It may still feel like winter, but gardeners in the region have our sights set on springtime….
Last weekend, many hundreds of DC-area gardeners and food activists converged on Wilson High School in Tenleytown for Rooting DC — a free, day-long conference that has been going since 2008. SFDC has been a part of this event for a number of years, with board members hosting an info table and hands-on workshops on seed saving and pickling.
At this year’s RDC, board members Mark Haskell and Ibti Vincent led a group of nearly 50 beginning gardeners through the process of planning an urban, small space garden plot. The group shared ideas and anecdotes about selecting plants and configuring small spaces to maximize food production. From basic considerations about sunlight needs to more advanced planning for succession planting and interplanting for low-input, high-yield production, we looked at ways to keep our gardens growing through all four seasons. We offered suggestions to cut down on labor and costs, and to increase the likelihood of success in the garden for beginners: using some perennials and self-seeding varieties, limiting the number of crops during times we tend to be out of the area (deep winter, summer vacation), companion planting to deter pests without chemicals, and finding friends and neighbors to help with the garden. (Who are we kidding, they are tricks useful for experienced gardeners, too.) It was a lot of fun, and we’re looking forward to using some of these strategies with our school garden partners in the coming year.
Interested in volunteering at a garden-based SFDC event and flexing your (experienced or aspiring) gardening muscles after a long winter? Sign up for our free SFDC monthly e-newsletter to keep up with events we’re planning.
Happy (almost) springtime, DC gardeners!
From our SFDC Jan 2018 newsletter… Also published in Samin Nosrat’s Salt Fat Acid Heat. Serves 8-10 as a side.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Season the squash lightly with salt, drizzle with olive oil and place in a single layer on 1 or 2 cookie sheets.
- Halve the Brussels sprouts and season lightly with salt. Drizzle with olive oil and place in a single layer on 1 or 2 cookie sheets, cut side down.
- Place vegetables into the preheated oven and cook 20-24 minutes, until tender and caramelized.
- Meanwhile, stir together another ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, sugar, onion, chili flakes, and garlic and season with salt.
- Check on the vegetables to make sure that they are browning evenly, rotating pans to control the heat. When you are satisfied that they are cooked, remove from the oven and mix in a big bowl. Pour marinade over and allow to sit for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
- Garnish with torn mint leaves before serving.
~recipe on Samin Nosrat’s blog here.
Many thanks to Snail winner 100 Bowls of Soup for hosting the wonderful tour and tasting at their location in Herndon, VA earlier this month!
- 6 lbs. Butternut Squash, peeled, quartered lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
- 2 quarts sauce: 100 Bowls Beef Bolognese, Eggplant or Mushroom Ragout, or Ratatouille
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & pepper
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 lb. mushrooms, sliced (any kind you prefer)
- 1/2 lb. baby spinach (can be substituted with kale)
- 15 oz. ricotta
- 1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
- 2 cups grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Working in batches, toss the butternut squash slices with olive oil, salt and pepper. Lay the squash slices on sheet trays and bake until the squash is tender but still holds its shape, about 15 mins. Repeat until all the squash is roasted. For best results, squash can be roasted a day ahead of time and cooled as they will be easier to handle and layer.
Coat a large saute pan with olive oil and add diced onions and bring the pan to a medium-high heat. Add garlic and mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. When mushrooms are soft, add spinach and saute until spinach is wilted.
In a bowl, combine the ricotta and parsley.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
To assemble, place a ladleful of 100 Bowls “Sauce” (Beef Bolognese, Mushroom or Eggplant Ragout or Ratatouille) in the bottom of a 9x13inch baking dish. Spread to cover the bottom of the dish.
Arrange an even layer of the roasted squash on top of the Sauce. Be sure the squash completely covers the surface of the baking dish–this acts as the “pasta.” Cover the squash layer with more Sauce. Spread ricotta mixture over Sauce layer. Arrange an even layer of the mushroom and spinach mixture on top of the ricotta. Sprinkle with the grated parmesan. Lay another layer of butternut squash over parmesan and repeat the process until baking dish is full, ending with a top layer of squash topped with a little Sauce and parmesan.
Cover the baking dish with foil, place on a sheet tray and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes more. Remove from oven and let rest for 15-20 mins. before serving.
This seasonal recipe comes from FoodPrints — the in-school education program of Snail award winning FreshFarm. This recipe is one of the program’s most popular with students in DC public elementary schools, and will soon be featured on menus in the cafeteria of FoodPrints partner schools.
- 2 apples
- 2 beets
- 2 carrots
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ to 1 teaspoon salt to taste
- ½ – 1 teaspoon brown sugar or maple syrup, to taste
Core the apples and peel the beets.
Grate the apples, beets and carrots with a box grater or with the grating attachment of a food processor. Put grated vegetables in a large bowl.
