roasted garlic. We still had 6 garlic bulbs from the garden and decided to roast 3 bulbs. Roasted garlic is a kitchen item we always have on hand. We roast garlic in large batches and store in the in an airtight tupperware in the fridge. We have never thrown out roasted garlic, it seems to last forever, so we usually do big batches at a time. This time we only did 3 bulbs worth by simply skinning the garlic cloves and tossing in oil. Roast in the oven for about 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Once the roasted garlic is done we are ready to stew some greens. We start by cooking chopped shallots and a spicy chili pepper, finely chopped, in a large pot. When the shallots are soft and the chili peppers are making you cough a little, add the chopped tomatoes.

All the portions and amounts are dependent on how much greens you have. We had a lot of greens so we used about 1 & 1/2 cups of shallots, 2 Jamaican red chili peppers, all the tomatoes in the picture, 2 full salad spinners of chopped swiss chard/beet greens (including the stalks) and all of the roasted garlic (3 bulbs).

Once the tomatoes are cooked down a bit add the greens, a few handfuls at a time. They will need to cook down by turning the tomato/shallots over the greens. Sometimes additional liquid like broth is needed to help cook down the greens. The heirloom tomatoes were very juicy so no additional liquid was needed this time.

Cook the greens down until the chard/beet green stalks are tender, and then add the roasted garlic and stir to combine.

The greens are ready to be eaten at this time. We love how the roasted garlic cloves remains creamy and sweet, but adding a spicy salty flavor to the earthy, tart and peppery greens. The greens go great as a side dish with rice, on a sandwich with spicy pork or in a bowl of raman. But we wanted to do something different with the almost Italian tasting tomato stew. We decided to toss it in the food processor and make it into a sauce.

Which we then reheated and tossed with some macaroni we had in the cupboard.

We found this sauce to be extremely versatile. We grilled the yellow squashed harvested from garden and simply served the sauce along with the squash for an added tang to the dish and for a double dose of vitamins. All grown just a few feet away!


Unknown said...

This looks insanely delicious! I love how you took it one step further and made pasta--yum! I'm also inspired to make roasted garlic now--thank you for the tip!

xo Mary Jo

Tri and Justin said...

Yum! Great suggestions - I have several of these ingredients right now.