Archive for the ‘Growing’ Category

green coriander

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

When the plant has gone to seed, because cilantro always bolts and goes to seed, there is one more use for it before it dries into those delicious little orbs. Our friend Peter Smith turned us on to green coriander last year, and now I wait eagerly for the pods to appear. The flavor is, as one expects, half way between the grassy greenness of cilantro and the sweet spiciness of dried coriander. Last night I sauteed six ears of fresh Maine corn kernels with a green pepper, a sliced Vidalia onion and a handful of the green coriander pods that I had crushed with the flat of my knife. Lovely. If you have a garden and you grow cilantro I bet you’ve got these little beauties waiting for you out there, go check it out!  They pop right off the stems with little resistance. We’ve also crushed them into a vinaigrette, but I was thinking this morning that would make a great compound butter, maybe with a little minced shallot. Spread on a piece of grilled fish or chicken. Ooooh. Coriander has become one of my go-to dried herbs along with whole cumin seed.  I grind the two in my mortar and pestle and then sprinkle over chopped cauliflower on a sheet tray with some olive oil, s&p and chopped garlic.  Into a 400 degree oven until the cauliflower crisps up. Fab.


What’s in your garden?

planting the garden

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

garden beds

It occurred to me last night at 3:00 AM, when I had to run outside in the thunder and lightning in my nightgown to put my tools away, that I have been very lucky with the planting of our garden this year.  After each major planting session we have had a couple of days of rain. I left my tools exposed to the elements because when I went in for the day there were no signs of inclement weather. I usually put them away at the end of a session, unless I know for some certainty that rain is unlikely. Spring in Maine can be pretty wet, sometimes for weeks on end. This year we have had some pretty hot sunny days early in the season, including a week long stretch of 80 degree temps in March. I have no doubt that global climate change is a reality. In just the past seven years that we have been growing here we have seen some pretty distinct changes in the timing of seasonal changes.  Every year Spring comes a little earlier, and Fall stays a little later. This year I have been confused about my planting schedule due to the extreme temperature swings since March.  Should I plant the peas?  The potatoes? Is it too early for cucumbers? Zucchini? Am I late for planting my Sweet Peas? I spent three hours yesterday planting a second round of beets and carrots (the bed with the checkerboard mulch above), a bed of shell beans, the pole & bush beans, and a bed with assorted greens- chard, Dinosaur kale, radicchio and (new this year) cumin.  I was going to seed the cukes and zukes, but stopped myself.  Even though it was probably in the mid-70’s yesterday, those cucurbits like it even warmer-say in the 60’s at night- to germinate.  So while I could have planted those seeds, they would have sat miserably in the ground while we have this cool wet rain that we’re having today.

young taters

So I’ll wait another week, or more depending on the weather, before seeding those guys.  But I’m betting the beans and greens I planted yesterday are mighty happy about all this wet today. And the second round of carrots will germinate much better in the damp.  Carrots are always a challenge to keep damp enough to sprout in the Spring warmth. Our garden is down the slope from our house, far enough away that I have to remember to check on sprouters with a trip down the hill. Needless to say, it doesn’t always happen.  So I have had some bad luck with carrots.  The potatoes that were planted about ten days ago are poking up, as are some weeds… Last year out of sheer laziness we planted potatoes that we bought at a local garden center. They were not organic. They were not good. This year I went back to our usual source, Moose Tubers, and am happy to be back with our friends. We’ve got the bed netted to keep the chickens from digging up the little taterlets.  So in order to weed I’ve got to disassemble the protection.  Bit of a deterrent to the humans as well as the chickens.  When this rain stops I will climb in and weed that bed.  By then all of the potatoes should be up, and I can apply the first layer of mulch.  Vegetable garden season is here!