Put remaining ingredients in a jar and shake well. This is more dressing than you will need.
Pour in just enough dressing to coat the salad, but not enough to drench it. Mix well. Save the rest of the dressing in your fridge for other salads.
Have a great seasonal recipe you’d like to share? Send it our way — it may end up featured in an upcoming newsletter! (And if you’re interested in volunteering with FreshFarm programs, send an email to email@example.com.)
From our Sept 2017 SFDC newsletter… Recipe adapted from Swiss Chard Pesto Pasta. Serves 4 as a sauce.
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 2 cups packed chopped Swiss chard leaves
- 1/2 cup chopped almonds or walnuts
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan and pecorino cheese
- additional parmesan shaved with a vegetable peeler
- 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Pulse garlic in a food processor to chop.
Add chard, nuts, cheese, and parsley and pulse until finely chopped.
Scrape down inside of bowl. Add oil, salt, and pepper and process just until smooth.
Serve with pasta/polenta/toast and shaved parmesan.
Have a great seasonal recipe you’d like to share? Send it our way — it may end up featured in an upcoming newsletter!
This recipe, adapted/photo from Sprouted Kitchen, appeared in our July 2017 newsletter.
Serves 2-4 as a side
- 1/2 head small green cabbage
- 1/2 a small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced, some seeds removed unless you like it really spicy
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 Tbsp. mayonnaise (or similar alternative, such as vegenaise or Greek yogurt)
- 1 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
- 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
Slice the cabbage extra thin, discarding the core, using careful knife skills, a mandoline, or the slicer blade in your food processor. Place the sliced cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon kosher salt. Using your hands, massage the salt into the cabbage. Let sit for 15 minutes.
Fill the bowl with cold water and jostle the cabbage with your hands. Drain into a large colander. Don’t worry about drying the cabbage.
Meanwhile, make the dressing by whisking together the mayo (or substitute), grapeseed oil, rice vinegar, and a few pinches each of salt and pepper.
Combine the rinsed cabbage, onion, and jalapeno in a serving bowl; add the cilantro. Add dressing and toss well.
Serve and enjoy! This recipe is easily doubled.
Get some fresh, healthy berries into your desserts with this beautiful Seasonal Strawberry Shortcake, contributed by Slow Food DC Board Member Shelu Patel.
Strawberries and Cream Ingredients:
2 cups ripe strawberries
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 handful of chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1 Tablespoon Grand Marnier
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup of finely chopped nuts (hazelnuts, almond, pecans or black walnuts, but choose a single nut type)
1/2 cup unsalted or sweet butter
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour (you can be creative with the type of flour)
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
Prepare your strawberries by removing the green hats and slice the strawberries into a large glass mixing bowl.
Mash the strawberries lightly using the back of a large spoon.
In the bowl with strawberries sprinkle sugar and add the Grand Mariner, chopped mint and cream. Lightly mix by gently folding.
Cover bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a baking pan with a piece of parchment paper.
Whisk the eggs until pale yellow in large mixing bowl. Add nuts, butter, sugar, flour, baking powder to the whisked egg bowls. Mix lightly until the ingredients form a ball.
Add the ball to the baking pan on top of the parchment paper. Gently pat the ball semi-flat on the parchment paper.
Bake for 20-24 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool before halving the cake horizontally.
Add strawberries and cream to the cake bottom-half and place the remaining cake top-half back on the dessert.
Enjoy your spring strawberry shortcake!
Adapted from the New York Times and featured in our April 2017 newsletter.
It’s asparagus season!! This kid-approved recipe is from the FoodPrints website. FoodPrints is an education project of FRESHFARM — a Snail of Approval award winning nonprofit — that integrates gardening, cooking, and nutrition education into the curriculum at partner elementary schools.
for the salad:
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 ½ cups of water
- 1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
- 6 radishes, chopped
- 2 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives or scallions
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
for the dressing:
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 small garlic clove, grated or minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 5 tablespoons buttermilk
- salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ounce (about ¼ cup) feta cheese, crumbled
Place the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse several times with cold water. Place rinsed quinoa in a medium saucepan with 1 ½ cups water and salt to taste.
Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 15 minutes, until the grains display a threadlike spiral and the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat, let sit for at least 10 minutes undisturbed. Transfer quinoa to a bowl and fluff with a fork.
Steam the asparagus until tender (3-4 mins).
Drain, cool, then cut into 1-inch pieces. Add to the quinoa, along with the radishes, pumpkin seeds, chives and tarragon.
Whisk together the lemon zest and juice, garlic, salt, olive oil, buttermilk and pepper.
Shortly before serving, toss with the quinoa and asparagus mixture.
Sprinkle the feta over the top and serve.