10 Recipes Every Kitchen Gardener Should Know
Just as a kitchen garden adds value to one's quality of life, there are certain recipes that have the potential to add a lot of value to one's kitchen garden. The 10 recipes below aren't necessarily your top 10 as "top" is a very subjective word, but many of them were either proposed or liked by members of KGI's facebook page suggesting that there's consensus around at least a few of them. Please use the comment section below or our facebook page or Google+ page to chime in on the discussion.
1) Sauteed or stir-fried greens. Greens pack a mighty nutritional wallop, but you don't have to knock yourself out to prepare them. We like to stirfry and sautee them normally with olive oil, chopped garlic, salt and pepper. You can also take an Asian approach by sauteeing or stirfring them in peanut oil and adding soy sauce and hot pepper flakes.
2) Pureed Soup. Whether you're eight, eighty or somewhere in between, pureed soups are some of the most comforting and digestable concoctions on the planet. What's great about them is that they all tend to start the same way by sweating onions, carrots and, often, celery in a large stockpot in oil or butter. This recipe for potato leek soup is a favorite at my house. It can be tweaked in a hundred ways by adding or substituting different green vegetables (zucchini, kale, spinach, etc.) and herbs (parsley, tarragon, thyme, etc.).
3) Tomato Sauce. Tomato sauces can be used and repurposed in many ways: for pasta, lasagne, pizza, vegetarian chili or chili con carne, to name just a few. We usually freeze ours but canning is another popular way of extending yout tomato-eating season into the cool months.
4) Basic Vinaigrette. Knowing how to make your own dressing for salads is an empowering skill and you would be amazed to learn just how few people have it. If you have any doubts about that, take a look at the bottled dressing aisle next time you're in the grocery store. This basic vinaigrette will work well for salads made with fresh greens as well those made with steamed vegetables like green beans, beets, and potatoes.
5) Sauerkraut or other lacto-fermented vegetables. Fermenting vegetables offers three benefits: it preserves them, it adds beneficial bacteria to our diet and, finally, it tickles our tongues with a pleasantly-tangy taste. This basic recipe for cabbage can be adapted for other vegetables like carrots, beets, turnips, cucumbers and peppers.
6) Roasted vegetables. Roasting is an important technique to have up one's culinay sleeve as it brings out the natural sweetness of vegetables. It's especially useful at this time of year when root vegetables like carrots, turnips and parsnips are plentiful.
7) Fruit crumble or crisp. One of the things that distinguishes a kitchen garden from a vegetable garden is the presence of fruit plants often in the form of berry bushes, compact fruit trees and rhubarb plants. And one of the easiest ways of having those fruit star in their own palette-pleasing dessert is via a crisp or crumble which are easier to make than pie and every bit as satisfying.
8) Bread. Many vegetable dishes are hearty enough to stand on their own, but for those that can't an accompanying slice of homemade bread can easily complete the meal. I'm a fervent believer that every kitchen gardener should master at least one type of homemade bread. At our house, we make mostly sandwich loaves, flatbreads and no-knead varieties like this one.
9) Pesto. Pesto is a powerful, pungent paste capable of making even the most ordinary of foods (pasta, boiled potatoes, bread, etc.) extraordinary. We make different types in our house depending on what we have for herbs and greens, parsley, arugula and, of course, the classic basil pesto of the Mediterranean region.
10) Vegetable Curry. Curries are forgiving in terms of what vegetables you put in them and aren't complicated to make. They can also be taken in different directions with the addition of complimentary ingredients like coconut milk, chickpeas, seafood and chicken.
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