Monday, January 11, 2016

Harvest Monday - January 11, 2016

Welcome to Harvest Monday. Our usual host, Dave of Our Happy Acres, is enjoying another week of vacation from being the host, he will return on February 1.

The harvests have slowed down a lot in my garden, the cold and wet weather has put the brakes on most of the growth other than the weeds. The Kid (El Niño) has started to deliver his stuff here. We've had one storm after another come through and wet things down and the garden is quite soggy. It's not been conducive to getting out to harvest much less get some work done.

I did deem it time though to start harvesting the Brussels Sprouts. They have been very slow to size up. Not having grown them before I'm not sure why, but I think it may be because I should have started them about a month earlier and also that they may be a bit crowded. These were the largest from one of the plants and though small they were firm and needed very little trimming.

Gustus Brussels Sprouts
They were very good tasting and we enjoyed these in a Winter Panzanella based on a recipe from Michel Chiarello's book Casual Cooking. I used some homemade bread to make Garlic Parmesan croutons using some of the Garlic Crema in my stores. It's a delicious salad of the croutons, brussels sprouts, red onion, parsley, and roasted squash all tossed with a simple vinaigrette. I deviated from the recipe in a couple of ways, roasting rather than blanching the sprouts and I piled the salad on top of roasted slices of Delicata squash rather than tossing roasted cubes of Butternut squash with everything else.

Garlic Parmesan croutons

Batavia and Di Ciccio broccoli,
Golden Sweet snow peas, Super Sugar Snap peas

More broccoli shoots were ready to be harvested on Saturday but I've not gotten around to using them yet. Same goes for the snap and snow peas. The peas were a bit damaged during a couple of frosty nights but it seems like the damage is just cosmetic.

Gladiator parsnips

I pulled a few more of the Gladiator Parsnips to make a Spiced Parsnip Soup. The photo does not give any perspective on the size of the roots, that long one is about 18 inches not including the stem and weighed in at 3/4 pound. They are still very mild, smooth textured, and sweet even though they are large, probably because of the cold weather and ample moisture.

Tonda Musona onions sauteed in butter or olive oil or seared

I had to deal with the bulk of the remaining onions in my stores. Most of them were starting to sprout and there were far too many of them for me to use fresh. So I spent one morning chopping and slicing, sauteeing and searing. The result was a number of packets of onions sauteed in either butter or olive oil and some packets of sliced onions that I had seared to give them some nice caramelization. I use a FoodSaver machine to vacuum pack the finished product. My method for freezing such things is to pack the bags but not seal them right away. I make sure the veggies are thoroughly chilled before freezing them because the faster they freeze the smaller the ice crystals and the less damage is done which makes for a firmer and less watery veggie when it's thawed. So I lay each packet of veggies in a single layer on a metal sheet pan, pop it in the fridge for a few hours, then pop the tray into the freezer overnight. It's much easier to vacuum seal the packets after the contents are frozen since there's no oozing of juices out of the packets as the machince sucks out the air. Each packet above is about a half pound of cooked onions.

Another dish that I prepared from my stash of frozen roasted and peeled Shepherd's Ramshorn peppers was stuffed peppers. I made a mixture of ricotta and parmesan seasoned with Meyer Lemon zest, parsley, and dried oregano. The filling was put on a wide strip of pepper which was rolled up. All the rolls were placed snugly in a baking dish with a drizzle of olive oil and topped with crunchy olive oil baked bread crumbs and then the whole lot was baked in a 375ºF oven until hot and bubbling. Sorry, I didn't take any photos, I rarely pause for a photo shoot when dinner is ready! We enjoyed that with a salad of spinach from the garden.

Here's the details of the harvests for the past week:

Batavia broccoli - 16.5 oz.
Di Ciccio broccoli - 6.8 oz.
Gustus Brussels Sprouts - 10.7 oz.
Gladiator parsnips - 2 lb., 10 oz.
Super Sugar Snap peas - 3.9 oz.
Golden Sweet snow peas - 4.4 oz.

Total Harvests for the week - 5 lb., 4.3 oz.
2016 YTD - 5 lb., 4.3 oz.

Harvest Monday is a place to showcase everything harvest related, what you've harvested, how you are preserving your harvests, and how you are using your harvests. You needn't be harvesting anything new to participate, write a post about how you've been using your preserved harvests and then link up. I'm sure we could all use some inspiration when it comes to using up the canned tomatoes and frozen veggies, (and  my wrinkling winter squashes) that we all worked so hard to produce and preserve. If you want to join in the fun just add your name and a link to your post in Mister Linky below. Then stop by the other linked posts to see what other garden bloggers have been harvesting and cooking up lately.

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  1. Where did you find those tube-like bags you used for your onions?

    1. They aren't actually tubes, they are the sealable bags that go with the FoodSaver machine, I've filled them and folded the open ends over to compact the ingredients before freezing.

  2. your method of cooking the Brussels Sprouts is interesting.. I find that when you roast sprouts they can be crunchy and bitter unless you get the cooking time just right - much more difficult than boiling them. Have you tried adding some Balsamic vinegar to the sprouts? It works well! Shame about El Nino, but we've been suffering from him too. Our countryside is 100% saturated now.

    1. We're actually pretty happy about El Niño around here, the rain is welcome after 4 years of drought, we just hope that it doesn't get to be so wet that it brings on floods and landslides. Balsamic vinegar is one of my favorite condiments with sprouts!

  3. Lovely sprouts, one thing I've always had trouble growing. It's good you got some rain. We got a dusting of snow at HA, but thankfully I am warm and dry!

  4. Great week. I'm very jealous you can't seem my garden at all right now from all the snow! There's so much I can't even get into my cold frames!!

  5. Beautiful sprouts & parsnips! That's an ingenious way to vacuum seal the onions - when I saw the picture I was wondering how you would do that.

  6. Those are really good tips for freezing onions, and by extension, all vegetables. Congratulations on your first Brussels sprouts!

  7. That's a lovely lot of onions! I wish I had those sprouts and broccoli. You've got nice clean parsnips too, not a sign of canker.

  8. Those sprouts are very nice looking, good job for first attempt. The tip on the onions is a good one, something I should have done earlier in the fall. The basement is getting very fragrant, and not in a good way.

  9. The Winter Panzanella sounds wonderful - I rarely make that, should try it again some time. I've just used the last of my parsnips - I think three of mine would have been needed to meet the size of yours!

    We had rather a nasty storm last night with crazy high winds - lucky I was hunkered in for the night!

  10. Your broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and peas look amazing. Lately I've been thinking about summer, green beans, zucchini, and tomatoes.


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