Although I’m extremely passionate about growing and eating really good food, you’ve probably noticed that I don’t post a ton of recipes on this blog. One reason is because I’m a “dash of this and sprinkle of that” kind of chef, so it’s hard for me to keep track of ingredients as I toss! But also, our meals are simple. The kind of simple that is so simple that you don’t need a recipe, but rather inspiration. I practice Garden-Inspired Meal Planning, basing meals on what is fresh, available, and in-season in my garden or at the Farmer’s Market.
When you’re cooking from the garden produce you just harvested that afternoon, there is not much need for elaborate seasonings to make the food taste really, really good. Because it is so fresh, it is amazing on its own – perhaps with a bit of butter or a sprinkle of salt. This kind of food is also extremely easy to make, and with a growing homestead and two young kids, we need easy.
Garden-Inspired Meal Planning
Some of our favorite, simple, and seasonal go-to dishes include:
- Steamed in-season vegetables with butter (right now we’re loving edamame).
- Sauteed vegetables with a dash of ume plum vinegar (the kids are loving zucchini and okra).
- Easy recipes such as sauteed green beans with toasted sesame seeds and soy sauce.
- Pasture-raised lamb or beef with a bit of minced onion and garlic, cooked as meatballs or hamburgers.
- Winter squash baked in the Sun Oven and drizzled with butter and our homemade black walnut syrup.
- Roasted root vegetables – potatoes, beets, carrots, etc. – with a bit of rosemary and sage.
- Summer salads such as kale with shredded carrots and beets, or cucumbers with feta, tomato, and basil. Or my very favorite – peach basil salsa.
- Fermented foods such as cucumber pickles, or sauerkraut.
- Homemade yogurt topped with whatever fruit is in season – strawberries, mulberries, blueberries or peaches in summer, and in fall/winter – persimmon puree, Asian pears, pears, or applesauce.
We always have our homemade soft cow cheese, eggs, and some sort of grain available to add to a meal, and often will make a side dish that will fill up and satisfy the kids. In the winter months, when the wood stove is burning and we have more time indoors, I like to spend the day creating hearty soups and stews, preferably with root cellared goodies! But the main focus of our meals, especially in the summer months, is cooking in a way that lets our fresh produce shine.
What are your favorite garden inspired meals?
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