If we relied on the garden for our daily sustenance we would have been very hungry this week, but on the other hand we didn’t have many garden-free meals. The garden ingredients were just more in the way of seasoning than main course.
The birds get most of the wild blueberries. Last year I tried to protect the berries with bird netting but caught a black snake in the net and somehow the berries disappeared anyway . So I’m not doing that again. This year’s strategy is to try to pick some before the birds get to them. I picked a handful (over two days) and added them to pancake batter and called it blueberry pancakes. The blueberries were sparse, but did add some color.
Volunteer coriander seedlings popped up everywhere this spring. I worked around them and let them grow until this week when I decided they had reached their peak. I cut a big bunch and made green chutney.
I don’t really have a recipe for this sort of perker-upper which is usually served in small amounts with Indian meals. For this batch I packed the mini-blender container full of coriander leaves, added a few spearmint leaves, about 4 green chiles from the freezer, the white part of 2 scallions, a couple of generous pinches of salt, and lemon juice. Then blend and stir and blend and stir and blend and stir (it takes a long time because you have to blend, stop, open the container, redistribute the contents, blend again) until it turned into a brilliant green smooth paste. This was more than we eat at a single meal and it really tastes best when freshly made, but I put the leftovers into ice cube trays. About 10 seconds in the microwave is enough to thaw one cube (that’s about the right amount for the two of us for one meal) and it will be almost as good as fresh and definitely better than store-bought.
Friday night I made green chile cheeseburgers and cebollitas. I discovered a container of roasted poblano chiles in the freezer from, um, 2009. They were a little freezer-burned, but I chopped them up and sautéed with sliced onion (store-bought), chopped green onion tops (from the garden), salt to taste, added a bit of water for moisture and a dash of mint vinegar for extra zing. That concoction was the green chile part of the green chile cheeseburgers.
The first planting of onion seedlings is getting crowded and needs thinning. I like green onions as seasoning and in salads, but they’re also really good grilled and served as a side dish. We first learned of this about 25 years ago at a Mexican restaurant/grocery store called Mixtec in DC. Then when the Baja Fresh chain first came to town (and when it was good, not the way it is now), these green onions (cebollitas) were on the menu. That was one of the first things they removed from the menu in their slide towards boring mediocrity. But I digress. Anyway, cebollitas are very simple to make. Trim green onions to fit the grill. I peel off the first couple of layers of leaves because they’re usually tough. Then brush with olive oil and put them on the grill. It only takes a short time for them to wilt and the tops to start to char. Use tongs to turn them over once or twice. Remove from the grill, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and serve with with lime wedges to squeeze over.
There. I thought I didn’t have much to show for this week’s Garden-to-Table Challenge, but this looks like a not-bad list.