I went a little overboard with my first garden, just like I went overboard with everything else rural when we first moved from Manhattan to a small town in the Hudson Valley 36 years ago. We had goats, a rabbit and even a pony named Smoky, which my kids rode about three times before they got bored. We ended up giving the pony and rabbit away. I would have given the garden away too, if I could have. The first year, we planted about a 1/4 acre with the usual tomatoes, cucumber, greens and zucchini, but also pumpkins and corn and, for some reason that escapes me now, horseradish. The next year, the garden was overrun with weeds and horseradish. Given that most people are not that fond of horseradish and nobody likes eating weeds, I ended up buying my veggies at the local farm stand...much less labor intensive. But I should have gotten the Mom of the Year Award for driving a goat (and her milking stand) to my daughter's kindergarten class for show-and-tell.
Anyway, the garden is my miracle each year. It's an incredible thrill to put tiny seeds into the ground and have them turn into the basis of a season's worth of meals just a few short months later. This year, we grew potatoes for the first time; digging them was like searching for hidden treasure (but only for about 5 minutes for the aforementioned grandsons).
Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes, Basil and Paleo Feta
2 packages Miracle Noodle Fettucini (follow the easy directions on the package, and don't be put off by the fishy smell of the noodles when you first open the package; the odor washes away)
Assorted heirloom tomatoes, about 2 pounds, chopped
Chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper
One recipe Paleo Feta:
(Reprinted with permission from Jane's Healthy Kitchen, janeshealthykitchen.com):
1/2 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
3/4 tsp sea salt
Ground black or white pepper to taste
3 TBS fresh lemon juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar1/2 tsp vitamin C crystals
2 tsp nutritional yeast
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil3/4 cup coconut butter, softened
1. Place all the ingredients except the coconut butter in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth
2. Add coconut butter and blend until smooth
3. Refrigerate to firm up.
To assemble dish, mix tomatoes, olive oil, basil, salt and pepper. Mix into Miracle Noodles (after you've followed directions on package which is basically to rinse, plunge briefly into boiling water, and then drain), then mix in chunks of Paleo feta.
Variations on a Theme
Collard Green Wraps
For the wrap in the photo above, remove the rib from the center of a collard green leaf. Some people like to blanch the leaves in boiling water and then cool them. It makes for a more supple wrap, but when I want instant sandwich gratification, I don't bother with this step. Anyway, mash some avocado and spread on both halves of the leaf. Top with sliced barbecued chicken or turkey, then top with sauerkraut and roll up the leaf halves.
No-nitrate bacon, heirloom tomatoes and avocado would also be good wrapped in a collard leaf...mmmm, tomorrow's lunch, I think.