Monday, May 27, 2013

Harvest Monday 27 May 2013

The weather has been cold  and foul and the tomatoes and peppers are patiently waiting indoors for their opportunity, but what is already in the garden (the cold weather crops) are absolutely loving this weather. The lettuces, escarole, endive, choi, chard, kale, collards and spinach are enjoying the moist, cool weather and are growing rapidly.

spinach_bed_26May

 

I was worried about the spinach bolting, but it has instead exploded with growth after the rain. Above are three of the five squares planted to spinach. These are in a bed destined to house a summer squash (the uncovered square above), but that won’t happen until June. Meanwhile I hope to get a few more cuttings from the spinach.

 

spinach

 

This is the first cutting of spinach, 9 ounces. Most of this went into creamed spinach to go with the steaks we had on Saturday night. I had some strip sirloin steaks but because of the weather had to use the gas grill instead of firing up the barbie and using some mesquite chips. Normally I would be barbequing up a storm on the first holiday weekend of the summer, sitting on the deck with a brewski and carefully monitoring temperatures and smoke, but that is unpleasant to do when it’s cold and rainy.

 

The creamed spinach is a standard steakhouse offering. Basically, the spinach is steamed until it wilts, chopped, then squeezed to release any juices, and mixed with a thick b├ęchamel sauce flavored with a little bay and nutmeg. If you want to be fancy like the steakhouses, you can put it in a casserole, cover with Parmesan cheese, and bake. Using frozen spinach is possible but is considered heresy. Most if the time I simply steam the spinach until it wilts and serve it with butter, salt and pepper, but some occasions call for a dish that is a bit fancier.

 

lettuce

 

I clipped a pound of mixed salad greens in the rain on Saturday morning (the weight is of course dripping wet, not toweled dry). Some of this went into a salad to go with our steaks and creamed spinach Saturday night. The vinaigrette was made with olive oil and a fig-infused balsamic vinegar, which gave a nice fruity, almost banana-like flavor to the dressing. The rest were washed, spun-dried and refrigerated for salads later this week.

 

kale

 

My newly-planted kale is still immature and has been plagued by flea beetles. The kale above is from volunteers from my seed collecting effort last year. They are sprouting and growing in the wood chips around the raised beds (and bolting, since they sprouted last fall from seeds and wintered over). Since they are “weeds” I figured I would harvest what I could before pulling them. I also recently learned from reading other blogs that kale flowers are edible and tasty. Last year they just went in the compost.

 

To see what other gardener’s are harvesting, head over to Daphne’s Dandelions, out host for Harvest Monday.

14 comments:

  1. My razzle dazzle spinach bolted but the bloomsdale is going strong. Did you make the fig-infused vinegar?

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    1. Too bad about the spinach. I doubt mine survives 90 temps this week. Actually found the vinegar at a local supermarket.

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  2. It really wasn't the best weekend for a BBQ. I went to two different ones yesterday but I had to wear my down sweater if I wanted to stay outside and be comfortable. Luckily the rain stopped in the morning but it was still damp and cold. Brrr. BBQ steaks sound delicious with creamed spinach. I don't usually see creamed spinach on the menus here.

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    1. Supposed to be a Chicago steakhouse item. It's on the menu at Ruth's Chris, not that I have ever been there (with steaks starting at $50 a la carte price).

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  3. I enjoyed reading about and seeing your harvest! I've always been a purist when it comes to spinach, and now I'm planning on trying creamed spinach, if only our spinach would grow! I planted seeds but they all were munched and it's time to try again (I think I found a spot shady enough to get a harvest in this summer.) I also just read about kale flowers, and I am really missing my spring crops. We skipped doing a planting for spring, as we didn't have our new garden built yet. Never again... :)

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  4. Your Saturday evening meal sounds like it was really delicious! The weather there sounds like it is much like we are getting at present, however, our temps are actually not that low (night time lows have been 45-50 degrees) but it all feels quite cool and wet all the same. The greens are loving it of course. Your garden is growing well and the produce coming out of it is looking abundant and very healthy. Don't you love it when the spring harvest season really gets underway?

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    1. It's nice to have anything to harvest. What seems weird about this season is how sloooow everything seems to be growing. Long to germinate, long to produce.

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  5. I guess I shouldn't complain about our cool 60ish temps, it's balmy compared to what you're shivering through! I've had my eye on a creamed spinach recipe that I suppose is heretical, it calls for greek yogurt and is spiced up with a bit jalapeno and tomato paste. I'm not crazy about bechamel based sauces, so It's heresy for me! :)

    Your spinach looks great, I hope it continues to pump out the leaves for you.

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    1. This is New England so any weather is possible but we (moi) do reserve the right to complain about it. And replacing heavy cream and butter with yogurt doesn't sound, well, classical.

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  6. I think cold and foul weather is good times for spinach. Mine bolted last week after a few days in the 80's. Creamed spinach is one of those great dishes, good with anything.

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  7. You made me hungry for spinach. Luckily, spinach is doing well this year, probably the only time it stays this long without bolting. But the peppers and tomatoes are feeling the brunt of this prolonged cold weather. They look stunted, but already with flowers! I'm scared for them!

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  8. Very nice greens. we're not having much luck with spinach but have plenty of salads this year.

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  9. Fig flavoured balsamic sounds interesting. Your harvests look great and I wholeheartedly agree - bbqing in the rain is never fun.

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  10. Nice greens. Your spinach appears to be doing very well. Mine is getting ready to bolt. It is suppose to be about 90 here today!

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