As our gardens start to deliver, as I harvest my first spring veggies this time of year, I always make the same resolution: This year I’m going to eat more fresh out of the garden.
It sounds obvious, but the truth of the matter is I always get wrapped up in the garden work, from watering to weeding, and food preservation, from freezing to fermenting, that I get too busy and loose sight of the key reason why my family started the garden on our Wisconsin farm and B&B, Inn Serendipity, in the first place: to savor and celebrate fresh, local, healthy food.
Once again this year, I’m on a mission to feast on the bounty, to not get so wrapped up in the process that I miss opportune feasting moments. As inspirational fodder, I researched this idea further, resulting in an article for the upcoming July/August issue of Hobby Farm Home magazine: Farm-style Fast Food: If the growing season has you too busy to prepare well-planned meals every night, follow these tips for healthy “fast-food” eating.” In addition to that article, here are a few more tips I found helpful:
1. Reorganize Recipes
Are you a recipe clipper and collector like me? I have files (and, I admit, piles) of recipes cut out and printed from various sources to “try someday.” The problem is I could never find the right recipe at the right time.
Now I have the recipes organized in file folder by key ingredient (i.e., asparagus). I even took things a step further for some items like tomatoes and spinach, creating two recipe file folders for recipes that use the item fresh (i.e., a fresh spinach salad) or frozen (i.e., a lasagna that uses cooked spinach which I can readily make anytime in the winter).
2. Harvest and Prep in the Morning
Produce typically tastes best when harvested first thing in the morning, before the day’s heat takes its toll. Harvesting in the morning and, in some cases, taking things a step further by cleaning and chopping up the item, makes whipping up dinner much faster and easier.
3. Keep it Simple
No surprise, the simpler the recipe, the more it showcases the flavor of whatever fresh fruit or vegetable you have. The smaller the ingredient list, the more the fresh produce flavors shines through.
On that simple note, here’s an easy favorite from our B&B cookbook, Edible Earth: Savoring the Good Life with Vegetarian Recipes from Inn Serendipity:
Roasted Asparagus in Balsamic Vinegar (Vegan)
1 ½ pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed
2 t. olive oil
½ t. salt
3 T. Balsamic vinegar
* Place the asparagus in an oiled 13-in. x 9-in. pan.
* Sprinkle with oil and salt. –
* Bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
* Drizzle with vinegar just before serving.
Photo credit: John Ivanko