Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Celery Reborn

I read recently that you can regrow celery from the bottom of a bunch of celery. I love any way I can grow food inexpensively or for free. I also read that you can keep doing this over and over, possibly indefinitely. This may be the best thing I have ever heard. Celery is now infinite. Maybe.

I cut the base off the last bunch of celery I bought and set it into a saucer of water, cut side up, for a couple days. I looked into the center of the tightly coiled celery stalks and there was a few small, pale leaves coiled up, new celery already underway. After a couple days sitting in water, these leaves started to grow above the cut stalks.

Then I stuck the celery into one of my pots on our balcony. The leaves are growing more quickly, they seem to enjoy this little burst of heat we are having. I cut this celery base about a week ago and it has been in the soil for maybe four days. It hasn't got any root growth that I can see on the bottom, but it's new leaves look really healthy.

When it gets a few new stalks growing up a bit, I am going to plant it in my front yard garden bed and burry the older, dead parts so just the new growth is showing.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Overfull Garden Tart (or How to Eat Your Greens)

I have too many greens in my fridge. I have a bag of chard, a bag of kale, a bag of arugula and a big bag of lettuce. My garden is overflowing and I am having a hard time keeping up with it. Green smoothies, big salads and pasta tossed with just wilted greens and slightly melted cheese are daily fixtures, but my greens are outpacing my eating ability. Plus my roommate L brings lots of fresh, local vegetables home from the little market where she works.
I have been trawling for recipes into which to insert the maximum amount of greens. The idea of a tart kicked around my brain for a week or so. Something eggy and cheesy and maybe bacony, with some sort or flaky crust and nestled under all that eggy cheesy loveliness, a layer of garlicky greens.

I used Deb's pastry, it is absurdly easy and delicious. It came out flaky and buttery and it doesn't need any blind baking and it didn't shrink. Lazy, tasty pastry. If you are feeling less inclined to make it from scratch, some store bought puff pastry would be great too. This basic plan for a tart is infinitely variable, it is an awesome way to use up bits of things, things no longer in their peak, greens left a little too long in the fridge, a leftover potato, odds and ends of cheese, the very end of a tub of yogurt, buttermilk that you bought for a recipe that needs using up. This tart takes care of these pesky bits that I always save and then forget to use and let rot in the fridge. It seems perfectly comfortable at any meal, breakfast with a piece of fruit, lunch or dinner with a leafy salad or bowl of soup.

Overfull Garden Tart

5-6 Cups swiss chard, roughly chopped
6 large cloves garlic
large pinch of chile flakes
splash of olive oil
1/2 cup of plain yogurt
4 eggs
splash of milk
1/2 cup grated cheese, cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan
1 recipe tart dough

Preheat oven to 350.
Roll out the dough to fit in a tart pan. Sauté the chard, garlic and chile in a splash of olive oil until it is wilted. Stir yogurt, eggs and milk in a bowl. Spread greens over the bottom of the tart, pour egg mixture overtop and sprinkle cheese over the top. Bake until the tart is no longer wobbly and the cheese is bubbly and slightly brown.