It’s the second to last day of March (a month that was more lion than lamb) and I’m kicking off my Garden to Table series with two delicious side dishes. I have, in fact, harvested some parsley and basil from my indoor garden. While they are a drop in the bucket of what will inevitably be an herb filled growing season, they are so very welcome! I’m thrilled to share this dish with you as it is absolutely delicious.
Bon Appetit readers will recognize this recipe from the most current issue of the magazine, April 2011. I couldn’t resist such a simple but satisfying example of how even the most meager use of fresh herbs can dress up something like a chickpea in way that makes it sing.
Here is where you can find the chickpea recipe: Chickpea Salad with Lemon, Parmesan and Fresh Herbs.
The second item I used today from my garden was carrots. Carrots? In March? Why, yes. It’s a fact that carrots, if stored properly, can remain sweet, crispy and fresh for months… in this case half a year. I only had a few left so I shredded them and put them into a crunchy Asian style coleslaw. I learned to make this coleslaw using a Betty Crocker cookbook. It works every time, even when I’m missing an ingredient here or there. Today I was short the green pepper, so I just left that out.
These two side dishes will be served tonight alongside some grilled Italian sausages. It’s pretty cold outside–mid-30’s!–but that doesn’t stop a true Wisconsinite from grilling sausages. It wouldn’t stop me from grilling veggies either!
There’s no reason a gardener can’t infuse dishes with homegrown goodness year round. It requires planning, but not so much to be an inconvenience. And sometimes serendipity plays a role as well. Things just fall into place once in a while and an ingredient presents itself at just the right time. (I didn’t remember I had those carrots! But I was sure happy to find them this morning when trying to figure out what to do with half of a cabbage.)
Since Betty doesn’t share her coleslaw recipe online, I’ve typed it out for you here. It’s so good!
Betty Crocker’s Cookbook Bridal Edition 2001
1/2 medium head cabbage, finely shredded (4 cups)
1 large carrot, finely shredded (1 cup)
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
4 medium green onions, thinly sliced (1/4 cup)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup white wine, white vinegar or cider vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Place cabbage, carrot, bell pepper and onions in large glass or plastic bowl.
2. Shake remaining ingredients in tightly covered container. Pour over vegetables; stir. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours, stirring several times, until chilled. Serve with slotted spoon. Store covered in refrigerator.
Happy Cooking! And don’t be shy if you have recipes or ideas to share throughout the season. I welcome links to recipes in the comments area or at my Twitter account @AGraciousGarden.