Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Garden Bounty

This box may not look like much right now but this one day harvest from our back yard garden will be turned into some amazingly tasty goodies for the Happy Husband and I. The radishes will go to my dad because he is the best dad ever! (And possibly because the HH and I don’t eat radishes, ha ha). The beets are destined for pickling thanks to me being introduced to pickled beets back in my Virginia Tech days by my roommate Kristin. Her mother makes, quite possibly, the best pickled beets that I have EVER tasted. The collard greens will be washed and stored in the fridge for a day or two until I am ready to simmer them with ham bits, hot sauce and diced onion and garlic. Tonight, however, the kale and turnips are headed to the dinner plate in two separate preparations.

This is what turnips are more likely to look like if you are searching for them in a store. They might not even have the stems of the leafy tops left but I thought the pale green added to the photo so I left it on. There really is nothing better than pulling these suckers out of the ground and cooking them less than an hour later. Turnips can have a bit of a spicy bite to them but that gives them a fresh flavor and is nothing to be worried about. The spicy mellows out when you roast the turnips. You will need to peel them and cut them into wedges. Toss with olive oil, garlic salt and pepper and spread out on a baking sheet. Roast at 350 degrees until the edges just start to brown. I roasted some potato wedges on the same tray until they were starting to brown and crisp up on the edges as well.

Next to prepare the kale. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees or preheat your grill to high if you are feeling adventurous.  Rinse and pat the kale dry. Remove the ribs from the kale and tear it into big pieces. The rib is the hard lighter colored hard part that runs down the middle. It is very stringy and won't get crispy in the oven anyway. If you are a composter these will make a great addition but you should cut them in half to speed up the composting process. Once you have the kale torn into pieces, spread it out onto a baking sheet. Toss the kale with olive oil, salt and pepper. Only use the pepper if you really like a peppery bite, it will intensify in the baking process. I think it tastes just fine, if not better, with just salt and olive oil. This is where it gets a little tricky. The kale can burn quickly so don't walk away from it for more than about a minute. I never walk away because I tend to space out and come back to ashes on my cookie sheet. Never fun. Roast the kale chips until its crispy... it will brown on the edges but this gives it a nice nutty flavor so don't freak out. I like to toss it half way through if its in the oven so that it crisps up evenly.

I served the tasty garden harvest with garlic roasted potatoes and a juicy, tender grilled chicken breast. I didn't take the time to calculate calories on this one but I would estimate it to be around 450 calories for what you see on the plate. Maybe even less depending on the size of the chicken breast that you are using. Thats about one and a half turnips and one potato and a cup and a half of prepared kale chips. I'm very much looking forward to sharing more garden goodies with you guys!

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