From Wellspring Charitable Gardens this Week - April 21, 2022
From the Garden this Week… Kale, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Mixed Greens, Romaine Lettuce, Butter Lettuce, Carrots, Spring Onions, Parsnips, Borage, Calendula, German Chamomile, Oregano, Chives, Cilantro, Lemon Balm, Grapefruit, Blood and Navel Oranges, Lemons
Using your Produce… by Julie Moreno
This week we have a borage and calendula flowers to brighten the baskets and they have culinary purposes as well. The easiest is to make a simple tea by steeping the flowers for 5-10 minutes in boiling water. Strain out the flowers and sweeten with honey if desired. For a burst of color, use the flowers in your salad instead. If you don’t have a plan to use the flowers and the oregano right away, unwrap the bunches and let them dry. You can use them the same way. I love to roast broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower, so when I saw a recipe for roasted kale, I did not need to be convinced. This recipe is similar, just keep an eye on the color, you want them to be a little brown, but it is easy for them burn if you are not watching.
Lemon Roasted Kale and Chard
1 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil kale and
chard leaves torn into 2-inch
pieces, about 9-10 cups
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon lemon zest
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
*Wash and dry the leaves thoroughly. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place kale leaves in a large bowl with the garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon zest and red pepper flakes; toss thoroughly. Place the leaves on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, watch for excessive browning. Remove from oven and serve right away.
Spinach Balls by Julie Moreno
This dish is like a quiche without a crust.
3 pounds spinach, spring mix, or greens
1 cup of breadcrumbs,
1 cup of pecorino, Parmesan, or Romano
Salt to taste
1 Tbsp. Herbs de Provence* (or to taste),
OR 1 Tbsp. Dried Italian Herbs OR
1/4 cup Fresh Herbs of your choice
*Chop and cook the greens by steaming or sautéing, drain any residual liquid. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter a large casserole dish. Combine the greens with all the remaining ingredients and form into small fist-sized balls. Bake until it has puffed up and a knife inserted comes out clean…about 20 minutes. Serve with a tomato marinara sauce.
When we have the baby spinach leaves, I take the time to meditate and think while I pull off each stem by hand, one leaf at a time. It’s probably a bit excessive, but I find the job therapeutic and enjoy it for that purpose. I love eating this with a few poached eggs and toast. Be gentle with the salt, it is easy to sprinkle on too much when the pot is full of leaves, but you are only cooking about a cup of finished product. Feel free to cook this ahead and reheat when needed.
6-8 cups spinach leaves, stems removed
2 garlic cloves minced
sprinkle of red chili flakes
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
salt and pepper
lemon juice or balsamic vinegar
Wash the spinach in a bowl of water, let any dirt settle to the bottom and pull the leaves out of the water and let drain, they do not need to be dry. In a large sauté pan with a lid, heat the garlic, chili flakes and butter over medium-high heat, until the garlic becomes fragrant about 1-2 minutes. Add the wet spinach, salt, and pepper. Cover with the lid and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove the lid and stir the greens and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Sprinkle with a squeeze of fresh lemon or balsamic vinegar.
Metaphors of Soil and Soul … Fennel Has Few Friends by Cindi J. Martin
Have you ever wondered why you get along with some people but not others? Are you embarrassed to admit that you don’t enjoy spending time with everyone equally, even in your own family? It was Jesus who said that we are to love others, even our enemies. But how do we love those whom we genuinely dislike? We can learn much from what Gardeners have known for millennia: Companion Planting.
According to Tilly of the website Fennel Doesn’t Have Friends, “Companion planting involves placing plants that can benefit from one another adjacent to each other in the garden. It also involves keeping some plants far away from one another, as they can be a detriment to one another’s growth.” Distance does not exclude plants from the garden; it means acknowledging detrimental differences and respecting placement. Fennel grows well in our garden but has a reputation for being a loner; it dislikes being close to a lot of other plants, especially bush beans, eggplant, and tomatoes. Basil loves a crowd and helps nearly every garden plant thrive. Can we refrain from making basil the good plant and fennel the bad plant because they aren’t the best companions for each other? Can we love and appreciate the unique value of both plants? Inherent differences and preferences are what make our garden diverse and a beautiful place.
What if we honor a similar reality in the human garden? We do get along better with some people more than others! What if we learn to better understand and accept the reasons that we should put some distance between ourselves and others? Insisting on being close to all can prevent some from growing and thriving. It is possible to love our enemies when we realize that we do not need to plant ourselves in the bed right next to them. You’ve heard it said, “Bloom where you are planted.” But this is also wisdom: “Plant where you will bloom.”