Few things are as satisfying as eating food you have grown with your own two hands. Although I had brought home food from Ecolocity’s community garden in the past, last week was the first time I was able to say I ate food that I grew from start to finish.
My first harvest from our garden was 4 large leaves of Swiss chard. I picked them because the Swiss chard plant, which is being conveniently shadowed by the potato plants – accidental permaculture! – is growing quite large.
The next day, making note of my fresh ingredients, I decided to make a gloriously simple pasta dish. In the midst of making it, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice if I had some fresh basil as well?” So I went outside and picked it! In the end, I didn’t even need a sauce – just some very good olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Obviously, this recipe’s proportions of vegetables aren’t hard and fast – it was just what I happened to have on hand. Nonetheless, it was really delicious.
What have you created from the produce in your gardens?
Shannon’s First Harvest Pasta
– 1-2 tbs of regular olive oil – enough to sauté the vegetables
– 1 medium sized onion (supermarket)
– 3-4 cloves of garlic, although can use less to taste (supermarket)
– 1 1/2 fresh tomatoes (farmers’ market, greenhouse-grown)
– 1 green pepper (farmers’ market, I think)
– 4 leaves of Swiss chard (our garden, grown from seed!)
– Several leaves of fresh basil (garden, from a seedling bought at the farmers’ market)
– 1/6 box of linguine – we use Barilla Plus, which is pretty good for the healthier pastas, although traditional white pasta would be excellent as well
– Fancy olive oil – ours is mushroom and herb, from Lebherz Oil & Vinegar Emporium in Fredrick, MD
– Fancy balsamic vinegar (from my sister-in-law, a long time ago)
Boil a pot of water and salt it heavily. When starts to boil, put in the pasta and cook until al dente. (I actually skipped this step because I had pasta left over from the night before.)
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the vegetables. Finely chop the onion and garlic. Heat up the regular olive oil in a large sauté pan, then add the onion and garlic and lightly salt and pepper. Cook them at medium-high until they just start to brown. Finely chop the green pepper and add it to the pan, cooking until it tastes cooked, but still has some crunch. Roll up the chard and the basil leaves into a cigar-like shape and chop them into thin strands. Roughly chop the tomato. Toss both the greens and the tomato lightly with the other vegetables, until the greens just wilt. Drain and add the pasta. Heavily drizzle with fancy olive oil and balsamic vinegar and serve.