Garden is a place of colors… Garden is a place of battle … Both gardener and plants battle against poor soil, unruly weeds, plant diseases and bad weather conditions. The pleasure of home vegetable garden is painful. But garden is a place of hope.
This week we have amaranths shooting towards sky….
Boiling is not the only way to cook them. Cooked with fresh beans, zucchini, tomato, potato, onion, garlic olive oil make one of the best vegetarian summer dishes. Amaranths tossed around in a pan with garlic, chopped onion and olive oil make a vey tasty main course or side dish or a pasta sauce which you will sit at room temperature for an hour or so.
I said room temperature because when you are ready to eat cover them with a tomato sauce made with two large, fresh grated tomatoes, 2 garlic cloves( grated), some olive oil, salt and pepper, left in the fridge for an hour to let the flavor permeate.
Mix with the amaranths and pour over the pasta.
As a variation, some feta cheese can be crumbled into the hot pan. I prefer to have this sauce without cheese though.
The quality of soil is of prime importance in growing a successful organic vegetable garden. Unfortunately, our Cretan garden has poor, heavy, tightly compacted clay soil. To improve it, we double dig it, amend it with lime, add animal manure, organic minerals and grow plants -like legumes- that add nutrients into it. Vegetables are rotated each year. This helps them resist pests and diseases.
Everyone knows how hard it is to grow organic -and clay soil makes it harder- totally worth it though. Moreover, the short duration of vegetable crop makes us creative cooks while it lasts.
This morning our garden provided those beauties you see below …
The peppers were beautiful to eat. I stuffed them with chopped tomato and onion, mint, barley bulgur and raisins. The filling was sprinkled with salt, ground black pepper and olive oil.
I placed them on a bed of tomato/olive oil/ chopped garlic sauce and baked them at 180 C for about 20 minutes.
I also made a salad of tiny tomato and purslane sprinkled with sea salt and coarsely ground pepper, then sprinkled with virgin olive oil and vinegar.
Although melon is full of strong aroma, the mouth watering and thirst quenching watermelon is perfect for this hot, hot summer day.
But you already know it…
And, of course, if you grow some lavender, the second better thing is lavender ice cream!