As promised, here are some of the recipes I mentioned in my talk at the SF Flower and Garden Show on March 24th, 2013. I chose them because I have found them to be particularly useful for cooking from my garden. For the recipes in my talk that are in my book Golden Gate Gardening, see that book.
Flat-leaf parsley is one of my most useful crops. (For cooking, flat-leaf is better than curled parsley, because it is easier to chop.) I grow it in my backyard, rather than in my community garden, so I can have it handy for last-minute needs. Even if you have only a container garden, this could be a useful crop to grow. Use pots 8-10 inches deep, 8 inches wide for one plant, 10 inches wide for 3 plants. Parsley is biennial, so it will flower, go to seed, and then die after it has been exposed to cold weather. Inland, this might only happen after winter cold. Near the coast, cool spring weather, or even cold summer nights might be enough to tip it over the edge. I let a plant or two make seed once or twice a year, so I end up with plants of different ages all the time.(You can continue to eat any leaves or tender stems after the plant makes flower buds, but by the time flowers open, the plants are usually rather tough.) If I were growing in containers, I'd start a few new plants once or twice a year, in a new container, and pull out the ones that are about to flower. (Parsley plants too mature to eat, but still green, are great additions to flavor soup stock, to be strained out before using the stock.)
Middle Eastern Garbanzo Bean Salad
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
one small clove garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons olive oil
A pinch of cayenne pepper if desired
Optional additions: 1/4 cup crumbled regular or nonfat feta cheese, 1/2 cup chopped fresh tomato.
Rinse the garbanzos and place them in a medium bowl. Chop the parsley, onion, and garlic. Put them in a small bowl and add the lemon juice and the olive oil. Mix the dressing ingredients. Then pour it over the garbanzos and mix. If you are adding the feta cheese and/or tomatoes, do so now and stir them in.
Serve cold or at room temperature. About 4 servings.
Shredded Beet Salad (Adapted from Farmer John's Cookbook, John Peterson, Gibbs Smith, 2006)
2-3 cups coarsely grated raw beet
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons white or rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon finely chopped shallot (or white part of wild onion , scallion, or chopped bulb onion)
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, finely minced (1/4-1/2 teaspoon)
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill leaves or one teaspoon of dried dill weed)
salt and black pepper if desired
Put the grated beets in a large salad bowl. In a jar with a lid, combine the rest of the ingredients. Put the lid on and shake vigorously to mix ingredients. Pour the dressing over the beets and toss with two spoons until well coated. Adjust flavor if needed. Ready to eat, but even better if marinated in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Keeps in the refrigerator for several days.
Two bonus recipes. I have adapted two recipes from a 1986 cookbook for use with currently available and inexpensive kinds of fish:
Fish in Seafood Sauce (Adapted from the book From Sea and Stream, by Lou Seibert Pappas, 101 Productions, 1986) (The wild oinion referred to in this and the previous recipe is Allium triquetrum, a Mediterranean escaped species that is a weed in California gardens. Please only eat weeds if you are sure of your identification skills.)
1 green onion or 2-3 wild onions, cut up
1 Tablespoon butter or margarine
1 cup milk (nonfat is fine)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
a dash of nutmeg (that's like half a pinch)
1/4 cup dry white wine
3-4 ounces of small peeled shrimp or other seafood
1 /13 pounds swai (which is also called white roughy and basa) or snapper
Set oven for 400° F. Spray-oil or grease an approximately 9x12 oven proof casserole or pan. Arrange pieces of fish in the casserole in a single layer. In a small skillet, saute mushrooms and onion in butter or margarine until soft. In a small saccepan, put the milk, then add to it the cornstarch, salt, and nutmeg. Cook the milk mixture, stirring often, until the sauce thickens. Stir in the wine, mushroom/onon mixture, and shrimp or other seafood. Pour the sauce over the fish. Bake, uncovered, for 15-25 minutes, until fish separates easily with a fork. Good served over rotelli pasta. Makes 4-5 servings.
French Fish Soup (Adapted from the book From Sea and Stream, by Lou Seibert Pappas, 101 Productions, 1986)
This is adapted from a fish stew recipe from Normandy that included fennel seeds. I used dill instead. I also added a second seafood and more broth. It can be made with rockfish, red snapper, halibut, or tilapia.
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 leek, chopped (white part only)
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth (canned or homemade)
1 cup of dry white wine
2 medium potatoes or equivalent, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1 medium carrot or equivalent, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds
1 pound of fish, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1/4 pound small, peeled shrimp or small mussels (not in shells)
Salt and pepper to taste
Add the olive oil to a medium skillet and saute the onion and leek, while stirring, until it is soft. Start to heat the broth and the wine in a large pot, and add the onions and leeks to it as soon as they are cooked. When the pot boils, add the potato, carrot, bay leaf, and dill seeds. Return the mixture to a boil, cover, and simmer about 20 minutes, until the potatoes and carrots are tender. Add the fish and other seafood, cover, and simmer about 10 more minutes, until the fish separates easily with a fork. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
Serve hot in wide bowls. 4-6 servings.