Some random shots from today, a balmy 43. Now we’re batting down the hatches. Snow storm a few hours away and low of NEGATIVE NINE tomorrow and Monday is supposed to be a high of ONE degree Farenheit. Brrr! I know, I know, “the weather”…what a fascinating topic (maybe not so much). But the garden is certainly concerned with the elements.
Rose of Charon bush
The neighbor’s magnolia tree foliage looks down right tropical!
Still green in the kitchen too.
Salad has: spinach, artichokes, and green pasta dressed with pesto made from: basil, peas, garlic, olive oil, sunflower seeds, cashews, salt/pepper). Pea-basil pesto is DELISH!
The Spy is ready should a zombie apocalypse arrive with the snow storm.
An important meeting
Baby on Tree Stump
Baby stylin’ on Instagram (@spygarden)
Compass and Sundial
Handy little tool should we decide to set sail (which may be a bit difficult in Missouri)
Another view of my favorite January decoration
And one shot from the road (taken from the passenger seat, as I never “shoot” and drive;) haha:
Historic stone church in our area (built in 1800s)
Despite the angel hanging in the top window and the festive white lights, still looks very creepy in this photo.
Even though it’s all bright white in the garden, it’s all green in the kitchen. Here is a very nutritious and delicious (and simple!) salad we’ve been enjoying:
Romaine, Broccoli and Quinoa Salad
Chopped romaine, chopped broccoli, and quinoa with cashews and chia seeds. The “dressing” (and I use quotation marks here because I just splashed these things on top and didn’t actually “make” a dressing): a splash of soy sauce, white white vinegar, olive oil, chopped fresh garlic, dried ginger, a little curry powder, a pinch of pepper and a pinch of red chili flakes. There is very little dressing so the romaine doesn’t get soggy. So you can make a big batch of this and enjoy it for a few days from the fridge. I’ve also made this salad adding chopped cabbage. We’ve also been enjoying spicy black-eyed peas, homemade rosemary bread (with flax and chia seeds) and for the Spy, Babyzilla, Smoochie and Spy Sister: a little bacon. Courtesy of my sister’s Vitamix and her genius we’ve also been drinking green smoothies full of kale and apples and limes and mango and cucumber FOR BREAKFAST. Perhaps an unorthodox method of surviving the frigid temps, but Spy Garden fancies all things unorthodox. And for the record, at this very moment I am listening to Cambridge King’s College Choir “Once in Royal David’s City”. Christmas music on January third?! Yes, because it’s still Christmas. But a new season is in sight and…
The seeds have arrived!
Pictured are a few of the varieties I am most excited about. Purple Calabash tomatoes because Maria’s (from Sweet Domesticity) were so beautiful, Atlantic Giant Pumpkins because there’s a chance for a 1500 pounder (!!!), purple basil because, Why Haven’t I Grown This Before?, Jaune Obtuse du Doubs yellow carrots because the French varieties always seem to do so well in Spy Garden and Red Orach because I love my greens (even when they’re red or purple) and I’ve never tried Orach before. To see the rest of the seeds I ordered click here (or scroll down to a few posts back).
This recipe for grilled/sautéed Romaine lettuce was one of the first posts I wrote. I’m hoping that most of my readers haven’t seen it yet! If you have, sorry for the repeat and let it be a reminder to try it, you’ll love it!
Don’t panic! Romaine Calm!
Yu-UM. That’s a two-syllable yum. Grilled/sautéed romaine is so delicious. Lightly browning romaine lettuce brings out this nutty, sweet flavor. It is a perfect fall/winter salad because it is hot (temperature-wise), yet still crunchy and fresh. Garnishing with nuts (really any kind you like) further highlights the nuttiness of the cooked romaine.
Put a tiny bit of butter or olive oil (a scant teaspoon) in a large pan over medium heat. Cut the tip off a romaine heart then cut it in half lengthwise. Put it cut side down in the pan and cook for about 3 minutes until the edges are browned and a little crisped. If you did it over the grill it would take even less time, a minute or so. You want it to be warm and slightly softened on the edges but still crunchy. Remove from pan and drizzle with vinaigrette. The other option is to chop it and then sauté it. The presentation is kind of cool when you leave the romaine heart intact (halved) but if you chop it before sautéing it works just as well.
The vinaigrette is just a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, a splash of white wine vinegar, a splash of extra virgin olive oil, a little salt and a fair amount of pepper. You can also omit the vinaigrette and crack some salt and pepper on and call it good.
Garnish with olives and nuts (kalamata and pistachios shown) if you like.
Grilled/sautéed/seared romaine is SO GOOD. If you’ve never had it you MUST try it. It will make you think of Romaine as more of an extremely versatile vegetable than just “lettuce”. Romaine lettuce is an excellent source of: vitamins A, C & K, folate, potassium and protein. Protein, you say? In ROMAINE??? Yes! It is true! A head of romaine lettuce has about 7 grams of protein!